Introduction: Woven Ribbon Christmas Stocking

About: I'm a beginner bespoke shoemaker with a whole lot of other interests. I occasionally costume for local theater, help run a large local science fiction & fantasy convention, and do art and crafts as much as I …

This tutorial will walk you through making a beautiful woven ribbon stocking. I've made over a hundred of these, over the years, and they never fail to delight as a holiday gift or decor. I've included a downloadable pdf of all the instructions, and a template pattern as well.

Step 1: Supplies and Tools

You will need:

- Decorative fabric for the back and cuff – a half yard will be enough. I like to use lighter weight decorator fabrics, cheap velvets, light corduroy, twills, suitings, and ultrasuede. Try to stick to the lightest weight possible, while still heavy enough to look good. Also, velvets can be really shifty – if you’re not an experienced sewer, steer clear in the beginning.

- Fabric for the lining and the backing of the ribbon. I like to use a white-on-white quilters’ calico, which means I can use the same fabric for both the lining and the ribbon backing. A half yard will be enough. If you’d like your lining to be a color other than white, you’ll need a half yard of the lining, plus some white muslin for the ribbon backing.

- Lots and lots of ribbon. Each stocking I make uses about 20 different ribbons, ranging in width from 3/8” to 2 ½”, with the bulk of them between ¾” and 1 ½”. I don’t use any single ribbon twice. Wire edged ribbon is fine, but you need to remove the wires, or the stocking front won’t lay flat properly. Sheers can be used, but should be used sparingly. Remember – if you weave a sheer ribbon over another sheer ribbon, you’ll see the backing fabric through both of them.

- A decorative button (around 1” to 1 ½” in diameter) and a plain dress shirt button. The decorative button should have a shank, rather than button holes.

- Pins, scissors, sewing machine, buttonhole thread and regular thread

- A paper pattern. Trace a stocking you like the shape of, and add a 5/8” seam allowance all the way around. Make a mark, 3 ½” (or as wide as you’d like the cuff to be) down from the top on each side, for the cuff. Alternately, enlarge one of the patterns at the end of this tutorial by about 300%, or until the grid squares measure 1 ½”.

Step 2: Setting It All Up

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to assume that your stocking will point to the right, like the example. Using your paper pattern, cut 2 lining (right sides together), and one ribbon backing. Cut 1 stocking back from your decorative fabric - with the RIGHT side of the fabric facing DOWN, put the pattern, facing to the right, on top of the WRONG side of the fabric. This will make the decorative backing fabric face the opposite direction – remember, it’s going on the BACK. For the cuff, fold over the decorative fabric, and line up your cuff markings with the fold, raw edges on the top of the stocking. Cut 1 cuff (see diagram above).

Step 3: Weaving the Ribbon

Lay out your ribbon backing, facing the direction you want the finished stocking. Choose the first ribbon. This will be one of the most visible ribbons, so choose one you really like. Lay it diagonally, from top edge to toe. Cut slightly longer than the stocking backing, and remove the wires if it is a wired ribbon.

Choose the second ribbon. This one will also be very visible. Lay this ribbon perpendicular (at right angles) across the first ribbon, across the heel/ankle of the stocking. Cut slightly longer than the fabric, remove the wires, and pin through the intersection of the ribbons. (See first photo).

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll call the ribbons that go diagonally from upper left to lower right (the striped ribbon in the photo) “Long”, and the ones that go diagonally from lower left to upper right (the sheer burgundy and gold ribbon in the photo) “Short”. Choose the next Long ribbon, and cut it to length. Remove the wires if it’s wired ribbon. Slide it under the short one, next to your first Long, and pin through the intersection of the two ribbons (and the backing). A note on ribbon choices - make sure to vary the widths, colors, and textures (velvet, satin, sheer, brocade…) as you go. I try to not put two ribbons of the same color, texture, or width next to each other if possible.

Choose the next short ribbon, cut to length, and remove the wires if necessary. Place alongside the first short ribbon, weaving it over and under. Pin both intersections.

Continue to build outward, alternating the long and short, and building up on both sides of the starting ribbons. Pin most of the intersections, so that the weave is really secure. Take care to keep it all very square. When pinning ribbons along the outside edge, place pins so that they do not overhang the edge of the backing fabric. You will be trimming the ribbons along this edge, so you need those pins out of the way.

Step 4: Trimming and Pinning

Flip over the woven ribbon and backing. Trim off the overhanging ribbon ends even with the backing fabric.

Move the pins, one at a time, so that all ribbons are tacked down at each end, and the pins are perpendicular to the edges, so a sewing machine can stitch over them. Place the cuff at the top, with the folded edge down (raw edge even with the top of the stocking) and pin it in place. Remove all the pins that are not on the edges.

Place the backing fabric, right side DOWN, on top of the ribbons. Re-pin (yes, again.)

Step 5: Stitch It All Together

Sew around the stocking, leaving the top open. Stitch all the way to the upper edge. Clip the curves, as shown with red lines in Diagram B (the first picture). Remove any remaining pins in the stocking, other than the top edge. Turn the ribbon and fabric stocking right side out. Finger press the seams open.

With right sides together, pin lining, and sew, leaving a 3” gap in the bottom of the foot. (See Diagram C - the second picture)

Step 6: Stitching It Together - Part 2

Roll the foot of the stocking up, and insert the stocking into the lining. (first photo)

Line up the top edges. (Make sure that the foot of the lining is pointing the same direction as the foot of the stocking.) Pin all around the top edge, and sew lining to stocking all the way around the top edge. This can be quite awkward, as there are a number of layers to sew through. (second photo)

Pull the stocking out of the lining through the gap in the bottom of the foot. (You left a gap in the foot in Diagram C.)

Stitch up the gap in the bottom of the lining – either by hand, or by smoothing the stocking out flat, folding in the seam allowance, and running a line of stitching 1/8” from the folded edge. As this will be in the lining at the bottom of the stocking, nobody will ever see it.

Push the lining into the stocking. Make sure the toe of the lining gets fully expanded into the toe of the stocking. Finger press the top edge of the stocking. Press with an iron if necessary.

Step 7: Ribon Hanging Loop

Cut a 9” piece of satin or grosgrain ribbon (1/2” to 1” wide) with angled ends. Using heavy duty thread, sew a decorative button and ribbon loop onto the front of the stocking, about 1” in from the side, and 1” down from the top edge. Use a shirt button on the inside to help distribute the weight of the stocking. See diagram above for all the layers you’re sewing through.

And that's it - you're done!

Step 8: The Template

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