Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christmas in August

Did you hear my sigh yesterday? The one of relief, and of accomplishment? You know the one, when you finally finish a project that has been dogging you for months.

You saw when Bert's stocking looked like this:

And I thought I did a post when I finally finished the cross-stitching but I must be confusing writing a post with ecstatically showing it to anyone who came to the house or we went to visit (because I know I took it to my parents' when it was done). Anyway, sometime in the late spring, I was done stitching and on the hunt for fabric to line and put a back on the stocking. 

I had in mind that I wanted some kind of vintage toy or train pattern but after looking high and low (read: fabric stores around home, and fabric stores in Maine), I couldn't quite put my hands on what I wanted. Then I was talking with my neighbor about my fruitless search and she said she thought she might have some train prints around. She brought over a few fabrics and after looking at them for a bit, I decided I really liked the one train fabric for a lining paired with the fabric from Bert's weekly photo in the wagon for the back of the stocking.

I was more than a little nervous about cutting out the stocking after spending a zillion hours cross-stitching, so I put it off for awhile. Finally, yesterday, after tripping over the pile of fabric for the umpteenth time in my office, I decided it was time to get it done. 

I started about by tracing the stocking shape from my pattern book onto parchment paper (in lieu of tracing paper).

Then I decided the parchment paper was too flimsy for my liking to cut four pieces from (front, back, and two pieces for the lining), so I transferred it to an old gift box to make a sturdier pattern.

Then I traced it on my back and lining pieces and confidently cut away.

Now it was time to move on to the front piece, with all that labor-intensive stitching. Here I pinned down the parchment paper pattern, which was nice to work with because then I could see through it and make sure I liked how it laid on my stitched piece before cutting.

Then I oh-so-carefully traced it on. I wish I had a fabric marking pen that would have washed out if I messed up but I was on a roll so I just used a regular ballpoint pen. Very bold, I know.

And now is about the time where I was very engaged in what I was doing and not so good about taking pictures. To sum it up, I cut out all the pieces, sewed the lining together with a 1/2" seam, and the front and back with a 3/8" seam. The lining was left wrong-side-out and before sliding it in the stocking, I trimmed it really close to the seam so it wasn't as bulky (this is me, actually reading and following the instructions from the book for finishing the stocking). Then I clipped around the outer stocking piece before turning it right-side-out. On both pieces, the top edges got folded down a 1/2" and ironed to leave a finished edge at the top. Before sewing them together, I made a little loop for hanging by cutting a strip of the same fabric I used for the back, folding it in half, sewing up one side, and turning it right-side-out. Then I sewed it to the inside of the back piece at the left side seam.

Got that? Because this photo now seems really random and useless in terms of explaining what I was doing.

The final step was putting the lining inside the stocking and sewing the two together, with, as the instructions said, a blind stitch. Which means proceed blindly because you don't know for sure what you are doing, right? Actually, I could handle that part pretty easily, just making the stitches in between the top edges, attaching them where each was folded down. It just took awhile because it had to be done by hand.

So what I had been putting off for months was finished in a little over an hour, and I didn't royally mess it up or anything. My stitching on the heal and toe weren't quite as rounded as I would have liked, but I was worried it would just end up worse if I tried to pull the stitches out and start over. And I just realized I didn't get any pictures to give you an idea of what the lining looked like so stay tuned for the Christmas post and maybe you can catch a glimpse of it when Bert yanks gifts out.

Bert gave his approval and did me a favor by looking interested and trying to run away with his stocking, which I snatched out of his grubby little hands before he got it dirty. I think he will be much more excited come Christmas morning when it is filled with goodies.

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