Are you making any gifts this year? I am! Or at least I’d made my mind up that I would. I just hadn’t really factored in any time to do it, or thought about it in any realistic way at all. I learnt last year that I should leave more time for gift sewing. Somehow, this year, I’ve left myself less time.

It started with a pair of capes.

The pattern is Burda 9674 I traced view A but decided to make them reversible and add a fur trim to the hoods.

I cut 3.5 cm from the front of the hood piece and cut a strip 13 cm x hood opening length of fake wolf fur (shudder). With 1.5 cm seams this gave me a 5cm trim showing on both sides of the hood. I made this up first by sandwiching the fur between the hood pieces.

The main capes have their own pockets on each side. So they got sewn together, turned through a gap and topstitched down. MrA bought fleece blankets and I used the ties they came in for the neck ties. Two reversible capes, that’s FOUR capes!

Did I mention matching reversible muffs…? We got to gift them early and it was heartwarming to see how well they were received.

After a busy week at work and festively sociable evenings, I found myself with just two days to make a sack full of family gifts (to be handed over on the third day). Not one to be easily defeated, rather than ransack John Lewis I turned to my pattern & fabric stash. I cranked the speed regulator ‘up to 11’ and didn’t turn back…

When my great nephew was born, I made him this quilt. I thought it was pretty hasty at the time, but I managed to knock up these three using the same method in one day!

Four more gifts to go on the second day… Now, before I even started sewing, I obsessively watched this YouTube video of PattyDoo’s ‘Susie’ bag. I must have watched it 30 or 40 times before I ever sat at a sewing machine. Needless to say, it was one of my first makes. It was also one of my first pattern hacks as I supersized it to make CousinM a ‘glamorous tote’. I was pleased I’d made (& kept) a pattern so now three years later I could whip one up again.

I love this fabric, it was left over from when I made mine & MrA’s wedding quilt. I used plain black for the box pleats, gingham for the lining and black & white polka dots to keep the pockets easy to find inside.

I thought it might appear rude to ring up the day before a visit asking for measurements. At the very least, it shows a lack of planning. So rather than trying a bespoke pattern from Freesewing, I used the pattern from Vanessa Mooncie’s book The Gentleman’s Wardrobe for a cap. (I’ve previously made the; shirt, wallet & waistcoat) I didn’t alter the pattern, but I did manage to do without hair canvas and buckram.

I had some hessian/ burlap stashed away and used that instead of hair canvas. And in the peak, I cut a piece of cotton and fused it with two layers of heavyweight iron on interfacing. I’d put off making hats before as I didn’t have these things, but I won’t let that stop me again!

It’s a nice pattern that comes together smoothly. The trickiest bit is pinning the curve around the back of the hat. Like most tricky bits, lots of pins and take it slow.

As much as I love sewing, I was getting a bit frazzled by now. So I took a ‘break’ to run up a couple of Thread Theory’s card wallets as stocking fillers. To make them look a bit more substantial I added some jazzy stitching and a key clip (which is sort of useless, but looks good). Can you believe it actually takes longer to cut them out than it does to sew them up!

The last gift on the list is baby dungarees from the 2nd Great British Sewing Bee book ‘Sew Your Own Wardrobe’.

I’d decided to line them, so cut out two sets; one from navy corduroy and one from leftover shirting – white with little blue bicycles all over.

  • I sewed up the back seam on the main fabric and lining.
  • Made the straps and basted them onto the back pieces.
  • Prepared the front by appliqué-ing initials on
  • Then joined the front to front lining and the back to back lining.

(I sewed all the way around except the outsides of the legs.)

Then I joined the legs together in much the same way I closed up the sides of a waistcoat once upon a time – I sewed the outsides together, then folded and pressed the lining seams, catching those underneath while stitching in the ditch.

By now it was the end of day two. Cousins A & M we’re arriving for supper and the sewing was over. I fitted the jeans buttons and snaps in the morning before we left and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it came out.

I didn’t have navy snaps, but hey, who’s gonna complain…?

That’s it for this deadline. All wrapped up and delivered. I won’t know how they’ve been received until Christmas Day now. Don’t worry, none of the recipients are on instagram or follow my blog (no spoilers).

There’s plenty more I want to sew for people over the holiday season so I’m sure this won’t be the last Christmas-sewing blog-post I’ll write. But it may be the last one I get to this year! So, just in case…

Happy holidays!

Notes to self:

  • I’ve said it before… Start Christmas sewing in August if you want to stand a chance.
  • Make a concentrated effort to collect everyone’s measurements throughout the year.