Friday, 12 December 2014

How to Make a Patchwork Christmas Stocking.

Forgot someone on your Christmas list? Want to make a hand crafted gift or decoration but haven't got time t visit your local fabric shop or order from an amazing fabric website?  Fear not we're here to help you create a stunning Christmas stocking to fill with nuts, fruit or small toys out of little pieces of scrap fabrics. Many people may find the patchwork simple, but I have a lot of people in the shop ask me how you avoid any raw seams in the finished article.
You will need:
Fabric for the stocking (any off cuts will do)
Lining fabric. (I've used satin lining but you can use any thin fabric that you have laying around.
Tea or Hot chocolate
A good Christmas movie or soundtrack to work to.

To begin with gather all your little odds and ends of fabric. One of our previous blogs covers ways of storing fabrics by the way. You can either just pick  what fabrics takes your fancy or  break the fabrics down into themes, such as "cool colours" or "natural colours" or just gold old "red, gold and green"
I adore this red and gold fabric (I've made a rather fetching jacket from it) but I just didn't have enough fabrics to compliment it, so I've gone for silvers and whites, a clean cool but festive stocking.

Draw a template 

I used an existing  stocking, and then cut out 4 of these stocking shapes out of the lining. I'm using a satin lining so I made sure to have 2 from each side so it looks like I have 2 "right" stockings and 2 "left" stockings. Then use this to sort out a rough stocking shape out of the scraps of fabric. I've decided my stocking will be made mainly of horizontal strips.

 I found a beautiful Crystal organza which has a iridescent shimmer. It reminded me of some of the Christmas decorations from the 80's. (this is why Christmas fashions goes around in circles as each generation of adults borrows ideas from their childhood, I'm sure of it.) Now my lining is white satin so the organza would look lovely over it, but it may be hard to control. So I decided to top stitch the organza over the lining to form a big square of shiny shimmering magical goodness. You can do this if your lining fabric isn't something you want visible as well.

Now start sewing your strips to form one sheet of fabric. You can keep placing one of the stocking panels  over it to give you a guide to which bit of fabric will go where (I wanted the shimmering white to form a heel). Don't worry if this fabric is not stocking shape yet, We will use the stocking shape as a template and cut out the proper shape next.

Place the stocking shape over your patchwork and line everything up until you're happy where each piece is, pin and cut out.

If you are using a lining fabric that looks the same from either side then which piece you top stick your patchwork to will not matter. However in my case I need to ensure the patchwork is laid and sewn onto the SHINY side ! Why? if I laid the fabric onto the mat side then either one of the inside pieces or the back of the stocking will be mat as well.

Top stitch in place, sewing close to the edge so these stitches wont show in the finished stocking. If you wanted a padded  quilted feel to your stocking you would add the wadding between the two layers here.

Now is a good time to add ribbon or ricrac. I used some organza ribbon to fold under a little excess of the light weight silver fabric that was bulging out slightly.

Now right sides together sew your stocking front to the stocking back. Repeat the process for the  lining, BUT leave an inch gap in the middle of the back of the stocking (to pull the stocking right side out after). Cut noticed into the seam allowances around the curvy bits on the stocking.

Pull the outer stocking right side out THE slide it into the inside out lining.

Now sew the inner and outer stocking together along the top and pull right side out. and her presto, you have a beautiful hand crafted stocking!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fabric8 in Felixstowe

Up until today I have found every blog a joy to post. I've covered some arcane facts of sewing and knitting as well as explaining terminology and providing many free tutorials for projects you can do at home.  The inspiration for many of these blogs came from working in one of the Fabric8 shops out there in the real world, in the Essex town of Colchester in fact. And some of you may be aware there are two shops in the Fabric8 family, one in Colchester and one in Felixstowe. The company has been in the same family for over 70 years since it started out in the stairwell and hallway of a flat in Felixstowe.
  Over this time shopping habits have changed a lot. What began as a stock of linen and antimacassars transformed many times over the years until it became 2 fabric shops and a website supplying dressmakers, tailors knitters and those with a love of crafts. However some changes have not been for the better. In recent years our Felixstowe branch has suffered from the failing economy and regrettably the decision has been made to close down Fabric8 in Felixstowe. As you can imagine this was a very difficult decision to come to as Fabric8, in all of it's incarnations has been a fixture of Felixstowe for so many decades. 
  Fortunately  Colchester has faired the economic storms better than many other towns and so our Colchester branch will be remaining open along with our website for many more years to come. All of our Felixstowe customers will find a warm welcome at our Colchester branch  where their loyalty cards will be honoured. Our website is expanding daily and we hope you will find all of your sewing, crochet and knitting needs met with only £3.50 delivery charge no matter how large your order. If there is some stock you miss from your local Fabric8 that you can't find on-line feel free to e-mail us at  and we will do our best to get what you need available. 

We hope people will pop into the Felixstowe shop to say goodbye during our January sale and on our final day of trading in Felixstowe on January 31st.
On behalf of the Felixstowe staff we would like to thank everyone for visiting us over the years and on behalf of the Colchester and Web teams we look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve all you want in the fascinating world of stitch crafts.