Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stuff This

Years and years and years ago my mother made us felt Christmas stockings from kits.

They've definitely seen better days, but they are such wonderful little heirloom pieces.  You can find the old kits on eBay, but the prices seem really excessive....$20.00 to $60.00 or so for one of these kits.  I haven't seen mine for sale, but my sister's stocking was made by Sultana and was called "Mini-Toys".  There was one for sale on Etsy, but it's since been sold. 

Given the major price gouging on these little felt applique kits, you can imagine my surprise when I came across a kit at a yard sale a while back for $4.00.  It was a vintage kit by Bucilla (#82065) called "On Santa's Knee" and I decided to make it for my newborn nephew.  I started it earlier this year, but found it to be too time consuming and tedious.  I didn't have the patience for it, so I set it aside for a number of months.

Then in October my mother showed up for the wedding with her usual haul of yard sale finds.  Among her goods, she had found two additional felt applique kits.  One was a vintage kit from Sultana (#1249) called "Jack-in-the-Box" and the other was a kit from 2001 by Dimensions (#8092).   So after the wedding, I dragged out the Bucilla kit and started to stitch away.  I had just over two months to get these three stockings prepared for the kids in my sister's family.

The kits are pretty neat.  They come with everything pre-printed on sheets of colored felt that you cut out.  You start with piece 1, attach piece 2, then piece 3 etc.  The kits come with detailed instructions, coordinating embroidery thread, crewel thread, sequins, and needles, but they don't come with stuffing.  The hardest part was attaching each little sequin and bead.  It took forever!
You can see the pre-printed outlines in this mid-assembly photo.  And P.S. that is Santa's bag, not a golden toilet, which is what my husband kept calling it.

I dragged the Jack-in-the-Box kit down to Southern California for the Thanksgiving weekend and spent about six hours straight working on it on the drive back home.  I started the third stocking during the first week of December and finally finished it late last week.  I have seriously been working on these stockings for about eight weeks non-stop in the evenings while watching television and movies.  And so, here they are:
Only the Sultana stocking came with a bell, so I added bells to all the others.  I mean, seriously, you really need a bell on Christmas stockings.  How else will you know if pudgy little kid arms are illegally rooting around in them?
I modified just a few things on this Santa stocking from Bucilla.  The little stuffed bear is supposed to be attached with velcro, but curious kids will definitely find cause to remove him and then lose him, so I stitched the little bugger on.  I was supposed to use a gold cording for the name, but Mr. Parker is a String Burglar and kept making off with it and I couldn't figure out how to balance out the letters in cursive.
This Sultana kit was slightly easier than the Bucilla, either because there were fewer pieces or I had become a pro.  I modified just a few things on this one too.  I stuffed the head and body of Jack, because my stitching was a bit wonky and the stuffing helped hide that.  In true 1970's fashion, they wanted me to attach red sequins to the pink ornaments, but the colors did not look that good in the photo, so I opted for white on the one and light blue sequins on the other.  I love how the ornaments swing!

You can tell that this one is the modern one, just from the color scheme.  All that vibrant blue!  None of the vintage kits really have that color.  This one also has a few modifications.  I inadvertently attached white sequins along the top when it had called for blue.  I used black sequins for the mouth and eyes...the recommended black stitching did not look much like coal.  The cursive stitched name that the directions recommended looked stupid, so I gave it my own letters instead.  This kit wanted me to stuff almost every single applique piece...ridiculous!  I just did the ones that I thought needed some dimension.  It came with purple sequins, but never said to use them, so I outlined one arm.  I also scratched the pom-poms that were supposed to appear on the hats.  

My sister's husband is the only one who doesn't have a stocking, so I guess I know what I'm doing next year.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! When you told me about these I was kinda like "Why on earth would you need to spend so much time on a stocking...?" Now I understand, oh craft queen!
-Snarls Darwin

Melonie said...

What an amazing Auntie you are:) These are gorgeous Rach! Fantastic job and well worth all of the effort. Hope you had a great Christmas!!