Handmade Christmas Gifts

As I said in a previous post, whenever possible I like to hand make gifts for friends and relatives. This year has been a particularly busy one as I made some additional gifts for my new friends at Franklin’s Patchwork & Quilting group.

Most of this year’s gifts were either festive scented embroidered cushions, sewing room accessories or tote bags. I tried to match embroidery designs or fabric prints to the personality of the intended recipient so there are subtle prints, exotic prints, redwork and scandi-style, a real “Heinz 57” variety of designs! I made a couple of long-line waterfall fronted waistcoats and two fully reversible aprons but apart from that have steered clear of “clothing” to avoid any “size” issues.

waterfall front waistcoat 1  plaid waistcoat 1

   elephants 01 light side

For most of the bags I used cotton fabric purchased from Fabricland and Simplicity pattern 2164 as the basis for the design. For each bag I changed the dimensions slightly dependent on my fabric choice and length of fabric available. Some bags had internal pockets, some external pockets and a couple NO pockets! I also changed the handles again dependent on fabric availability. All the bags were padded with 2oz polyester wadding which adds an extra layer and enhances the feel of the bag. I will be tutoring a class at New Threads, Weyhill Fair in January 2016 for making this bag and my Christmas gift making has provided me with plenty of practice with the pattern!

antheas tweet bag barbaras pretty polly bag gails bag 5   jennys ochad bag

mos bag

The nautical print bag was made with oilcloth purchased from Fabricland in Salisbury. It is the Carousel Carry-All Tote bag design but this time there is no hardware on the handles and I used a strip of velcro for the closure of the flap. The Linen “Owl” print bag is another Carousel Carry-All tote with Brass “O” ring hardware on the straps which are slightly shorter, and velcro fastening.

judiths bag 1 jennys bag

For sewing accessories I made two Armchair Sewing Rolls using a pattern and instructions devised and developed through Sprat & Winkle Quilters. I owe Lizzie grateful thanks for re-sending the pdf as my original copy has been mislaid. I used Tutti fruitti print cotton fabric in two colourways, purchased from Fabricland plus some plain White polyester cotton from my stash. The pin/needle cushion in the centre of the Sewing Roll was stuffed with polyester toy filling. The zips were from a length of continuous zip purchased from Dunelm Mill. Now that I have just about exhausted the supply of zips left by my father who once worked as an Engineer at Opti-lon zip factory I am a convert to continous zips except that as yet I have never managed to apply the zip pulls. For that I usually enlist assistance from one of the members of our P&Q house group!

armchair sewing roll armchair sewing roll open 2

The other sewing room project was a Thread catcher and pin cushion which can be laid on the edge of a sewing table next to your machine. I have had the pattern and instructions for this for many years, source unknown but probably from the internet. The base of the pin cushion is two layers of cardboard from Whiskas cat food cartons. They provide stability and prevent pins and needles from going through to the work surface beneath the pad.

thread catcher and pin cushion

The Fragrant Festive cushions were made using a variety of embroidery designs mostly purchased from www.emblibrary.com. I used Red cotton fabric from New Threads, Weyhill Fairground and either White or Stone coloured thread for the embroidery. The various trimmings were from my stash. Each cushion measures approximately 14 inches square and has a separate pad made from curtain lining. The pads are filled with polyester toy stuffing. I used a zip with lap insertion on the reverse of the cushions which are made either from more of the Red fabric, or a contrast e.g. the same fabric as to that used for piping or borders. The fragrance is provided by sachets “Christmas” or “Winter” from Greenleaf. 

carols cushion glennas cushion jeans cushion maggies cushion

I made one other larger cushion from a fabulous “country wildlife” printed linen purchased from B&R Textiles in Salisbury. The cushion measures approximately 18” square, has a Cream satin piping and is totally reversible as I hand stitched the opening behind the piping.

jackies cushion

In addition to sewing, I did a little knitting. This year not as much as last year when I made an extremely l-o-n-g scarf! This multi-coloured striped scarf is a pattern from Ravelry.com called “The Hitch hiker Shawlette”. It is made from 100grms of a random-dyed 4-ply sock yarn. A very simple pattern that I have enjoyed knitting and plan to repeat – next time in “Spring” shades.

cathys hitchhiker shawlette

Finally, at Christmas time last year I designed and part-made a linen cushion featuring an appliqué of a leaping reindeer with a fabulous set of antlers. This year I got around to finishing it! The cushion measures approximately 16 inches square, has a linen front, cotton print piping and reverse with lapped zip closure. I made the pad to fit using polyester toy stuffing but now find it is rather flat so will make another pad and this time, stuff it really firmly!

leaping reindeer

My final project for 2015 is a commission for an embroidered cushion featuring a “chocolate” cocker spaniel.

Other than that my next projects will be something completely different – I have many, many ideas and plans so we will just have to wait and see what magic happens in my sewing room.