Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Handmade gifts: the post-Christmas round-up.

This Christmas, I really wanted to make as many of the gifts I gave as possible, preferably using fabric and materials in my stash. The idea was to (1) spend less money; (2) give more meaningful gifts; and (3) use some of the heaps of fabric I have accumulated thus making room for new fabric!

Never mind that I have never been particularly good at sewing under Christmas deadlines in the past! This year was going to be different!

Result: Not too shabby, really.

Despite the fact that Christmas did not turn out quite as planned, what with the Bubonic Plague sweeping through our house, I did manage to finish making quite a few gifts, and I feel pretty good about the way it turned out.

In all, I made the following gifts (I didn't get pictures of all of them, unfortunately):

Velvet and cotton lawn scarves for two lovely work colleagues. So pretty. I must try to get pictures.

A tool-roll for crochet hooks and accessories, for my mom. These are easy to make, and you can really go crazy with fun fabrics. I made this on Christmas Day, because I am crazy like that.

Crochet hook caddy.

Handmade linen kitchen towels for my dad. They are bound with vintage bias tape and embellished with appliques of Echino bicycle and camera fabric.

Linen hand towels for Dad

A laptop sleeve, made from recycled Tintin t-shirts, for my brother. My brother and I share a love for the French comics that goes back 15 years and more.
My sister's birthday present, a country-music apron, just in time for X-mas! (Her birthday was in September, mind you. Not sure what I plan to do about her X-mas present. I'm running a little behind schedule, obviously.)

Krishna in handmade apron.

Reversible fabric headbands for my mom and Rebecca. (Note: I need to nake a couple of these for me too! They are awesome!)

I did not get everything done that I had hoped to do, but I did better at making gifts this year than I have in years past, and I feel pretty good about it.

I also tried to find some thoughtful second-hand gifts. I gave used books, vintage hankies, and vintage table linens as gifts, knowing that many of my friends would appreciate a well-loved, recycled item just as much (or, if they're anything like me, more than) a new item. In my mind, the fact that an item is retrieved from a dumpster actually adds to its value, and luckily I have some like-minded friends and family.

So you can imagine that I walked out of our friendly locally-owned used bookstore on Christmas Eve, thoughtful gifts in hand, flushed with a sense of virtue, and thought to myself, "Look how frugal I am!" Unfortunately, there was a $55 parking ticket waiting for me when I got back to my car ...

The moral of this story? If you want to be frugal, don't forget to pay the meter.

And now, besides a few IOUs, I will be returning to my regularly scheduled program of selfish sewing.


  1. Selfish Sewing. That should definitely be the new name of your blog.

  2. Unfortunately, it has been done, and done very well! http://selfishseamstress.wordpress.com/

  3. Good for you. Everytime I try for a handmade Christmas I end up spending more on materials than I would if I bought gifts.

  4. Oh, I probably did! But since I bought all of the materials a long time ago, it SEEMS almost free!