Thursday, 26 December 2013

Happy Handmade Christmas

Happy Christmas to those who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to those who don't. I made a conscious effort this year to hand make as many Christmas gifts as possible. The key to this strategy is getting started early, and I mean early! Mid November just isn't going to cut it!

I blogged about it at the time, but last August I completed a Baby Jane quilt for my mother-in-law. This took eight months to make start to finish, and I bought most of the material and wadding specifically for this project, so it was not exactly cheap. But I hope it will last years and years, and for the money I did spend, I would never be able to buy anything close to this quilt.

For my mother, I made a couple of cushions to match her dark green sofa. Now these were super cheap as I used all leftover fabric for these. The cushion inserts were bought in a super cheap sale a few months ago, so the only thing I bought specifically for this project were two green zips for less than a couple of pounds. Result! Also, I did iron these before I gave them away, sadly not before I took the photos. Domestic Goddess FAIL.

This is my first attempt at clamshell appliqué. Previously, all my appliquéing has been done on to a backing piece, whereas these all sewed directly to each other. I found it quite challenging, but felt I got the hang of it a few rows in.

This design is called the tobacco leaf and combines machine sewing for the background and hand appliquéing for the petals. I still don't always have everything lining up perfectly, but at least my sewing is now very solid and not likely to fall about at the seams. Which is just as well, my mother has a cat who doesn't understand the words, 'get down'! 

For my nan (in-law but I consider her my nan!) I made a couple of pot holders in October. Except we ended up giving her these for her birthday a little while before Christmas (organisation FAIL). These were made from leftover material and wadding from the Baby Jane quilt.

Here's what Nan did eventually end up getting for Christmas:
Each hexagon is 2cm wide.
I recently discovered English paper piecing - mainly out of necessity rather than because I am a massive fan of hand-sewing. During our house move my sewing machine was out of commission for a couple of months so I needed a hand sewn project to keep me occupied. Doubled with my no mini-making supplies access troubles, I really needed something to keep my hands busy that didn't take up much room. So I made her a wall hanging using teeny, tiny hexagons. These were all paper-pieced and hand sewn, with just the backing and binding done by machine.
With hindsight, I wish I had used all block colours for the flowers and not patterned fabrics, as I think this would have made it easier to discern them. But we live and learn. Overall I am pretty pleased with this as it ended up a very tidy piece.
And I did put my miniature skills to good use too, I made some pizza earrings for my sister-in-law.



  1. Oh my, the gifts you made are incredible! What a lot of effort you put in! Really, really, beautiful.