Gift giving season is approaching and every year I try to make some of the gifts I give. I do it because I enjoy making things. Long ago I thought it would save money to make some of the gifts I gave but with all the sales that go on this time of year, I’m beginning to doubt that.
Homemade gifts aren’t just for my close family but also my extended family, coworkers and friends. There are a lot of gifts that come out of my kitchen like cookies, truffles and peanut brittle but many gifts come out of the sewing room too. The only criteria is that the recipient appreciates something homemade. I have learned that just because I do, doesn’t mean everyone does.
Every year, this time of year, my head starts spinning, usually with delight, at all the possible gifts I can make. My limit, like everyone, is time and money, and sometimes skill. Here are some of the gifts I’ve made in past years:
Appliqued bags – I’ve taken the same idea and modified it for different people. The idea is a plain tote with a simple appliqued design on it. For my nephew I made a drawstring back pack with a monster design and for my mom I made a basic canvas tote with an owl. The owl is a trendy motif now, but my mom has always collected owls and her daughters have always given her owls. My mom uses the tote all the time. My nephew is too old for monsters now but he might still use it. I’m going to say he loves it.
Wallet – From the book Zakka Sewing I made two at the same time, one for my daughter and one for my niece. These took a little time but were very fun to make.
Napkins – I’ve made napkins from plain linen and I have bought cloth napkins from the store and fused/appliqued a cute little motif from a print fabric onto them.
Pillowcases – When I was a stay at home mom and had time to indulge in hand work, which I love I bought pillowcases and embroidered a design on the open edge. One set had sea shells and the other set had a floral design. I see that people make pillowcases now out of printed fabric. They look neat but I find quilting fabric too rough for a sleeping pillow.
Pillows – Years ago Martha Stewart Living magazine featured linen throw pillows with state birds embroidered on them. The bird designs were contour drawings which were executed in a chain stitch. Cute + fun + easy = three gifts that year. I made a California Pheasant, a Virginia Cardinal, a North Carolina Cardinal and a Carolina Wren just because my mom likes wrens. (Mom got two pillows that year) BONUS: Pillows weigh nothing so shipping cost to long distance relatives is not too bad. Pillows are easy to make and you could embroider anything you want, or not and leave it plain.
Wool felt tote- For a Secret Santa final gift at work I made a casual tote out of wool fabric that moths found. I felted the wool and that made sewing a breeze; no lining necessary.
Pot holders- Friends that cook, wear out their pot holders, or stain them so bad that they should replace them. Patchwork potholders let you use up your scraps too.
Place mats- Many people use place mats and place mats have become something my daughter tends to make her grandparents every few years. They are easy to make and you can applique on them or stencil, or make them patchwork or padded, or any combination.
Zipper pouches - Like a handy Ziploc bag only prettier. I made these in all different sizes.
Waldorf dolls – I made these for my own children. They were my first attempts and I haven’t made any since to perfect my skills but I loved making them and one day will make more. Baby (in yellow dress) was very well loved and is needing a bath.
Little felt horse- Adorable. From the book Feltcraft
Felt finger puppets- These lived in the diaper bag. A little distraction when needed right at your fingertips (yes, pun intended)
Race track play mat – I’ve made this a few times in my life. I had one my mom made when I was a kid for Fisher Price Little People to drive around on. Mine had less roads and more green space for the houses or parks to be set up on. I obviously have fond memories of it and love making play mats for kids I know.