Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Craft Challenge 2011 - Day 7

This year the budget is tight, but then who's isn't? The recession is hitting everyone hard despite reassurances from government and economic agencies alike that things are on the improve. With this in mind here is one of the cheaper crafts I'm really pleased to share with you this year.
Here in New Zealand, we have a chain of stores called "The Warehouse" also known as the Red Sheds - where everyone gets a bargain. For anyone reading my blog from overseas, I presume (because I've never been to the US though if anyone wants to pay for me to go over I'm ready, willing and able) these are the equivalent of K-Mart or Walmart.
I picked up a felt Christmas Stocking for less than NZ$2.00. I know that if I was to make it myself from scratch, even the material would have cost considerably more than that, let alone my time to make it. The stocking had a printed holly berry & leaf decoration on the fold down top which to be honest just looked a bit "naff" (cheap and tacky).
To give it a hand-made look (and make it look a lot more expensive than it really was) I appliqued on some holly berries and leaves using some felt remnants left over from last year as well as hand stitching the stems and branches to finish it all off.
  1. Photocopy stocking top @ 100%, then cut out the accents to be appliqued. I did the holly berries and leaves. Photocopying at 100% gives you exactly the size template you need for the applique pieces.
  2. Cut out the felt applique pieces. I cut these all about 1mm wider along all sides so that I could be sure the printed berries and leaves would be hidden.
  3. Turn the stocking inside out - this gives easier access for the hand sewing.
  4. Sew the stems and pine branch using a running stitch. For a how-to on how to sew a running stitch be sure to check out my previous blog post here.
  5. Cross stitch on each holly berry. On the two largest berries I used a modified cross stitch rather than "proper" cross stitches. I felt the stitches would have to be too long so instead I joined each stitch like the spokes on a wheel all meeting through a single centre point. For a tutorial on basic cross stitching... follow this link to my earlier post.
  6. Pin on the holly leaf halves. I did them in two colours and hung some off the bottom edge to give some added dimension. Sew these in place using a running stitch like you used for the branch & stem. Throughout the project, try to use coordinated embroidery threads or cottons for a really smart look.
  7. Turn the stocking back in the right way and straighten out the turn over cuff to show off all your hard work. Then hang your completed stocking on the mantle piece, door handle or where-ever you think Santa is most likely to find your Christmas Stocking on Christmas Eve.

The whole process took about 2 1/2 hours but I was multi-tasking (reading and sewing) so you could easily get it all completed in an hour or so with less distractions.

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