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 emblibrary.com 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
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.
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.
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.
Luna came together very quickly and despite the fact that I always
avoid hand stitching as much as possible, actually enjoyed the
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.
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!
spent a very busy afternoon making three window project bags for my
friends at Franklins P&Q club. This design is something that I
have worked on and developed over the years. For the windows I use
clear vinyl purchased from The Range, or if not available, low volume
printed shower curtaining.
first bag in Liquorice Allsorts print was for Pat. When she
celebrated a special birthday recently my friend and I clubbed
together to make and give her a Sewing Organiser using the By Annie
pattern in this same printed cotton fabric originally purchased from
second for Maureen was made using some animal print cotton linen from
Dunelm and the third for Emma was made with Jelly printed cotton
linen from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.
put a few sewing themed gifts inside each bag and hope that the
‘girls’ will use them. I shall look out for them when we have our
I have met Sian Singleton of Kittenish Behaviour on several occasions and when I attended the last two workshops she admired the sewing accessories that I had made in a pretty daisy printed cotton fabric. The set consisted of a Sewing Organiser case from an ‘Annie Unrein’ pattern, clamshell pouch, large & small scissors cases, machine needle wallet, machine needle organiser, thread bin and Dachshund pin dog.
The Sewing Organiser case is a very complicated and time-consuming project which unfortunately I did not have sufficient time to complete. Sian’s birthday next year is something to aim for! Instead for Christmas I would make the some of the other items and hope that she would enjoy them instead.
I deliberately chose a cotton print in a colour that Sian enjoys and set to to make the different items.
I started with the scissors cases. The original larger size was featured in a ‘Threads’ magazine many years ago and I have since adapted and refined the pattern to make it my own. I drafted the smaller case to fit the little scissors that I buy from New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground, Andover. The button loops on the cases are hair bungees and the buttons are made up of a large button in one colour plus a smaller button in a contrast. A nice feature I think.
storage bin and Clamshell pouch are designs picked up at Sprat &
Winkle Quilters sewing retreat days. The wadding in the clamshell
pouch is Bosal ® which gives a good firm finish to help the pouch
stand upright. I finished of the pouch with a co-ordinating tassel.
Everything these days seems to be finished with a tassel!
Dachshund pin dog was featured in a sewing magazine – again a long
time ago and is stuffed with polyester toy filling. I buy my toy
filling from eBay in large quantities. The most recent consignment
arrived in a Double Duvet sized box!
I designed and developed the sewing machine needle wallet to counteract the frustration as my packs of needles were forever ‘migrating’ around my sewing room. I could never find the size and type that I wanted quickly. The pockets are made using the same clear vinyl that I also use in my window project bags. An alternative can be low volume printed shower curtaining which I have used in the past. I have refined the pattern sufficiently to be able to release on the internet and look forward to seeing lots more around and about amongst my sewing friends.
I made quite a few Christmas gifts this year. I used some beautiful abstract print Ponte Roma from Stitchy Bee bought some time ago and used it to make a Paola top for my sister Catherine. I have a note of Catherine’s size and having made the pattern for her a few times in the past was quietly confident that the top would fit. An hour later – one Paola top finished and ready for wrapping!
Having made the XL size of Necessary Clutch Wallet three times now, I felt confident in making another to gift to a good friend. Jenny usually wears monochrome fashions and I thought that my signature bold and colourful print would not be appropriate. I found some Grey and White Linen in my ‘landfill’ stash and there was just sufficient to make the outer, flap and wrist strap in this fabric.
I wanted the insides to be a little more ‘exciting’ and used some colourful cotton prints from my Fat Quarter stash in Black, Red and White for the card slots and zip compartments. I used Red zips and finished off with Red tassels on the zip pulls. All the hardware was nickel. Due to the thickness of the linen fabric and stabilisers I used 9mm x 7mm stalk rivets.
For the past several years I have been sharing my sewing adventures with a lady in Germany. We exchange gifts on Birthdays and at Christmas. This year, with my confidence high I decided to make an Extra Large NCW for her.
I know that Antje likes Blue as I have noticed that many of her garments are in this colour. I chose some pretty Paisley on Blue print for the outer and a contrasting Mustard for the inner. Fabrics were purchased specially from New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground, Andover.
I used Nickel for the hardware and the wallet is finished off with two tassels on one of the D rings for the wrist strap and shoulder strap.
OK, I promise this is the last Dresden Plate block for a while. However, I have scheduled in to teach a class for this lovely patchwork block so there will be a few more appearing next month as I prepare the class materials!
None of these patchwork projects were in my September Sewing Plans and now I have only a few days left to complete what I should have been sewing! Outstanding are 2 dresses and covers for the chair in my sewing room. So far I have only managed to cut out one dress which will take a couple of afternoons of sewing therefore I will have to be philosophical and accept that none of my plans were set in concrete and it is of no great importance that the plans have changed.
On to tell you a little about this particular version of Dresden Plate. I found a picture on Pinterest of a similar 20-blade block worked in shades of Green and finished with a dramatic Red Bow. It looked like a Christmas wreath. As I could not decide on fabric for the large bow I have opted for a smaller version set on a well-padded centre.
The cushion is piped with some ready-made Ruby Red satin piping and has an envelope closure on the reverse. The cover measures 15 inches square and is well-‘plumped’ with a 16 inch pad.