Easy Personalized Stockings

by Ramona on December 3, 2013

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I’m getting ready to start a new series for ASG: Machine Embroidery! We’re going to be covering all the topics for successful machine embroidery from choosing a design appropriate for a project and fabric, to stabilizers, threads, needles and more.. These will be small segments and in the archive of the ASG.org website available to members only. If you want to learn machine embroidery, join the American Sewing Guild and you’ll get the class information FREE as part of your membership!  I decided to kick off this series on our blog by doing a simple machine embroidery project.

This time of year it is a lot of fun to create handmade gifts. Gifts which are personalized with a name, applique or other hand stitching are so appreciated and become a treasured keepsake. This time of year, sometimes our intentions are good, but it is time that becomes a commodity we lack. In that case, if you have an embroidery machine, or like to hand embroider, use “blanks”. Blanks are nothing more than pre-sewn items that leave room for personalization.

Blanks may be purchased at a store or online. I have three favorite places online from which I purchase, but all year round I also keep my eyes open for any time I can pick up pieces on sale or something that is so unique that I will pay full retail price. This way I always have blanks on hand which can be personalized for a gift.

Stockings are a favorite for personalization this time of year. Not only do I do Christmas stockings, but I have also created quilted and personalized stockings for birthdays, or as a get well gift. Just choose fabric appropriate for the occasion and stitch away. Then fill the stocking with little items to delight the recipient.

For years I’ve done stockings for others because we had a retail embroidery business, yet neglecting my own home and family. This weekend, I decided to put us at the top of the list, and took the time to personalize stockings for our immediate family members. These stockings have hung in our home for years and years, so they are a bit worn, but I decided they hold too many memories to be replaced.

For those of you new to your embroidery machine, I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for one of the easiest things to personalize this holiday season. Use purchased stockings, create the names either at your machine or in software (be sure to do test stitching!), and in an afternoon you can have several stockings personalized.

I frequently get asked how to hoop them, and how to decide where to place the name. Through the tutorial photos below, you’ll see how very easy it is!

Determine how you want to stocking to hang if you are only embroidering on one side of the stocking, which is what I do.

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Measure the width and depth of the cuff and find the center. Mark the center. I usually just use pins which I will remove after aligning at the machine, and before I start stitching. There are also target stickers which may be purchased and placed, or a printed template of the name may be used. More on each of these things in the online classes.

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In software, create the names and save the files in the format needed for stitching at the machine. If you have the ability, create a double zig-zag and edge stitch underlay. The double zig-zag underlay will flatten the fur underneath the letters and keep the satin stitching up out of the fur as you will see.

Hoop tearaway stabilizer. Spray the stabilizer with a temporary spray adhesive. Follow the directions on the product you use. (Alternately: Use the basting  feature on your machine after loading the stocking on the hoop.)

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Place the hoop on the machine. Load the name, and rotate it as shown. Place the stocking cuff on the hooped stabilizer, aligning the center of the name to the center mark on the cuff. (Use the baste feature at this point if you chose not to use spray adhesive).

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Add water soluble stabilizer on top of the cuff fabric. This will help hold the fur in place and keeps the stitching on top of the fur instead of sinking down into it.  Press start and begin stitching. Notice how the double zig zag mats down the fur to keep it contained.

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Use a stylus or tweezers to help keep the excess fabric out of the stitching area.

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When the stitching is finished, remove the stocking from the hoop.

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Remove the stabilizer.

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Remove the topping. Use tweezers to get in-between the letters.

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Hang the personalized stockings and await Santa!

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TIP: To make efficient use of time, do all the name setups at once in software. Then embroider the first stocking. Load the next stocking on the machine and while the second one is stitching, remove the stabilizer and topping from the first while tending to the machine as it stitches. In no time at all, you’ll have several personalized stockings ready for the mantel or banister.

Make yours a happy holiday with personalized stockings for your home or as gifts.

Sew ‘til next time, enjoy the journey of sewing!

Ramona

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