Dare to Make It: Holiday

Dare to Make It:  Holiday

How to Embroider a Festive Polarfleece Stocking

comments (9) November 15th, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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My Boyds Bear has found a very cozy home in this fleece stocking!
The chenille cuff is a nice contrast to the plain white fleece.
Use the pattern that you can download to cut out the fleece stocking.
My Boyds Bear has found a very cozy home in this fleece stocking!

My Boyds Bear has found a very cozy home in this fleece stocking!

Photo: Jen Stern
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Stockings can add so much more to your holiday decorating than just hanging them off the mantel. This fleece and chenille stocking has already become a cozy home for one of my Boyds Bears, and it will hang on the inside of my front door from now until the end of January...sort of a kickoff to my holiday doo-daa! I made pastel stockings to hang from my daughters' bed posts all year long...a home for a surprise or treat to celebrate all kinds of stuff!

Embroidering on fleece is easy if you know how. The challenge with working with fleece is the nap of the fabric. Stitches tend to sink in and disappear. To prevent that, all you need to do is put a piece of wash-away stabilizer over the top of the area you are going to embroider. This allows the stitches to settle nicely next to each other and not get distorted. If you are going to embroider a design that has a lot of filled-in areas, you can use a piece of tulle instead of wash-away stabilizer. The tulle can be trimmed away from the outside edge after the embroidery is complete, but it will stay permanently behind the stitches, offering long-term protection.

To make my stocking, I chose a swirly design that does not have a filled area. These kinds of designs are perfect for fleece because you don't have to worry about the nap poking through! I got my design from Embroidery Online...I love the convenience of shopping for embroidery designs online—five minutes after I pick one out, I've already paid, downloaded, and imported it to my machine. If you want to use my stocking pattern, click here.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Stocking pattern
  • 1/2 yard fleece
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric
  • One 4 x 19-inch piece of contrasting fabric for cuff (I used chenille)
  • Embroidery design of your choice
  • Soft n' Sheer cuta-way stabilizer (such as OESD's Polymesh)
  • Clear wash-away stabilizer (such as Sulky's Solvy)
  • Embroidery threads of your choice
  • All-purpose sewing thread

Start by cutting out the stocking using the pattern that you downloaded (or you can use any stocking pattern you already have). Lay the pattern piece on a double layer of fleece and cut out two at once. Cut out the lining fabric the same way.

Cut out pattern
Notice that the pattern has a 1/2-inch seam allowance. This makes it easier to sew without missing one layer if they slip a little—we'll trim it to 1/4 inch after we sew the stocking together.

Import the design you are going to use into your embroidery machine. I hooped a layer of mesh cut-away and used temporary adhesive spray to adhere the stocking into the hoop. Then I positioned a single design on the screen and copy/pasted three more to get an overall design I was happy with. Depending on the size of your largest hoop, you might have to rehoop to embroider all the way up the stocking. Layer a piece of clear wash-away stabilizer over the fleece before you start to embroider.

Embroider design with wash away stabilzier on top
If you have a baste-in-the-hoop feature, it's really helpful to hold the wash-away stabilizer into the top of the fabric.

Here is a close-up of the embroidery. You can see how the wash-away stabilizer helps the stitching to form nicely on the surface of the fleece.

close up of embroidery

Gently pull the wash-away stabilizer away from the edges of the embroidery.

Gently tear away the stabilizer
Use tweezers to get the small pieces in between the stitching.

 

Take the embroidery out of the hoop and lay it face down on a cutting board. Trim the mesh stabilizer so that it's even with the outside edge of the stocking.

Cut soft n sheer stabilizer away from the edge of the stocking
Sewing the stabilizer into the seams when you put the stocking together will help keep the embroidery design from stretching out of shape when you fill the stocking with goodies!

Place the embroidered front of the stocking right sides together with the back and pin them together. Do the same for the lining.

pin stocking and linings together
Use a 1/2-inch seam allowance to sew the stocking and lining together.

Clip notches along the outside curves. This will give the toe and heel a nice shape when you turn it to the right side.

clip corners
Along the outside curves, clip notches.

Clip the inside curves to get a nice smooth shape.

clip inside curves
Be careful not to clip through the stitching.

Trim the entire seam allowance to 1/4 inch to reduce bulk.

trim seam allowances to 1/4
I used a rotary cutter and just zipped along the edge, being careful not to get too close to the stitching.

Cut a rectangle measuring 4 x 19 inches out of the contrasting fabric to make the cuff. Turn one long edge under 1/2 inch.

