Did you ever wonder where "Christmas In July" came from? It turns out this summer celebration of Yuletide has been around for years. In the early 1940s, relief groups planning to send presents to soldiers or missionaries overseas, would gather everything together in July in order to have it ready to ship it off in time to arrive before Christmas. Then, in 1942, director Preston Sturges released a comedy titled "Christmas In July” and the popular film did much to make the term fashionable. In the 1950s, retailers started having Christmas In July sales as a way to lure in shoppers during the long stretch between Father's Day and Back-To-School. Although not as common any longer for general retail, in the sewing world, Christmas In July promotions continue to be successful because they actually make sense. If you're sewing Christmas gifts, you really should be getting your patterns and fabric ready in the summer. Otherwise, at the big family gift-opening, you face the humbling experience of giving half finished projects and then quickly taking them back with promises to return them by Valentine's Day... or thereabouts. In honor of Christmas in July 2017, we have the quintessential holiday project: stockings to hang by the chimney with care.
In conjunction with this early project push by dedicated sewers and quilters, fabric companies traditionally release their new holiday collections in time for July shopping. Yes, it seems odd to be choosing sleigh ride prints while the kids next door are running through the sprinkler, but it's always best to get an early start. Even if you’re planning gifts that won't take months to finish, you should at least be shopping for your fabric in July. Many of the most popular choices are often sold out by September! We originally used Blitzen by BasicGrey for Moda, an older collection that is no longer readily available. Take a look at the newest and cutest holiday choices from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop, Fabric Depot, and Fabric.com, and don’t forget the festive ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons.
Our English Cottage design features a pretty stand-up ruffle around the top of each stocking. A clever reverse seam on the ruffle is hidden by the accent ribbon, keeping the lined inside smooth and clean. Santa will be impressed!
We provide a free pattern download for the body of the stocking, and it's sized so you can cut both the front and back from a single Fat Quarter!
In our samples, we mixed together nine different fabrics from within one holiday collection, but the velvet ribbon and a rustic handmade bow are the same on all three stockings. By making the embellishments match, our very different fabrics became a coordinated family group.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as many of the seam allowances are ¼"
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Yardages shown below are PER STOCKING, multiply to make sure your have one for everyone on Santa's "Good" list.
- Pattern; download using the link in the Getting Started Section below
- We used Fat Quarters for our stockings, which makes things quick and easy. Each stocking requires THREE coordinating Fat Quarters. If you choose not to use pre-cuts, you'll need to cut three pieces that each measure 18" x 22", from which everything will be cut.
NOTE: There is very little waste if using a fat quarter or similar. If you wish to do precise fussy cutting, you may want to consider getting a full ½ yard or ¾ yard piece to best position the fabric. The exact size will, of course, depend on your fabric's motif and repeat.
- ½ yard of low loft batting or craft fleece
- ½ yard of ⅝" ribbon for the cuff band; we used grey velvet
- ½ yard of ¼" ribbon for the hanging loop; we used olive velvet
- Optional bow: ½ yard of three different wide (1"-2") ribbon trims, one two-hole button, ½ yard of jute or twine; we used white organza, olive organza, and blue-grey burlap plus natural jute and a red wooden star button.
NOTE: The "rustic-ness" of the bow is up to you, as is its finished design. We don't provide step-by-step instructions for our bow, but you can use the photos for inspiration. It is made from simple loops cinched with jute and secured with the accent button.
- All purpose thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen, pencil or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Download and print the TWO 8½" x 11"pattern sheets: Stocking Top and Stocking Foot, which have been bundled together into one PDF to make the download easier.
NOTE: You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a handy rule on each page so you can check to make sure your print out is the correct size.
- Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid line.
- Following the arrows on the printouts, butt together the pieces to form one stocking body pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place.
- From the batting, cut ONE 18" x 22" rectangle.
NOTE: You can cut both the front and back pieces from the ONE fat quarter, but you'll have very little waste. Be careful to position the pattern pieces as close to the edge as possible. There is not a lot of room for fussy cutting, but you can at least do a little positioning to make sure you center your design nicely on the body of the stocking, as we did with the position of the reindeer on the Mint Holiday Collage sample.
- Collect the exterior fabric fat quarter and the lining fabric fat quarter.
- Place the batting flat on your work surface. Layer the lining fabric on top, right side up. Layer the exterior fabric on top of the lining fabric, also right side up. all three layers should be flush on all four sides.
- Pin the stocking pattern in place through all the layers.
