Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How I Monogrammed a Set of Stockings


First, I am embarrassed to admit that I have had this project sitting on my table since January. Yes, JANUARY! I agreed to monogram these stockings for a friend back when there was a strong possibility that we might move out of state. When God confirmed that His plan was for us to stay put, there was no longer a rush to get it done... and it continued to get bumped by more time sensitive projects.
But today was the day!
I added the names to these stockings in an amazingly short amount of time... so short that I'm mad at myself for waiting so long. :)
I'm hesitant to agree to monogramming stockings until I can get them in my hands and see how easy they are to lay flat. These fold-down cuffs could be flipped up and maneuvered easily in my single needle (which you will see later) so I proceeded on.
A quick note about the stockings: These were made by the matriarch of the family, who has since passed away. So there was an added amount of pressure to get them perfectly right; I had no room for error. My brain processed for months how I was going to hoop these to ensure the names were straight and all positioned in the same spot. I'm happy to say it was easy and turned out perfectly!
These stockings are not that big, so I planned to use my 4x4 hoop. We picked Embird Alpha #4 (Comic Sans) and I made the longest name (Caroline) 4" wide. The rest of the names were generated at the same settings so they had a consistent size. In the end that makes the short ones (Ray and Lisa) seem a little on the small side when you look at them individually, but I really prefer a consistent look across the board.

The cuffs were all a pretty consistent size (about 7" wide and 2 1/8" tall). So I modified Embird's built in basting stitch to create top and bottom lines that were exactly 2.125 inches apart, with little notches where the center was. That created a nice window for me to be sure the names were visually centered both horizontally and vertically. (For Ashley and Ray I ignored those dangly Ys and visually centered the capital letters; all names had the baseline in the same position.)
Now for the super fast hooping!
Disclaimer: This may not be the most sound hooping technique ever and has potential for error so please practice before using sentimental items!
I hooped sticky stabilizer and ran the placement lines directly on the stabilizer (sorry, I should have used a dark thread so you could see better!):
 
I measured and marked the center of the cuff with a straight pin:
Then I lined up the stocking on my hoop with edge along the stitched line and straight pin at the center notch:
Then I pinned the stocking (outside the stitch area) to the sticky for extra measure and headed back to my machine to stitch the name. (I did remove that center marking pin before hitting start :) )
Here's where the cheap conservation lady kicks in -- I VERY CAREFULLY removed the stocking from the sticky stabilizer WITHOUT unhooping. That sticky stabilizer is still usable!!
I lined up another stocking, floated a scrap of tearaway underneath, pinned the stocking, sticky and floated tearaway all together, and stitched stocking #2!
and #3, and #4, and #5, and #6.... Check out my stabilizer at the end! At this point the stickiness of the stabilizer is basically gone so I would have needed to start over with a new piece of sticky stabilizer. Thankfully I was done. :)
I'm super pleased with how this turned out. Not only was it a fast way of cranking through them, it ensured that every single name was the exact same distance from the bottom of the cuff, centered and straight with no worries!

So there you go. Writing this blog post literally took longer than monogramming the stockings from start to finish. I hope this helps on your next stocking project!





And now a moment for true confessions:
I created the designs, embroidered the stockings, photographed them, edited the pics, wrote and published this entire blog post... and THEN noticed that Ray's name was in fact smaller than the rest. It took me a moment to figure out why, but I remembered that I created his name separate from the rest, and the size settings in Embird must have returned to the default setting without me realizing it. UGH. So I picked out the stitches (which took longer than all of the above combined) and redid the name. Bah. It originally was a fast project... :)

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