Kathy Jensen designed this Santa - she may or may not have been the artisan featured in the story I read.

I saw this great story in a crafts journal years ago about a woman who designs nearly life-sized Santas. She adorns them with all sorts of things: jewels, baubles, watches, buttons, pipes, pieces of real fur. Each takes dozens of hours to complete, and they sell for upwards of $1,000 apiece. All are unique, and with varying themes – most, however, have a vintage/antique feel to them. While the crafts(wo)manship was stunning, the thing that most fascinated me about her story was the description of where she finds materials for the Santas: everywhere.

That’s  how I feel about my Christmas stockings.

Q: What kinds of material do I use?
A: Virtually anything I can get my hands on.

Q: Where do I buy it?
A: W
herever I find it.

Although I do purchase a fair amount of fabric at traditional fabric stores like Joann, I also pick up fabric at yard sales, quilt shops, thrift stores, freecycle.org, eBay, etc.

Part of the fun of crafting stockings for me is being constantly on the lookout for fabric that would make a great stocking. Another reason to be resourceful is that the cost of fabric adds up! If I can get the same (or similar) material at the dingy outlet store as I can at the big-name shops, I don’t mind spending a morning weeding through the bolts. I’ve come across some amazing finds – and lots of new ideas – at SAS Fabrics by the Pound in Phoenix. As far as I  know, they’re located only in Arizona, but you can search online for discount fabric stores in your area.

Fabrics I have used in my stockings

You name it, it’s probably in there. Felt, muslin, burlap, cotton, chintz, velvet, mattress ticking, old neckties, dishtowels, bridesmaids’ dresses, drapery fabric, upholstery fabric, Aida cloth, leather, lace. Perhaps you’re starting to get the idea.

If you’re a beginner and using a sewing machine, basic cottons are probably your best bet, as they are easy to cut, pin, and sew. For the linings, try a satin-like fabric that has a little weight to it, because it will be less likely to slip when you sew it.

For hand-sewn stockings, felt is one of the nicest fabrics. Embroidery floss works well in place of thread; just make sure you’re using a needle that is large and sharp enough.

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