The Big Stocking Project: Tutorial & HUGE GIVEAWAY!

6:00:00 PM

Welcome to Tips & Tricks Tuesdays! It's a very special Tips and Tricks indeed - a very big tutorial with a nice big giveaway! Make sure to read the tutorial, enter the contest, and if you have a tip or trick to link up, do so at the bottom!

One thing really quick: Simply Solids: a modern {bee} is still accepting members - especially those from Europe (although we're taking members from all over the world!) More info HERE.

For the past several weeks, I've been working on an English paper piecing project.

300 hexagons later, and my little family of four (hubby, myself, my baby girl and the dog!) all have new Christmas stockings.

When I started this project, I knew I'd write it up as a tutorial.

Paper-pieced hexagons have always been on my quilting bucket list. I love the look of them; however, I wasn't really sure how much work they were so I wanted to start with a smaller project. This will be my daughter's first Christmas, and I thought, why not make the family a whole new set of stockings?

As I was finishing up with the project, I thought, this is a great technique to share with others. It kept my hands busy every night while sitting in front of the T.V., which resulted in a drop in the number on my bathroom scale: I wasn't sitting eating, mindlessly reaching for that next greasy chip.

I contacted the companies who I purchased my supplies for the project from, and asked if they would be willing to sponsor a giveaway on my blog.

The responses were very generous. and The Fat Quarter have offered up most of the prizes listed below. A big, warm, holiday THANK YOU! to them.

Now, for the tutorial:

  • 2 fat quarters per stocking, cut into 2 1/4" strips (based on a 7/8" hexagon size)
  • Package of 7/8" hexagons from
  • Quilting needle (for hand sewing)
  • 1/2 yard coordinating felt
  • Contrasting colored thread
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Stocking template: Click HERE and HERE

I'll separate this out into 2 sections: the English paper piecing part and the stocking assembly.
English Paper Piecing:
You'll need a needle, contrasting thread, a short pin and a pair of scissors
1. Choose your fabric! I thought it would be fun to make it scrappy:
Jolly Christmas fat quarters
2. Cut your pieces - you can either precut 2.5" squares OR leave your strips as is - this is what I did. Take one of your cardstock hexagons and center it on the backside of your fabric. Pin in place. Trim off the long end of the strip.
3. Trim the edges to match the shape of the hexagon, leaving about a 1/4" 'seam' allowance.
4. On one side of the hexagon, fold fabric over, being careful not to bend the hexagon (i.e. only folding to the edge of cardboard - insert a stitch through both layers of fabric and hexagon paper piece:
5. Continue folding around the sides of the hexagon, rotating the same direction each time, inserting a stitch in the corner fold and then in the center of the side.
6. When you get to the last fold, fold flap down, finger pressing both corners.

 7. Insert a stitch in each corner and one between.
 8. Tuck your thread tail under a stitch, trim thread, and remove pin. You have your first hexie!
 9. As I was saying above, you could precut a bunch of squares to create your hexie, OR, just cut your strips and go from there! (Saves a step and some cutting time)
 10. Next step is important. You want your hexies to have nice crisp edges when you go to piece them together; so! hit them with a lot of steam and starch, first on their backsides and then flip them to do their right sides.
 Tip: Don't 'iron' the hexies - you'll risk creating unwanted folds and bumps in your turns - just press so as not to warp your beautiful work!

11. Once you're all starched & pressed, it's time to create! Place 2 hexies right-sides together with edges matching. Whip-stitch, with a coordinating thread, grabbing only a few threads of fabric with each stitch, starting on the very corner. End your line of stitching (which, for a 7/8" sided hexie should be about 6-8 stitches) with a quilter's knot.
 12. Beautiful!
 13. Continue adding hexies in a row; be strategic so as to minimize the amount of knotting and clipping and restarting you do!
 14. Don't be afraid to bend the hexies in order to align adjacent edges. The cardstock is remarkably sturdy and you won't break anything :)
 15. Once you've attached all of your hexies in the shape of the stocking - see link above for stocking template (or project you're working on), you guessed it! Steam, starch, press! (both sides, again)
 16. Now it's getting exciting. It's time to pull out the cardstock hexies! So! Grab your stitch ripper and start ripping out those basting stitches you placed before (now you see why we used a contrasting thread?)
Tip: Remove the center hexies first - leave the outer to last. This way, they're more likely to retain their shapes with all of the handling.

