Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review of Gift-Making December

Or, why I haven't blogged in over a month.

Where did December go? Well, it flew by me. For the past month, I've been focused on making and buying presents for family members. The truth is that it was not all fun in 2017. And this was a monster of my own making, so-to-speak.

Next year, there will be few handmade gifts. I promise. I do love the idea of handmade gifts but I obsess over it. I don't think that fits with the spirit of giving. So unless it is zen sewing and gives me selfish pleasure, I must step back and allow time to breathe and enjoy the joy.

Here are the gifts I made, and honestly, some really were fun.

This jacket was requested by my granddaughter. It's made using Kwik Sew 3818, a medium-weight wool and lined with a medium-weight silk-cotton blend. I blogged about it here so I won't rehash it, But isn't she cute in it?

Next up were two robes. These were also by request. And they were so simple to make using Simplicity 1562, now probably out-of-print.

They are both made from polyester fleece, so easy to sew. The owls on white background is for my 8 year old granddaughter; the Clemson-themed robe is for my 11 year old grandson. The Clemson version was a HUGE success. He almost wore it into a movie theater. The owl version will be used too but did not garner great enthusiasm.

The last requested gift was this super-simple pillow case for a youth-sized pillow:

Here it is in its first use with 2-year-old grandson:

Now a sensible person would have stopped there. Those were requested and so pretty much guaranteed to please. I did not stop. Next I made these two (2!) patchwork pillows for another 11 year old grandson and his 13 year old brother (who wears glasses like these). They have two dogs of this breed.

If they look simple, then please, please look again. They took FOREVER to piece. Each contains half-square triangles no larger than 1 inch. Yikes! What was I thinking?

The pillows finish at standard bed-pillow size. I put a zipper in the back to allow for machine washing. When the 11-year-old opened it, he said, "Oh, look! A pillow." And he proceeded to unzip it and remove the pillow. Hmmm...

And then I could have stopped, yes? But for a long time now, I've had this great idea. My husband wanted a shirt to match one that the 2 year old had. Such a shirt simply did not exist. So I made each of them a shirt using this lovely cotton shirting from Gail K in Atlanta.

It took some research to find a man's shirt with most of the conventional details. I settled on Vogue 9220. Then I took measurements from one of my husband's shirts and tried very hard to make them match. In the end his was a bit too tight and the little one is too big. Of course, too big is not a problem with a two-year-old, so now I'm thinking about ways to remake the one for DH. Or maybe not.

The little one is from one of my old Ottobre magazines. I have used and used those patterns making many things for grandchildren with the enclosed patterns. I must say that was joyful to make.

I should probably write a separate blog on DH's shirt. I learned a lot about the fit of a man's shirt and I should document it before I forget.

As I reflect on making gifts this past month, I realize that the simplest were perhaps the most joyful to make. There's a lesson there.

So that was my December. I'm so glad it's January now.


  1. Wow, lots of work, but fantastic gifts. I would love to hear more of your man's shirtmaking trials and tribulations. I am impressed that you were able to get all this done. Love the pillowcases.

  2. I've pretty much given up making gifts for Christmas--never enough time and too much stress. If I get requests throughout the year, I try to make the "whatever" then and send it on it's way out of my sewing room!

  3. What a beautiful, thoughtful and completely wonderful array of gifts. Love the doxie pillows. Is that a Hartman pattern? Have you tried any of the October patterns for women? I've always been curios about them. Happy New Year!

  4. Family doesn’t know how lucky they are to have you sew especially for them! If you’re looking for a really good man’s shirt pattern I’ve had great success with Thread Theory’s Fairfield Button-Up. It has all the details and options you could want and my husband barely takes his off for laundering! (Must make more before he wears the first one out.)

  5. Wow, those pillows are amazing! Love the matching shirts too.

  6. What beautiful and thoughtful gifts! Do blog about husband's shirt! I'm always interested in reading about men's shirts. I've done two so far and enjoyed them but am always on the look out for new patterns. I have to be careful because many of the newer men's patterns are more fitted than dh can wear so have to be aware of back pleats to give a little more room. Best wishes for a happy 2018.

  7. Love the grandpa/ grandson twin shirts!

  8. Thanks for sharing! Loved every one!

  9. I can't imagine the careful work you did on the dachshunds! Yikes. Lovely gifts with much love.