Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tutorial - Christmas stocking from recycled jumper

This tutorial is part of a blogging christmas craft link-up organised by the lovely Laura over at Bugs and Fishes.  I'll be posting links to all the other crafty tutorials later this week - if last year's link up is anything to go by there'll be a whole lot of christmas crafty goodness getting blogged about in the next few days!

You may remember that amongst my christmas stitchery last year, I ran up a stocking out of one of PLH's old jumpers.  I thought I'd share a tutorial for how to make one, this time with a festive robin design appliqued with a little free-motion embroidery.   It's a great way to upcycle an old woolen jumper "accidentally" shrunken and felted in the wash - maybe a good use for any unwanted (whoops) christmas jumpers!  And if you don't have a jumper you're ready to part with, the charity shops are a great source of no-longer-loved wooly pulleys. 

Gather your materials
  • Felted woolen jumper - needs to be high wool content.  Felt it by popping it in the washing machine on a hot wash
  • Printed stocking template 1 
  • Printed stocking template 2
  • Printed stocking template 3 (stick the three together to create the whole template)
  • Printed robin template
  • Fabric for lining (approx 1/2m)
  • Fabric for stocking top (20" x 3.5" strip)
  • Bondaweb
  • Fabric scraps for robin and branch in red, brown, white and green
  • Ribbon for the tag
  • Black machine embroidery thread (normal thread will do)
  • Co-ordinating thread for jumper and lining

Gather your equipment

  • Iron
  • Sewing Machine
  • Darning foot
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Needle
  • Rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • Ruler

Step 1
Iron your felted jumper to flatten it out, then pin on the stocking template, going through both the front and the back of the jumper.  Cut around the pattern to give you the front (A) and the back (B) outer pieces for the stocking. 

My jumper was not large enough to yield the front and back pieces, so I incorporated the V-neck of the jumper and filled the gap with fabric from the sleeve.  I actually rather like the effect!

Step 2
Iron the lining fabric then fold in half and pin on the stocking template.  Cut out to give you the front (C) and back (D) pieces for the lining.

Step 3
Using the robin template, trace the outlines for each of the robin pieces, branch and leaves with gaps between each section.  Roughly cut each tracing out.

Step 4
Iron the bondaweb tracings on to the wrong side of the fabric scraps.  Use brown for the robin back/wing/tail section, red for the face/breast section and white for the belly.  Cut carefully around the tracings - you now have all the sections for your applique.

Step 5
Peel the back off the bondaweb then carefully arrange the tracings on to the right side of piece A (front outer) of the stocking.  Once you are happy with the position iron into place.

Depending upon the rigidity of your felted jumper, you may wish to use bondaweb to attach a square of fabric to the wrong side of the stocking front where you will be appliqueing.  This will stabilise the fabric and make the free-motion embroidery much easier.

Step 6
Change the foot on your sewing machine to a darning foot, then lower the feed dog and thread with black machine embroidery thread (or just black thread).  You are now ready to carefully free-motion embroider twice around the edge of each applique piece.  If you are new to this technique then try it out first on some scraps before committing to your stocking, and take it slow!

Step 7
Stitch the robin’s beak, eye, wing and legs, then admire your work!

Step 8
Press the fabric you have selected for the stocking top (trim), then (using a rotary cutter and mat if you have one) cut two strips of 10” by 3.5”.

Step 9
Press a seam of 1/4” towards the wrong sides.  Pin the strips right side up, onto the right sides of pieces A and B, with the raw edge lined up with the top of the stocking pieces.  Then topstitch into place just inside of the pressed seam.  There is no need to secure the top at this point as it will be secured in the next stages.  Trim the excess in line with the stocking edges.

Step 10
Take stocking pieces A and C (front outer and front inner), place right side together and stitch along the top (seam allowance 1cm).  Press open, seams towards the jumper section.
Step 10
Take stocking pieces B and D (back outer and back inner), place right side together and stitch along the top (seam allowance 1cm).  Press open, seams towards the jumper section.

Step 11
Take pieces AC and DE and place right sides together, placing the ribbon for the tag in the seam at the top right-hand side.  Pin around the edges, leaving a gap big enough to get your hand through at the bottom of the stocking lining.  I mark this with double pins so I don’t accidentally stitch it closed!
Step 12
Starting at the base of the lining (by one of the double pins), stitch all the way around the edges until you reach the other double pins, with a seam allowance of 1cm.  Backstitch a couple of times either side of the gap.

Step 13
Cut notches into the seams around the curved sections.
Step 14
Turn the stocking all the way through using the hand-sized gap and push out towards the seams.
Step 15
Using a whip stitch sew up the gap at the base of the lining.

Step 16
Finally, turn the lining inside the stocking and straighten it all out.  Then hang it up and wait for father Christmas!

I hope that you enjoy making your own recycled jumper stocking; if you have any questions please do get in touch using the comments below!

Please note - this tutorial is intended for personal use only and is not to be used to create items for sale.

Click here for all the other tutorials in the link-up.

Kate x


  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely Robin stocking. I love it. Marion x

    1. Thank-you Sussexmouse! One of the best things about this link-up is discovering other blogs - I've just been salivating over your apple pudding! x

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Ale - I really love all your crochet work - I'm new to the world of crochet and your blog looks like an amazing place for me to find out some more and follow a few of your tutorials! x

  3. It's beautiful! Robins are so cute and yours is no exception. Lovely :-)

    1. Thanks Manu - it's been such fun seeing everyone else's projects too - your snowman is so sweet! x

  4. I can't seem to get the download of the pattern for the Robin and stocking
    it is a wonderful Idea and love the pattern.

    1. Hello - I'm so sorry about the delay in uploading the patterns and templates - I've been having a couple of technical issues. The templates should all be linked now and I hope you can see them - do let me know if you can't. I'm so glad you like the pattern - if you do make one I'd love to see the results! x