Stocking Assembly:
  • Cut 4 pieces of felt 3.5" x 8.5"
  • 6 Prairie Points from 3" square fabric, tutorial HERE
  • Remaining felt for quilting and stocking back
  • Coordinating ribbon for hanger

1. Now you've got these weird shaped stockings:'s time to stack and quick them. I used a coordinating felt, no batting. Pin baste, and quilt as desired.
... backside to show my quilting:
 2. Once you've quilted it, you can now use the stocking template (Click HERE and HERE for template) to cut out your shape:
Creating a French Seam: 
3. Stack quilted stocking on another piece of felt cut larger than stocking. Pin. Sew, wrong sides together using a narrow 1/8" seam. 
4. Trim excess backing as close as possible to stocking top.
 5. Turn the stocking wrong side out. Push out all of the seams, and press so seams are spread and sitting smoothly.

6. Sew, right sides together, with 1/4" seam. You've just created a French seam! Turn your stocking right side out now, and your unfinished edges are now enclosed in your seam. Beautiful. Using your finger or chopstick, push your seams out from the inside, making sure they're nice and smooth. Press.

7. Now it's time to work on your cuff. Create your Prairie Points from 3" squares (Tutorial HERE); stack them equidistant apart; pin. Baste with longest stitch on your machine, about 1/8" seam allowance.
 8. To the right side of one cuff piece, match cut edges of Points and felt.
 9. Stack second cuff piece on top and pin. Sew with 1/4" seam.
10. Take remaining 2 cuff pieces and attach, along long sides, with 1/4" seam allowance.
11. Sew the two cuff pieces, right sides together, along both shorter sides to create a tube, like this: 
 12. Turn right side out:
 13. Fold and press:
 14. Fit cuff to the inside of stocking, right side facing in and the prairie points facing forward. You'll have to 'ease' it to fit. Enlarge the picture below - see where the finger is pointing? That's where you're going to place your looped ribbon, upside down.
15. Remove the table from your sewing machine and fit the stocking in place; sew 1/4" seam, easing cuff as you sew. Back stitch a few times over the ribbon stocking hanger.
16. Turn cuff to outside. Press that beautiful stocking!
17. Hang it up for all to see!

I think they turned out really well! Love them.

Now! If you have a tip, trick or tutorial you'd like to link up, here are the directions!

  1. Post a tip, trick or tutorial on your website or blog
  2. Grab a "Tips & Tricks" button from my blog in the right sidebar --> 
  3. Post said button in your tricks post, and link back to my blog
  4. At the bottom of this post, click the "link up" button and follow the directions...let the party begin!
  5. If you have a chance, pop by the other fellow blogger linker-uppers at the bottom of this post and share some love!

Here are the particulars for the giveaway!:

1st prize:

 2nd Prize:

3rd Prize:

To enter:

Here are the rules!

  1. The contest is open to international responders. I'll use to choose a winner.
  2. The contest here on my blog will be open from December 17, 2012 - December 31, 2012. I'll announce the winner of the giveaway on January 1, 2013 and contact the winner by email. 
  3. If you're a no-reply blogger, make sure to leave your email address in your response. If a no-reply blogger wins and doesn't leave their email in their comment, I'll randomly choose another winner.
  4. Here's what you have to do to win: 

You have up to three ways to enter the giveaway,

  1. Leave a comment on this blog telling me why you started quilting.   OR
  2. Follow my blog and leave another comment saying you're doing so. OR
  3. Sign up to host "Tips and Tricks Tuesdays" on your blog, and leave another comment here saying you did so. OR
You can do one of the above or all three to increase your chances of winning!

Winners will be announced on January 1 - for 3 lucky people it will be a happier start to the New Year!

Contest has closed: thank you for entering!
Please check back tomorrow for the winners!

