Regardless of where or how you acquire a Christmas stocking, if it’s meant to be filled by Santa for a specific person, you’ll probably want to put that person’s name on the stocking. (All of the stockings available for purchase from By the Chimney With Care can be personalized at no extra cost.)
If you purchase your stocking elsewhere – or make it yourself – and would like to personalize it, there are several different ways you can add a name to the stocking, including:
- Machine embroidery
- Fabric paint
- Iron-on letters
For all stockings, the first thing you’ll need to do is figure out where on the stocking you want to put the name. It makes sense in many, if not most, cases to put the name on the cuff or top of the stocking. However, there are instances where you may prefer to put the name on the heel, the toe, or the main body of the stocking. As with all aspects of crafting and stocking making, there is no right or wrong way to do this. You must simply decide your personal preference for what looks best.
Once you’ve figured out where the name will go, you’ll need to figure out your spacing. The easiest way to do this is to spell out the name on a piece of paper. Count the letters and determine where the middle of the name is. Then, mark your stocking accordingly. You can use tailors’ chalk or even a few straight pins to mark the start of the name, the middle, and where you want it to end.
If the name has an M or W or I in it, you’ll want to make sure to plan accordingly, as the M and W will likely take up more space than the rest of the letters, and the I will likely take up less.
Next, determine whether you will use all capitals (THOMAS), initial capitals (Thomas), or a funky combination of both upper and lower case (tHomAs).
TO APPLIQUE A NAME, you will need to find fabric that compliments or matches the stocking. Make sure you make the letters small enough that you have enough space on your stocking to accommodate them. Stencil the letters onto the back side of your fabric. Make sure to REVERSE the letters before you trace them. Cut out the letters.
Next, you need to adhere the letters to the stocking. You can do this by one of a couple methods. First, you can use craft glue (Aleene’s Tacky Glue is probably the most common and most durable – find it at virtually any craft store) to glue the letters onto the stocking. Or, cut fusible web material (such as Stitch Witchery) in the shape of the letters and follow the directions to iron them onto the stocking. Finish the edges of the letters with fabric paint, or using yarn/embroidery floss with a basket stitch.
TO HAND-STITCH A NAME, decide if you will use yarn or embroidery floss. Yarn works best with a loosely woven or knit fabric. It may be pretty difficult to pull a needle with yarn through most cotton prints and/or the several layers you will likely need to stitch through with a stocking. Make sure your have a sharp needle with an eye large enough to accommodate your yarn or floss. As instructed above, make sure you’ve figure out how much room your name will take, and where you want to position it on the stocking. Make sure your yarn/floss is in a contrasting color that will be easily read against the stocking fabric. Cut the yarn/floss no longer than 1 yard (or it’s likely to get tangled). Use about 1/4 -inch stitches to spell the name. If you run out of yarn/floss, tie a knot on the inside/reverse of the fabric. Cut a new piece of yarn/floss, and continue until you’ve finished.
MACHINE EMBROIDERY offers a nice look for personalizing your Christmas stockings. You can use this method to add the name if you have a machine capable of this function. If you don’t have the necessary machine, you can hire someone to do it for you.
USE FABRIC PAINT to apply the name, following the above-mentioned instructions about sizing and placement. Depending on the brand and size of the paint bottle you decide to use, you can either squeeze the paint straight from the tip of the bottle, or put some paint on a pallette and use a brush to paint the name onto the stocking. There are many different kinds of fabric paint to choose from … puffy, glitter, shiny, crackle. Have fun selecting the ones you think will work for you.
NOTES: To be on the safe side, you may want to do a practice run on some scrap material before you actually paint on the stocking. Squeezing the paint straight from the bottle looks easy enough, but can actually be a little tricky – those stray air bubbles can cause an ugly, accidental “splooge” if you’re not careful.
You can also USE BUTTONS, SEQUINS, CHARMS, or other materials to spell out the name on the stocking. As with every area of stocking crafting, the only limits on ways to personalize your stockings are where your ideas end. Make sure you determine your space needs ahead of time. Also make sure the buttons have enough contrast with the fabric to stand out against it. Sew the buttons on, one at a time, using a sturdy thread. Fishing line works, but can sometimes be hard to knot.
NOTE: This method will probably work best for short names (unless you want to use teeny-tiny buttons, which requires a LOT of detailed sewing).
One other way to add a name to a stocking is USING IRON ON TRANSFERS. The biggest deal with this process is finding a letter set that will compliment your stocking without making it look gaudy or odd. Also, make sure the letter set you purchase has enough of each letter – or you will need to purchase two. For instance, an iron-on alphabet that only has one of each letter will not enable you to spell Tiffany with two Fs. Follow the instructions on the package, regarding the appropriate iron setting.
NOTE: Most iron-on transfers work best on cotton fabrics. They also will suggest that you’ve washed the fabric before applying the transfers.
Some folks may choose not to spell out the whole name, opting instead to use simply a single initial. Of course, this might be challenging for those alliterative families like Connie, Craig, Cara, Caitlin, Connor, and Cameron Coors.
As long as you have fun with this process, do it with love, and double-check your spelling before you start, you really cannot go wrong. And even then, a misspelled name can make the stocking all the more special and, perhaps, the subject of holiday stories for years to come!