Do You Sew Gifts?

Or are you worried that after all your hard work, this is the reaction the recipient might have?

Ralphie's bunny suit

Ralphie’s not too keen on the bunny suit Aunt Clara made for him in 1983’s A Christmas Story

If you haven’t heard Episode 7 of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast yet, that’s the next topic Helena and I are asking you to weigh in on. Do you sew/knit/make gifts? And what reactions do you get? Ever slaved forever over a handmade gift only to have the giftee turn their nose up at it? Or spent $95 in materials and 60 hours of knitting only to have the new owner throw it into the dryer and shrink it beyond all recognition? Or maybe you’ve got a wonderful story about how a handmade item turned out to be one of the most touching and meaningful things you’ve ever given or received?

My husband is only slowly coming around from being horrified at the thought that I would make him something. (“What if I didn’t like it? I’d still feel obligated to wear it,” he sensibly reasons.) But I made him a pair of socks last Christmas which he admits he likes wearing. So this year I am of course making him a bunny suit.

davesocks

Dave’s expression shows he’s a little uncomfortable about his first handmade gift from me. lol

What is your story about making or receiving handmade gifts? Leave a comment below, or better yet, call and leave a message at (1)-401-64-MAVEN so we can play your story back on our next podcast. You can also get in touch with me at frivolousatlast at gmail dot com if you’d like me to arrange a time to Skype with you so I can record your story.

purple_cosmeticbag

I made these cute little cosmetic bags/pencil cases using Simplicity Crafts 9949 (out of print, but Simplicity 1153 is the exact same, updated pattern set). The purple fabric is linen-cotton canvas from Spoonflower. If you’re not familiar with Spoonflower, it’s a site where you can order custom-printed fabric, choosing from the thousands of designs on their site or even uploading your own design. I ordered the “fishbone repeat” design by Nalo Hopkinson to use on some throw pillows I sewed recently, and still have plenty of it leftover for smaller projects like this. However, I think the fish looked better on screen than they do on the fabric. Some of the detail of the fin bones seems to have gotten lost in the printing. (So word to the wise: be wary of highly detailed images for printing on fabric, particularly slightly ‘rougher’ fabrics like this canvas.)

The image from Spoonflower’s website

purple_cosmeticbag2

I added a couple of pull tabs at each end of the zipper which the pattern did not call for but which make pulling the zipper much easier. The pattern calls for an underlining but does not specify to use any interfacing, which is an absolute must if you are working with garment-weight scraps. I used heavyweight interfacing on the purple bag, and two layers of medium weight interfacing on the cotton sateen floral bag below (fabric leftover from this mod mini-dress), which was my ‘test bag’. I think heavyweight is the way to go for this structured design.

floral_cosmeticbag

I think these will make cute gifts for some of my girlfriends. Handmade with love…but really only an hour or two of love, which is about all the love I can spare at the moment! lol

I am having fun finding brightly coloured zippers to add some pop to the bags. More to come!

floral_cosmeticbag2

Don’t forget — do tell me about your handmade gift-giving (and receiving) experiences! I’d love to share your stories on the podcast.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

With a Little Help From My Friends, Part 2: THANK YOU

Hey friends! Guess who won second place in the Pattern Review Handbag Contest??

Handbag Contest 2016

Thank you SO MUCH for helping me out with your votes. I am very grateful and very happy! And I’m loving my new bag.

Red Leather Bundle Bag

I’ve been busy lately, including work on the next episode of the Clothes Making Mavens podcast which will be released soon, so things have been a bit quiet here on the blog front. But I have a few projects to share with you just as soon as I get some focused time to sit down and write. Here’s a peek:

Colette Zinnia Skirt

The Zinnia Skirt by Colette

The Emmanuelle Sweater

The Emmanuelle Sweater

And as the weather gets cooler I’m doing more rugging up in front of the television (living vicariously through Luke Cage‘s bullet-proof, thug-thwarting swagger, and feeling inspired by The Get Down to make a gold lamé dress for disco dancing) and knitting away at this Velvet Morning Cardigan

Velvet Morning Cardigan in progress

Velvet Morning Cardigan in progress

…which obviously won’t go with the gold lamé dress or be suitable for nailing thugs in Harlem, but will be perfect for more rugging up in front of the TV. I’m on a slippery slope, here, friends, a very slippery slope. 🙂