How to Embroider Names on Christmas Stockings

by Sophia Sola, Demand Media

    Impersonal Christmas stockings are simply not as exciting to hang above the fireplace as stockings that have the family's names embroidered on them. Hand embroidery in particular will give your stockings a quality, home-spun feel that machine embroidery cannot capture. Further, embroidering the stockings yourself will allow you to mark them with names you cannot find on pre-embroidered stockings, such as family nicknames or names with unusual spellings. While the beautiful satin stitch isn't always practical for embroidering clothing that gets a lot of wear and tear -- it is likely to snag -- it is perfect for use on decorative items such as Christmas stockings.

    Step 1

    Draw a straight horizontal line in pencil on a piece of tracing paper.

    Step 2

    Place the tracing paper on top of the last letter of the name, using the backwards alphabet printout, so that the letter is resting on the horizontal pencil line. If the name you'd like to embroider is Lena, for example, begin with the lowercase "a." The letter should be placed at the left end of the horizontal line.

    Step 3

    Using a water-soluble, washable, iron-transfer marker, trace an outline of the letter.

    Step 4

    Continue tracing letters, from the end of the name to the beginning, with the transfer marker. Work from left to right, as you would with normal writing.

    Step 5

    Mark a straight line in washable marker 1/2 inch from the bottom of the stocking's cuff. The letters of the name will be positioned above this line. Use a T-square ruler to make sure that the line is perpendicular to the vertical edges of the stocking.

    Step 6

    Turn over the tracing paper, and place it so that the pencil line matches up with the marker line on the stocking cuff. Move the tracing paper left and right until you like where the name is positioned on the cuff.

    Step 7

    Iron the tracing paper so that the transfer ink shows up on the stocking cuff.

    Step 8

    Embroider along all the letter outlines using a small backstitch. To create a backstitch, first make a millimeter-long stitch backward along the line you are tracing. Then, sew the floss up through the fabric a millimeter in front of that original stitch. Again, stitch backward just a millimeter. Bring the thread up through the fabric just ahead of that most recent backward stitch. In short, stitch one millimeter backward on the showing side of the fabric, and two millimeters forward on the underside of the fabric.

    Step 9

    Fill in all the letters with satin stitch. Satin stitch is a crowded whip stitch done across the width of the letter outlines. Bring the needle up just outside of the back stitch line, draw the thread across the the width of the letter, and stitch it down again just outside of the back stitch line.

    Tips & Warnings

    • You can use a different color of embroidery floss for each letter, but be sure to use the same color floss for back stitch and satin stitch within each letter.
    • Satin stitch is often done on a diagonal across each letter.
    • If any ink is still showing, gently wash the stocking or rinse it with water.

    About the Author

    Sophia Sola has been a writer and editor for over six years. She co-owns Sirius Prose Editing & Writing Service and has experience ranging from authoring magazine articles to editing Ph.D. dissertations. She has been published in the "Earth First! Journal" and on Tivix.com, JSI Top 21 Record Reviews and other websites.

    Photo Credits

    • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images