The greatest gifts my mom ever gave me were scrapbooks. I used to get so sick of posing for pictures, even the flash of the camera would make me frown. Now they are so special to me. It’s so cool to be able to look back and see what I would do and what I liked.
In our capitalistic country, material objects can easily come before what really matter memories. They are also very easy to replace. Confronted by this dilemma, I decided to give the little ones in my life something they could have forever that I made with my own two hands.
PROJECT YEAR 1
The first year I made gifts from Cotton Ginnys‘s patterns. I’m not sure what to call them, they are a mix between stuffed animals and blankets.
They turned out very cute! I made six of them: the frog, the zebra, the jaguar, the lion, the cat, and the dog. The pattern recommends Minkee fabric, but I simply used anti-pill fleece. It’s cheaper, looks just as cute, and more pattern options. The first one was the hardest to do, but the next five were a lot easier after learning how to use the patterns. I would recommend buying tracing paper, as some parts of the pattern you have to reuse for the other animals. Some also require some hand stitching, such as the face of the zebra and the mane on the lion.
PROJECT YEAR 2
The next year I made drawstring bags and personalized them with the first letter of their name.
I found the idea on Momtastic’s Blog. I changed some aspects. I used fat quarters instead of felt. Due to not being very experienced, I regretfully didn’t attach the cording to the bottom of the bag.
This was a fairly simple project as you only have the seam on top for the cording and the three sides. If you have a Serger, it is very simple to do the three sides, otherwise do a hidden seam, for extra protection from rips.
Sewing on the letters was a little trickier, depending on the letter.
PROJECT YEAR 3
The following year I decided to up my game a little bit and make tie blankets. Tie blankets are very simple to make and don’t require sewing. However, I decided to sew anyway to prevent the blanket from falling apart as well as to keep my cuts straight. If you want to make custom blankets, you will need to take the height of the person you are making it for and add at least 10 inches. If you are unable to measure the height of the person you are making it for, here are the basic measurements you will need. For young children you will need 1 yard to 1 1/2 yards of fabric. And for older children and adults you will need at least 2 yards, if not 2 1/2.
I would also recommend buying anti-pill fleece in this case to keep the blankets looking nice. Washing your fabric before sewing is also a good idea to prevent unwanted shrinking after the project is complete. The first step is to line up the fabric and cut off excess. The next step is to sew along each edge, I would recommend 4 inches. My aunt taught me a trick of putting masking tape 4 inches from your sewing needle on your machine. This allows the strips you cut to be long enough to tie and keeps your lines straight. Next, cut out the corners and the strips. It is helpful to make a cardboard pattern. For the corners, you can just cut on the inside of the seam, so you don’t break it. For the strips, make the cardboard 1 inch x 4 inches. After the edges are cut you can begin tying. That is all there is to it to complete a lovely and useful gift.
PROJECT YEAR 4
2016 was my fourth year making Christmas presents. I decided to keep with the bed theme and make pillowcases. I’m sure everyone knows the struggle of the traditional pillowcase, that it falls off the pillow unless you don’t move at all during the night when you sleep. The solution to this problem is to make an envelope pillow. An envelope pillow has the open part in the back, which can still open up during the night. To fix that problem as well, I attached velcro.
I used cotton to make the pillow cases. I got 1 1/2 yards of each of my prints that I chose. After cutting I realized I would have been okay with 1 1/4, but I went for the safe side. For the velcro I found a one-piece design, that worked very well as it was easier to sew than the typical two sides of the velcro.
For the envelope pillow cases you need to cut one piece 21 1/2 inches x 27 1/2 inches. Then you need two pieces of 21 1/2 inches x 18 1/2 inches.
The first step is to make the overlap on the back two pieces. To do that you need to make a 2 1/2 overlap, using hem clips. Then to have a finished edge, pin the inside of the overlap 1/4 inch. Make sure when put on the pillow case, the patterns are facing the same/correct way. A suggestion: put tape at 2 1/4 inches and line that with the edge of your fabric so you will get a straight line. For the finished 1/4 edge, just use the edge of the pressure foot.
The next step is to sew the back to pieces to the front piece. If you don’t have a Serger, you will want to have a hidden seam to make the seam stronger. If that is the case, put the wrong sides together. Fold the front in half to know where the overlap should begin. This will make the overlap of the envelope in the center of the pillowcase. Sew around the ends using the end of the pressure foot as a guide.
After you have the “hidden seam” flip inside out. If the corners are not making a corner, cut of the corners avoiding cutting the seam. Sew on the outside again, but this time using the first marker past the pressure foot as a guide.
In the picture above, you can see how the back two sides overlap and you can see the stitching where I put the velcro. The velcro doesn’t need to be that long.
I usually get all my fabric from Joann’s as you can get some good deals. This year I also stopped at Wal-mart and the fabric was as cheap as with Joann’s sales, but there was a smaller selection.
I have really enjoyed making these presents for the little ones in my life. Seeing them open their presents to see them and ask me if I really did make it for them. The best part for me is getting to see them actually use their presents beyond the first day after opening them.