Applique Stocking Kits

  • Making My First Bucilla Felt Stocking Kit – Embroidery Stitches 101

    In my last blog I talked about attaching sequins and beads to embellish a Bucilla felt stocking kit. These kits also have you do a bit of embroidery work to create patterns, faces, outlines, and even the name you will put on the stocking to personalize it.

    In the Jolly St. Nick kit, the Color/Symbol Guide says I will use an outline stitch, a back stitch, a straight stitch, and a running stitch (as well as the applique stitch to sew felt pieces together). The Guide provides you with a symbol that tells you the stitch and color of thread you should use. It also tells you how many strands of floss to use for each stitch.

    Decoding the chart Blog 5

     

    I do not have much experience with embroidery. I imagine some of these stitches take a little patience and practice. While the Bucilla instructions do include an illustration of each stitch, I thought it might be nice to have some step-by-step instructions for creating the stitches used in Bucilla felt appliqué kits.

     

    Straight Stitch

    This is the most basic of stitches.  If you think of the line you are stitching as having lettered points, the straight stitch is just going up at point A (the beginning of the line) and down at point B (the end of the line) to create one straight stitch.

    Straight-Stitch

     

     

    Running Stitch

    A running stitch is like making a dashed line . . . leaving a space between each stitch.  In a Bucilla felt kit, the felt is actually printed with a dashed line, so you know exactly where to stop and start each stitch. Here is an illustration of the running stitch.

    Running-Stitch

     

     

    Back Stitch

    The backstitch creates a solid line using multiple stitches. If you looked closely, you would see where each stitch starts and stop. It’s called the back stitch because you work backwards, starting your first stitch a stitch’s length from the end of the line and sewing back toward the start of the line. Here’s an illustration and video of a back stitch.

    Back-Stitch

     

    [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="http://www.merrystockings.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Back-Stitch-2.mp4"][/video]

     

     

     

    Outline Stitch

    The outline stitch makes a thicker, tight line with little separation between stitches visible.

    If you think of the line you wish to outline stitch as having lettered points, you would go up at point A, down at point C, up at point B (half way between the stitch you just made), down at point D, etc. Each time you come up to start a new stitch, you push the last stitch above your needle so your working floss is always above the line you are stitching. You don’t poke your needle through the floss of your last stitch (this would be a split stitch). You start each stitch slightly below the last. Below is an illustration and a short video of the outline stitch.

    Outline-stitch

     

    [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="http://www.merrystockings.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Outline-Stitch-2.mp4"][/video]

     

    These are the four embroidery stitches used in the Jolly St. Nick Bucilla stocking kit.  If you want more examples of how to do these stitches, just search the web. There are many, many embroidery tutorials available online.

    I am slowly working on my kit (I took a bit of a break to learn embroidery stitches!).  Here’s a picture of my kit in its current state. I used the straight stitch with light green floss on the lower half of the white border, and the running stitch with darker green floss on the top half.

    Jolly-June-22

     

    In my next blog, I will illustrate more embroidery stitches that different Bucilla kits use (like the chain stitch and a French knot). As always, any tips and tricks you give me are appreciated!

    Kirsten

     

     

  • Making My First Bucilla Felt Stocking Kit – Ironing, Cutting, and Adding Sequins

    Now that I have all of my kit components organized, I can finally start putting the Bucilla Jolly St. Nick stocking kit together.

    While I know those of you who have put together many of these stocking kits have some nifty, time-saving tricks (like embellishing the felt before you cut out the pieces), I have decided to follow the instructions as they are printed. I want to see how it goes. But I am going to iron my felt (which is not talked about in the instructions).

      

    Ironing

    The felt comes all folded up in the packaging, so when you unfold it, there can be some pretty deep creases in the felt.  To get rid of these, you can iron your felt very carefully.

    WARNING: the felt in the Bucilla kits can melt if heated too high.  I chose to iron my felt using a Teflon ironing sheet.  You can also iron the back side of the felt on a very low setting (do not iron on the printed side directly).

    Ironing before and after

     

    Cutting

    If you read the kit instructions, you will quickly learn that Bucilla recommends cutting out only the piece(s) you are working on.  They say “DO NOT cut out all the pieces at once.”  I imagine this is for two reasons; 1) it would be very hard to keep track of all the tiny pieces of felt, and 2) the pieces are all numbered, but the number is printed outside of the piece:

    Felt piece number

    You can see the piece above is number 39.  If I were to cut it out, I would have no idea what number this piece is . . . and the numbers will be important when using the instruction’s Design Chart to figure out where to put this piece on the stocking.

