If you’re a dab hand with a needle and cotton and fancy making your own Christmas stockings, there are plenty of patterns available to download for free via web sites such as and all of which offer guidance on suitable fabrics, making up and customising. Depending on how confident you feel, you can adapt the method and materials to match your budget or schedule, and then let your imagination run wild!
TIPS Fabric and notions
- While most sites recommend using felt for the body of the stocking, at around £5.50 per metre, polyester fleece makes an economical alternative and comes in a variety of widths (ideal for larger stockings). It looks and handles much the same and in some cases it’s almost reversible, just like felt.
- For the stocking cuffs, choose a complimentary fabric in a seasonal print; depending on the dimensions, around half a metre will be enough for one or two stocking cuffs. Alternatively, raid your sewing box for remnants; as well as being durable, leftover upholstery fabric can add a modern, funky feel.
- Appliqué is a great way to customise and at the same time give a damaged or discarded article a new lease of life, especially one of sentimental value. Hankies, scarves, table linen, pyjamas, and even outgrown children’s clothes (especially those with conspicuous wear and tear) can all be recycled in this way.
- When it comes to adding a finishing flourish, check your needlework basket for buttons, ribbons and rickrack. As well as giving free rein to your creativity, this is a great way to use up leftover notions and add a personal touch. Try spelling out a child’s name in buttons, adding dainty rosebuds for a feminine feel or sequins for seasonal glamour.
- Before you begin, assemble all the materials you’re likely to need. Take care to familiarise yourself with the on line instructions but feel free to adapt them to suit your requirements. The traditional sock style stocking and the hand sewn method should be easy enough for anyone to follow. Remember: children should always be properly supervised when using sharp objects or items that can be easily swallowed.
- If you do decide to go it alone, bear in mind that the boots can face either way, and if you’re going to make several – from different fabrics particularly – take care to cut out pairs of one front and one back facing the correct way (that’s to say whichever way you like, but be consistent!)
- When making up either the classic sock style or the fancy boot version, iron-on interfacing will help make the fabric stiffer and give more shape to the finished stocking. To do this, make a second pattern of each boot and then trim off ¼”/1cm all round. This way, the interfacing when ironed onto the fabric won’t bulk up the seams when you join the front and back together.
- Most online instructions suggest making an inner stocking and then folding down the two layers to make a traditional cuff. For economy you can elect not to use a full lining, but instead make cuffs using a contrasting fabric and then attach them to the stocking like a sleeve. This is a little trickier, but uses less fabric which is handy if you have a limited budget or just a small piece of fabric which may be valuable or old.
- If you choose not to make a lining, remember your stockings will be longer than those where the cuff is created by rolling the whole stocking down. In this instance you can either cut down the patterns before you begin or create deeper, more capacious stockings with which to delight your family or friends!
To make an appliquéd stocking
Cut out one stocking front from an old sheet or other plain fabric and iron the interfacing onto the reverse. Cut strips from your appliqué fabric and arrange them on top of the stocking front, overlapping the pieces slightly and extending them beyond the edge of the stocking front underneath. Keep the neatest edges of the fabric on the body of the stocking with the ragged edges hanging over the edge or hidden under a neat edge. Pin the pieces on and then run decorative stitches over the joins; this can either be done by hand or machine. When all the pieces are in place, remove the pins, flip the fabric over and trim away all the excess keeping to the edges of the stocking front. Carry on from this point with your chosen technique to join the back and add a cuff. As an alternative, simply turn down the top edge and create a decorative frill from scraps of the appliquéd material on the front edge near the hanging cord.
Whether you choose to coordinate your stockings with the rest of your Christmas decorations or create designs as individual as their recipients, the sky’s the limit when it comes to embellishment. Experiment with eye-catching badges, silk flowers or feathers. If embroidery is your forté, personalise the stocking with a monogram or nickname. Also, think about signing and dating the stocking on the inside and if time allows, stitch a little label or name-tag inside. At the very least you’re creating a unique keepsake… and maybe even a future family heirloom!