Monday, November 23, 2009

Thrifty Gifty #3—Make a Stocking from a Sweater

Joining Kimm at Reinvented for Trash to Treasure Tuesday, and Kimba at A Soft Place to Land for DIY Day.

Thrifty Gifty is a series running through Christmas of very inexpensive gifts you can make with thrift store and dollar store finds. Check back daily for new ideas. There will be linky parties every Friday in December before Christmas for you to share your ideas!

If you are following my series, you may want to stock up on thrift store sweaters. I can see so many possibilities…

I have at least 3 stores in my area that have dollar racks, and that is where I look for and get my wool sweaters. It would have to be a pretty amazing sweater for me to pay more than $1 for it, and then I would probably wear it, not repurpose it. My Goodwill does not have a dollar rack, but children’s clothing is $1-$2, so if that’s your only thrift resource, keep that in mind.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a Christmas stocking from a sweater. I decided not to felt the sweater, as in my stocking experience, the stretchier, the better! You can get more in that way.

I cut a pattern out of a paper bag to fit on the sweater. Because my sweater was striped, I did a few extra steps, but if your sweater is solid, or you don’t care about the direction of the stripes, you could just cut through the two layers like this and sew up the edges and be done. (Turn the pattern upside down as shown below, to give you a finished edge on the stocking.)


I wanted something a little different with the stripes though, so I cut the sleeve off, following the seam, to become the toe portion of the stocking. Then I turned the pattern upside down so the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater would become the top of the stocking. (Do this for a one piece stocking, too.)


I laid the sleeve across the toe of the pattern to show where I needed to cut the part that would become the “leg” (see photo below). Then I cut the two layers of the sweater torso right around the portion of the paper bag that you see here. I lined it up with the side seam, so I didn’t have to sew that. Don’t cut that seam.

(One good thing about doing it the “hard” way is that I can get two stockings out of one sweater, making them 50 cents each. If I cut the stocking out in one piece, I could only get one. But that’s still pretty good at only $1 for a stocking!)


Once that piece is cut, fold it in half with right sides together and sew the line marked above to form the tube/leg of the stocking. I sewed about a 1/4” seam, then went back and zigzagged the edge. I’m behind the times and don’t have a serger, but if you do, by all means, use it.


Below, I have laid the sleeve and the just-finished leg on top of the pattern, both inside out. Cut the sleeve off to form the toe, then sew and zigzag (or serge) that rounded toe portion closed.


Turn the toe right side out…


…and put it inside the leg, which is still wrong side out, so the raw (unfinished) edges line up.


Pin; it will make your life easier in the long run. Match up the side seams.


Here’s where it’s handy to pull your sewing machine apart, assuming it’s made to do that. (The painter’s tape is seam allowance guidelines for previous projects. It’s not holding the machine together.)IMG_4706

Slide the pinned edge over the sewing machine, and sew all the way around. If you’ve ever used a pattern to make a shirt or something, this is just like sewing in the sleeve.


Turn the stocking right side out; you’re pretty much done. If you like, you can add a hanging loop. I cut the edge of the cuff off, and used that.


That’s it! It took me waaayyy longer to write this post than it did to make the stocking. If you don’t bother with the separate toe and leg portions, it will be even easier.


You could get fancy and make a cuff out of a different color sweater, or embroider a name, or add embellishments of your choice.

A stocking would make a nice gift for a new baby. Or you could start a new tradition and make one for each of your nieces and nephews or grandkids*. Of course, it would also make a cute wrapping for a more main-event gift.

*All of my siblings and I have matching stockings that our great-aunt knit for us. All of my nieces and nephews and my boys have matching ones that my grandma crocheted for them. Unfortunately, in the two years between Skippy and Pinkerbelle, she could no longer crochet, so P. doesn’t have a matching one. Maybe I’ll use this technique to make all three of them matching stockings, finally.


Shannon said...

Sweater to stocking, so fun! I love it. Great idea too, I need to new stockings this year.. maybe I will try it.

pendy said...

This is something I wanted to do - I'll be making seven mini-sized stockings for my book club - so I am so glad to have come across your post. I don't have a serger, either, and was concerned about raveling. Guess I would have figured out to zig zag but it's nice to not have to do the thinking-it-through part!

Jane said...

I love how you did the stripes. I have been collecting sweaters to make these. I had a knitted stocking as a kid and I loved it! Very stretchy! More room for Santa's loot!

Barbara Jean said...


Love coming here. You have so many great ideas!!

Happy Thanksgiving

barbara jean

Cindy said...

I just picked up some sweaters from my thrift shop to make pillows, but now I'm thinking I need some stockings! Great tutorial...thanks for sharing :)

Mama Byrd said...

Very cute! Amazes me that you sewed the toe to it on purpose, I did that on accident in the 7th grade and failed home economics! Sewing is not my forte but would kill for a sewing machine so I can learn. Cute post

Kimm at Reinvented said...

I love it! I've got to start looking for wool sweaters, there are so many cool projects. Thanks for sharing!

Miss Obara said...

Super cute! You're so creative!

la said...

so cute! and the painters tape as a seam-allowance guide...GENIUS. i am totally doing that! said...

so cute!
great tutorial, sending this link to my daughter... who is trying to learn to sew!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tammy Howard said...

What a cute idea!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Adorable!! Love that you even made a cute little hook for it. :)

TRICIA @ The Zoo said...

Okay. You, my friend are a sweater re-purposing fool! And I LOVE IT!!
Rock on girlie!
Have a happy thanksgiving.


Condo Blues said...

My mom made Christmas stockings for each of us in coordinating but person-specific fabric.

Kim said...

Very nice reuse of the sweater. Cute and cozy looking.

Mandy said...

Adorable!!! I might have to try these :)

The DIY Show Off said...

WOW! I love how it turned out. I just might have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing you're awesome ideas! :)


Julie said...

Nice blog! I love the idea of making stockings from sweaters!