Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Subjects: Handmade Gifts


So, in an attempt to give something that is original and personalized, I decided to try and make some of the Christmas gifts I would be giving this year. At first I had these grand plans to make quilts for mine and Jonathan's brothers, but that never really panned out. I was going to use a makeshift version of this quilt (this site is so inspiring sewing-wise!), but like I said - the whole thing seemed daunting and I kept putting it off until it was too late to start. Darn!

The other idea I had was to make cloth napkins for my mom and mother-in-law. This was a little more doable and not quite as time-intensive and daunting (or so I thought). I got the fabric from Joann Fabrics the weekend after Thanksgiving, which was nice because everything was on sale and I had tons of coupons, but I think half the female population of this city was also in there. Ack! But, I managed all the same and so I wanted to show you my (almost) finished products.

First up, these are for my mom:

The table in her kitchen seats four, so I made eight total so she would have two sets. (If you count, you'll realize there are only seven napkins here...I'll need to finish one when I get to her house later on this week. My machine was messing up. Mostly I think it was user error.) The colors will also go really nice in her kitchen and the print reminded me of this duvet from Garnet Hill that was available for a long time but now I can't find on their site:

And then I made these for my mother-in-law:

Her dining table seats six, so I made her two sets of six. The colors don't match her house perfectly, but I thought the colors were really nice and I think she'll like them. I really like the mixture of the teal-blue and red in the fabric on the left and yes, the fabric on the right is little Japanese umbrellas. Kind of random given that she is not Japanese and her house is not decorated with any Asian accents, but still I really liked the colors and thought it was just a fun pattern. I mean, what else will you do with fabric that has Japanese umbrellas? Exactly. These are not done - again, my sewing machine! - but they won't take me long to whip up at my mom's house using her machine (which apparently is a lot more resilient to my ineptitude for sewing).

I didn't use a pattern for the napkins, but I did follow the directions I found here. I tried to do mitered corners. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't - I couldn't figure out what determined whether or not they worked. Whatever! You can just do an Internet search for "cloth napkins DIY" or something to that effect - tons of sites are out there! This project was really fast and easy, but it got repetitive. All the prep work took longer than actually sewing the napkins. After washing the fabric, I then had to measure and cut, then iron them and then measure out the seams and iron those...20 times. Ugh.
My napkins measured 16" so I cut them 17" and did a 1/2" seam on all four sides (I think that math works). Two yards of fabric made eight napkins and to make six I got 1.5 yards. Now I have some scraps that I will need to find a use for soon. Maybe I'll make a quilt of all my scraps one day!

And next year maybe I'll start earlier and make it a truly handmade holiday!


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