12 Handmade Stockings to Personalize for Everyone in the Family
Brimming with gifts on Christmas morning, a handmade stocking is a delight to wake up to—especially one that's made from cozy wool, embellished, or monogrammed in your name.
Nothing expresses the innocent hope and instinctive generosity of the holidays more than a Christmas stocking. And there is no more fitting gift for anyone you truly care about than a stocking you have made yourself.
It's not only a charming decoration from your own hands, but an invitation to participate joyfully in the great tradition of giving. For the Christmas household, stockings like the ones in this collection will be the pride of the season, happily displayed for all to see. But the beauty of handmade stockings isn't just for Christmas Eve enjoyment. Make a gift of elegant cashmere stockings, with hand-sewn silver-lined beads in holiday motifs, or crisp handkerchief-linen stockings, to serve as a decorative display throughout the season. And stockings needn't be confined to just mantelpieces: Strung along a footboard or a stair landing, they can fill the house with anticipation. Stockings stuffed with presents make charming personalized gifts for friends with special interests. For almost any hobbyist—cook, bird-watcher, crafter, or painter—you can find the appropriate stocking fabric and small trinkets to nestle inside. Old sweaters are perhaps the loveliest and easiest of foundations for gift stockings. Simply cut from a template, each sweater’s distinctive embellishments, such as the placket, buttons, collars, and neck trims, provide all the adornments a stocking needs.
Try one of our projects for a Christmas stocking: With a few simple stitches, they will be ready to present and to hang on Christmas Eve, the perfect catchall for any overloaded Santa.
The crisp pattern of these stockings are an homage to traditional American Amish and Shaker style, but there's no weaving involved in their assembly. They sew up quickly from inexpensive kitchen towels, and the borders create the faux-cuff detail—which means you won't do a stitch of extra work.
Embroidered Name Stocking
Spell it out for Santa: Turn handwriting (yours or someone else's) into a keepsake they'll cherish for years to come. One can be made for every member of the family, and displayed on the mantel. (And no matter how complicated looking the result of your penmanship, this single-stitch technique is remarkably easy.)
The secret to dashing off this pretty basket-weave motif is the tool: Just dip the end of a one-inch foam brush in fabric paint, then tap, tap, tap it in three parallel lines. Change directions and repeat till you have a band across the top, or go with the flow down to the tippy-toes. (Tip: For straight, even rows, keep the felt brush parallel to the top or side of the stocking as you work.)
Shop Now: Celina Mancurti Linen Stockings, in Ivory, $42 each, celinamancurti.com; Blick Essentials Foam Brush, 1", $4.99, michaels.com; Jacquard Lumiere Acrylics Fabric Paint, in Bright Gold, $4.39 for 67 ml, dickblick.com.
Cross-Stitch Burlap Stocking
Martha's donkeys—named Rufus, Clive and Billie, respectively—once received these embroidered jute bags filled with apples, carrots, hay, and sugar cubes. Even still, they make a fun inclusion for in any home of farmhouse style.
Plaid Stocking with Shearling Cuff
For a harmonious look, two different cotton plaids in the same color scheme make a perfect pair of stockings. Sew medium-weight fabric into generously sized stockings using our template, add a cuff of soft, cozy shearling, then a loop out of twill-tape ribbon for hanging.
Monogrammed Leather Stocking
Using a little elbow grease and a leather punch, you can hammer out any initial. Then back them with extra leather so the monograms really pop. Rust-ribbon trim adds a whimsical finishing touch.
Wool Woodland Stockings
Print the stocking and cuff templates, and cut out. Using tailor's chalk, trace smaller stocking template onto 2 pieces of wool; trace larger template onto felt. Use scissors to cut wool and pinking shears to cut felt. Trace cuff template onto 2 pieces of wool. Cut out, using pinking shears for bottom edge. Create an eyelet pattern on bottom edge of cuffs: Starting at the bottom, punch 3 rows of holes, using the screw punch's 3 settings (smallest to largest). Assemble stocking layers with felt in the middle and cuffs on each end. Align cuff and 1 layer of wool at top, and stitch 1/4 inch from top edge. Stitch remaining 3 layers in same manner. Pin stocking together. Sew around stocking, 1/4 inch in from edge of wool piece, leaving top open. Cut a 1-by-8-inch strip of felt. Gather ends together to form a loop for hanging, and sew inside the stocking, at the back, toward the top. Glue felt animal ornament to stocking.
Knitting a pair of socks for a friend, a new baby, or Santa is quite simple. If you can knit in the round, you already know everything you need to know to get started. Embellish hand-knit stockings with snowflakes, a tree, or a reindeer motif.
A shrunken sweater feels like felted wool—thick and dense. This is a family-heirloom-worthy use for an outgrown Irish knit sweater (or one that accidentally found its way into the washer and dryer). To make it, start by printing our template. Arrange it on the sweater so the waistband will serve as the top of the stocking. Cut out pieces. With right sides facing and leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew the perimeter of the stocking. Turn right side out. Braid yard for a hanging loop, if desired. Stitch loop inside stocking at side seam.
Shop Now: L.L.Bean Women's Fisherman Sweater, $79.99, llbean.com.
Sequined Mohair Stocking
Soft, shimmering yarns make the most of this basic pattern. We used two yarns—one ivory mohair and one sequined novelty yarn. A simple technique called grafting is used to close the toe and heel, or you can hand-sew them closed using mohair yarn.
Shop Now: Artyarns Kid Mohair Yarn, in Snow (No. 250), and Beaded Silk and Sequin Yarn, in Snow, $22.40, fabulousyarn.com; A Child's Dream Come True Wool Felt (WF23), 18 by 24 inches, in White, achildsdream.com; Takumi Bamboo Double-Pointed Knitting Needles, starting from $9.49, michaels.com.
These stockings are just large enough to hold a small gift or sweet for each of the 24 days of Advent. If your tree is too small to hold 24 stockings, hang the rest from a ribbon swag.
Sweaters with unusual pockets, collars, or buttons make excellent stockings, and making a stocking from a patterned sweater creates the illusion that you knit it yourself. For the pocket stocking pictured here, a contrasting toe and cuff were made from wool felt. For the cardigan stockings, no cuff is needed. Simply adjust the stocking template to accommodate sweater's neck plus a 1/4-inch seam allowance on each side.