Looking at my stocking collection inspires me to make more!
A quilter needs to have a Patchwork Santa.
There are several websites that I browse to see the latest Bucilla stocking kits. I check out Colray Crafts because their picture size allows me to see the details of the stockings. This is a company in the United Kingdom so I don't order from them...I'm pretty sure the postage would shock me. Since I make many of these kits, I order mine mostly from Supply Craft, a company that has the best prices daily on the internet. You should be able to pick up a current design kit for under $20. In the lower 48 states you might be able to find these kits at Hobby Lobby or Michael's and use your coupons! Designs that are older can be found on Ebay, though you may be shocked at the prices the most desirable kits sell for...I've seen them sell for over $100...and you still have to make the stocking!
Lets get started. Most of what you need, comes in the kit. All the felt pieces are stamped. Every piece is numbered in the order it is placed on the stocking. Also included are sequins, floss and two needles - one for beading and one for general stitching. You will also need to provide scissors and fiber fill to stuff parts of the felt that are appliqued. I have learned from doll makers that fiberfill brand is important...Fairfield 100% polyester Fiberfill...this is the ideal one to use...you can find it at JoAnn's in a mostly blue colored wrapping.
The first thing I do is press the felt pieces before they are cut. I'm not sure of the content on the felt but it's most likely polyester so it might melt! I put the felt between two Teflon pressing sheets. If you do any fusible web applique these pressing sheets are so helpful. (In other words...gets some!) If the creases are reluctant to press out I lightly spray the back side (non-printed) of the felt with water and press again between the Teflon sheets.
Pressing makes a huge difference. I see sellers on Ebay who have put hours into making these stockings and then try to sell them completed but the whole stocking is ruined by creases that are left in the felt.
I cut out the stocking front and back. I like to use scissors with shorter blades so I have better control cutting the curves. Notice how I cut just inside the printed line so all of the stamping is removed. I rarely cut out other pieces ahead of time...it is too easy to loose a piece when it is cut out ahead of time and...if you have days, weeks or months between your work sessions you might not remember the number of the piece...many pieces can be similar enough to cause confusion.
Next, I sort the floss. The instructions list the colors in the kit and how many stands are included. Some colors are very close so I do this in the best lighting.
You can pick up these cute little floss organizers at most crafting stores very inexpensively. Each hole has a number and I mark the number for each color on my instruction sheet...it's really a bummer when you pull the wrong floss color and start working on a section before you realize your mistake. I do sometimes substitute my own colors from my DMC floss stash because sometimes I just don't like the color match that comes in the kit. When you whip stitch a felt piece your stitches will almost be invisible if the floss matches the felt.
I store my kit in a 2.5 gallon sized bag with a closing top. I can't wait to start stitching it!