It’s mid-December and the Christmas season is in full swing. You’ve got time for one more craft, right? If I can do this one, so can you. This week I spent one hour and made Christmas stockings – seriously, ONE HOUR. One hour gave me two stockings – and they’re lined! I used old sweaters and it couldn’t be easier. I found this idea on Pinterest, and it’s the most successful thing I’ve ever done via that crafty you-know-what!
As opposed to previous years, I’ve resolved to calm down, enjoy the holiday season and be a part of it! We’ve put up our first tree together (last year’s never happened), hung our lights, and my little boy is practicing for his first school Christmas concert. We’re having so much fun this year with the Christmas traditions, I thought last year was magical with him? Nothing compared to Jack at almost 4 years old! One tiny detail though…he still doesn’t have a stocking. Shameful. I knew I’d never knit the stocking of my dreams for him in time so I resolved to buy a decent substitute and start knitting for the next year.
Then I cleaned out my closet and found that my stack of beloved, seriously out of date, wool sweaters from high school had been attacked by moths. Ouch. I thought I’d turn the leftover good bits into sofa cushions or mittens and went looking online for inspiration. It being almost Christmas, I instead found Pinterest awash in Christmas decor. I don’t know who thought of it first, but I found at least five tutorials dedicated to making stockings out of old sweaters!
I could turn my beloved, boxy, oversized early 90’s high school sweaters into Christmas stockings! Turn one sentimental item into another. This really couldn’t be easier to do – I made two of them in little more than an hour. And just because I had to, I one-uped what I saw on Pinterest by adding a lining to my stockings to help them hold their shape, protect the interior seams, and to keep items from catching on the yarn thus frustrating my little kid on Christmas morning. Two lined stockings in an hour. Here’s what I did.
Besides your sewing kit and optional machine (you could sew by hand of course!) you’ll need:
- an old sweater
- a pattern or old stocking to trace around (if you’re in need of a pattern I like the shape of this one by Amy Butler)
- fabric for the lining
Lay that old sweater flat and pin your pattern to it. Put the cuff/top of the stocking on the hem (how nifty – you won’t have to sew a cuff! Your sweater’s hem handles it for you!) If you’re tracing around an existing stocking, be sure to add a seam allowance. I’d suggest a half-inch for this project.
Cut through BOTH layers of the sweater, the front and the back, around the pattern. Don’t worry about your sweater unraveling, especially if it’s wool. Wool fibers tend to stick together!
Flip your pieces over so the right sides are facing each other:
You don’t see any unraveling there do you? Nope. Granted this sweater is roughly 25 years old and nursed me through a lot of heartbreak and insecurity then warmed me through many a NYC blizzard, OH MY FRIEND! I’m so glad I found a way to keep this sweater around.
Use a lot of pins if you’re sewing this together on a sewing machine. It will help to feed both sides through your sewing machine evenly. If you’ve got a walking foot, go ahead and use it. If you’ve been sewing since you were eight and just don’t give a hoot? You’ll be fine. I honestly got tired of pins and just started tugging on the top layer a bit to keep it even with the bottom layer. Little trick I learn in a quilting class eons ago…
Once you’ve sewn from one top edge to the other (obviously leaving the top open for Santa to have access) you’re done. Secure the ends of your threads, turn your stocking inside out and say, “WOW THIS WORKED!” You done! Unless you’re like me and you just like things to be perfectly finished.
I wanted my stockings lined. Grab some fabric that kinda sorta coordinates with your stocking. I’d recommend cotton because it’s easy. I used muslin because it’s what I had. It also shows up nicely in photos for the purposes of a tutorial… For my darker stocking, I want to redo it and find some darker cotton that won’t show through. In any case, take your chosen fabric and fold it in half. Lay your pattern out on it. You need to cut two again, just like you did for the sweater – a front and a back. If you can, lay the cuff/top of the stocking pattern on the selvage of your fabric so you won’t have to hem or fold in the top of your lining.
What’s the selvage? That finished edge of the fabric that won’t unravel. If you’re sewing a quilt or clothing or really anything but this – don’t use that selvage! But for this? It’s ideal!
The lining is just as easy as the stocking was. 1. Cut out your two halves. 2. Sew them together and then trim your seam down a bit. You don’t need to do this with the sweater pieces, just here on the lining to help it lay in the stocking a bit nicer. 3. Without turning the lining inside out, insert it into the sweater stocking. 4. Use needle and thread to secure the top of the lining inside the cuff of the stocking. I secured it maybe a half inch down from the top so it wouldn’t be seen.
All that’s left is to secure a little loop to hang your stocking with! Grab ribbon, string, yarn – go crazy and unravel some from your old sweater and braid a little loop. Go really crazy and knit i-cord for it. Whatever you choose, tack it in place with needle and thread and hang your new stocking up!
We live in pretty small apartment and have no mantel. Nor have I found the time to craft some crazy fancy stocking holder. I use our bookcases and some command hooks. So there’s your bonus small space living tip! Command hooks turn anything into a mantel! You could use ribbon or greenery to cover them up, but I ran out of time and had to go pick the boy up from school!
Here’s a close-up with my second stocking that I made out of another high school sweater. This one was cabled and came out beautiful!
Aren’t you proud of me? I made a Christmas craft this year! Go forth and raid your closets for sweaters you haven’t worn in years – you never will and this is a really beautiful and sentimental way to keep them close while freeing up a little closet space!