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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stocking Advent Garland, Part 1

When I was a kid, I had an advent calendar every year, and each year it was about the same… I opened little perforated cardboard door every day to find a molded waxy chocolate behind each. I loved the calendar and the anticipation of the countdown, but didn’t always love the chocolates (though I still seemed to eat them).

I haven’t had an advent calendar since I was about twelve; this year I decided to make a calendar that can be reused each year...and it's darn cute. I’m hoping this calendar becomes a family tradition.

When you’re looking for sweaters to felt, check local thrift stores. I found five sweaters to felt for this project (and there’s plenty leftover for future projects) for about $20. Using old sweaters that don’t fit, or were accidentally felted is even better. Ugly Christmas sweaters work really well for the project; the ugly is usually only on the front.

You will need:

  • sweaters with an animal fiber content of at least 85% (the more wool content, the better)
  • a pillowcase or mesh bag for felting
  • scrap paper
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • embroidery floss
  • a needle
  • ribbon for hanging

The first step is felting the sweaters:

Felting makes the fabric dense and fuzzy, and also allows you to cut the fabric without any fraying (this is key). Place the sweater in a mesh bag or pillowcase you can tie or zip closed, and wash in your machine with hot water, soap, and a pair of jeans (for added agitation). Check the sweater after a full cycle to make sure it has felted correctly. It should be significantly smaller, thicker, and the sweater’s pattern should be tight enough that you can barely see individual stitches. Put it through another cycle if needed. Take the sweaters out of the mesh bags and throw it into the dryer until they are completely dry.

Making the stockings:

Print the pattern provided on a piece of scrap paper and cut it out. Cut the felted sweater along the seams so that you have a single layer of fabric. Pin paper pattern to the fabric and cut out two stocking shapes, one with the pattern flipped so you have a front and back, for each stocking—you’ll need 24 stockings total. Take some care when choosing where to cut your stockings. Use the pattern to dictate your cutting. I had a couple of striped sweaters that I cut out so the stripes were horizontal on some and diagonal on others.

Thread a needle with coordinating embroidery floss. Holding the two sides of a stocking wrong-sides-together (some sweaters don’t show a wrong side after felting), blanket-stitch around the edges, making sure to leave the top open. The blanket stitch is quite easy and fast once you get the hang of it.

Stitch a loop of thread through the top corner and tie the ends on the inside to make a hanging loop.
I didn’t add numbers to my stockings, but you might think about adding them, especially if the calendar is going to be used with kids. I suggest embroidering numbers on the stockings, or writing numbers on small tags that you can tie to the hanging loop on each.

When your stockings are finished, choose where you’re going to hang your calendar (it’s perfect over a fireplace) and cut a length of ribbon to fit the space. Thread the stockings on the ribbon and use a thumbtack or nail to secure.

It took a few evenings of cutting and sewing to finish the stockings, but the work was worth it.

Next up: Check back tomorrow for some ideas for filling the stockings with advent goodies. The possibilities are endless!


Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at