Category Archives: Christmas

Bargello Patchwork Bags

Now I am in full swing for Christmas gifts sewing. These are the first to be completed but the descriptions will not be posted until after Christmas Day as I know the recipient regularly visits this blog.

I made two Bargello patchwork blocks using a Fabric Freedom jelly roll that I knew matched one that Antje had shown in her correspondence with me. I bordered the blocks with strips from the jelly roll to give larger blocks as I wanted to make this a LARGE bag. I used a contrast lining of Blue background Lewis & Irene print that I had been keeping for a special project. I added a small zip pocket to the lining, plus a slip pocket as I always find such things very useful. The carrying handles/straps are made from strips from the jelly roll and are extra long so that the bag can be carried over the shoulder.

The second item made using the jelly roll was a patchwork project bag. I utilised some of the remnants of the Bargello patchwork for one side and made a ‘quilt as you go’ diagonal patchwork for the reverse. The zip closure came from my stash and I added a pretty tassel to the zip pull as that little something extra!

To complete the project I added a key fob using yet another strip from the jelly roll. The parcel was posted off to Germany on Monday 6th December. I hope that it arrives in time and that Antje is pleased with the gift.

Projects #84 & #85 completed 2nd December 2021

Oriental theme Christmas Gifts

For this person I chose some fabric printed with little Japanese girls in traditional dress. The recipient seems to have an affinity with the Orient as her website has a Japanese name and in the past she has introduced me to Manga art.

Once again I made a ‘window’ project bag and supplemented this with a simple slip case suitable for a ‘kindle’ or ipad.

The project bag was filled with a printed pattern for bagmaking and a selection of charm-sized (5 inch squares) pretty cotton fabrics.

Projects #90 and #91 completed 6th December 2021

An Elephant in the Room

Joan has long been a lover of these gentle giants and when I visited her in her new apartment recently, noticed a large and colourful picture of a Bull elephant in the hallway. So for this project bag I purchased a selection of fat quarters of cotton fabric featuring elephants.

I now feel pretty expert at making these bags. I was able to use three of the prints from the selection plus a length of zip and a couple of tassels for the ring pull from my stash.

The bag was filled with a variety of other small gifts including a Christmas gnome (without the battery), elephant print scarf, set of nail polishes and posted off to Chiswick.

Project #92 completed 6th December 2021

‘Musical’ Apron

So that my husband does not feel left out from all this handmade Christmas gift giving, I decided to make him an apron too! I used the ‘Sam’ free pattern from Helen’s Closet and some lovely cotton linen (1 metre £10.99) bought from Lush Fabrics through Amazon. I chose this particular print as my husband is a keen pianist and I especially liked the print being covered with music manuscript.

There is not a lot more to say about the project other than I really want to make one featuring ‘busy bees’ for myself. In the meantime the ‘musical’ apron has been wrapped and secreted away ready for 25th December!

Project #95 completed 11th December 2021

Nordic Gnomes

Well, I never knew such a thing existed until I found this ‘in the hoop’ embroidery design on the Embroidery Garden website. It immediately caught my attention and was quickly purchased, downloaded and the Brother 4000D setup into embroidery mode.

I had plenty of 10inch squares of Christmas themed fabrics, some of which were purchased on the recent trip to Village Fabrics in Wallingford. I have spent many very pleasurable hours making these charming tea light covers – many of them have been included in Christmas gifts to family and friends. Due to postage regulations I did not include the battery operated tea light covers when posting but for all those given by hand, the tealights have been included.

With the addition of a hanging loop the final ones were ‘converted’ into Christmas tree decorations and posted to my husband’s two great granddaughters.

Now we are left with just 7 displayed on a shelf. They looked beautiful when lit as they shone in the growing dusk before we turn on the lamps of the sitting room.

Project #86+many more! all completed by 11th December 2021

Christmas Robins

This morning I opened the curtains and was greeted with the sight of a light sprinkling of snow all around the garden. What better reminder that today was the day to start on my Christmas Gift sewing?

First on the list was an apron and project bag using a charming Robin printed linen-look cotton. I purchased just one metre of fabric from Amazon for £11.58 and used the ‘Sam’ pattern free from Helen’s Closet.

I made view B of the pattern and used cotton tape for the straps. It took about an hour and a half to make the apron and I am delighted with it. I definitely need one for me!

I based the project bag on the design that Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters showed us a few weeks ago. I am thrilled that I managed to pattern match the birds over the closure strip and also that the quilting is the same on the reverse of the bag. The zip on the project bag came from the stash, as did the tassels on the zip pull. The crystal clear PVC was bought from Amazon, 2.5 metres for £6.20so I have plenty left for more project bags.

So that’s the basics ready for one lady on my list, for the next I need to clean the machine and re-thread with Blue to make another project bag using Bargello strip patchwork. Watch this space.

Projects #82 & #83 completed 29th November 2021.

Christmas Gifts

I still make just a few handmade gifts for family and friends at Christmas. This year I admit that I left it quite late!

Firstly was a redwork embroidered cushion using linen from my stash, embroidery motifs purchased from and finished with some red satin piping. I hand embroidered the running stitch circle enclosing the various motifs. This cushion was wrapped and posted to my pen pal in Germany. Apparently it arrived before the gifts that I had posted to UK recipients on the same day! But at least they did all arrive before Christmas.

