I was happy that I got some Christmas sewing done this year, though. And I like that I can use the stockings and the tree skirt again next year. So, next holiday season, I can make something else to add to the collection of handmade holiday items. :)
I’ve been wanting to make stockings for a few years now, since I first got my sewing machine. Last year, I even bought some fabric to make them (the two Christmas tree fabrics), but didn’t get around to it. So, I pulled the fabric out again this year, and I might not have gotten to it, but a friend of mine hosted a craft night where we brought our in-progress projects and worked on them. That craft night gave me the motivation I needed to get started. I recently saw a stocking made from Noodlehead’s tutorial on instagram, and decided I wanted to try to make embroidered stockings. So, at the craft night, I managed to embroider one name (we did eat and gab, too). It was only one, but it was good momentum to continue the rest of the embroidery. They are not quite complete in the picture above, but that’s pretty much what they look like. It took me another couple of weeks to put the bias tape around the top and attach the hanger loop. I didn't get a picture of the finished product, though. Boo.
I used a combination of patterns and tutorials. I had a stocking pattern from Tie Dye Diva, so I used it for the shape of the stocking, but I used Noodlehead’s tutorial to create the look of the stocking. I really like the way they turned out, and I like them so much better than the gigantic stockings I got for the kids one year from Pottery Barn.
If you look at Anna’s tutorial, you’ll see that her embroidery was more intricate. I tried a few different fancy stitches, but settled on just a running stitch. I like the simplicity of it.
2) Insulated lunch bag
The little guy started kindergarten this year, and his teacher has been really wonderful. I volunteer in the classroom each week, and I have so much respect for her (and teachers in general). It takes a lot of patience and humor to be a teacher. I wanted to make sure we showed her how much we appreciated her, so I was determined to make something for her. At first, I thought a tote bag, but I noticed one day while volunteering that she carried her lunch in a paper bag with a handle, so I thought I’d make her a reusable lunch bag. I used this pattern from Gingercake. She also wrote the pattern for the crayon folio I've made several times. Both are good patterns, with lots of pictures and explanations. And I like that this bag is insulated with insulbrite, so cold stuff can stay cold and warm stuff can stay warm.
It also has a divider inside:
I have to say, after I made it, I kind of wanted this lunch bag for myself, because I really like the book fabric. I packed the bag with a few gift cards to places I thought his teacher might enjoy shopping during the winter break. I like that the lunch bag served as a gift bag, too.
The little guy is back in school this week, and his teacher told me she has been carrying her lunch everywhere in the bag. :) I don’t think she realizes I made it, but maybe I should take that as a compliment that it doesn’t look handmade. :)
3) Halter dress
I’ve had this fabric for a while, and decided I’d make a dress for a little friend who turned five recently. I didn’t have a five-year-old girl to try it on (the hubs vetoed trying it on the little guy), and I wasn’t sure if it would fit. And sadly, when the little girl tried it on, I think maybe it was too small on her. :( It’s still cute, though, yes?
4) Tree skirt
For some reason, when I posted a picture of this tree skirt on facebook, it got a ton of “likes”. :) It was kind of a last minute decision to make this. The hubs agreed to get a real tree this year (some begging from a small child helped). When he set it up, I decided it needed a tree skirt. I remembered a tree skirt tutorial I saw on Prudent Baby a while ago. I pretty much copied the color scheme from the tutorial, because I didn’t want to have to think about it myself.
I did this in a few hours on Christmas Eve. I pulled out the ruffling foot, which I had decided a while back that I didn’t like, but I thought I’d give it another try, especially if it could reduce the time to make all these darn ruffles. Sometimes, you just need a little time away, because it worked great this time. I tried to be very scientific and even did some calculations to get the ruffling ratios just right. But sewing isn’t an exact science. I did have to pull out some ruffles or scrunch up the fabric to make it fit the circle. But, eh, it still looks cute. :) When I finished this on Christmas Eve, I was ready to go to bed, so I just put it around the tree, without even trimming off any of the threads. But you can’t tell from the picture, can you?
5) Birthday dresses
And one last project to finish out the year. :) The kids have two friends (sisters) who had birthdays in December. One turned two and the other turned four. I thought matching pink dresses would be cute for them. I didn’t want to make them exactly matching dresses, so I used the same fabric but made them in different styles.
The smaller dress is the same pattern as the silk dress I made for the baby girl back in May. I already had the pattern pieces cut out in a size 2T, woot! I think it works well with cotton fabric. (Although, the ruffles don’t hang down as well.)
The bigger dress is a pattern I've had favorited on etsy for a while.
I think the bow detail turned out cute, but I didn’t like that the pattern required you to measure the child to figure out how long the shoulder straps should be. I did not have a child handy to measure. It would be much more convenient for me if patterns are self-contained and not require me to measure someone who may be unavailable. If I were to make it again, I think I’d just do an A-line dress. The same technique for the bow can be used with an A-line dress. Overall, though, I did think the dress turned out cute. I just hope it fits...
I’m starting to get a little more confident with giving my handmade stuff as gifts, so I’m planning to make more gifts this year. It’s fun to make things in sizes different from what my kids are wearing. And there you have it. Onward to 2013!