sewing in 2011: year of the handmade present

This time last year I made a little deal with myself.  I’d been doing a bit of sewing, on a borrowed machine, and I wanted to buy one of my own.  Mark was sceptical, and suggested I wait a bit and see how much I use the one I had, before rushing out and buying a new one that might sit in a cupboard for the next 10 years, unused and unloved.  He’s a sensible boy, my husband

So I decided that I would try and make all the presents we gave for 2011 (or as many as possible).  I love love love knitting, but it can be slow; anything more complicated than a beanie is a big investment in time, which I never seem to have enough of.  Sewing on the other hand is rediculously quick.  So most of my handmade presents were sewn rather than knitted.   There were a lot, and I didn’t get photos of everything before I gave it away; here are a few of my favourite projects from 2011…

1. Charmaine’s birthday bag.  Charmaine is my bestie, and a knitter too, and well you can never have enough project bags, right?  It was my first attempt at log cabin patchwork, using fabric from my scrap bag and some nice navy linen blend.  I was quite nervous about how the fabrics would work together, I think I spent more time playing with the different prints than I did sewing them together.  Its a bit wonky, but I’m really happy with how it came out, and I think Charmaine likes it.

Charmaine's birthday bag

2. Big boy doonas for my big boys.  Sam and Archie finally moved up to full sized single beds a few months ago, and to celebrate I made them doona (duvet) covers.  They picked out the car fabric and I found the other prints to go with it.  I thought about making proper quilts, but somehow doonas seem more practical for kids, and I was a bit scared of quilting something so big!

big boy doona for a big boy bed

3. Bunting.  Ah bunting.  I love bunting.  Bunting makes everything festive!  It makes me smile every time I look at it.  So easy too.


 4. Matchbox car cozies, using this tutorial from My Little Gems.  I made three of these as Christmas presents, for my smallest one and two of his little friends.  Its been a big hit with Ollie, although he mostly enjoys pulling all the cars out, lining them up on the centre line then tucking them in again.  Nighty night cars.

Ollie's matchbox car cozy

5. Kids messenger bags using a fantastic tutorial from Zaaberry.  These bags are tops.  I made them for Sam and Archie for Christmas, and they’ve insisted on taking them everywhere since, packed with all the essentials a four year old boy needs for a day out… water bottle, hat, colouring-in stuff, a matchbox car or two and maybe a small dinosaur.

Archie and his new manbag

 6.  Dress-up stuff.  I saved my favourite til last.  I LOVED making this stuff.  I loved that we discussed the costumes first, that Sam and Archie both had such clear ideas about what they wanted, and that I was able to make them.  I loved the look on their faces when they saw them and tried them on for the first time.  And I love watching all three boys play together, acting out stories and performing for Nanna Grandad during our weekly Skype session.  Ollie needs help putting on the various tails and masks, so when I see all three of them doing the dino stomp up the hallway I know his big brothers have helped him, and that makes me happy.

One thing I notice when I look back on my sewing efforts for 2011 is how little I made for myself.  There were lots and lots of presents, and a lot of fun stuff for the kids, but the only thing I made myself was some pyjama pants and a christmasy table runner.  Well, in 2012 that is going to change.  This arrived yesterday.

Oh, and Santa brought me a shiny new sewing machine, hooray!


About crafting, with chocolate

I'm a thirty-something Australian with a mild craft obsession. I knit, I sew, I bake bickies with my kids, and four days a week I pretend to be a serious engineering professional. Its a full, frantic life, but I love it.
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9 Responses to sewing in 2011: year of the handmade present

  1. RoseRed says:

    Yay for a new sewing machine and such successful sewing projects! I SO HAVE to make the matchbox car cozy for Connor (where did you get the car fabric, must have that too!) and the doona covers are also excellent. And the boys bags, and their dress ups, all of it!

    • The car cozy was super easy too, just a bunch of rectangles to sew together! I used an elastic loop and button instead of ribbon ties, easier for pudgy little fingers. The fabric was from etsy, its by Alexander Henry, I think the range was called “rush hour”. Love those little cars!

  2. Kris says:

    Great post! Loved seeing everything. I got the Colette book too, and I think we even ordered the same patterns! I’ve already prewashed my fabric for that Parfait. 🙂

  3. matteckhaus says:

    Wow – I am in awe
    but the words and pictures just dont quite match – I read the words of what might be a beginner sewer and I see these beautiful items sewn so well – and the colour and fabric combos are just gorgeous!

    • missfee says:

      whoops this is really missfee – I was logged in as my admin person….

      • I just read my post again and ooh it does sound like maybe I’m a beginner. I’m not, well not really. I’ve know the basics forever, but its only in the last 18 months that I’ve really come back to sewing. Sorry if it was confusing, will have to proof-read my posts better in future!

  4. missfee says:

    where is your fabbo halloween costume?

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