"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve for me usually begins with a pile of fabric. It wouldn't be Christmas Eve if I didn't have some unfinished project that had to be done that day :)

This year I was inspired to make all new stockings.

The inspiration came from this one, which was given to us by my husband's employer, stuffed full of cookies and candies. I loved the denim idea with the pocket and western trim. The only difference was that I wanted a wider top and names embroidered on the pockets.

I had a huge stash of old jeans I had picked up at a thrift store that was going out of business 3 years ago. I ended up with a whole huge rubbermaid tub full for $2. I had always intended to make a denim stadium quilt, but as with most of my plans, I had never gotten around to it. So I dug out the jeans, decided which ones to use for the body of the stockings and which ones to use for the pockets, cut them out and took the pockets down to the local embroidery shop to have the names sewn on.

Then the pockets were sewn onto the stockings.

I added a lining with a decorative western fabric for the cuff. The green is just some extra fabric that I pulled out of my give-away pile. It doesn't show, so it was a good option for a cheap lining.

Each person got a different western fabric for their cuff. Here are all the pieces lined up and waiting to be stitched.

It took me a minute to figure out the order to sew these in. I began by sewing on the pockets, then I attached the cuff fabric to the lining fabric. Then I attached the lining and cuff to the outer denim piece - sewing along the top edge (that's what you see in this picture). After that, I unfolded the pieces, stacked them together and sewed all but a small section of the lining, which I left open for turning. I didn't think to take a picture of that, but it basically looks like a double stocking laid out flat - lining right sides together on one side and denim right sides together on the other side. I sewed all around that, then turned them right side out, top-stitched along the section where the cuff meets the denim so it would lay flat, and closed the hole I had left open for turning. I made a long tube out of fabric to match each cuff, and stitched that to the inside of the stocking - through all the layers, which also serves the purpose of holding the cuff in place. I am a bit obsessive about perfect measurements on things like this so I measured each cuff to ensure they were all equal, and made sure that the tabs were all equal as well so that the stockings would hang evenly.

This is what we ended up with. I think if I had to do it over again I would choose all small pockets as the larger ones make the stockings look off kilter. I didn't have that option because I had to work with what I had on hand. I also was not thrilled with the job the embroidery place did. All the names are in the same font, but they are all different sizes and all placed in different places on the pockets. Some of that is because of the design on the pockets, but some of it is because they didn't make an effort to line them up. If I had more time I would have undone the stitching and made them do two of them over. I think I also would have had all the lettering done in the same color - probably black - rather that making everyone different. But overall, I'm really happy with how they turned out. The biggest problem is that they are really big, and it's hard to find enough stuff to fill them. They would hold way more candy than I would want any of my kids to have!

I think the pocket on this one is way too big. I had a hard time finding small enough pockets and wide enough pants to get the stocking sections. I had to work with what I had on hand, and I think it turned out okay for the most part.

This is one of the pockets I would have made them re-stitch if I had had the time. They put the name way too far up - it even goes into the top hem. Compare that to the Mama stocking, which used the same kind of pocket.

This is another I would have made them do over. The name is much smaller than any of the others. It is also the same pocket as the next one you will see but the lettering on this one is much lower than the other one. By the way, these are my favorite size pockets. I wish I would have had enough of these to use for everyone's. But when you get them from a thrift store, you get what you get. Not to mention the fact that I wasn't looking for pockets when I shopped for these jeans. Cute pockets, though.

I used coordinating fabric on the youngest boys' stockings and on Dad and our oldest son's stockings. Brands for the little boys and bandanas for the older ones :)

I guess in the long run it really doesn't matter how they turned out. The kids are happy with the stockings and it is fun to have a western set that matches. We are very into western decor here so these suite us well.

Now, because I neglected to do a post on this earlier, here are some pictures from my daughter's 18th birthday the week before Christmas. Her 2-year-old brother wanted to help her with the presents. She got up that morning and told him he had to be good because it was her birthday, and he said, "Presents!" (He also learned to yell "Presents!" whenever the UPS man came to the door).

He was having a hard time not getting a head start on the little box, so she had him clasp his hands. It nearly killed him to wait :)

There was a lot of excitement with opening the gifts.

She made cupcakes rather than a large cake this time (which I neglected to get a picture of). She enjoys cooking and always wants to decorate her own cakes. This year she made chocolate cupcakes with peppermint fluff frosting. She mixed a can of cream cheese frosting with a tub of cool whip and added red food coloring and peppermint extract. The peppermint fluff was divine.

I had to include this picture too. She made the skirt as one of her homeschool sewing projects. It came out really well. We loved this fabric and ordered it online when it was on a great sale - I think from JoAnn Fabrics if I remember right. We got enough so that both of us could make something out of it. So now I need to get my sewing done. She wants us to have matching skirts, so I guess that's what I'll do with it. I was thinking about a shirt, but there is no stretch to the fabric and I really prefer a stretchy shirt, so I'm good with a skirt. Better get to work on that soon, I guess (along with the eight thousand other projects I've been waiting to get to).

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