Getting excited about Christmas? Humphrey can’t wait to get his paws, claws, and jaws on this year’s festive fun! This DIY dog Christmas stocking is soft and stretchy for squishing full of gifts, and made with thick durable materials and sturdy stitching to help it survive our usual Christmas chaos. That way, Humphrey can really get into the festive fun of pulling his presents out of his stocking. It’s also washable, which is always helpful for post holiday cleaning before going back into storage. Here’s the scoop on Humphrey’s new DIY dog-friendly stocking.
The Ghosts of Christmases Past
My Very Special Christmas Stocking
Christmas stockings are a must in my family. My grandmother was a master crafter. She knitted a personalised stocking for each grandchild that entered the family as they celebrated their first Christmases, including my own very old and very loved stocking. As the years passed and the family grew, the tradition spread to spouses, great grandchildren, and onwards. Eventually the time came when Nanny could no longer knit them herself, and the outsourcing began. She’s now passed, but her tradition lives on with family members all around the world.
Pet Stockings vs. Pet-Friendly Stockings
Of course, in our family, the pets have stockings, too. Tiger had a super cute little cat Christmas stocking, and we added a stocking to the holiday collection for Oli when we merged furfamilies. When Humphrey joined the family, it was a mad scramble and I bought the only dog Christmas stocking I could find. It’s cute, but made of thin felt material that would never stand up to Humphrey’s excited Christmas gift grabbing. Instead, Dog Dad has taken on the role of stocking safety holder and gift dispenser. Each Christmas, I say that I should make a new Christmas stocking for Humphrey, but I never seem to get around to it in time. Not this year! We’re ready and waiting with a new Humphrey-resistant homemade stocking. And the lucky lad can have both stockings, as he’s been a very good boy.
Whether you’re shopping, crafting, or combining a ready-made stocking with some DIY embellishments, safety first. Everything requires dog-by-dog consideration for suitability and supervision, and stockings are no exception. From a pet’s perspective, stockings are filled with fun objects, sounds, and smells. Perhaps even tasty smells, which can add another level of risk. Safety might mean keeping stockings and other temptations well out of reach, and/or require special handling and supervision, especially on Christmas morning when gifts are being opened and the excitement is extra high. Stay safe, furfriends! A trip to the emergency vet is not on anyone’s holiday wish list.
Humphrey's Homemade Christmas Stocking
In order to share Humphrey’s new Christmas stocking with our readers, we needed to fast forward a little so this post will be updated after the holidays with Christmas action pics. Of course, my spotty rascal had zero objections to testing out his Christmas stocking with a few toys and treats for photos. Haha! And yes, there sneak peeks of a few new DIY tug toys with fresh patterns coming up in future posts, too!
DIY Dog Stocking Supplies
To make a similar DIY Christmas stocking, you will need:
- Sturdy sweatshirt fabrics (see below) or other materials of your preference
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine (affiliate link)
- General cutting / sewing supplies
Sturdy and Stylish Stocking Materials
Humphrey’s stocking is made with soft stretchy thick sweatshirt materials. They’re easy to cut and sew with basic tools and techniques, but still have enough stretch to work well for stuffing with presents. They’re not a strong as some of the heavy-duty materials I use for sewing actual toys, but were a great option for making a durable DIY dog Christmas stocking. And bonus style points for the patterned sweater-like fabric used on the exterior and applique. It had been sitting in my craft stash for so long I can’t remember when or why I bought it. But at last, it’s been put to good use. The grey liner is also stash fabric and red is an offcut left from Humphrey’s dog coat. Zero dollars spent. More money for toys and treats! Haha! Of course, buying specific materials or upcycles (a great option for patterns, too) would work, too.
Sizing and Sewing
You can adjust the size to suit you pet and your materials. However, as a note of caution when planning, if you are including the optional cuff (red on Humphrey’s stocking) remember that you will need to sew that as a loop. Although you can sew from the inside, it’s easier to sew loops (especially bulky loops) if the stocking is big enough to go around the base of your sewing machine. And make sure that your machine can handle the bulk of your layered fabrics. Not sure? You can sew a few test strips with scraps or offcuts and just your settings, design, or materials if needed before you get started with the main project. I love the red cuff, but the final top stitching after flipping it over was very thick. It’s extra wide and the raw edges sit concealed inside, almost like a fat piping. I should have swapped machine feet. Whew!
Stocking Design and Decorations
Anything goes! I appliqued a mini bone from a matching offcut. Plain would be pawfect too. Or, if your materials allow, you could add an iron on or sew-on other decorations. Remember to keep things sturdy and secure, though! And take care not to compromise the stretch of your materials and/or their washability with what you add. Love the idea of soft, stretch, durable sweat shirt materials but prefer a different look? You can take inspiration from our DIY and adapt another stocking design from elsewhere or create you own custom stocking.
