Christmas stocking laying on top of a marble table. Stocking is white and grey with the name 'freddie' embroidered along the top in red. Behind the stocking sits balls of yarn and a pair of scissors.
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How to Personalize a Christmas Stocking

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will show you how to personalize your Knit Christmas Stocking using a chain stitch embroidery technique.

This tutorial is part two of the Christmas Stocking Knitting Pattern. If you haven’t yet knit your Christmas Stocking, check out the free pattern and video tutorial.

Knit Christmas Stocking lays flat upon a table. Stocking is knit in Originally Lovely Lana yarn in the color Tabby and Natural. At the top, the stocking is embroidered using a chain stitch technique in OL Pima yarn.

Techniques Used to Personalize a Christmas Stocking

The method that we will be using to personalize this stocking is a embroidery technique called the Chain Stitch. Hand embroidery seems intimidating, but is actually a simple and fast.

The chain stitch can be worked in a beautiful, loopy script for a modern and playful way to customize a stocking. Once you get the hang of this cursive embroidery technique, you’ll be customizing stockings for your whole family!

This is the same technique used to personalize name baby sweaters! Feel free to use the techniques you learn in this tutorial to personalize other things as well!

Step by Step Video Tutorial

A full, start-to-finish video tutorial is available for this pattern.

The video tutorial is always a great place to start for the fastest answer to any question.  Timestamps for specific parts of the pattern are linked in the pinned comment.

How to Embroider Your Christmas Stocking

© ORIGINALLY LOVELY 2024

This pattern and photographs of this garment are property of Kaitlin Barthold of Originally Lovely. This pattern, photos, and design are subject to copyright and are for personal use only. All commercial use is strictly prohibited. You may not reproduce or distribute this pattern under any circumstances.

The free version of this pattern must be viewed from the webpage.

Materials Needed to Personalize your Stocking

Step by Step Instructions

After your stocking is felted and completed, you can now embroider the name onto the stocking using a chain stitch. 

Step 1

Begin by planning out the way you want your name to look before you begin. You may either write out the name on paper to keep nearby or lay a strand of yarn onto the stocking in a looped cursive style. Pin this yarn onto your work or take a photo to keep track of the letter placement. It is important to have a general idea where you want your letters to go so that you won’t run out of room.

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 1 - photo shows loopy red yarn on a white Christmas stocking cuff. Yarn looped in the name 'Freddie' and is meant to showcase where you will embroider on your stocking

Step 2

Cut a piece of your scrap yarn approx 4’ long and thread onto tapestry needle. You want plenty of length to work with, without being too long that it gets tangled.  You can always add more yarn later if you run out. 

Step 3

Thread through the top cuff of your stocking where you want your name to begin from the inside, to the outside (from back to front).  You will be embroidering through both layers of the double cuff of the stocking. Careful not to pull this strand all the way through, you want a tail on the inside to weave in later.

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 3 - photo is a closeup of the top cuff of a Christmas stocking. In the cuff is a strand of red yarn that has been pulled through using a tapestry needle. This is meant to show where you will begin embroidering the name onto the stocking.

Step 4

Insert your needle into the same hole, from outside of the stocking to the inside (from front to back). 

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 4 - same Christmas stocking is shown, this time, the needle with yarn is being threaded into the same hole that the first strand came out of, from front to back.

Step 5

Pull through until you have a small loop (approx 1/2”) remaining. 

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 5 - photo shows same closeup of stocking cuff, yarn has now been mostly pulled through to create a small loop on the front of the stocking, about ½" long.

Step 6

Decide where you want this stitch to end and the next to begin – about 1/4” away from the first stitch – and insert your needle into this loop, from back to front.  

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 6 - the first stitch is now being formed in the photo as the hand moved the needle from back to front, about ¼" away from the first stitch, and through the loop left to create the first chain stitch.

Step 7

Pull yarn through and gently tighten to complete the first chain stitch. To keep the stocking smooth, be careful not to over tighten this stitch.  

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 7 - yarn is now being pulled slightly tight to seal up the first stitch. The first stitch looks like a little v, with a strand of yarn coming out of the center of the v to shape the next stitch.

