I love many things about Christmas, but one of the things most special for me is the creativity of it – sewing gifts, making decorations, planning the food, wrapping and embellishing gifts, preparing a beautiful table to eat at together. This is my first Christmas as a mother to our beautiful girl Amy, so I’ve been in absolute heaven, crafting baby’s first Christmas!
We grew up with personalised Christmas stockings that our mother sewed – all handmade, each a little different. Making Amy’s stocking was something that I had really been looking forward to. I found the perfect fabric when I was rummaging through my stash, a heavy, thick velvet, in a beautiful dark red. Years ago I had discovered the velvet tucked away in a dingy old shed behind a house I was renting. It was an old Victorian villa with high ceilings, and I had obviously found a pair of curtains for some of the tall sash windows. I pulled off the ripped and sun-faded lining, washed the velvet, and decided to keep the it, thinking its rich colour and lush texture would make a great fabric for costumes one day. Pirate pants? A royal cloak, perhaps? But when I came across it again in November I knew exactly what it was: Amy’s Christmas stocking.
I found a suitably long and fat Christmas stocking pattern – you can download it here: stocking_tutorial. (I would love to credit the designer or link to their page, but they didn’t put a name on the pattern and the website has gone from my search history. If anyone recognises it, please let me know).
I reckon its a great size – 21cm across the top, 38cm to the heel and 45cm to the bottom of the toe. Big enough to stuff with some goodies, but not over-the-top. I didn’t line the stocking as it was already quite thick, but I did use bias binding to strengthen and tidy up the internal seams.
Our Christmas stockings had initials on them, and I wanted Amy to have the same. I had some really lovely wool felt, and cut the ‘A’ from white and grey felt. Before I stitched it onto the stocking I added some glittery bling in white and silver. The stars, hearts, snowflakes and flowers came in a multi-coloured pack from LookSharp, and the silver beads are from Spotlight.
My mum went through her vintage lace stash and found a few options for the fold-over cuff. I thought this lace had a cute Christmassy feel with the triangle edges, kind of like the roof icing on a gingerbread house.
Playing with the felt got me thinking of Christmas decorations. Mum made lots of ours and eventually I joined in, too. One memorable year she made a flock of white felt geese to hang on the tree, and I’m pretty sure some of my very first cross-stitch (at the age of none or ten) was Christmas bears. Another really special decoration was my brothers’ first slipper, a tiny red shoe with fluffy lining. I loved that it was an heirloom and a reminder of when he was small. We didn’t do dated Christmas decorations when I was growing up, but I decided that was a tradition I could start in our wee family.
Amy’s first decoration is a simple star, decorated to match her stocking. I used Slick fabric paint from Spotlight for the name and date.
When I had finished Amy’s stocking, I started putting one together for my niece. I agreed with my sister that I would do the basics, and she would add the personal touches. Then I wondered, what would the other new mums I knew do? Would they want to make baby’s Christmas stocking and decorations, and could I help in any way? Maybe they’d like something personal and handmade, but would prefer to buy it; could I help with that, too?
I asked around and soon had Christmas sewing sessions underway, with loads of keen mums and a houseful of babies. These wonderful women gave me their permission to share their pictures, I hope you’ll see how much we enjoyed it. Friends, sewing, Christmas and babies – my idea of awesome!
Some went shopping for fabrics in advance – Arpege and Emma found a great tui print and a coordinating red Maori motif – and some used fabrics I had here. I had the stocking patterns ready and machine set up, and was on-hand for advice and coffee making. For at least one of the girls, this was the first time she had used a sewing machine since intermediate – with a little guidance and some confidence she was off, and ended up making a second stocking her husband.
Arpege made a red stocking for Waiariki-James, and Emma made a tui stocking for Gustav. Their stockings and cuffs coordinate – so cute!
I collected some ideas for hand-sewn Christmas decorations, cut some patterns, and gathered supplies including felt, pom-poms and beads. Alena made a beautiful little tree for her boy Daniel.
It got hot inside and we ended up with babies and mums on the deck, under the big umbrella.
Another mum at a different baby group heard about our sewing sessions and said that she was keen to buy one. So I put together some samples and started getting them out there. I’ve been making personalised Christmas stockings for other families, with a choice of fabrics, cuffs and optional lettering. You can see more of them over here on my Facebook page. There’s still time to get order for Christmas if you’re keen. They’re making me a little Christmas pocket money, and giving some other babies a start on a hand-made Christmas.
What are you sewing or making for your family this year? I’d love to know about your handmade traditions, too!
This post is Day 6 of a blog tour, the ’12 Days of Christmas – Kiwi Mummy Bloggers Blog Collaboration’.During the first twelve days of December, each blogger will be sharing a Christmas themed post e.g. Craft, DIY, Inspiration, Recipe or Family tradition, at 12PM (New Zealand Daylight Time). For me it has been a really great way to connect with other Kiwi bloggers and indulge in my love of the festive season.
Yesterday Adrianne at Eva the Living One wrote about Christmas traditions. Tomorrow I am looking forward to reading Becks’ post on KidsPlayNZ about driftwood decorations.
You can follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram – simply search #KMB12DaysofChristmas.