Courtesy of Mary Sweeney/Felted Heart, Inc.


'Tis the season to redefine the concept of 'reuse', and trim it with charm!

Designer Mary Sweeney is here to show us how.

Mary creates fabulous, new wool garments from discarded wool clothing, infusing each one with 'whim and whimsy' for her handmade Felted Heart collection.

As one of the many talented designers at Atlanta's Beehive Co-Op, Mary knows the value of a truly one-of-a-kind gift. Here, she offers a step-by-step guide to crafting a sustainable holiday stocking like no other.

Need to Know: Felting Wool According to Mary's website, felting wool is a simple, gentle process that uses a washing machine and a spot of soap. The scales of the wool bind together in the laundering process, swell up and cling to each other, transforming the fabric's texture into a smooth, soft, woolly nap. This is what your handmade, felted wool stocking will be made of!

Let's get started! 1. Visit Your Local Thrift Store or Purge Sweaters of Your Own: Search for two sweaters in holiday red, green or any other favorite color or print combo. Make sure they're 100% wool.

2. Wash Up: At home, cut off all tags off and load into a top loading washing (top loading machines are 'felt-friendly' because of the agitation; front loaders can get clogged from the fuzz) and set on hot water. Throw in a bit of soap. After your wash cycle, check your sweaters: the knitted stitches should not be visible—this is proof that the wool has been felted. If it's not there yet, wash it again, but check it mid-cycle: you don't want to over felt so that it gets too tight and is not easy to work with and you don't want to use more hot water than you need!

3. Cut Your Pattern: Take a paper bag and draw a picture of a stocking shape that you want to make. Include a seam allowance when planning the size of your stocking. Cut out the stocking pattern.

4. Five Easy Pieces: Now, cut the paper stocking pattern into five pieces: you are going to sew your stocking together using top, middle, toe, heel and mid foot.

5. Cut Your Sweaters: Once your felted sweaters are dry, cut along their seam lines into pieces, creating large pieces of felt to use for your stocking. 6. Cut Your Two-Sided Stocking Sections: Take your pieces of pattern and lay out each piece on your pieces of sweater. Remember, you need to make two for each side. Save any ribbing of the sweater for the top for a nice finished look. If your sweater has a pocket, put that to the side to add it on later for a Santa-ready embellishment. 7. Envision: Lay all the pieces together and see what each side of your stocking is going to look like. 8. Sew Each Side: First, sew the front. Use a zigzag stitch or lace stitch to seam the pieces together until you've sewn them all. Do the same for the back. 9. Sew Two Sides Together: Keeping wrong sides together, it's now time to sew the two sides together. To keep a homespun feel, I recommend leaving the rough side seams on the outside versus turning the stocking inside out. 10. Get the Hook: Take a 1/2" x 3" piece of one of the sweaters to make a felted wool 'hook' so you can hang it on the mantel. Sew this on by hand with a needle and thread or yarn. 11. Embellish: Decorate your stocking using jingle bells, reuse old ribbon, embroidery, old holiday wrap--the sky is the limit! You're ready to hang by the chimney with care, wrap in an eco-friendly manner to give as a gift, and revel in the wonder of repurposing! Love green gadgets, fashion, and news? Get the latest from Planet Green's dynamic duo Suchin Pak and Daniel Sieberg on the G Word.