- Cut one set of pieces, through all three layers, with the pattern piece right side up. Then, cut a second set, through all three layers, with the pattern piece flipped over to the wrong side.
- From the fat quarter for the ruffle, cut TWO 8" x 22" rectangles.
- Cut a 16" length from the ¼" ribbon.
- Cut a 16" length from the ⅝" ribbon.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Set aside the two lining pieces.
- Place an exterior piece, right side up, on top of each batting piece, aligning all the edges.
- Insert a few pins down the center to hold the layers together.
- Place the two exterior/batting pieces right sides together. Pin around the perimeter, leaving the top open.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter, leaving the top open.
- Press the seam open. Clip the corners and curves as needed.
- Slide your hand inside the stocking and remove the pins you inserted down the middle.
- Turn the stocking right side out and press flat.
- Find the two lining pieces. Place the pieces right sides together and pin around the perimeter, leaving the top open.
- Using a ⅜" seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter, leaving the top open.
- Trim the seam allowance to ¼".
- Press the seam open. Clip the corners and curves as needed.
- With the lining still wrong side out, slip it inside the exterior so the two pieces are wrong sides together. Match up the side seams and pin the lining to the exterior around the top raw edges.
- Find the 16" length of ¼" ribbon. Fold it in half.
- Place the stocking body on your work surface with the toe pointing to the left.
- Pin the ribbon loop to the inside of the stocking along the right side seam. Align the raw ends of the ribbon with the top raw edges of the fabric. We found that pinning the loop in place worked well. However, to be extra secure, you could machine or hand baste it in place.
NOTE: Our stockings are designed to hang with the toes pointing to the left. If you'd like your stockings to point to the right, simply reverse the directions above.
- Find the two 8" x 22" ruffle rectangles.
- Place the two pieces right sides together. Pin along both 8" sides.
- Stitch together along both sides, using a ½" seam allowance, to form a loop.
- Press the seam allowance flat.
- Fold the sewn loop in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. It should now be a 4" loop. Press.
- Run a gathering stitch around the bottom of the ruffle band approximately ⅜" from the raw edges. This is simply a straight stitch set at its longest length. Do not back tack or lock your stitch at the beginning or end.
NOTE: If you have a free arm on your machine, now is a good time to use it.
- Gently pull the stitch to gather the ruffle band to equal the top opening of the stocking.
NOTE: If you are new to ruffling, take a look at our tutorial: How to Make Gathers by Machine.
- Insert the gathered ruffle band inside the stocking, aligning the raw edges of the ruffle with the raw edges of the top of the stocking. Match the side seams of the ruffle band with the side seams of the stocking.
- Pin in place all around the top.
- Still using your free arm if possible, stitch the ruffle to the stocking. Go completely around the top of the stocking with a ½" seam allowance.
NOTE: Yes... your seam is going to show on the outside... bear with us.
- Trim back the exterior/batting/lining layers to ¼" behind the ruffle.
- Pull the ruffle band up and out from the inside of the stocking.
- Pull the hanging loop up and out at this time as well. You may want to pin the top of the loop to the top of the ruffle to keep it out of the way of the final ribbon finishing stitches.
- As I mentioned above, the seam will be visible to the exterior. Don't panic, we meant to do that. By doing it this way, the inside of the stocking is smooth and clean. We will cover the exterior seam allowance with our pretty accent ribbon band.
- Find the 16" length of ⅝" ribbon.
- Starting at one side seam, place the ribbon over the visible seam allowance. The ⅝" ribbon should easily cover it. The top edge of the ribbon should be placed just above the existing seam of the ruffle band.
- Edgestitch along the top of the ribbon all the way around. As above, if your have a free arm on your machine, this will make sewing in a circle much easier.
- Your stitch line should be as close to the edge of the ribbon as you can possible make it.
- See how nicely the ribbon is covering that nasty seam allowance? We prefer not to pin our ribbon, but simply hold it in position as we sew. If that's not your comfort level, you could certainly place a few pins to help hold the ribbon or you could even use a fabric glue or other temporary adhesive.
- When you are almost back to your starting point, stop with your needle in the down position. Fold back the end of the ribbon to create a finished edge. Overlap the raw end of the starting point with the folded ednd, and continue your seam to finish. Go slowly and be very careful to precisely match your overlapping seam with your original seam.
- Repeat to stitch down the bottom of the ribbon.
- Make and attach the optional bow. We attached ours with a safety pin so the stocking could more easily be cleaned if need be. You could also hand stitch the bow in place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild