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I’ve put together some simple festive projects that cost next to nothing, but look a million dollars.

I’ll be doing some short tutorials over the next few days. All of them are inexpensive, all of them are quick and easy (I can’t sew!), all of them look great, all of them are a shameless plug for my fabric transfers, but I won’t dwell on the latter to the point of making you want to strangle me (much:-))

HESSIAN CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS

So, first up is a very simple little cutie; a Christmas stocking. This project is a quickie… it took me less than half an hour (and I’m useless at sewing). The stockings make pretty Christmas decorations, and of course have a functional use for stuffing with little presents.

I’ve made two, one with hessian, the other with calico. You’ll see how they both look quite different in appearance; it’s the way the transfers behave on different fabrics. The course texture and deep hues of the hessian give a muted, quite dreamy quality to the images, whereas the paler, smoother calico gives the images a crisper, brighter appearance.

You’ll need:

  • Pencil/pen
  • Newspaper/paper
  • Scissors
  • Fabric (pale colour and a type that can be ironed on a hot/very hot setting… calico, linen, cotton etc.)
  • A few pins
  • Needle and cotton (or sewing machine)
  • A lovely Barrister’s Horse fabric transfer:-)
  • An iron (but no steam)
  • An old tea towel/piece of scrap fabric/pillowcase
  • Something flat, firm and heatproof to iron on – such as a wooden chopping board (an ironing board is too squishy)
  • Felt tip pen (optional)
  • Ribbon/trim/tinsel (optional) (I used a piece of old curtain, which I tore to make a shabby ribbon) or drawing pin
  • (optional) (for the antique calico, a used tea bag and some gold craft paint)

STEP ONE

Make a pattern for your stocking. They can be as big and long (for good children), or as small and short (for naughty children) as you like:-) Take a sheet of newspaper and draw a stocking outline. Don’t panic, it’s easy, just take a look at the one I did, which took about 30 seconds:

I drew a margin about half an inch or so around the size I wanted, to allow for stitching.

Cut out the stocking pattern:

STEP TWO

Pin the stocking pattern to your fabric and cut out the fabric. Repeat on a second piece of fabric. (If you’re using a fabric that has a good/bad side, you’ll need to reverse the stocking pattern:

STEP THREE

Place your tea towel/pillow case/scrap fabric on the chopping board/heat proof surface and iron it until smooth, using a dry iron.

STEP FOUR

Cut out your Barrister’s Horse, lovely-jubbly, gorgeous transfer (sorry, I won’t mention them again… much:-))

STEP FIVE

Make sure your iron is on a hot/very hot setting, with NO steam. Place one of your pieces of cut-out stocking fabric onto the chopping board, on top of the tea towel, good side up, and iron it until smooth. Allow fabric to cool.

STEP SIX

Cut out your transfer(s), then place it/them face up on your fabric:

Faff about until you’ve got it into a position you’re happy with, then flip over so that it/they are face down on the fabric:

STEP SEVEN

Place your iron directly onto the transfer and press down firmly for 4 or 5 seconds (but don’t wiggle the iron as this will dislodge the transfer). Lift iron off for 5 seconds and repeat the above two or three more times:

STEP EIGHT

Very slowly, peel a small portion of the transfer edge away from the fabric. The backing paper should come away easily. If the transfer sticks at all, it’s not ready, so carry on pressing for a few more seconds, then try again…

If any little bits of the fabric transfer haven’t taken too well, you can colour any gaps in with a felt tip pen, or just go with the flow for a shabby vintage look.

STEP NINE

(I left a short margin at the top of the stockings so that I could fray the fabric for a shabby style finish, but you could hem the stocking top if you prefer a straight edged finish).

Pin, then sew the two pieces of fabric together, good side to good side…

…leaving a half inch margin, leaving the top un-stiched (unless your children were very naughty indeed:-))

STEP TEN

Turn the stocking inside out (or rather outside in) and then gasp in awe and amazement at the Barrister’s Horse Christmas Transfer stocking.

STEP ELEVEN

(optional) Sew a piece of ribbon/trim/tinsel to the top to make a loop to hang the stocking (or you could just use a drawing pin to make life easy). I couldn’t find any red ribbon, so tore a piece of old red curtain fabric… yup, it’s all about working on a shoestring:-)

And there we have it, a shabby hessian handmade Christmas stocking!

ANTIQUE CALICO STOCKING

This stocking gives a brighter, crisper finish. The one I made is a touch larger than the hessian stocking.

Follow the same steps above for the hessian stocking. You’ll end up with one of these:

You can leave it right there if you want, or go a little further for an antique stocking:

Smudge a gold band onto the top edge of the stocking:

Then take a used tea bag and dab the fabric, paying particular attention to the areas around the images:

Stand back and admire your work, then hang stocking on your beloved’s stable door, and hope for an early visit from Santa:

Depending on the type of fabric you use and the size of the stocking, these cute little stockings can be made for far less than £1. They look classy, are quick and easy to make and add a personal touch to your Christmas decorations.

More Christmas projects to follow…

p.s. I’ve just listed the first of the transfers. There are more designs to follow in various sizes and designs. They will be on sale over the coming days and I’ll post links to them at the bottom of the tutorial posts. Here’s the first one, which is a set of 21 mini fabric transfers, in the same designs that I used for the stockings: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/21-CHRISTMAS-VINTAGE-STYLE-TAGS-POSTCARDS-MINI-IRON-ON-FABRIC-TRANSFERS-/221147505324?pt=UK_Crafts_Sewing_Supplies_MJ&hash=item337d6b22ac

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