By Claire Dale
There is no better time of year to sit down and start to get creative. Christmas is the perfect time of year to be inspired to try new craft activities and try your hand at making new things: so why not make like one of Santa’s elves and set your fingers to work?
If you’ve never tried knitting or sewing before, it’s never too late to learn how and give it a try. Many doctors report that needlework is a great way to keep arthritic fingers moving and supple, and it is also a very therapeutic activity that can help you to unwind after a hard day: that’s probably why knitting and sewing are hobbies that have increased in popularity over recent years! The repetition of knitting or hand sewing is a great way to relax and empty your mind, and many elderly people find it a very social activity too, taking their creations and projects to sewing bees and craft meets to share their skills and a conversation with likeminded people. It’s more common than you think for elderly people to suffer from depression (in fact, 6.5 million sufferers of depression in America are aged 65 or over) but it’s an illness that is less common in people that have hobbies and active social lives. What better reason to pick up your sewing or knitting needles and create something that is both beautiful and practical for the festive season? Here is a very simple Christmas stocking creation idea, just perfect for beginners:
Sew Your Own Cuffed Christmas Stocking
You will need:
2 pieces of fabric for the outside of your stocking (each approx. 22” long)
Step 1. Your first step should be to take your two cuff pieces and iron them in half, so that you have a cuff that will slot perfectly into the top of your stocking.
Step 2. Now you need to cut out your stocking shape. You can either make a paper template or cut this by eye, but the result should be four pieces of fabric (two pieces for the outside of your stocking and two pieces for the lining) that are the same size and shape. Remember if you use a template to reverse it for your two external pieces, so that the right side of the fabric are being used.
Step 3. Next it’s time to attach this cuff piece to your stocking fabric and your lining. Take the cuff and stitch the stocking fabric to one side of the cuff and the lining fabric to the other side of the cuff. You should end up with one long piece of fabric that has the same shape as a handlebar moustache, so that the lining and external pieces fit perfectly when folded together. Press your seams to the middle, and then repeat this process with the back pieces of your stocking so you have two of these ‘moustaches’.
Step 4. Lay the front and back stocking pieces against each other with the patterned ‘right side’ pieces facing each other. Pin these pieces together to ensure they stay in place and are evenly stitched once they have been stitched together.
Step 5. After all this preparation, it’s finally time to sew your stocking together! Leave a half an inch seam allowance, and sew all the way around the stocking, however remember to leave a hole a few inches along the bottom of the lining so that you can turn your stitched stocking ‘inside out’ and then iron the pieces as straight and flat as possible.
Step 6. Sew the hole in the lining closed as neatly as possible (the smaller you make this turning hole the better), insert the newly sewn lining into the outer pieces, and that’s it! Your stocking is finished!
Step 7. If you’d like to add any embellishments (ribbons, home made pom poms, and even the initials of your recipient are all nice touches) now is the time to add them. Then your Christmas craft is finally complete.
Now all that’s left to go is fill your stocking with small gifts and delight someone with this homemade gift on Christmas day. Homemade stockings make perfect gifts for grandchildren, loved ones and friends. And they’re surprisingly easy to make too: one stocking shouldn’t take you more than one hour!