How to make a Christmas stocking

DIY Christmas stockings

How to make a DIY Christmas stocking, whether you can sew or not, then give it a lining (optional) and decorate it. Natural burlap Christmas stockings? Red shaggy bath mat stockings? Pink fake fur or classic red felt? The choice is yours.

You don’t need to be able to sew to make a Christmas stocking, even though it’s faster with a sewing machine. There are two nice things about making your own DIY Christmas stockings. Firstly, you can choose your own material, whether it’s the classic Christmas red felt or some old cushion covers in need of reincarnation. Secondly, you can make your stocking the exact size you want it. When you DIY it, it’s up to you.

1. Picking the right material

Think about the theme of your stocking. Classic Christmas? Eco-pagan earthtones? Piratemas? Electro Goth? Fifties Kitsch? Deciding the theme will help you decide the look you are going for and which material to choose.

Old cushion covers that you’ve found in second hand shops or plan to throw away are perfect. For crafting beginners, felt is the classic material to use. It’s cheap, easy to work with without sewing, and it doesn’t unravel to leave little bits of thread all over the place. You can also use your old woollen blankets, denim jeans or moth-eaten jumpers. Or you can use shaggy woolly bath mats! We really like the idea of getting half a yard or so of fluffy fake fur. A fake fur Christmas stocking in gothic black or electro pink would be rather special. Another really nice choice is burlap – that stuff you get from gardening shops. It’s got a very natural ethnic look to it, perfect for making a DIY stocking that’s homemade and proud of it. Also, there’s something about burlap that feels… non-materialistic. A simple, natural approach to Christmas. You’ll need about 50 cm of material to make a Christmas stocking, whichever material you decide to use.

You may decide to choose some lining fabric too, to go on the inside of the stocking and give it more structural support. You don’t have to, but it will make the stocking more durable. Depending on the material you choose (an old cotton pillow or skirt? Black plastic bin liner?) the lining may help make your homemade Christmas stocking more attractive and unique.

2. Cut out the stocking pattern.

The easy and not very professional way? Draw your desired stocking shape with (ideally, but we’re not fussy) a piece of chalk onto the back of your material, the side that won’t show. Or draw the stocking shape onto a bit of newspaper, pin it to your fabric and cut round it. You can draw around an existing stocking if you already have one. You can also google for Christmas stocking templates. There are plenty out there, but most of them are too big to print out onto one sheet of A4 so you either need to get your hands on an A3 printer or print out lots of bits of paper and stick them together. It’s your choice.

Remember to cut your stocking in a shape that makes it easy to put presents in. It doesn’t have to look like it’s easy to wear as a sock. The shape should be quite wide, almost down to the bottom.

Obviously, you will need to cut out two stocking shapes, because these will be attached together to make one Christmas stocking. Before you cut, decide which side of your material will be facing out. Then ensure that you reverse the pattern for one of the shapes, so you’ll have matching outsides on the finished item.

Lining your DIY Christmas stocking (optional)

Did you get some lining material? If so, you can stitch or glue gun the lining fabric to the two stocking shapes before you put the stocking together. That will make life easier for you. Also, don’t forget to make sure you’re attaching the lining to the inside of the stocking shapes, not the bits you want facing outside!

3. How to decorate your homemade Christmas stocking

You don’t have to decorate your handiwork, of course! But you may wish to add decorations, and this is easier to do before you sew the shapes together to make your stocking.

Velvet ribbon trim: A nice idea is to add a velvet trim to the rim of the stocking. Velvet evokes the spirit of Christmas with its soft, warm, luxury feel. You can get a yard of velvet ribbon very cheaply in a haberdashery or online, and attaching it to the rim of the sock shapes (sewing, or with a glue gun) is a simple matter. If you get a wider velvet ribbon, instead of tacking it to the rim, you can fold it over the rim and attach it down on both sides. This will hide the top of the stocking, where your material is likely to unravel, and give it a really nice finished feel. You can then go even further, and glue gun or sew brocade piping onto the bottom edge of the velvet ribbon.

Fuzzy felt: If you’re making a felt Christmas stocking, you’ve probably got some bits left over after cutting out the shapes you need. You can wrap these round a button and sew them onto the stocking. Or you can cut out circles, cut their edges into petal shapes, make another felt circle and do the same, then sew them onto your stockings using a button to hold the flower together and form its center. You could get some extra felt in a complementary colour, or you can use the leftover bits in the same colour.

Satin stripes: You can also get some satin ribbon, cut it into strips and glue gun it onto one side of the stocking in diagonal stripes. This won’t work if you’ve gone for a fake fur Christmas stocking – you need one with a smooth texture.

Fake fur: Oh, yes please! Get a strip of fake fur, twice the width you want your Christmas stocking cuff to be. As with the velvet ribbon, fold it over the top of your stocking shapes to hide the top and sew/glue gun it down (sewing it down will be more secure). Then your stockings will have a lovely fake fur trim on the top.

4. Sewing the stocking together.

In a perfect world, you’ll have a sewing machine. Pin your two stocking shapes together so the bits you want showing in the finished product are on the inside. Sew them together, leaving about 10cm as a seam, taking out the pins as you go. Pull your stocking inside-out and you’re done! If you don’t have a sewing machine, we recommend hand sewing rather than using a glue gun for this stage. Again, pin your stocking shapes together with their insides on the outside, hand sew them together then pull your stocking inside out.

You can stitch (by hand or machine) the rim of the stocking so it doesn’t fray, unless you’ve already hidden it with a wide folded band of velvet ribbon.

As to what you should put in your brand-new homemade Christmas stocking? Hang on… someone’s getting the benefit of all your hard work and they’re expecting homemade Christmas presents as well? Bah humbug! We recommend you put nothing in the stocking save a lump of coal.

This burlap Christmas stocking has a rather sophisticated trim but you get the idea. If you’re looking for a natural approach to Christmas, burlap from gardening shops is absolutely perfect! And you can use an old white cotton pillow as the lining material.

Making Lemonade shows us how to decorate homemade red felt Christmas stockings with felt cutouts layered up in simple shapes in either the same colour or a complementary one.

Make DIY Christmas stockings from bathmats. Go on. We dare you. They’ll look amazing. Cut a paper pattern, fold a bathmat in half and cut out the shapes using a craft knife, then hand-sew them together. Done.