Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. Our home transforms into a bit of a winter wonderland, both inside and out (if Mother Nature helps out) and I love the many traditions that are a part of this wonderful time of year.
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is making gifts for various friends and family members. I enjoy trying to come up with the “perfect” personalized gift that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face. I thought it would be fun to share some of the holiday sewing I did this year. It was a very busy, but fun December! Some of these projects will be posted in future blogs as well to share more of the details and learnings I had along the way.
When I was decorating our house for Christmas, my friend, Erin, called and asked if I could put some names on some stockings she made. I was pleased to do so and thought I would include a photo of the stockings she made out of polar fleece. Aren’t they adorable? I embroidered the names and then realized that I had spelled “Derik” as my son-in-law spells his name, but Erin’s Darik has an “a” instead of an “e”. I carefully used a seam ripper to remove the “e” and repositioned the stocking on my embroidery module and inserted an “a” instead. I was pleased the “a” and “e” take about the same amount of space, so it worked out okay and Erin’s stockings were complete!
While I was embroidering Erin’s stockings, I got an idea to make some stockings for our daughter, Anna, and her husband, Derik. I texted Anna to see if she would like some stockings and she agreed. Since they have a very contemporary style in their home, I chose to make the stockings simple, but also relevant to them. Anna works at CM Company and builds commercial buildings. Therefore, she views a lot of building plans. I found a design several months ago from one of my favorite design studios, Urban Threads. The name of the design is How to build a Heart. I embroidered that design onto some linen fabric. Anna’s husband, Derik, is a talented, natural artist and one of the things he enjoys drawing is trees, so I embroidered a tree on linen for his stocking.
I cut two pieces of decorator fabric and embroidered their names on the top and then lined each stocking with a light muslin lining. I will post a future blog with details on how to make these stockings, if you like.
I decided to use the selvage edge of the fabric as a sort of trim for the top of the stockings as it really was pretty the way it was finished.
Christmas is also a very social time and it is always fun to get together to celebrate the season. I have a sewing group that I thoroughly enjoy and this year I decided to make the ladies each an infinity scarf. Here’s a picture of my Sew Neato sewing group modeling their new scarves. These are so much fun to make and easy to personalize, as you can do so simply from your fabric selections. If you would like to make your own infinity scarf, I will provide a link to a video that shows you how at the end of this blog.
As you would guess, my favorite duo to sew for are our adorable grandchildren, Belén and Eloise. Once again this year, I made their little Christmas dresses. Alecia had found some cute dresses online and asked if I could make them. I combined a few patterns and drafted a final dress pattern for B’ and then scaled it down in order to use it for Eloise as well. The dresses were tiered, with a piece of folded tulle between each gathered tier.
Since I was able to find some pretty stretch velveteen fabric, I made them without zippers or buttonholes, but instead the girls were able to just pull them over their heads. They looked so cute in their dresses and seemed to enjoy wearing them as well.
Handmade Dolls for Belén and Eloise
I decided to make dolls for the girls this year. I saw some cute ideas in a couple different books. I thought it would be fun to make both of the girls a doll and doll quilt for Christmas. There will be a future blog on this as I learned a LOT and really enjoyed making both dolls. Here are the finished products!
Eloise’s doll has the cutest little pigtails that stick out, very similar to the way Weezy’s pigtails look sometimes.
The fabric for her little dress is the cutest Japanese fabric that has characters from the Three Little Pigs on it.
The little Amish doll that is sitting next to the Tag-A-Long doll is from our trip to Amish country this fall. It was the perfect size to be a doll for the Tag-A-Long and Sadie dolls.
Of course, every doll needs to have a quilt, so I made a quick strip quilt for Eloise’s doll. The backing for the quilt is an oh-so-soft minky fabric that helps to make their quilt every so snuggly. I also used a wool batting in the quilt to provide a little more loft than the standard cotton batting. I’ll tell you more about this in the upcoming blog on making these dolls.
It was so cute to see how excited Eloise was when she opened the present with her doll. She giggled and immediately went to work caring for her doll, as you can see in the picture. In no time at all, her little Tag-a-Long doll was all nestled in her little quilt with a very attentive Mommy nearby.
Belen’s doll is called Sadie and she was an exciting challenge to make. I developed a healthy respect for the art of doll making in constructing these dolls.
The pattern designer for Sadie provided very detailed instructions for each step of the doll’s construction. She also had a good supply list and I ordered the wool batting she recommended from Lancaster, PA. (More details will be provided in my future doll making blog.)
One of the things I attempted to do was to make Sadie’s eyes similar to Belén’s eyes. In order to do so, I studied the various colors that are in Belén’s beautiful blue eyes. It’s amazing to see all the colors that our eye irises contain. Here’s a close up of the end result of one of Sadie’s eyes.
I was was amazed at how the dolls literally started to “come to life” as I began to stuff and stitch in all the details and various features. Sadie has a lot more details (ten little individual fingers, etc.) than Tag-a-Long. In addition, each strand of her hair was hand sewn and attached to the head of the doll with a 4-inch doll needle. I have some great pictures for my upcoming doll-making blog. Although it was extremely time consuming, I also found it very relaxing. I couldn’t wait for the girls to finally get to see and play with their dolls on Christmas Day and they were both delighted. Belén and I are going to have a sew afternoon and make Sadie some shoes and, of course, there are always ideas for new outfits and accessories for her doll. The nice thing about Sadie is that since she is an 17″ doll, there are a lot of fun patterns available for clothing and accessories. In addition, I can possibly foresee some matching outfits for B’ and her doll, and Eloise as well!
40th Wedding Anniversary Outfits
As noted in a previous post, in December we also celebrated the 40th Wedding Anniversary of our friends, Ray and Eileen, who are also the other set of grandparents for Belén and Eloise. To help commemmorate this special day, I made the girls matching outfits for the Open House that said ” I Love (Heart) Grammy and Papa”. They were quite the cute little hostesses, at least until bedtime rolled around.
It has become a tradition that each year I make Anna and Martin Connington a pillowcase. This year their brother, James, was also here to share the holiday with them. Therefore, it was important to make a pillowcase for James as well. Since James is attending college in London, I wanted to use a fabric that would remind him of the U.S.A. I found a sexy cowgirl fabric that soon became the focal point for his pillowcase and he was thrilled. He said it will be his new main pillowcase at school. Anna and Martin were pleased with their pillowcases as well as you can see in the picture their mother, Montse, sent me. What a handsome trio!
Each year I usually make a few ornaments with my embroidery machine. Sometimes to commemorate a new member to the family, etc. This year I made a Christmas cookie tree ornament to commemorate our the First Annual Grandma’s Cookie Decorating Tea Party. Eileen and I had a delightful time with our 2 granddaughters and I was so pleasantly surprised when she too had an ornament made, with our photos, which I absolutely love.
That’s a summary of my holiday sewing for 2012. It was a very busy, but fun month of December.
I’m sure you too were busy with all your holiday preparations. What were you busy making in your Santa’s workshop this year? Please send me an email to: [email protected] and include a photo if you like and I’ll post in a future blog!
Hope you are enjoying 2013. I have a feeling it is going to be a great year!!!
(Here is a link to a how to video to make an infinity scarf at TheCraftyGemni. Enjoy!)