Step 8

Insert your needle into the same hole and pull through from outside to inside until you have a small loop, as done in steps 4-5.  

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 8 - yarn is now being threaded from front to back, in the same hole.

Step 9

Insert your needle into this loop, from back to front, and gently tighten to complete the second chain stitch as done in steps 6-7. 

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 9 - yarn is once again threaded from back to front, through the hole left behind and tightened slightly to create the next stitch. Each stitch looks like a little V on top of the last.
Repeat steps 4-7 for each consecutive stitch to create your embroidered name. 

Step 10

When you reach the end of a letter, or a point where you need to finish off your chain, insert your needle into the same hole on the outside of the loop (not into the loop), from front to back. Pull through and tighten gently to secure the final chain stitch. 

How to embroider a Christmas Stocking step 10 - end of letter is now completed, you can see a cursive loopy F formed with the chain stitches. To close of the stitch, needle is being inserted from front to back, just outside of the loop, not through the same hole as done up until this point.

Step 11

To begin in a new place, insert your needle from back to front and pull through to begin a new chain stitch. Pay careful attention not to pull through too tight, but instead let the strand of yarn carry at a natural tension across the back of your work.  

The next letter is now being formed. The F is complete and the needle is inserted on the outside edge of the F, just slightly below the center point.

Step 12

Insert your needle into the same hole from front to back and pull through to create a small loop, as done in steps 4-5. 

Needle is inserted into the same hole, from front to back, to create the next loop which will form the next stitch.

Step 13

Continue in this way as established in steps 4-7 to form your letters. Be sure to finish off the end of each stroke as done in step 10.  

Progress has been made and now you can see an F, R, E, and half of a D being formed with the chain stitche embroidery.

How to Make a ‘Dot’

Some lowercase letters have a ‘dot’ — if you need to dot a letter in your embroidery, use the French Knot technique outlined below.

Step 1

To create a ‘dot’ on a letter, insert your needle from back to front where you want the dot to be. 

Photo now shows the point where there is a dot that needs to be made on the I. Needle is threaded through the stocking from the back to the front, in the point where the dot will be

Step 2

Wrap your working yarn around your needle three times to form a ‘french knot’.  

To form the French knot, which will create the dot on the I, yarn is being held in the left hand and needle is wrapped around the yarn 3 times in the right hand.

Step 3

Insert your needle into a new hole, very close to but not exactly into to the previous hole, from front to back. Pull through gently, holding the twist in place with your other hand. 

Needle is now inserted from front to back, near the same hole. Left hand is shown holding the twisted yarn in place.

Step 4

Tighten gently to complete the ‘dot’

Yarn is now pulled from front to back and tightened slightly to shape the dot.

Finishing Your Embroidery

When you’ve completed your letters, finish off the end as done in step 10. Weave in all ends behind your work to secure.  

All letters have now been completed and the final E is being finished off by inserting the needle just outside of the loop to secure.

Additional Embroidery Tips

  • Be careful not to pull your chain stitches too tight. This can cause puckers in your work. 
  • If you need to join a new strand of yarn, simply leave the old strand at the back of the work and begin with a new strand. Once you’ve completed your name, weave in these ends to secure.  
  • Be sure to embroider the name AFTER you’ve felted your stocking. 
  • Don’t worry too much about each chain stitch being the same length, they will look good when completed if they are done with even tension. Longer chain stitches look smoother, but smaller chain stitches help with detail work and tighter turns. Aim to make each stitch about ¼” long, but when you need more detail, use the length that works for your letters. 
  • Use a scrap yarn with a nice twist and stitch definition for crisp, well defined letters. 
  • Some people may find it helpful to begin working the name starting with the middle letter, centered in the middle of the stocking cuff. Personally, I don’t find this helpful as some letters take up more space than others. 
  • Finally and most importantly, have fun with it! It can be hard to feel like it’s never perfect but remember, you will be the most critical of your work. Embrace the cute, imperfections of handmade and be proud of your work!

Pattern Support

For questions, please comment below or email support@originallylovely.com

Did you Embroider Your Stocking?

Show off your finished work by tagging @originally.lovely or using the hashtags #originallylovely and #OLChristmasStocking

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