    The instructions for the Jolly St. Nick kit are surprisingly short. The first step is to sequin the stocking front (piece #1).  So, I have to cut out piece #1. I bought a brand-new, medium-sized, sharp scissors, and I took my time. I’ve cut just inside the white line because I do not want any of the white ink to show on my final stocking (you can see the white line from piece #1 on the left side of the felt picture above).

    Piece 1

     

     

    Adding Sequins

    There are a few things that are consistent with all Bucilla felt stocking kits when embellishing with sequins:

    • All sequins are secured to the felt using a bead.
    • Most sequin colors use a clear bead to secure the sequin down. The exceptions to this rule are: Red sequins use a red bead, and black sequins use a black bead.
    • Use the beading needle (the needle with the very small eye) to attach the sequin and bead.
    • To secure the sequin and bead, use one strand of floss that matches the sequin color. Knot the end of the floss with three or more knots (so it doesn’t pull all the way through the felt).
    • The spots to secure sequins are marked on the felt with a dot.

     

    sequin marker

     

    The next question is how do I know what color sequin to put on these dots?  The instructions include a Design Chart that shows you a symbol for the color of sequin you should use. The instructions say, “Only a few sequins are shown on the Design Chart. Continue to attach sequins of the same color to each applique.”

    The Design Chart shows a club symbol near the number 1 (piece 1, the front of the stocking), and when I refer to the Color/Symbol Guide, it tells me that the club symbol is for light green sequins. I also double-checked the photograph of the finished stocking that comes with every kit, just to make sure I’m reading the charts correctly.

    What sequin to use

     

    So I will use a light green sequin on all the white dots on piece #1 (the front piece of the stocking).

    To fasten a sequin to the felt, you

    1. Come up through the bottom of the felt, right at the dot marker
    2. String a sequin and then a bead through the needle
    3. Bring your needle back down through the sequin hole, but not the bead hole
    4. Voila! On to the next one!

    Beading Instructions 2

     

    I have to tell you, attaching the sequins to the felt is a bit addicting. I did run into one question that isn’t answered by the instructions in the kit. Do you tie a knot under each sequin and start again at a new spot? Or do you just go from one spot to the next without cutting the floss.  I decided on the latter if there were sequin markers near one another.  I think the felt is thick enough that my floss colors won’t show through, and I think I will line the back of my stocking front, so the extra thread won’t get snagged.

    Also, it's okay to break the rules a little! Adding different sequins and beads is an easy way to make these kits your own. I’ve talked to many Bucilla felt kit makers who add their own beads or different size sequins to their kit’s design. Check out Michelle W.’s “bead hoard” (as she calls it!).  It would be so much fun to pick a sequin or bead from this container!

    Michelle W. Bead Hoard

     

    Here is a photo that Donna Z. sent of the finished Bucilla Believe Wall Hanging Kit by Mary Engelbreit. I can see that Donna added some extra crystal beads in Santa’s coat, on the candies, on the wreath, etc. Beautiful!

    Donna Z. Believe

     

     

    Here is my Jolly St. Nick felt kit . . . step one complete!

    End of Blog 4

     

     

    Thanks to Michelle W. and Donna Z. for your pictures. I look forward to watching my Jolly St. Nick kit come to life as I move forward. Please feel free to add comments (or e-mail me at kirsten@merrystockings.com) with your questions or advice. I’d love to hear from you.

    Kirsten

     

  • Making My First Bucilla Felt Stocking Kit – Organizing Components

    I want to thank all of the MerryStockings customers who have given me advice on organizing Bucilla felt kit materials. Many of you have been sewing Bucilla kits for years, and it is fun to hear what works for you and makes creating these beautiful stockings a bit easier.

    I will try to sum up what I have heard over the last couple of weeks below. Of course everyone works differently, but one thing is certain . . . organizing materials well can make the job go much faster.

     

    Embroidery Floss

    Each Bucilla felt appliqué kit comes with embroidery floss.

    Thread-with-watermark

     

    As you can see, it is a big ball of floss. The Jolly St. Nick kit instructions say to separate the floss by color. Some colors (like the light blue and white) are very close in hue, so it will be important to keep the floss organized. I used the Color/Symbol Guide in the instructions to know what colors are included in the kit (in my previous blog post I included an illustration of the Color/Symbol).

