Make It: 15 Homemade Christmas Present Ideas

15 Homemade Christmas Present IdeasOn Saturday  the boyfriend and I went to see the Christmas lights being turned on in Cirencester and it was really lovely. We all sang a couple of carols then Ben Miller (or Armstrong and Miller fame), who is apparently local pressed the button then there were fireworks on the roof of the local church. It has definitely got me feeling in the festive mood so I thought I’d share my pick of homemade presents I’ve made for various people in the past – I have no ideas of things to make this year, so if anyone has any ideas I’m definitely looking for some inspiration!

(click on the picture for the full post)

One of the most versatile and adaptable presents you could make is a tote bag – you can applique something on it to suit the person you’re making it for. I’ve made them with a car, a strawberry and BBC’s Sherlock on for various people!

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For your tea-loving friend or relative, why not make them a tea-cup candle? You can flavour them with any essential oil – I used chocolate, mmmm.

Do you have a friend who loves lego? If so, you could make them a lego doorstop – there isn’t a huge amount of knitting involved, so you’ve still got time to make this in time for the big day!

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You could make a genuinely one-off present in the form of a scrapbook, as I did for my dad’s 65th birthday.

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For your music-loving friend or relative why not make a vinyl record clock?

For your internet-meme-loving friend or relative you’ve still got just about enough time to embroider a cushion cover 😉

thumbnail_img_1309For your friend or relative who loved cooking and baking you could make them a lovely apron – there are lots of free patterns out there. I used the one from the first Great British Sewing Bee.

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If you have a friend or relative who loves running or exercising, you could make them a useful present in the form of a running armband to hold their phone and keys while they’re out doing their thing.

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For Kids:

If you know a kid who needs entertaining while traveling (or at other times!) why not make the travel match game I made for my friend’s daughter?

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If you know a kid (or have a kid) who would like to learn about growing things, why not make them a felt allotment? (p.s. this is really, honestly, one of my very favourite things I’ve ever made – I was more excited to give it away than I think the recipient was when she opened it!)

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Why not make their favourite book into a cushion cover……..

Sarah-&-Duck-cushion-2or a wall-hanging?

Clothes are sometimes a good option for kiddies (though they will grow out of them in no time at all!) I’ve appliqued babygrows, made dungarees and made the cutest dresses with matching knickers!

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Are you making any homemade presents this year? I’m not sure I’ll have time to be brutally honest, though my sister has asked me to make her some skirts so I think that will count….if I get them made in time?!

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GBSB Baby Dungarees

As I mentioned in my review of the second Great British Sewing Bee book, I’ve made the baby dungarees for my nephew using the pattern in the book. I used some cute spotty cotton in suitably non-girly colours (my nephew is so cute he frequently gets mistaken for a girl!).

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Because he wears cloth nappies, my nephew has a larger bum than babies that wear disposable nappies do, so I made a practice pair to check that the dungarees would be big enough to go around him. I made the biggest size, 12-18 months as I made them for his first birthday and he’s quite big for his age. I stuffed them with pillows to see the full size and they were luckily plenty big enough – I feared I would have to work out how to do a FBA – Full Bum Adjustment! Don’t they look creepy?

P1020228-PS-largeP1020230-PS-mediumThe dungarees came together relatively quickly, because they’re so small and there aren’t too many pieces. I think like the patterns in the old book, this one could have been drafted better. The straps are sewn into the hem a the back so they look like this:P1020517-PS-mediumP1020519-PS-mediumSo I decided to sew them again, so they they didn’t fold back the hem.P1020520-PS-mediumP1020522-PS-mediumThe other part that wasn’t clearly explained or well written was the button tabs on the sides. The way it was written, there would have been some raw edges and I’m a bit too anal about things being neat on the inside and outside, so I fudged it a bit. You have to cut the seam allowance at the top of the side seams here:

P1020651Then the instructions tell you to just fold the tabs back twice to hem them, which would leave a raw edge at the bottom of the tabs on the outside:

P1020659P1020662So I turned the bottom edge over before sewing it:

P1020664I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. When my sister unwrapped them, quite a few people at the party assumed I’d bought them, which is possibly the highest compliment you can get for homemade garments! I sewed one of my name tags in the back, but forgot to take a picture.

I also added a little pocket on the front in a matching shade of orange, which was just some polycotton I had left over from when I made my sister’s apron. I used the pattern for the pocket from the first Sewing Bee book’s Boyfriend Shirt.
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P1020693P1020696The only other change I made was to sew on normal poppers instead of the stronger snap things that the pattern suggests, the ones you put on with that clamp thing.

P1020695This seemed like a fine idea until I realised they all undid as soon as my nephew moved around in them! Oops. He did look cute though.

IMAG0218First one leg undid….IMAG0221Then he was basically wearing a weird-shaped dress…..

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They didn’t restrict his movement, though – he still managed to make a bid for freedom!

IMAG0220I’m tempted to make more kiddies’ clothes as they’re small and therefore quick to sew up and they’re so cute!

Book: Great British Sewing Bee 2

So I know I’m way behind the times, since the series has been over for weeks now, but I’m sharing the second Great British Sewing Bee Book with you today. I got a copy free from work (one of the perks of working in a bookshop is not only cheap, but sometimes free books!). I think I enjoyed the second series of the Sewing Bee a bit less than the first, partly because I felt like some of the challenges were hard for the sake of being hard – but maybe they had to do that as they can’t make the same things in every series. And although I enjoyed the no pattern week, it kind of irritated me that it was a bit Project Runway and that I would imagine the majority of home-sewers do use patterns always.

Anyway, these were small niggles, and the patterns that come with the book are pretty good – and you get printed pattern sheets with this book instead of having to print and stick the downloadable ones like with the first book.

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I think the first book had a pencil skirt in, but I prefer the one in this book. Maybe I’m just drawn to the pink and the spots!?

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I really love the 1930s blouse that they made and have it traced already to make!

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I also thought the baby dungarees they made were really sweet, and I was so glad the pattern was included in the book. I have already made these for my nephew (who turned 1 the weekend before last!). I’ll be posting the full details later in the week.

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I also love this bowling shirt – it seems quite rare to be able to find a bowling shirt pattern. I think it could also double up as a Hawaiian shirt pattern – I have some gorgeous, genuine Hawaiian fabric that I desperately wanted to make into this shirt, but there’s only about a metre and even with a contrasting collar and cuffs, I can’t get the pattern pieces to fit, boo 😦

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I’m thrilled that they included the pattern for Tamara’s 1960s coat! I would definitely not use the same fabric as her as that stuff looked like a bitch to sew with, but I really love the 60s and this coat is a really nice shape. I’m determined to make a coat at some point, so maybe this will be the pattern?

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