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  1. I was looking for a tv stand at a thrift store and bought a sewing machine table for $10. It contained a Singer 301 that ran and still runs like a dream and I got hooked quickly. I had to buy a new tv stand!

  2. I started quilting by making hexagons with an auntie. Love your stockings. Apologies for the previous message, didn't mean to delete it.

  3. I started quilting so long ago that I don't remember why I started. I still have the first quilt I made, a king size hand pieced, hand quilted sampler.

  4. I am a follower. Love the stockings, they are so cute.

  5. Sou seguidora.
    Feliz Natal!

  6. Hi Erin. Thanks for your invitation to join your Bee. It will be my first! I have submitted my form, joined Flickr, and joined your site. :)

  7. Linda inspiração,parabéns.Sou viciada em papel inglês,aprendi faz muuuito tempo com minha avó.DICA:Eu não costuro o papel,vou dobrando e dando uns pontos em cada esquina e arrematando por ali,quando tiro o papel ficam os pontos.Economizo tempo(não tenho alinhavos )e economizo papel,pois eu faço meus moldes.Gostaria de ser ganhadora de algum prê

  8. I wanted to make a quilt for my daughter and son so they could always have something handmade from me especially for them, even years later when they grow out of it or the style I hope it will be something they can look back and still cherish.. then I got hooked on quilting and can't seem to it looks like they will have plenty of quilts to look back on.

  9. Sad to say.....

    I began quilting in the hope of making friends with the mothers at my children's (then) school

    20 years on and I have a LOAD of friends in cyberspace, and some in real life, but none of the original group

  10. I started quilting when I took a class with a friend, she wanted to take the class and I'm the one who ended up falling in love!

  11. I also follow your blog!

  12. I started quilting because I inherited a half-finished quilt top from my mom who got it from my dad's's a feedsack quilt from the 30's. So I had to learn to quilt in order to finish it. I made 6 blocks into a crib quilt and I have 14 left.

  13. I started quilting when the quilting bee got started on buzzle. I figured how hard could it be and just jumped right in!

  14. I also follow your blog :)

  15. Growing up my sister and I spent a lot of time with our grandmother while my mother worked. We always fought over who got to cuddle up on the couch, watching tv, with "the quilt". It was a super soft Dresden plate quilt with so many colors and patterns you thought you were laying under a kaleidoscope. I don't know where that quilt ended up but I missed it so much, I was determined to learn how to make one myself. While I'm not near that level of expertise yet, I'm having a blast learning.

    shel704 at aol dot com

  16. I'm a follower
    shel704 at aol dot com

  17. I started quilting this year, but I have sewing in my blood with my amazing grandmother letting me help her out when I was a tiny little girl! Thanks for the chance to win.

  18. I´ve always been collecting fabrics, but didn´t know what to do with them. One day I visited a exhibition with quilts and after that I definitely know what to do with my fabrics :)
    Gun, Sweden

  19. I would love to have you link this post to my HeLP for Hexie-aholics linky party that was started today. I have a friend who wants to make hexie stockings so I will be passing on the link...

  20. I started quilting because I asked my father to send me the UFO my sister and I had started following a sewing class in middle school. The quilt is supposed to be either a twin or queen sized bed quilt, but that scared me. So I started with a baby quilt and am working my way up from there.

  21. I remember playing with my sisters under a big quilting frame in my grandma's dining room. We all loved that. For whatever reason, we missed getting one of her quilts when she passed and had always wanted a quilt. So, in 1990 I taught myself to quilt and have been going on and off again since.

  22. I follow your bog via e-mail. Thanks for a great contest to start out the year.

  23. Oh they came out so beautiful! I've tried hexies but I don't understand how to continue after I've sewn a row and I have to attach more , are you supposed to fold them in half? Anyway, I'll have to check out more tutorials!

  24. I'm a follower too. thanks for the chance!

  25. I started quilting because my grandmother was a quilter and I loved to watch her

  26. Erin you did a beautful job on your stocking tutorial! Thanks for sharing it with us :o) I started quilting about 7-8 years ago because I wanted to learn a craft that would use my sewing machine instead of so much hand work. Over the years I've stressed my hands out with gardening and hand-type of crafts such as crochet. I've really loved learning to quilt and feel like it has helped me to grow my not-so-developed artistic skills.

