Our newest addition to our family is experiencing his first Christmas, and it only seemed fit for him to have his own stocking to hang along side the rest of them.
This idea is based on DudeCraft's Paper Cut Portrait tutorial, only using fabric instead of paper.
Find your photo
Open your photo in a photo editing program (I use Photoshop CS3). Print a copy of the original photo to use as a reference later on. Save the file with a different name so you don't copy over your original photo file. Desaturate your photo to give you fewer tones to work with, keeping in mind the colors of fabric you intend to use for your portrait. In PS, under the Image>Adjustments, choose Posterize. Adjust the setting to your taste. Ideally, you want your image to have definable shapes for each color value, so choose the setting that allows the most flat areas of color without losing detail. I chose to set my level at 6 which gave me a nice balance.
Crop your image
Crop your image as close to the subject as possible to give you a smaller work area.
Define the areas
Create a new layer. Use your Eyedropper tool to select one of your 3 color values. Use your Paintbrush tool to paint over the areas of the color you selected to clean up any grainy areas and create crisp edges. Repeat for remaining color values. Refer back to your original image if needed. Your image should look something like this with flat clearly defined color shapes.
Turn off the visibility of your posterized layer and you should have just the painted areas visible.
Crop your image to only the portion you want on your stocking.
Add background if needed
Since my subject is mostly white, I needed a guide to know where to cut out my white pieces in the next step. If you are not using white then you can skip this step. I just added a new layer, dragged it underneath my painted layer and filled it with a solid color rectangle.
Print a copy for each color value you are using, plus one for reference. For instance, I have 3 color values, so I printed 4 copies of my graphic. My photo was quite large so I printed it at 20% on letter sized paper. It is important to remember that the design needs to fit on your stockingâ€“so measure accordingly.
Cut Out Your Pattern
The next step is to cut out your paper pattern pieces from the prints you made. Figure out which color value is going to be your background (this is usually the largest area; in my case mine was white). Trim around the entire shape and lay aside.
Cut out the rest of your pattern pieces by cutting out all of the midtones from your second print, and the remaining color values from your remaining prints. Piece them together by using your graphic as a guide.
Cut Your Fabric Pieces
One by one, pin your pattern pieces to their corresponding fabrics and cut them out so you have a bunch of fabric shapes.
Layer Your Fabrics
Again, referring to your graphic, start layering and gluing your fabric pieces accordingly.
Once your layered fabric piece is dry, add details using embroidery thread. If you are using a thin fabric, you may want to add stabilizer before stitching, but since I used felt layers, I felt mine was sturdy enough on it's own.
For the white dots of the eyes, I made french knots. If you don't know how to make a french knot already, Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching has a fantastic, easy-to-follow tutorial. I got it right the first time using Jenny's tutorial!
I also used a satin stitch to create the brown patches on my pet. Here's Jenny's tutorial for that as well.
Attach to Stocking
Once your stitching is complete, it is time to attach your pet portrait to the stocking. If you are making your own stocking, you can easily sew your applique on before assembling, but I used a ready made, dollar store stocking so I simply attached my pet with fabric glue.
Hang and Enjoy!
Hang your pet's new stocking and stuff with treats from Santa!