A close-to-the-wire Christmas stocking for Emily

Just about managed to get this stocking made in time for Christmas for my friend’s little daughter:

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See that pink fabric there? My friend was eyeing up a couple of my charm packs, so we decided to do a fabric swap . I couldn’t believe she so happily and readily was prepared to let this go, I just LOVE it. I am looking to make myself a new “carry-all” bag, although in truth, I am managing fine these days now Kiddo is school age – I’ll definitely need one before the summer though. Anyway I had thought I’d love to make a bag from it… now I wonder if it’s too girly, so it might not happen – doesn’t stop me being utterly in love with it though! It’s from the “love and Joy” collection by Dena Designs. Alison doesn’t really notice who made or what are the fabrics unless she looks for them specifically online –  but tons of her stash fabrics are Dena Designs; she must instinctively really love her style. And no wonder.

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And no wonder it looks great on this Christmas stocking – it is apparently a festive collection! It’s lined with the same. I batted it for structure and strength with W+N cotton batting. Wanna see some close-ups?

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This is the little penguin close up. I first made him when I was making our antenatal class children their first Christmas presents, and he looks mostly the same now, although my stockings have become more refined (you can see them on my Flickr stream if you like in the “fabric goodness for children” album). In fact this little girl is one of the younger, newer siblings from that same antenatal group! These guys get more attention; I have more time now that Kiddo isn’t a baby anymore!

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I just freehand cut felt and sew the shapes on where I want in matching thread. I usually choose nice simple shapes for felt applique and let the bright colours do the talking!

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Once you see that it’s all simple shapes, it doesn’t look that difficult does it?  It’s not. It takes time, but I love sewing in front of the TV, so this suits me down to the ground. In fact next year I’m going to do more handsewing if I can.

My favourite bit is embellishing with perle 8 cottons. Once I realised how simple it is to do some running stitches and backstitches in perle 8s to embellish my applique and give it some depth and texture, I have really looked forward to this step! I used a bit of perle cuteness on whatever I could this time.image

The letters have Steam-a-seam 2 fusible web underneath unlike the rest – I figure they would be the most difficult to repair if they came off. And of course you can draw the letters on in reverse, you can’t really freehand cut letters unless you want that look (I did on the original stockings I made). This is the strongest web I have found – but even so I stitched round the letters. Despite the difficulty in getting the needle through the glue – you do get a bit of needle gumminess. But it would be awful for the name to be dropping off on a stocking. Like a run-down shop.

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Finally a cute little hanging ribbon. This bit of ribbon tied up a fabric bundle I once got – it’s sweet but there’s not much of it. I’m glad it’s gone to good use!

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There it is, ready for a sweet little girl. If you flick back through my previous posts you’ll see she’s already got a quilt from me when she was born, and an applique cushion – she is going to grow up surrounded by things I’ve made her – that’s a nice feeling 🙂

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If you want to see my previous, similar-but-not-the-same stockings, see these posts here:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/67891349675/its-sew-christmas

and here:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/69915376369/christmas-stockings-and-christmas-cheer

Meanwhile – Happy Christmas to you all! Wishing us all a peaceful and cosy family one; and a happy healthy 2015.

Till the next time, Poppy xx

See you after Christmas – and possibly even into 2015 – where is time going??

It’s Sew Christmas!

I can never decide if being too busy sewing to blog is a good or bad thing. I’ve most certainly been too busy sewing to Flickr. Sewing… Ok, and holidays in Mallorca (wonderful), Shingles (not wonderful), only son turning 4 (pretty darn cool) and a piratey 4th Birthday party (too wonderful and joyous for words). And sewing and sewing and sewing…

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This is a first Christmas stocking for a sweet little baby boy called Matthew, who is the grandchild of a lovely neighbour of mine. It’s her first grandchild and she’s quite rightly smitten; and asked for a Christmas stocking after seeing my flickr stream. I really enjoy the embellishing of a Christmas stocking, once I get over the hump of “it’ll take ages” – and it never does take as long as you’d think! Mostly because it’s mainly handsewing, which is a lovely relaxing thing to do, and I do it in front of the TV or whilst listening to an audiobook (I’ve discovered the joys of Audible!)

The exterior and lining fabrics are 100% cotton, and it’s interlined with “Warm & Natural” cotton batting, which gives it some nice structure without being stiff. I drafted my own template mainly because I like quite a big stocking – nothing worse than those skinny little things. Actually, his parents might not thank me for that; there is equally nothing worse than a half-filled stocking 😉

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I freehand cut felt into shapes after a quick back-of-an-envelope sketch of a design on paper first. I would find these things much harder to do if I had to use a lot of templates and be too fussy about it all. I’m much more of a go with the flow kind of girl. Keeping shapes simple is the key for me! And felt is very forgiving. I have done a stocking using a picture from Tilda’s “Crafting Christmas Gifts” and fabric – using wonderunder and then handsewing all the layers down. To be honest although I loved the results, I didn’t really enjoy the process – too restrained – using someone else’s ideas, and too much faffing around with an iron. It is lovely though!

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Anyway, stocking sewn, felt cut, I settled down in front of cosy crime on the iplayer and sewed them on with a whipstitch. I should probably use blanket stitch for stength, but a whipstitch seems to do the job from past projects and is quicker and more fun for me. I did blanket stitch the lettering, as that would be harder to repair in the future if needed.

My absolutely favourite bit was getting out the perle 8 cotton and doing some simple running stitch embroidery. I was deeply inspired by an amazingly creative and lovely girl I met who runs “Avery Homestore” in Edinburgh, and has the most inspiring blog (http://www.mybearpaw.com) who likes to hand quilt with perle 8s, and inspired me to buy some, a long time ago – finally I decided to give them a go, and I’m glad I did! I loved working with them – they give texture and an almost shimmery look to the stocking, which I hadn’t expected, and were surprisingly easy to work with.

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So there you have it, one Christmas stocking for Matthew. I really love it and one day will work out how to make photos look as nice as the real thing – the only thing I don’t like about it is that the name “Matthew” is firmly stitched on there and not the name of my own boy. I think he might notice if I suddenly called him something else too 😉

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Well, more sewing to be done, including more Christmas stockings – expect many more blog posts in the future!

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely bright Autumn, and getting excited about Christmas too! I dread the end of summer every year, and yet the colours of Autumn and magic of Christmas is always so inspiring and exciting every year. Now January may see me turning to drink…!

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

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