Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's a Burlap Christmas...Stockings Galore!

I love Christmas!!!  It's my favorite holiday by far.  I love decorating for Christmas...but not in a tacky way. 

I also love burlap...but I think we've established that fact.  I've pinned so many burlap ideas...more than I could possibly accomplish, or store for that matter.  I want a burlap Christmas...well, Christmas decor at least.  So when I saw this beauty on Pinterest by Cry Baby Ink I knew I had my well as some fantastic ideas.

The Burlap Christmas obsession started with my tree skirt...seen here.  But that was just the beginning.  The next step had to be stockings.  I searched the Internet for stocking ideas.  I needed help constructing them, plus topper ideas...5 to be exact...or elements from several to make the ideal stockings for my taste.  Finally after months of planning (since last Christmas) I had everything I needed. 
Since I have 5 stockings to show I'll begin with construction of the stocking first, then I'll explain each stocking topper.

To start I took an old stocking that I liked the shape of.  I traced it on blank newspaper paper I had and added a 3/4 inch seam allowance (See #1).  I then cut out 10 stockings in natural burlap and 10 stockings in muslin.  (Two of each for one stocking.  See #2)

(Ignore the top for now...we'll get to that later)
To line the inside of the stocking I sewed one piece of muslin to one piece of burlap (right sides together) at the top (See #1).  Do this for both the front and back pieces.  Iron the seam allowance toward the stocking.  Then pin the front to the back, right sides together, matching the seams carefully and leaving about a 4" opening for turning the stocking (See #3).
(Keep ignoring the top for now...)
Turn the stocking right side out, then iron the burlap seams.  It takes some time and maneuvering to pull the seams out to iron.  The burlap was stiff and didn't want to cooperate all the time, but take the time.  It makes it look so much better.  Also, iron the lining where the opening is so that you can stitch it down.  Then of course stitch it closed (See #2).  Once it's closed shove the lining back inside the burlap stocking and work it along the edges all the way to the toe. 
(One more time...ignore the top...for now)
I learned something at this point...but it was on stocking #3...and it's a nifty tip.  I wanted to tack the lining to the stocking so that when we pulled out our gifts it didn't pull the lining out to.  The first two stockings I did this blind by putting my hand down in the stocking and hand stitching it.  It was very hard to do and I do NOT recommend it.  For some reason on the 3rd stocking I figured out that if I'd turn it inside out I could stitch the lining to the seam of the stocking and it was easy.
The word "DUH" we used in high school does come to mind...I can hear you saying it now!!!
So that's how I did it from then on.  And it was SOOO much easier!  Just hand stitch it...nothing several different places (See #1).  To hang the stocking I took 3 - 15" lengths of hemp cord, tied it on the end then used my sewing maching needle to hold it while I braided it.  Then I tied it at the end and attached it by sewing it in on the heel corner.  I did this with 4 of the 5 stockings.  One of them I attached in the lining (See #1 & #2 below), but my sewing machine had a hard time with the thickness, so I stuck with hand sewing them after that.  It worked...we'll see how it holds up over the years...
That was the last of the Basic Stocking assembly.  I did the same with each on to the toppers...the fun pretty part!!!

To start with I had to determine my measurements.  I used my self healing board with the ruler to determine the width and length of the toppers.  Then I cut burlap, muslin, ribbon and other materials for each of my toppers.  Then I had to press them all out nice and neat.  If you can't tell my main colors were cream, natural burlap and touches of red.  Each stocking had to have something of each of those colors.  The fun part was the red.  I just wanted touches of them in fun ways.

For the guys, I found an idea I liked for my husband at Style By Design that fit perfectly in the "theme" I was going for.  I loved the natural buttons with the pop of red on top and bottom.  Then I saw another one with buttons and pleats at Make It & Love It.  It just spoke Bubba (my oldest) to me.  Theirs had white buttons on white fabric.  I decided to do red buttons...that little POP again...instead of the white.  For my Hoss (middle guy) I saw one at Cozy.Cottage.Cute.  She has a great tutorial for a stocking, but I didn't follow it exactly.  For this stocking it has buttons and a pleated ruffle.

Are you seeing the pattern here???
Now that I've set the's what they look like.

I measured and pressed all the pleats in the muslin fabric.  I had measurements for this, but since this was the first one I did I've lost the I have to wing this.  I think that I took the length I wanted the finished product to be x 3 then added 3/4 an inch for each end for seam allowance.  I believe the pleats are 1/2 inch deep with 1/4 inch between one to the other. 