In addition to style, the red cuff finishes the raw top edge of my stocking. This is optional. For a simpler stocking, you can swap the cuff for a different type of binding or just sew the top edges closed. Topstitching a material like sweatshirting that doesn’t iron well or hold a crease is a bit tricky, but a little patience and some pins/clips will get you there.
Sewing Humphrey’s DIY Dog Christmas Stocking
Cutting and shaping the materials:
- As noted above, you can shape and scale the stocking to best suit your fabrics and your pet.
- Cut two identically sized stockings from the main (outer) material, making sure that they face opposite directions. Tip: If using a patterned fabric, take care when cutting to ensure that the patters will match or align when joined.
- If including a liner (optional), cut another two identically sized stockings from the liner material. The liner will not be flipped after sewing. Your stockings should match when positioned outer out, liner in. With the optional liner, there are no raw edges or seams inside the finished stocking. And it doubles up the main body of the stocking for added strength, too.
- If including a cuff (optional, see alternative comments in design above), cut additional materials. The top edge of the cuff will need to match the top edge of the stocking, but adding a little extra taper below helps make sure it fits free and loose. My red cuff was made with joined pieces. I needed to join because of my offcut, but it’s also extra easy to adjust the fit and add taper this way.
- If including an optional applique and/or loop, you can cut those pieces from offcuts or other materials to suit your design.
Preparing optional embellishments:
Depending on what you’re adding and where, you might need to sew these into place before doing any of the assembly so that the back side of any sewing (like the applique) is concealed in the finished stocking. As a bonus for me, applique is fiddly sewing, so best done early in a project when my patience and focus are both high. Haha! My applique is double sewn, right at the edge and again just inside.
I added a loop, but it’s really just for extra looks as we don’t currently hang the stockings on anything. And since it doesn’t need to hang, I made it super thick and sturdy in case it catches the attention of ripmaster Humphrey. It’s just an offcut strip, sewn into a tube, and inverted. I rotated the seam to the middle (inside of loop) and top stitched the edges to help keep the strip firm and flat. The loop was sewn into the seam at the top edge when the cuff is added.
Sewing the main Christmas stocking:
- Layer your stocking pieces in separate pairs (main pair, liner pair) so that the materials are right/embellished side in. Pin to secure.
- Sewing each pair separately, sew along the seam allowances, leaving the top open.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material if/as needed.
- Invert the outer stocking to right-side-out.
- Slide the inner liner into the outer stocking and check fit.
Attaching the accent cuff:
The cuff here conceals the upper edge of the stocking. See the design notes above if you’d like to skip the cuff of swap it for an easier finish. My cuff is double-sided with a bottom seam from joining pieces. There are no visible raw edges on the cuff, and the back side of the sewing of the applique is also hidden inside.
- Flip the stocking fully inside out.
- Place the cuff into position. Carefully pin or clip into position, ensuring the top edges are matched and you capture all layers in place.
- Make sure your applique (if used) is in the right position to flip outside and face forward after the cuff is sewn and the stocking is flipped. Not sure? Check before you sew. Adjust the alignment and re-secure pins or clips if anything has been shifted during checks.
- Slide the loop (if used) into position. At this stage, it will be positioned downwards (raw edges up) so that it will flip upwards when the cuff is folded over after sewing. I positioned my loop at the back, near but not at the seam. There was already a lot of bulk happening there and I didn’t want to add extra in the same place.
- Carefully sew around the loop, stitching through all layers to secure. Trim loose threads and/or excess if needed.
- Flip the stocking back to right side out.
- Fold the cuff over on the outside of the stocking.
- Double check that everything is in place and secure. All good? Whew!
- Since this isn’t an ironing-friendly fabric, carefully pull the folded over seam into position and pin or clip as best you can in preparation for top stitching. The topstitching will be below the raw edges, encasing them. Yay for hidden edges. With the thick materials here, it’s a bit like a piping on the top edge, so be careful and maybe swap that foot if you have one.
Use and Care
Ready for stocking stuffing! The stocking isn’t intended to be played with like a toy, but it’s sturdy enough that nibbling squeezing squeaks will be fine at our place. As noted above, everything is case by case, and safety first of course. Humphrey came running when I accidently squeaked a few toys while loading up for this post. Hello, early Christmas!
The materials in my stocking are all machine washable, so we’ll be able to wash out any drool and fur (well, we never seem to wash all of that out…) after the holiday fun before tucking the stocking away into storage until the next Christmas. Pawfect!
The Countdown to Christmas is On!
Santa Paws will be coming soon! We’ll be back to update this post with fresh photos after Humphrey gets a chance to use his stocking for real Christmas fun, but he’s already given it his squeaky smiling approval. We’ll be back again soon with more DIY dog fun! Until then, you can find all of our ideas in the archives, including fun toys, treats, and much more. You can sniff your way around the blog using the post tags, categories, suggested posts, or dig up something specific with the in-site search. Woofs!