How to Make a Christmas Stocking

  • ‘the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes
    that st nicholas soon would be there,’ said clement moore in his
    1822 poem. for generations, the women of hungary have been using
    the reverse-cut felt applique technique to embellish traditional
    clothing, and more recently it has been adapted for stockings and
    decorations. make one for a special little one in your life and it
    could become a family heirloom to be passed on for future
    generations, polly leonard, textile expert and founder of
    selvedge, tells us how. 

you will need:

  • 2 x 50x50cm felt in white, 1 x 50x50cm felt in red
  • red and white cotton sewing thread
  • 1 x 50x50cm piece of tissue paper
  • a sewing machine with an embroidery foot
  • an embroidery hoop
  • small embroidery scissors
  • pinking shears or decorative scallop scissors


1. print out the pattern (here), cut along the dotted lines and join

2. trace the pattern onto tissue paper.

3. place your white piece of felt on the table,
layer on top the red piece of felt. then place your tissue paper
pattern on top and pin in place. you will now have three layers:
white felt, red felt and tissue paper.

4. starting at the top, mount your felt and
tissue paper into the embroidery hoop.

5. using an embroidery foot, drop the feed-dog
on your sewing machine and set the tension to 2.

6. following your drawn design, slowly start
free-hand stitching by moving the embroidery hoop around, keeping
your stitches close together.

7. tear away the tissue paper as close to the
lines of stitching as you can.

8. cut away the top layer of red felt around
your line of stitching to reveal your pattern, starting from the
outside: do this carefully making sure you don’t snip the bottom
layer of felt.

9. use a lint remover or cello tape to remove
the ‘fluff’ from the felt.

10. once you are happy with your appliqué
design, add another layer of felt to the back and sew around the
stocking shape (you can use the pattern to trace the shape of the

11. trim away the excess felt with pinking
shears or decorative scallop scissors.

12. using some of the leftover felt, add a loop
so you can hang your stocking.

the selvedge advent festival – a festive programme of
textile-inspired workshops and events – runs from 26 november to 3
december.  there will be a workshop on hungarian hand cut
reverse appliqué during the festival on friday 2 december, 6pm to
9pm with carol grantham at the selvedge store.

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