Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas "Sock" Tutorial

Finally - the tutorial!

This pattern is something near and dear to my heart - my husband's family's Christmas stocking, or "sock," as they call it. I am not sure if the tradition of making these started with BT's grandparents or even further back than that, but every new member of the family has had a sock made for them (even prospective members - mine was made the first Christmas BT and I were dating. Good thing I stuck around or the sock made for me would have been wasted!), first by BT's grandma, then his aunt, and now by me.

(three generations' worth of socks)

I love the socks so much because of their vintage look, and that there are so many ways to customize them. Additionally, I like that they have a gusset. I saw some beautiful "2-D" felt stockings at a craft fair recently, but wondered what they could hold and if they would lose their shape once they were stuffed. These socks do not hold a lot, mind you, but they have withstood the test of time -some have been around for four generations.


  • 1/2 yard red wool felt (37.5" wide) You can make 2 socks with this amount of felt
  • red thread
  • white cotton fingering weight yarn or embroidery yarn
  • felt scraps to add embellishment of your choice
  • sequins (I bought a good sized bag of random sequins and have been using them for several years now to design socks for new family members. The sequins sometimes help me in determining a design.)
  • seed beads (I prefer clear so they disappear on the design, but you could use beads to match your design)
  • miscellaneous materials (rick rack, fabric, glitter glue, etc.) to complete your design
  • 3/4" gold jingle bell


  • sewing machine
  • dressmaker's chalk or air erase pen
  • fabric glue
  • scissors
  • pinking shears
  • sewing needles (one will need to be slender enough to go through seed beads. You will also need a needle beefy enough to accommodate the yarn being used for embroidering the name)
  • thread to match sock embellishments

1) Print .pdf of sock pattern here (will print onto 2 pages). Cut out pattern pieces (you do not have to cut the jagged lines - they are just a guide for lining up the pieces). Carefully line up two printed pages to form sock shape and tape together.

2) Cut a strip 2" wide and 36" long of red felt.

3) Cut two sock shapes from red felt.

4) Place one sock half with toe facing right. Starting at upper right-hand side, carefully pin long strip to sock half, going all the way around sock shape. Your strip will be longer than the sock - just ignore the "tail" for now. You can switch directions and have the sock pointing to the left, but be consistent in making subsequent socks. Some people get particular that their family's socks all point the same direction.

5) Using your sewing machine, sew strip to sock using a straight stitch and 1/2" seam allowance. Stop when you get to the final edge of the sock. Do not stitch onto your tail.

6) Before continuing sewing up your sock, it is good to add your embellishments at this time. Using dressmaker's chalk or an air erase pen, write the name of the stocking's owner using a script font diagonally through the middle of the sock. My names end up cutting diagonally through the sock and are more difficult to connect letters than the original socks made with a slanted font. You will have to use trial and error to come up with a version that suits your fancy.

7) Using a stem stitch, embroider over your markings using thin white yarn or embroidery yarn.

8) Now comes the fun part! Each sock should be unique to the recipient. You can use standard Christmas imagery or something that represents the recipient (a hobby or sport they enjoy, for example). Designs can be made from felt or fabric. Please see my Flick set for samples of designs for socks used in BT's family. Felt or fabric embellishments can be glued to the sock using fabric glue, or sewn on for extra stability.

9) After cutting out and assembling your main design, you can embellish it or the rest of the sock with sequins. To attach a sequin, bring a slender needle and thread up from back of partially assembled sock through center of sequin. Slip seed bead onto needle. Bring thread around seed bead and go back through center of sequin to back of partially assembled sock.

Now the sequin will stay put! I sometimes use a smattering of sequins to represent snow or stars. Some designs are made of sequins, like the candy cane used here

10) After embroidering the name of the intended owner, adding your design, and embellishing the sock with sequins, you are now ready to add the back sock half. Follow steps 4 and 5 for pinning and sewing this half to sock. You will still have that pesky tail at the end!

11) Trim both seams with pinking shears. Continue pinking onto tail.

12) Cut tail's end at an angle with straight scissors. Fold over tail to make loop. Loop should stick about an inch and a half about the rim of the sock. Pin in place.

13) Sew down sides of loop approximately 2 inches onto sock body, overlapping if possible with existing seams. I also like to line up the pinked edges. You will sew both edges of the loop where it overlaps the sock body, but do not sew onto the actual loop. As you get better making the socks, you may be able to make the loop as you are sewing the side seams so you do not need to go back and resew the loop onto the sock.

14) Using needle and thread, attach jingle bell.

Your sock is complete!

Socks are filled with an orange in the toe, chocolate fun-size candy, and a candy cane as well as your gifts for the recipient. Here are some of the stocking stuffers I am giving this year.

Santa brings socks to everybody, kids and adults alike, on Christmas Eve.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and provide a link to your finished socks!


Coleen said...

What a great tradition!

Jenn said...

I am so excited to make these for next year! Thank you so much for the tute!

Anonymous said...

lovely....why doesnt the pdf pattern print?

Jennifer W. said...

I couldn't replicate the printing issue - should just go to a webpage that you can printusing your browser's regular settings. Sorry for any issues!