The Cool, Personalized Stocking You Can Make with Kids from Recycled Jeans

published Dec 5, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
two holiday stockings with name "Lola" and decals (planets, flowers, suns).

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

Who doesn’t love a retro-looking jean jacket covered in pins and patches? They’re such happy, goofy expressions of self, and exactly what came to mind when I started thinking about what I wanted for my daughter’s Christmas stocking. We tend to lean more towards the “bright and shiny” parts of the holiday (think fun colors and disco balls) rather than red and green traditional decor, so it really was the perfect fit! 

The best part of this project (other than getting to personalize EVERYTHING!) is that it’s made from recycled denim material, and can be created as a no-sew project! If you don’t have any jeans that are ready to be cut up, check out a thrift store. Find a pair that are large, and thick denim fabric; avoid stretchy jeggings. If you can find a denim skirt, you’ve hit the jackpot, because that’s just enough fabric for this project! (If you have a pair of jeans at home you want to use, but they aren’t wide enough to make a stocking, you can always cut up the fabric and patch it together using your sewing machine to make a larger piece of fabric to cut your stocking from. It’s a fun look, but because denim is heavier and sometimes unwieldy, I don’t recommend this method for inexperienced sewists!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old pair of jeans, denim skirt, or a denim jacket — about a half yard will do!
  • Patches
  • Fringe trim
  • Straight pins or chalk
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread; fabric glue, if you won’t be sewing
  • Paper grocery bag (wrapping paper works, too!)
  • Iron 

Using the inside of a paper grocery bag or some other large piece of paper, trace around an existing stocking to create your pattern. 

Find a wide section of jean fabric that doesn’t overlap the zipper, trace (or pin) the pattern, and cut out the first side of the stocking. As you can see in the photo, I like to allow a bit of excess when I trace my stocking so I can trim in more detail if needed after it’s cut out. 

Once you’ve cut out the first side of the stocking you’ll need to cut another piece for the back side. If you’ve cut the stocking to the exact size of the pattern, flip the pattern over and position it on another large piece of jean fabric, trace (or pin) and cut out the second side of the stocking. 

Since I made a few adjustments to the first side of the stocking I’d cut, I decided to flip it over and use it to cut out the second side of the stocking. 

Turn the two sides of stocking cutouts so they are right sides together and perfectly aligned. 

Remove the top side of the stocking and set aside. Lay the trim down the back side of the stocking (fringe pointing inward) to determine length. Once you’ve cut the trim to size, add the top side of the stocking back so that it sandwiches the fringe trim detail. Pin the sandwiched pieces together, then work your way around, pinning the rest of the stocking together.

Sew the stocking together, leaving about a half inch seam allowance (the distance of your presser foot is perfect). You can also use some heavy-duty fabric glue if you don’t have a sewing machine or aren’t comfortable with hand-sewing.

Turn the sewn stocking right side out, and use a pencil or other blunt object to get inside the foot of the stocking fully turned out. Be sure to iron (or better yet, press) for cleaner lines and a better shape. To play up the look of the dark denim, I decided to fold this stocking over at the top, then I ran a few stitches through the backside to hold the fold in place.

Personalize the stocking with iron-on letters and other fun patches that align with your child’s likes and interests.

The first stocking I made for my daughter had a custom chain stitch patch from one of my favorite shops, patches from her favorite movies (Trolls World Tour, and The Grinch), a patch to signify her first time seeing The Nutcracker, and other empowering patches that I wanted her to have.

To hang your stocking, you’ll want to add a belt loop or two. Just trim a belt loop off your jeans, stitch or glue together, then attach to the backside of the stocking.

Our daughter was SO excited to see her stocking, it was all we could do to keep her from taking it back to her bedroom to play with it! She loved looking at all the different patches, and had ideas for more patches we could add the following year. It’s the holiday equivalent of a charm bracelet, and can make for some really special traditions.Warning: shopping for patches is addictive and can become quite expensive if, like myself, you have no will power! Just remind yourself that you need to save space so you can continue to add patches throughout the years, and try to limit yourself to a few each year. 

If you’re looking for something fun for kids to do at a holiday party, or have a child with a December birthday, this might be what you’re looking for! They can make stockings from scratch, or you can work ahead of time to have pre-made stockings and let them sort through random patches and iron-on letters to add. Whatever route you take, it’s going to be a fun one!