  27. Oh my gosh -- these are marvelous!! I found you from the Sarah Did It! blog. You did a great job with the tutorial, too -- definitely making a note of this!!! :)

  28. And I'm a new follower -- I'd love for you to come by and check out my blog, too! :)

  29. I started quilting in honor of my great-grandmother, who was an avid quilter, quilt-designer, and historian.

  30. I grew up sewing in 4-H but hated making clothes. I started sewing again after college when I had to enter the real world & found myself with time on my hands.

  31. I started back when we were doing a trek down to California. We stopped at Joann's and I thought meh, I'm going to try one of those quilt pre-packaged kits to see if I like it. I've been hooked ever since.
    jenspan (at) hotmail {dot} c0m

  32. I started quilting .... I guess I loved the idea of creating something for my girls and/or people I love. I love the creative aspect of it, the modern quilting movement really caught my attention! Thanks for the chance to win btw!

  33. I am a new blog follower as well

  34. I started quilting in 2009 when my little daughter was born, I just wanted to make her her own babyquilt, and thats were I got stuck then

  35. and Im a new follower, thanks for this giveaway

  36. Following your blog (signed up for your FQ swap, too)

  37. I started quilting because it was just a natural progression from the other sewing (dolls and toys) I already do. I'm still a super newbie with quilting but I'm enjoying it a lot.

  38. I started quilting as an extension of garmet sewing...but I loved quilting more and I have not gone back to garmets 20+ years!

  39. I started quilting because I made a bucket list when I was switching jobs and had three months in between unemployed. I took a class from a lady in her living room because I had no idea where to start and haven't looked back since!!! I did a degree in Fine Art so I thoroughly enjoy seeinga quilt top come together.

  40. Gorgeous stocking and fab tutorial - thanks! I am a follower and fingers are crossed in your giveaway! amycav at hotmail dot com

  41. I started quilting because I wanted to make my Mum a quilt for her 80th birthday!

  42. My Mom showed me her rotary cutter, ruler and mat and I was hooked! I'd started a log cabin in high school and cutting all of the pieces using tissue paper patterns & sewing shears turned me away from quilting.

  43. I started quilting when I found lots of inspiration tutorials from the blogs land

  44. I started quilting because I was ready for a new challenge.

  45. I started quilting because my mother did. She was teaching classes at the fabric store she worked at, and I took the class. That was 20 years ago, and I haven't looked back!

  46. I'm a follower of your blog. A great tutorial for the stockings! makes me wonder what else I could use this technique for....

  47. I started quilting because I wanted a quilted bedspread for our home but couldn't afford to buy one. So I kept my eye out for bits and pieces of fabric and old clothing/bedding at opp shops and made my own! It's a bit crooked but I love it and my sewing's improving all the time. :)

  48. I started quilting because I became bored with cross stitching but whilst making up things using fabric I became more and more obsessed with the fabrics and less with the things I was making. Plus I had learned to sew when I was at school many many years ago and loved machining so I figured why not! And now I can do the two things I love the most - buy fabrics and sew on a machine I love.

  49. I follow your blog by email and if this darn thing would let me sign up to be your follower I would but it won't so I can't.

  50. I live in Greece and I wanted to make a dress for my daughter, my mom brought a sewing machine from the States over and some fabric and well, now I can't stop thinking of all the things I want to make, I just learned how to do EPP and I love it!

  51. I started quilting, somethin Ialways wanted to learn, after cnancer surgey left my right hand paralyzed and I couldn't do my other crafts anymore because fine motor skills are a problem, I can kind of use scissors with my left hand, but canplace a rotary cutter in my paralyzed fist and hold it to cut fabric! A newish friend (now a best friend) quilts and got me started, and got me to join a guild. It is all so much fun. angieterry84(at)gmail(dot)com

  52. I am a follower of you awesome blog!

  53. I think I must have read too many penny dreadful's while I was growing up. All the girls made quilts when they got married. Mine was a log cabin, no idea what happened to it.


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