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Reverse Appliqué – Engraving with Fabric
I have never bought a stocking. It is right up there with pillows on my list of things you should not buy if you know how to sew. Even if you don’t know how to sew, these felt stockings are an easy beginner sewing project. There is only one seam to sew.
To make these personalized stockings for my family, I used reverse appliqué with felt. This allowed me to use whatever font I wanted and customize the names. I chose to use Helvetica font in all lowercase. Helvetica is beautiful and simple for this project. I opted to use full first names on our stockings. If you use an initial on each stocking this project is even easier. For us, other than the dog and nicknames all of our names start with J. Initials were not unique enough for us.
Did I lose you at reverse appliqué? It sounds fancy and complicated, but it is actually really simple. Reverse applique is a technique for creating a design on fabric. Instead of adding fabric (an appliqué) on top of another piece of fabric, for reverse appliqué you cut away the top piece of fabric in a design that reveals a piece of fabric underneath. My no-sew reverse appliqué method works best when the top fabric does not fray. Good choices are jersey and felt.
I promise this is way easier than it looks. My favorite projects produce a complicated looking end-result, but are actually really easy. Writing out these steps took longer than it did to make one stocking.
To create your own personalized stockings, here are the supplies and step by step:
- Felt in two or more colors
- Sharp scissors
- Fusible Web
- Sewing Machine
Step by Step:
- Print out each name the size you want it to appear on the stocking. You may need to use some trial and error with test prints to get the right size.
- Trace the name in reverse on to the paper side of the fusible web. Unless you know how to print letters in reverse on your computer, you will need to trace them in reverse. The easiest way is to tape your printed name on a window backwards (printed side facing window). Tape the fusible web, paper side facing you, over the paper. Trace the letters onto the paper side of the fusible web. Cut a rectangle around the name. You only need about an inch of fusible web all around.
- Cut out the stocking pieces. You can freehand a stocking shape or trace an old stocking to get the right shape. You may want to make a cardboard template, if you plan to make more than one stocking. Cut one front and one back piece from the same color felt (I used dark gray). Cut one lining piece from a different color of felt (I used bright blues and greens for my liners). The top of the lining piece should be about 4 inches taller than the other stocking pieces to accommodate the cuff.
- Iron the fusible web onto the backside of the front stocking piece. Position the name where you want it to appear on the stocking. I put ours starting at the heal and going up the side.
- Before you peel away the paper from the fusible web, use sharp scissors to cut out each letter. Start by snipping a hole in the middle of a letter and then cut outward to the outline of the letter.
- Peel the paper backing off the fusible web. With the lining piece laying right side up, lay your front piece on top of the lining, right side up. The fusible web will end up sandwiched in between. Line up the edges of the two layers. Iron the top layer to fuse the web to the lining. You will end up with the stocking front fused to the lining with the cutout letters revealing the lining underneath.
- With the back laying down wrong side up, lay your front lined piece on top of the back, right side up. All three pieces will match up perfectly. Fold down the lining cuff and cut at an angle if desired (I angled my cuff so it was about 4″ in the front and 2″ in the back).
- Cut a 1 x 4″ piece of felt for the hanging loop or use a piece of matching ribbon. Fold the loop in half and insert between back layer and lining at the top, back edge of the stocking.
- Sew around the shape of the stocking. Start at the top back of the cuff where the loop is. Sew all the way round and up the other side stopping at the top, front of the cuff.
- Trim the excess felt about 1/8″ away from the seam. This will help even up the three layers and allow the lining layer to peek through perfectly at the seam.
I adore the texture of the felt and the relief where the letters appear. It is like engraving for fabric. I chose completely unconventional colors for holiday stockings, but the grey felt helps unify the set. Just goes to show, you don’t have to use red and green to be festive.