    It turns out, most craft stores offer many products to organize floss, from cardboard or plastic bobbins that you wind floss around and store in a plastic case, to plastic or cardboard floss separators that you thread your floss through and write the symbol or code near each color.

    But, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to organize the floss by color. Peggy C. says “Take a piece of sturdy cardboard and make slits about every ½ inch about ½ inch deep on one side and put each color in a slot. Keeps every thing from tangling.”

    Mary Lee B. recommends using a small white small paper plate. She punches holes in plate, threads the floss through and writes the color/code above it. An inexpensive way to have floss handy and easy to work with.

    For now, I’ve just loosely wound the floss by color and zipped them up in small, snack-size plastic bags.

    Floss-in-Baggies

     

    Most agree that rethreading a needle every time you need to use a new thread color takes too much time and effort. Everyone I spoke with or heard from strongly suggested that I buy some extra embroidery needles so I can have each color threaded while I work.

    Wendy R. uses a piece of extra felt maybe 6” long by 1” wide that she cuts from the kit (there is usually some extra on the piece of felt containing the back of the stocking). She uses that to hold her threaded needles while she works.

    Bonnie D. says “First I separate all the floss into colors and wrap them around 3 fingers loosely and put them on a paper plate (dinner size). As you use a color you take one of the strands and separate it out for the strands you need (1 for beading or 2 or 3 for embroidery) and wrap it around 2 fingers and place it inside the hole of the first strands. Then your colors are always together.

    I purchased extra needles with eyes for beading and embroidery. Use a pin cushion to keep them on hand. I always have one of each color threaded on the needles. You are always changing colors of thread and some of the needles are hard to thread, therefore you don't want to be taking out the thread every time you need to change colors. You may want to purchase needle threaders for this task.”

    I agree that the needles for beading have especially tiny eyes, and a needle threader will be a necessity for me. I had a couple at home, so I included one in my supplies.

    Needle_Threader

     

    I found this magnetic Needleholder Card at the craft store for around $3.00.  It holds the threaded needle on a magnet, has slits to secure the thread, and has a place to label each color. I’m going to give it a try. It seemed like a good idea for me because I will be toting this project from MerryStockings to home and back.

    Needle-Holder-Card

     

    Susan H. says it goes much quicker if you have multiple needles threaded at a time. The thread tangles easily. She reminded me to be patient and not hurry the process of unwinding to get a single strand. Susan was also kind enough to send me some pictures of her work area (near her T.V.).  I’ve heard from many MerryStockings customers that these kits are a nice project to do while watching T.V.

    Susan-H-Work-Space

     

    Sequins and Beads

    There are also a number of ways to sort and store the kit’s beads and sequins. The instructions in the kit say to use separate paper plates to organize each sequin color. A pill organizer or empty TicTac containers work too.  My craft store had a least a dozen options for organizing beads. I wanted something mobile, so I opted for a bead organizer with separate compartments and lids (sort of looks like a pill holder, doesn’t it!)

    Bead-organizer

     

    Donna Z. and Wendy R. both told me it is easier to work with the beads and sequins on a plate or in small glass bowls when trying string a sequin or bead onto the beading needle. I see that Susan H.’s bead container allows for her to unscrew each bin, so the lids are not in the way when trying to string the sequins. Perhaps I will find that I need to put a few sequins or beads on a plate (or glass small bowl) once I start embellishing my felt pieces.

    I might also find I want to thread extra beading needles (which I found at my local craft store in the beading section) with the floss colors and store on my needle holder card as well.

     

    So, here’s my organized Bucilla kit components so far . . . ready to go.  I’m sure as I begin working I’ll find what does and does not work for me . . . I’ll let you know!

    Organized-kit

     

    Thanks again to Susan, Bonnie, Wendy, Peggy, Hillary, Donna, and Mary Lee for your advice. It has been fun to hear how others work, and I’d love to hear more tips. Feel free to post comments below to share how you organize your kit materials or ask a question.

     

    Kirsten

  • Making My First Bucilla Felt Stocking Kit – What Comes with a Kit?

    I have decided to try my hand at putting together the Jolly St. Nick Bucilla felt Christmas stocking kit. Today I am going to open up the kit and show you what a Bucilla kit looks like.

