Why is it perfect for you, my fellow procrastinators? Because it doesn’t have to be done until Christmas! You have like 300 days to stew, mull, marinate, and ponder this project before ever picking up a single tool. You’re welcome. 🙂
My fella and I are veterans, so we went through something like a series of three uniforms before we hung up our berets and started living life as civilians once again. But being the closet sentimentalist that I am, I couldn’t just toss the uniforms out like old trash or donate them to the surplus store without so much as a single reminder that I once did something that kind of mattered.
And thus, the Veteran Christmas Stocking project was born.
If you’re not the type that can reconcile yourself with spending a crap ton of money to go out and buy a bunch of supplies you might never use again (like me!), then make due with what you have. Adapt and overcome, as we say in the Army. 😉
Here’s what you’ll need (or some version thereof):
Your old military uniform(s) – or something similar like sports uniforms, nursing/medical wear, concert tees, whatever!
An old Christmas stocking to trace for a stencil
Cardboard or other large, stiff material to use as the stencil
Sharpie Marker for tracing stencil
Scissors (sharp ones if you have them – makes life much easier!)
Whatever random thread you have that won’t clash too terribly
Stitch Witch iron-on fabric “glue” IF you plan to put trim on your stocking (it comes in a roll and is this funky material that glues fabric together nicely)
Iron and ironing board (or something that can be used as an ironing board)
A small towel (moistened and used with the Stitch Witch)
Trim (if desired, or you can just stitch the edges to a nicer finish)
Pins of some kind – sewing pins, safety pins, whatever will hold fabric pieces together
First you want to make yourself a stencil using your old Christmas stocking – of course I failed to take pictures of this part of the process, but you get it. Take stocking, place firmly on stencil material (I highly suggest using pins or staples or something to hold it in place, so you don’t end up with a wonky stencil), and use those mad second grade tracing skills to draw out your stencil. Be sure you trace it out about a quarter inch larger than your old stocking (or a quarter inch bigger than however big you want your stocking to end up). This way you have a little extra room for sewing without losing any size – gotta keep those things roomy for all the stocking stuffers!
Next, lay your chosen fabric out and repeat the process with your stencil – lay it out, and trace it on to the BACK SIDE of the material. Don’t be like me – make sure it’s the back side. This ensures you can hide any ‘oopses’ in your tracing on the inside of the stocking. I also ended up making a stencil to cut out a straight top edge for the stocking. Once the tracing is all done, cut out your pieces. You don’t have to do this, but I had three uniforms to represent, so here’s what my finished cut outs looked like:
The third step is going to seem a little nit-picky, but I promise you – I. PROMISE. YOU. – this is going to make things smoother for you in the long run. Trust me! And it’s easy, too. All you have to do is bust out that iron and ironing board and – you guessed it! – start ironing.
Now comes something a little harder – time to bust out your Stitch Witch tape, your small towel, and keep that iron going. Take your fabric cut outs and match them up as best you can. By that I mean put the pieces that are of the most similar size and shape together, because pretty soon you’re going to be fusing them together permanently with your Stitch Witch tape. I ONLY DID THIS TO GLUE ON MY TRIM, so you can skip this step if you opt to NOT add trim as I have.
There are directions on the Stitch Witch package has directions on it, but in short you cut out the right sized piece, put it between whatever you want to stick, moisten your small cloth/towel and lay it over your fabric, then get to ironing. Ideally, the result will look something like this as you go:
Pay attention if you decide to make a strip around the edge for trim as I did – you’ll want to iron the edges of the strip under so you have a clean look when you’re finished.
Finally, it’s time to start sewing!
I started by pinning my stocking pieces together. Since I didn’t have any pins, I used safety pins. I just happened to have a boat load of them from a baby shower I was forced to attend like five or six years ago. 😉 This will make sewing easier and ensure you don’t end up with a goofy-looking stocking – keeps things matched up and forces you to go in a straight line as you sew.
When pinning your fabric, make sure you pin in with the inside of the stocking on the outside! You don’t want ugly stitches and rough edges all over the outside of your awesome new creation.
I also took my Sharpie and made a thick dotted line just to the outside of my pins to keep me sewing in an extra straight line all the way around. Check it out:
Now get your needle and thread, turn on some Netflix and start sewing. And sewing, and sewing… Obviously this is much faster if you have a machine. I neither have one nor should I be trusted with on, so my stockings have the added benefit of being fully hand made.
The near-final results was this pair of awesomeness:
I am now adding a bit of fake fur to the top of mine, and my guy chose a sort of brown braided trim. I got half of it on each stocking and have been hanging out waiting for me to finish. TOTALLY going to happen before Christmas. Probably like RIGHT before, but it’ll happen.
So thanks for your patience while I got this blog posted, and if you have any questions, comments, improvements, or other awesome ideas to share, hit me up in the comments section.