Monday, December 19, 2011

Rag Stockings

My mother learned to sew making what she called "Rag Quilts."  While she was visiting over the Summer she shared the technique with me.   Turns out this is an excellent way to practice sewing a straight stitch without worrying about precisely lining up the edges of two pieces of fabric.  It is an excellent way for someone just learning to sew to get the feel for the a sewing machine.  I thought it would be fun to use the same technique to make stockings.  The stocking pictured above was made using old blue jeans, an old sweater, and was lined with an infant sized towel I found in the linen closet.  

The following is a tutorial for making a "Rag Stocking."  In the tutorial I used various Holiday prints I had leftover from previous projects. 

 To begin draw a stocking shape on a piece of paper.  Apparently I like pointed toe stockings, as I just noticed every stocking I've ever made has a pointed toe.  Two things to consider when finalizing your shape, you need to include seam allowance in the shape (I used 1/2"), and if you are planning to turn the top edge down, like I did in the examples, you need to add extra to the top ( I used 3").  Once you have a shape you are pleased with, cut the shape out.  Next, trace the stocking shape onto a slightly larger piece of paper.  
Cut strips of fabric to use on the front of your stocking.  Use the stocking shape on the larger paper to get a feel for how many and how wide you would like your strips of fabric to be.  
 Sew the first strip of fabric to the toe of the paper stocking.  Try to sew straight along the edge the of the fabric.  I use the edge of the presser foot as a guide (about 1/4 of an inch).  
 Decide the location of the next strip, in this example it is the red piece of fabric.  It is not important that the edges of the first and second strip line up.  In fact part of the fun of this techniques is the ease at which you can create interesting angles.  
 Flip the strip over, so the right sides of the fabric are facing together.   
 Stitch down the piece, following the edge of the top strip of fabric.  After the piece has been stitched, carefully press the strip over and down flat. 
 Continue on with the third strip of fabric.  Decide on the placement.
 Flip the strip over, and sew along the edge of the top strip.  
 Carefully press the new strip down flat.  
 Continue in the same manner as you work your way up the stocking.  Sew a new strip on, and then press.  
 Once your entire stocking piece has been covered, remove the paper from the back side.  
Using your original stocking shape, cut out two stockings for the inside lining and one for the back of the stocking.  
 With the front of your stocking facing right side up and the back of your stocking facing upside down, carefully cut the front of the stocking to the same shape as the back of the stocking. 
Stitch around the stocking at your designated seam allowance.  
 With right sides together, stitch around the stocking lining at your designated seam allowance, leaving the top of the stocking open, and an opening about 4 inches long on one side of the stocking. The opening in the stocking lining will be used to turn your stocking right side out during the final steps.  Clip the curves of the stocking so once it is turned right side out the curves will lay flat and have a nice shape.    
 With the outer stocking turned right side out and the lining turned wrong side out, place the outer stocking into the lining.  
 You will notice the right sides of the stocking are now together.  Stitch along the top edge.  Turn the stocking right side out through the opening in the lining.  Finish the stocking by either machine or hand stitching the opening in the lining closed. Add a loop to hang the stocking by, for this example I used a ribbon, for the jean and sweater stocking I used a belt loop.  
 Don't worry...I'm sure you've made it onto Santa's "nice" list.  


  1. I love the little toe part. Fun stuff.

  2. You make it look so easy, Daisey! Complimenti!

  3. Thanks, Dana. I really do think this method is easy. It is the way I am teaching B. to sew. It's fun and there is not a lot of precision required.