Bring a bespoke element to the celebration of Yuletide with an array of homespun treasures inspired by the pages of Victoria—mementos fashioned with care from natural materials, scraps of fabric, and simple craft-store finds. Stylist Melissa Sturdivant Smith offers direction on several projects she designed for the magazine. Created with heart and hand, these adornments offer easy ways to greet the season in signature style.
For this charming trio of stockings, remnants of velvet and brocade form a pleasing mélange.
- To create a simple pattern, loosely trace an existing stocking, or draw the shape freehand.
- Cut two mirroring panels each of decorative and lining fabrics, plus ribbon for the loop.
- With right sides together, pin the top of each decorative panel to the top of a lining panel. Sandwich the ribbon loop in the outside corner of one of these pairs, placing it between a decorative panel and a lining panel. Stitch each pair, panel to lining, joining the pieces only across the top (Figure 1).
- Unfold and press. Pin this pair, right sides together, matching fabrics so decorative ends and lining ends meet (Figure 2).
- Begin sewing lining together around the heel and up the back of the leg. Continue stitching all the way around the decorative end, and back down the front of the leg and toe of the lining, leaving an opening along the sole of the lining. (Figure 3).
- Clip curves before turning the stocking right-side-out through the opening (Figure 4).
- Press well, and stitch the lining closed (Figure 5).
- Push the liner into the stocking, and finish the stocking with a decorative stitch around the top edge, if desired (Figure 6).
Expanding from this basic construction, stockings can be further embellished by mixing fabrics or adding trim. For Melissa’s center design, pictured above, layering a miscellany of crocheted doilies produces a generous cuff with a dainty scalloped border.
Keeping an Advent calendar has been a cherished custom since the mid-1800s, when many families used candles or wooden blocks to count down from December 1 to Christmas Day. This charming take on the tradition features an interpretation of the tussie-mussie sewn from bits of toile.
- Sew twenty-five V-shaped pockets with scraps of fabric.
- Inside the top corners of each pocket, hand-stitch lengths of wired ribbon for hanging.
- Number the assortment with embroidery, charms, or adhesive figures.
- Fill with sweet treats, or tuck a posy of dried or silk blossoms into each cone.
Outdoors, invite feathered friends to come calling. Decorating a tree within view of a picture window will offer glimpses of natural splendor throughout the winter.
- Collect a bounty of pinecones, spoon peanut butter into a bowl, and fill a pie plate with birdseed.
- Wrap a length of ribbon around the stem of a pinecone, and hold it by the streamers as you spread a generous coating of peanut butter over the scales.
- Roll the sticky orb in birdseed, and tie the ornament to an evergreen branch.
- Repeat with remaining pinecones.
Hydrangeas lend a grace note to this rustic chandelier.
- To tint the petals, before assembling the arrangement, apply a fine mist of specialized floral paint outdoors. For our focal point, Melissa achieved a rosy hue, but she also suggests considering accents of gold or silver for a festive Yuletide look.
- Once paint is dry, insert stems in damp floral foam and suspend arrangement from the fixture with ribbon streamers. Fresh blossoms will age to a delicate, papery finish over the holidays.
Text Melissa Lester
Photography Mac Jamieson, Marcy Black Simpson, Caroline Smith
Styling Melissa Sturdivant Smith