Next I made a scented hanger in Christmas printed cotton that I then filled with a sachet of Christmas scents. The aroma was so strong that even when wrapped there was a powerful clue as to what was contained.

The final gift for a neighbour was a padded coat hanger cover and co-ordinating fabric scented hangers. The fabric came from a stash of fat quarters that I bought several years ago. The scented hangers were ‘essence of Provence’ which I thought was a good choice to match the style of the printed cotton fabric. The cover is made so that one can put items inside. An ideal storage for co-ordinating jewellery, scarves or tights for whichever garment is on the hanger.

Projects #73-74-75 All these items were completed by 16th December 2020

Spotted! – KWIK SEW 3915

Although the number of hand-made gifts that I give at Christmas is these days much less I still like to make a few. My friend of 18 years is a regular recipient of handmade tops. This year I repeated a previous make for her – the Kwik Sew 3915.

This pattern is for Pullover tops that are close-fitting. View A has full length sleeves and V-neckline with lapped collar that is gathered at front neckline with optional four decorative buttons and rouleau loops.

I previously made this pattern using View A back in December 2018 using a quilted cloque fabric and apparently it is still used today.

This latest version is made using some super cotton spandex jersey bought from New Threads Quilt Shop based just a couple of miles from my home at the Weyhill Fairground Crafts Centre.

The pattern had already been prepared in the correct size and construction was pretty straightforward although, as usual, I found the V-section of the collar particularly difficult to get exactly right. I omitted the rouleau button loops and buttons as they are purely decorative and with the weight of the cotton jersey would make that part of the collar particularly thick and clumsy.

I finished the hem of the sleeves and the body of the top with twin-needle stitching. The entire top had taken just a couple of hours to complete. I hope my friend enjoys this version as much as the original.

Project #71 completed 15th December 2020

Fraser Tops by Sewaholic

Christmas is fast approaching and as usual I wanted to make a new top as part of the gift for my sister.

I already have a version of View A of the Fraser top by Sewaholic that I made back in May 2018. The top has been a staple in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and I have received many compliments on it.

As I had a length of Navy with White stripe Ponte bought from Stitchy Bee in my stash I decided to use that to make new versions for both my sister and myself. For the contrast I would use some 40 inches wide floral textured Ponte that I recently purchased from an eBay seller for £6.99/metre.

According to Sewaholic the Fraser Sweatshirt is the perfect year-round layering piece! Slip it on over sports bras and knit tops, under jackets or wear it simply on its own. This semi-fitted pullover knit top features set-in sleeves, contrast options, and sleeve variations so you can customise it to best suit your wardrobe. View A has contrast yoke panels, a crew neckline and long sleeves. View B has three-quarter length sleeves. View C features a set-in collar contrast detail and elbow length sleeves. All views create a comfortable fit as you move through your day. This is a great project for beginners who want to develop their garment-making skills with no overlocker required! Banded hems are used to finish the sleeve and body for a professional, clean finish. 

This time around I would repeat the variations that I made before, i.e. add a contrast back yoke, shorten the sleeves to bracelet length without the cuff, lengthen the body of the top and make a twin-needle topstitched hem with no hem band.

I first laid out the floral fabric and discovered that the stretch was only in the length of the fabric and not the width. This could have been very awkward as it contradicted the orientation of the floral print. By making the yoke and shoulder contrast panels into full pattern pieces (normally cut on the fold) I was able to be much more precise in placement to avoid the ‘sideways’ look of the print.

Stripe matching! By the time I got to the cutting out of the second Fraser top I was beginning to regret having chosen a stripe. I persevered and in the final analysis the time taken to match up stripes was well worth it. The pattern matching was helped by the fact that the striped Ponte is a great quality which did go some way to assisting this delicate task.

In the previous version for myself I had changed the depth of the collar and having marked it up on the pattern pieces it was easy to finish off the neckline with a band. Initially I used the neckline as marked onthe pattern for Catherine’s top but having attached the neckband and top stitched I found it was far too small to even get over my head! I removed the neckband and re-shaped the neckline giving it a little more depth. A new neckband was added and now the neckline is much more roomy!

Two afternoons work resulted in a pair of matching tops. I have already ‘road tested’ my version which was fine and I hope that my sister will be pleased with hers.

Projects #69 and #70 completed 15th December 2020

Grey Luna Lapin

Whilst on a roll of gift-making I thought I would make another Luna Lapin. This time I used some Pale Grey felt plus some spare pieces of quilting weight cotton print from a charm pack for the insides of the ears and soles of the feet.

The Luna came together very quickly and despite the fact that I always avoid hand stitching as much as possible, actually enjoyed the process.

Having completed Luna, I took the time to add a fluffy tail to her and the previous iteration using a pom-pom maker. I have never used this item before and it certainly made pom poms very quick and easy to produce. I still have to make clothes so both ‘girls’ are currently naked.

Grey Luna Lapin

I later changed my mind about giving this Luna as a gift, in the meantime she shares a place on the pillow of the spare bed with the first Luna and my ancient Teddy Bear!

completed 4th December 2019