Turn lower edge of cuff under 1/2
To make the cuff, cut out a 4 x 19-inch rectangle from a contrasting color.

Topstitch the hem in place to finish the lower edge of the cuff. Fold the cuff in half, right sides together, and sew the short ends together, completing the cuff. (Now it's ready to attach to the top of the stocking.)

Hem lower edge
Because my fabric had a chenille grid, I fussy cut along the grid to get the chenille pattern to be even across the cuff. I used the grid as a guide to hem the lower edge, too.

To make the loop for the stocking, cut a 2 x 9-inch strip of fleece. Fold in half lenghtwise and stitch using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4 inch. Turn the tube to the right side. If you have a Fasturn Set, check out Shannon's post for details on how to use that wonderful tool! If not, here's an easy way to use a screwdriver to turn a short tube.

Turn the ends into the opening and use a small screwdriver to push the ends in farther.

Use a screw driver to turn loop
The metal tip of the screwdriver will catch on the fabric and pull the end in with it as you push the screwdriver farther into the tube.

When you can't push the screwdriver in any farther, start to smooth the outer portion of the tube toward the handle of the screwdriver. It just takes a few seconds to push the outer portion of the tube out of the way so you can see the end at the tip of the screwdriver that's turned to the right side.

use screw driver to turn loop
Remove the screwdriver. Hold the left end of the tube that's turned to the right side firmly, and smooth the rest of the tube to the right side. (It takes longer to type the directions than it does to turn the tube!)

Matching the raw edges, position the cuff at the top of the stocking, wrong side of cuff facing right side of the stocking. Position the loop so that the ends are centered to the left and right of the seam that's over the heal of the stocking. Baste the loop in place.

baste loop in place
Baste the loop in place.

Turn the stocking lining inside out. Matching the raw edges, place the lining over the right side of the stocking and cuff. Pin in place along the top edge.

Pin lining, cuff and stocking together along top edge
The cuff and loop are sandwiched between the stocking and lining.

Stitch all the way around the top edge, leaving a 4-inch opening. Start and stop in the back of the stocking so the opening will be in the back. Pull the stocking through the opening.

Pull stocking though open
Use a point turner to smooth the curved shape of the stocking before you stuff the lining back into the inside of the stocking.

Pin the opening closed. Press the cuff into position, making a crease. Topstitch along the edge of the stocking, closing the opening as you stitch along.

Use free-arm to sew top of cuff down
The topstitching will keep the lining and cuff in place and secure the ends of the loop.

 

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Comments (9)

JenniferStern writes: Wow, thank for all the comments...I appreciate all the feed back, and thank you Arvid10 for trouble shooting the printing issue! As far as finding the design on embroideryonline.com, the design is swirl dot FB117. If you put that info in the search it will come up! Happy Sewing and Happy Holidays to all!
Posted: 10:15 pm on December 8th
redandredder writes: On clipping inside or outside curves, I use a craft knife and start at the seam and cut toward the ouside. The seam never gets cut and this goes much faster than using scissors to clip. My tip was published in Threads a few months ago. Pam
Posted: 12:39 pm on December 7th
arvid10 writes: Strongimpression: Here's how I do it. Block out what you want, with your cursor over the blocked text right click. In the dropdown menu that appears left click copy. Then open write mail and right click in the message area. Left click and select paste. Print as you would print any email. I find this works for the most stubborn files.
Posted: 12:41 am on December 1st
strongimpression writes: I love this stocking but I am having trouble printing the directions. I can print page one without problem, but the last 4 pages will not print. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you, Lorraine
Posted: 1:50 pm on November 30th
lizashcryscas writes: Hi,
Please tell me where top find the embroidery designs you used. I love your stocking.
lizashcryscas
Posted: 9:16 pm on November 29th
llhanner writes: I really like the stocking and you instructions are great! I have been trying to find the designs that you used with no success. Can you tell me what to look for on Embroidery Online?
Posted: 5:01 pm on November 29th
granitatogo writes: This is a lovely design, like snowflakes swirling. the stocking is more suitable for my grown up daughters! I've been looking for such a pattern! I'm going to make three or four of these so I can tuck our favorite little bears into them. It does look cozy!
Posted: 3:21 am on November 29th
JenniferStern writes: Thank you so much, happy holidays to you as well!
Posted: 7:19 pm on November 21st
susanar writes: I really love this. The one you have made is beautiful. I can picture a lot of options with this pattern. Your instructions were excellent. Good luck with all your projects and have a Wonderful Holiday.
Posted: 12:19 am on November 20th
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