    Jolly w watermark

     

    Step 2 – Opening kit and verifying contents

    Every Bucilla felt Christmas stocking kit comes with pre-stamped felt pieces (which means that the patterns are already printed right on the felt, so it is just a matter of cutting on the lines to get the felt shapes I’ll need to finish the kit), cotton embroidery floss, sequins and beads, 2 needles, and the instruction sheets.

    Contents with watermark

     

    The first thing I’m going to do is open up the instruction sheet to make sure that the kit includes everything I need to finish it. I would hate to be chugging along and find I’m missing a sequin or floss color. I’m using the Color/Symbol Guide in the instructions as my reference to check that everything is included. (You can click on the image below to see a larger version.)

    Color Symbol Guide

     

    I can see that this kit is asking for red, pink, green, light peach, black, white, light green, and light blue cotton floss. Some of these colors are repeated because you will use them for different embroidery stitches (the symbols in the left column are the different stitches). I have all of these colors.

    Thread w watermark

     

    I also see I will need light green, red, and white sequins for this kit. It also shows I will need clear and red beads. The kit also comes with two needles, one with a smaller eye for beading and one with a larger eye for embroidery.

    Beads and sequins with watermark 2

     

    I chose this kit as my first kit to construct because it looked to have fewer pieces than some of the other Bucilla designs, and, indeed, this kit only requires six felt colors: white, pink, peach, black, green, and red.

    Felt w watermark

     

    The kits do not come with polyester fiber, which is recommended to stuff some of the pieces to create that wonderful 3-D look that Bucilla felt applique stocking kits are known for. I believe I have some of this at home, and will bring it in.

    One spectacular thing about MerryStockings.com, is that we do have some extra Bucilla kit supplies on hand here if you need clear beads, thread, sequins, etc. to finish your kit. If we have the component on hand, we are happy to send it to our customers!

    For now, I’ve zipped up everything in a plastic bag. I’ve kept the color photo of the finished kit that comes with package to use as a reference when I am constructing the kit. I know organization is going to be key for me to get this stocking kit completed . . . I don’t want to lose any pieces, and I also know well-organized materials will make the job quicker.

    Jolly in ziplock w watermark

     

    I’d like to devote the next few blog posts to how people organize their felt stocking kit supplies like beads, sequins, and floss. If you would like to share tips or photos of how you organize your kit supplies, please send them to me at kirsten@merrystockings.com.

    Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kirsten

  • Bucilla Goes Fishing

    Fishing-Santa-Bucilla-Vintage-Stocking-Kit

    Do you have a junior fisherman in your house? Or even a junior fisher-woman? I have great memories of my son walking around the lake near our home with his fishing pole--a long, curved stick--wearing a real fisherman's hat and of course his boots. :) He'd gone fishin', simple as that! I may be a bit partial, but I do believe he was the cutest little boy around on those particular days.

    Imagine your little fisherman getting this stocking for Christmas! Decked out with all the necessary fishing gear, made complete with that adorable fishing "fly" on his hat, this stocking will be a sure hit for the little guy. This is a classic Bucilla stocking kit and has been discontinued by Bucilla, but Merry Stockings carries it as a part of our older vintage stocking line. You can get this charming stocking for 25% off today!

    The kit comes complete with beads, felt, embroidery floss, sequins, needle and of course your easy to follow instructions. The finished product is 18" and you can order it from the Merry Stockings website. The kit will ship out to you pronto so you can get started right away.

     

     

  • Bucilla Christmas Toys Wreath Kit

    I don't think there's a little boy alive that, at one time or another, hasn't asked for a drum set. Every year when we asked our boys to make their Christmas lists, a drum set appeared on at least one of those lists. My husband and I would look at each other, slightly grimace, and see what else their little active boy minds were dreaming of!

    Christmas Toys WreathI think drums and trains and candy canes are nearly synonymous with Christmas for kids, and of course Bucilla (and Merry Stockings) knew this when they designed this adorable Bucilla Christmas Toys Wreath Kit! We've talked before on the blog about how some Christmas decorations are such that you can get by with leaving them up longer than just the Christmas season, but this here wreath is definitely not one of those!

    Ice skates, presents, snow flakes, snowman, Santa, trains and candy canes deck out this very fun and sweet wreath, and following the included instructions (in 3 languages no less) will have you secretly smiling while you make it. I mean, it's pretty hard thinking about these cute and very traditional symbols of childhood and Christmas and not smiling, no?