Ok, my eyes aren't even focusing tonight so I don't know if this is accurate since I can't even see this picture clearly.  But look at shows the measurements on the pleats.  Sorry, I normally have more details...not tonight however.  Once I had all the pleats ironed and pinned on the side (See #2 & #3) I flipped it over to sew it.  Let me see if I can explain this right cause I don't have pictures.  I matched the stitching line on the bottom of the muslin pleated piece with the bottom stitching line on the stocking.  So the pleats would be face down on the stocking hanging towards the bottom of the stocking.  Stitch it then flip it up toward the top of the stocking.  This keeps the stitching from showing and gives a nice, crisp line you can press on the bottom.  See #4 how you can see the stitching underneath the piece?  Yeah, that's what I mean.  Then pin and stitch the top and sides of the piece in the seam allowance.

Was that as clear as mud???
I then sewed the piece together as I explained above.  After it was sewn together I added the buttons.  I do NOT recommend doing it this way.  I didn't think I'd know where to sew them without it.  It was a pain in the butt!!!  I'll explain how I fixed this on the other stockings later.  Anyway, I finished this off as I explained above and it was done!  This was by far the hardest one!  I was SOO glad to get it completed!!!
Next in line was Hoss' stocking. 

Remember I told you she had a good tutorial.  I followed hers, within reason, making a few adjustments.  She had hers go all the way around the stocking.  I just wanted it on the front.  So I halved her measurements, grabbed my masking tape, ruler and iron.  The tape is really handy keeping things in place.  I just recommend putting it below the stitching line.  It's easier to peel off (See #2 & #3).  I'll let her tutorial explain because she's much more detailed.

I added my POP of red with the buttons across the top.  Oh, remember I said this was the one I sewed the hanger into the lining.  Yeah, first and last time.  And just like that this one's done!

2 of 5...we're getting there!
Last of the guys was my hubby's!

Remember, his was the inspiration for the two boys stockings.  It had to have that POP of red at the top and bottom.  The red and natural are both burlap.  I zigzagged all the way around both pieces to keep them from fraying.  Then I sewed them down using matching thread.  Then I ironed under the long edges of the muslin and sewed it down right along the edges.

This time with the buttons I got smart!  I measured in from the edge of the stocking 3/4" for the seam allowance, added a little more and placed the buttons.  It was probably 1 1/4" from the edge.  It worked so much easier!  (I'm hearing another "DUH"!  You're saying it...don't deny it!!!)  You're probably asking why I worried about sewing these in now.  Well, let me explain...I didn't want the stitches coming through the lining fabric.  I wanted all the "yucky stuff" covered up under the lining.  Once I did the buttons I finished it off like I describe above and voila!!!

The boys' are DONE!!!

Now on to us Ladies!!!  This time I started with mine.

I started with a lacy white fabric I found at JoAnn's.  I loved the details, but it was white...VERY white!  So I tea dyed the whole piece (1/4 of a yard).  It turned out EXACTLY the color of my muslin.  PERFECT!  I ironed under on the bottom edge and sewed it close to the edge on the bottom and within the seam allowance on the top.  Then I used a piece of burlap that I zigzagged around just like my hubby's above.  For the POP of red I used a piece of red ribbon and sewed it right down the middle...I'm covering this up so it didn't matter if the stitching showed. 

I wanted mine to be very feminine so I strung some pearls on a thread.  I didn't want them in the seam allowance because it would be too thick, so I measured and was careful to not add too many beads.  Using a bead needle I stitched them down coming up and hooking back through about every 6th bead or so.  This ensures that it won't droop when it's hanging and that it stays on that line (Gotta camouflage it you know!)  Instead of buttons us girls have flowers.  So I attached lace, ribbon rose with some red beads as the center.  I finished it off and that's #4!

Finally...we're just about done!!!  Believe me, this is how I felt about this point!

I followed the same steps on my daughter's stocking as I did on mine to begin with.  Attached the fabric and burlap...BUT...they can't be exactly the same.  So with hers I used the red ribbon to make a rose for her POP of red.  It was so simple yet feminine, and after 4 stockings it seemed almost anticlimactic.  Hey, it works!

I sewed on the rose, finished it off and DONE!!!  Well...they're all almost done...there's just one more thing I wanted to add, but that's for next week's post!!!

So to's Mom & Dad's stockings.  They're the more elaborate ones...and the inspiration for the kids' stockings.

And here they all are together.  I cannot wait to see all these Treasures up on the mantle this year...for our Burlap Christmas!!!


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  1. Jennifer, I love these stockings! I'm so glad to be following you, you've got a great blog:)