Now that all the presents are unwrapped, I can reveal a few of the handmade gifts I gave this year.
Awhile ago, I posted that I was trying to figure out reverse applique. I gave it another try for a few Christmas presents and developed my own methods. I was happy with the results.
I started with thermal shirts for my nieces. I was planning to use the thermal shirts underneath short-sleeved t-shirts, but finding girls' short-sleeve shirts in the middle of winter proved too difficult. So, I went to plan B. I bought half a yard of white knit fabric and cut it into squares a few inches larger than I wanted the letters to be. I pinned the knit fabric to the inside of the t-shirts, making sure that the fabric stretched in the same direction as the thermal fabric.
I also bought some inkjet sticker paper, and printed out outlines of the letters K, A, and E for their initials. I cut out the letters and stuck them to the shirts. If I did it again, I'd chose a simpler font to make it easier to sew, but I like the way the letters turned out. I stitched around the letter sticker with embroidery thread. It is important to tie off the thread after each letter, to preserve the stretch of the shirt.
Once I finished the stitching and removed the sticker, this is what the t-shirt looked like:
Next I carefully separated the thermal fabric from the knit fabric and made a small incision in the thermal fabric making sure not to cut the knit fabric underneath. Then I cut out the inside of the letter, leaving 1/4 inch of fabric around the inside edge.
We video chatted with our nieces last night and they proudly showed off their letter shirts!
I also made a reverse appliqued t-shirt for my sister-in-law who is a new mother. For this shirt, I used a long-sleeved t-shirt under a short-sleeved t-shirt and followed the same procedures.
I hand-drew the letters for this shirt and was really happy with the result. Yet, in retrospect I'm not sure every new mom would want 'momma' plastered over their bosom. ;)
It was difficult to find a long-sleeve shirt and a short-sleeve shirt that were similar sizes. If I do this again, I will try to buy the same shirt offered in short and long sleeves. I found that a thinner t-shirt worked well for this project.
Another fairly quick gift I made for the women in the family was a recipe binder. Earlier this year I made one for all the internet recipe print-outs and magazine page rip-outs I always have scattered around the kitchen. I kept covering the recipes in grease and food, then had to throw them away. Now I put the recipe in a clear plastic page protector before I cook.
The binders were from Target, the labels from Paper Source, and the folder dividers from an office supply store. I filled the albums with clear page protectors, also from an office supply store. I found a box of 200 dividers for about $10.
We was also on the receiving end of some handmade gifts. My other sister-in-law was wicked crafty this year, and made a skirt for me, a t-shirt with an impressive hand-cut stencil of the Detroit Red Wings logo for Matt, as well as a handmade ornament. She even wrapped the gifts in hand-sewn gift bags. That project is already on my list for next year. Also, our nieces made us magnets. And my mom gave us some amazing peach jam made in Michigan, as well as some crocheted hand towels for the kitchen she picked up at a craft fair.
While there is no way I could pull off handmade gifts for everyone on my list, it made gift giving more meaningful to bring some ideas I had floating around in my head to life this holiday season.