    This Bucilla Christmas Toys Felt Kit comes with everything you'll need to complete it. The finished size is 16' x 16" and will liven up any door...or wall...or banister even! You can feel good about the fact also that this kit, like most other Bucilla kits, is made right here in the United States . . . you'll be supporting a homeland business. Does it get any better than that?

    The price on this wreath kit, like the one we showed you yesterday, is 20% off on the Merry Stockings website and is listed for just $27.99. Order today so that you'll have a fun project to start just as soon as the kids go back to school in a few weeks!

  • Deal of the Day!

    DealOfTheDayNobody loves a deal better than this Minnesota girl, and today we've got not one, but THREE deals to share. Today we are featuring three Bucilla kits that we've got in stock in a limited supply with prices slashed by up to 40% off!

    happy santaFirst up is the Bucilla Happy Santa Stocking Kit that displays a super happy Santa on an adorable red plaid background. And these socks are no gold toed socks from Sears, but boast holly instead. At just $14.99, and coming to your door complete, this is a real steal.

    santas wreathNext up is the Bucilla Santa's Wreath Stocking Kit, a jolly green stocking that pairs perfectly with Happy Santa. There are a few more of these available, but they won't last; so snap your complete kit up for $14.99 before they are gone.

    NAnd last, but definitely not least, we are offering the Bucilla In The Workshop Ornament Set Kit. In this kit you'll receive everything you need to make 6 different ornaments, and I think these little guys would make really cute little package toppers, no?! And at just $19.99 for the whole set, you can afford to get a couple of them. Hurry tho, these are going to fly off the shelves.

    If you've never worked a Bucilla Kit, you will be pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to create these heirloom pieces for your loved ones.

     

  • Triple Ginger Sandwich Cookies ~ Gluten Free!

    Triple Ginger Sandwich CookiesIt is no secret to my family and friends that I love everything there is about the fall season. It may or may not be because my birthday falls somewhere in there, hehee. But, seriously, one of the treats I look forward to all year long is the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte that the coffee shops seem to have perfected over the last couple of years. Sipping on one of those, whipped cream coating my upper lip, mmm, yes, that is nothing short of flavor heaven in my book.

    So imagine me, this lover of all things pumpkin and cinnamon and ginger, learning that gluten was not my friend. There are a lot of things that us gluten free folks must forgo, but letting go of my gingerbread cookies in the fall was one of the harder ones. That is, until I found a quite amazing recipe for Triple Ginger Sandwich Cookies! Oh, wow, these guys are fabulous, so full of flavor and warmth and even the white stuff in the middle is tempting and scrumptious. And, the fact that they are gluten free AND taste divine had my little heart beating a little faster. :-)

    I will warn you, tho . . . most things we talk about here on Merry Stockings are of the simple variety. This recipe, mostly because of the mixture of different kinds of flours, is a bit more complicated. If you've been navigating the gluten free world for awhile now, this recipe, what with the potato starch and brown rice flour, etc., won't rattle you. For the newbies, it may be a bit more work to combine these flours, but the alternative is to never have sweet treats again. And, for most of us, that just isn't going to happen, right? Right.

    The other really really great thing about this recipe is that it uses THREE forms of ginger: ground, fresh grated and candied. The flavor is deep and complex, so soo good. Your friends are going to be asking you how you made these, I promise. They are delightfully ginger-y through and through.

    I wouldn't change a thing to this recipe, as so often when you are combining flours to mimic the gluten in all purpose flour, the quantities have to be exact. A big thanks to Gluten Free Canteen for going to all the trouble to kitchen-test this recipe so we can all look like master cookie chefs. I encourage you, if you are traveling this gluten free lifestyle with me, to check out her blog. She's got some other really tummy-happy pumpkin recipes that you are going to fall in love with, guaranteed.

    So, Merry Gingerbread season!

    P.S. Speaking of cookies, we just got the Bucilla Christmas Cookies Felt Applique Stocking Kit back in stock! Supplies are limited, so hurry over to the Merry Stockings website and order today. Price is currently listed at 17% off.

  • Cowboy Santa Bucilla Stocking Kit Photo

    Thanks to Laura S. for sending us this photo of Bucilla Stocking Kit: Cowboy Santa.

  • Cupcake Angel Bucilla Stocking Kit photo

    Thanks to Eva A. for sending in this photo of a completed stocking kit entitled Cupcake Angel.

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