Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Posted by Madonna Yoder on

Smocked Christmas Stockings

Stockings I made with Celtic Weave, Puffy Triangles, Herringbone Weave, Chainlink, and Woven Hive patterns.

Recently, I made the most amazing Christmas stockings for my family. They do take several hours to make (mostly smocking time), so I’m not currently offering them for sale (although you can certainly contact me for a commissioned set), but here’s how you can make your own!

Materials needed:

  • Main body fabric (stretch satin recommended)
  • Cuff fabric (stretch satin recommended)
  • Lining fabric (plain quilting cotton recommended)
  • Needle
  • Thread (same color as main body fabric)
  • Marking pen/pencil/marker/chalk
  • Pattern templates for the stocking and for smocking
  • Cutting materials - rulers, cutting mat, rotary cutters, fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron, ironing board
  • Printer

Optional but helpful materials:

  • Tape for stocking template
  • Fray Check - near-essential if using satin
  • Beeswax, thimbles - decreases frustration and pain of smocking
  • Light table/tablet for transferring the smocking pattern
  • Bone folder or turning tool


  1. Choose the fabrics you want to use for the main body, cuff, lining, and hanger for the stocking. Make sure you have enough of each one to finish the project.
  2. Choose which smocking pattern you will use. The Puffy Triangles pattern is particularly well-suited for this project, with 3D texture arising from simple stitches and a completely flat back. Chainlink, Herringbone Weave, and Woven Hive are also good choices. These are all low-fuss patterns that will keep their layering even if they’re pushed around.
  3. Choose what stocking template you will use. I used the free stocking template from Happiest Camper. To use the template, I printed it out, taped the papers together using the reference lines, and cut out the outline. You can make your own stocking template by tracing around a stocking you already have, leaving space for a 1/2” seam allowance, and cutting it out.
  4. Calculate the smallest rectangular bounding box of your stocking template. The printable template from Happiest Camper fits in a 20” x 12” rectangle. You can figure out yours by laying it on a cutting mat and rotating until you find the smallest dimensions.
  5. Calculate the dimensions of material needed for a smocked panel that ends up covering your smocking. The pattern details for a Gathering Folds smocking pattern provide the shrinkage ratio for you in the format starting size : ending size, like 2:1. So, for the Puffy Triangles pattern with a 2:1 shrinkage ratio and an ending size of 20” x 12”, I’d need 40” x 24”. Add two inches to each dimension to account for edge effects and give wiggle room for pattern alignment on the stocking (26”x42” in our example).
  6. Calculate the scale of the chosen smocking pattern that you want to use. For my Puffy Triangles stocking, I sized it so that the triangles remaining on the back were 1.5”, which I divided by their current size (0.95”), which gave a printing scale of 157%. Print the pattern at whatever scale you decide to use. Smaller scales will have more stitching required, and larger scales will have fewer pattern repeats and larger edge effects.
    1. You do not need to be this precise with your scaling. The main purpose is to make the features an appropriate size while decreasing the amount of stitching needed. Gathering Folds pdf templates are sized a little smaller than I would use for large projects, so that you can scale them up when printing to the size you need.
  7. Calculate the size needed for the cuff. The width will be twice the width of the finished stocking, plus an inch for seam allowance. The height will be twice your intended finished height (in my case, 3”), plus an inch for seam allowance. For my stockings, I used 15” x 7” rectangles for the cuff.
  8. Test your marker/pen/chalk on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure you can draw precisely and that the markings don’t show through to the front.


Puffy Triangles alignment demonstration

Puffy Triangles pattern alignment and partially complete smocking



  1. Cut out all the pieces that you need. My measurements for the Puffy Triangles stocking are in parentheses.
    1. Main smocking panel (42” x 26”)
    2. Back stocking shape (trace and cut from pattern)
    3. 2x liner stocking shape, mirrored if using two-sided fabric
    4. Cuff rectangle (15” x 7”)
    5. Hanger rectangle (2.5” x 6”)
  2. Apply fray check to the edges of any satin used. Alternatively, tape the edges to prevent fraying.
  3. Transfer the smocking pattern to the wrong side of the main panel, maintaining pattern alignment and covering the entire piece of fabric. See my Lattice Weave smocking tutorial for more options and tips.
    1. Consider how the pattern will look on the stocking before choosing the tracing alignment. For Puffy Triangles, I had the triangles “pointing” along the long axis of the fabric so that they would “point” up the stocking.
  4. Smock the main panel. If a group of points has a point that lies off the edge of your fabric, simply ignore the missing point and pull together any others that remain.
  5. When the panel is complete, lay the back piece on top of the smocked panel, right sides together. Sandwich these pieces with lining pieces, with their right sides out.
    1. This arrangement will make the “outside” of the seam visible on the inside of the stocking. For a very clean finish, sew the liners and the outsides separately, then stuff the stocking. However, you may want to put an extra liner piece behind the smocked panel to minimize the potential for the threads from smocking getting caught in the sewing machine.
    2. You could also put both liners on top of the sandwich with right sides together to get a clean finish with the excess between the lining and the front panel. I'll be doing further experiments to see what looks best.
  6. Pin all four of these pieces together, making sure everything is aligned and that the stocking shapes fit inside the smocked panel.
  7. Sew the outline of the stocking with a 1/2” seam allowance, making sure to leave the top open.
  8. Cut away the excess smocked panel, going around the outside of the stocking shape. Leave extra around the top opening so the smocking holds its shape on the un-sewn edge. Snip in towards the seam every 2” or so along the seam allowance to allow the excess to take on a new curvature once it’s flipped.
  9. Flip the stocking inside out so the smocking is on the outside, and run a blunt tool like a bone folder or turning tool along the seam to fully flatten the shape.
  10. Fold the cuff in half along the long axis and pin the short sides together. Sew all the way across with a 1/2” seam allowance.
  11. Fold the cuff ring in half by turning it halfway inside-out. The right side of the fabric should be on the outside.
  12. Iron the hanger rectangle in half along the long axis. Then iron the edges in to the center line (book fold) and re-fold the center crease. Pin to hold and sew the open edges together with a 1/8” seam allowance.
  13. Insert the cuff ring into the open top of the stocking with the seam at the “back” of the foot. Slip the hanger in between the cuff and the stocking, with one end on either side of the main seam.
  14. Pin in place and sew with a 1/2” seam allowance. Cut away any remaining excess from the smocked panel.
  15. Flip the cuff over to the outside, hang, and enjoy!


Puffy Triangles Smocking Stocking

Puffy Triangles Stocking


2023 update: If you'd like detailed video instructions and Cricut-ready template files, you can get those here!

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