with your host, Jacqui Blakemore
In this article
The Joy of Making Gifts: Unwrapping the Art of Thoughtful Sewing
Today, I'm thrilled to share with you a topic that's close to my heart and, I believe, to many of yours as well – the art of making gifts.
As we approach the festive season, or any special occasion for that matter, the question of what to give our loved ones often leads us back to our cherished sewing machines.
In my latest podcast episode, I've delved deep into this subject, and I'm here to unwrap some of the insights and stories from that discussion.
BONUS: there's also a handy "Making Gifts Cheat Sheet" as my little gift to you!
The Heart Behind Handmade: Why We Sew Gifts
Making gifts is more than just a hobby; it's a language of love and care. When we choose to spend hours cutting, stitching, and embellishing, we're not just creating a gift; we're weaving a part of ourselves into something tangible.
This personal touch is what makes handmade gifts so special. They carry a story, a bit of our soul, and a connection that store-bought items rarely possess.
I recently shared a conversation with a friend about our plans for Christmas gifts. We both adore sewing and the idea of giving personalized Christmas gifts to those who appreciate them.
This year, more than ever, we're mindful of our budgets, and handmade gifts can be a wonderful way to create something beautiful and meaningful without breaking the bank.
But it's not just about Christmas. Whether it's Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, or a birthday, the sentiment remains the same. Making gifts is a universal expression of love, transcending cultures and occasions.
The Balancing Act: Enjoyment vs. Stress in Gift Making
However, as we found in our gift-making discussion, there's a fine line between the joy of making and the stress it can sometimes bring.
My friend, for instance, found herself overwhelmed by the list of people she felt obliged to make gifts for. The words 'should' and 'ought' had crept into her vocabulary, turning a joyful activity into a source of anxiety.
This is a common experience for many of us in the sewing community. We start with excitement, but as deadlines loom, that excitement can morph into stress.
It's crucial to step back and ask ourselves: Why are we making these gifts? If it's out of obligation rather than love or enjoyment, it might be time to reconsider.
Tips for rewarding gift-making
So here are 5 quick tips to help you make the time you spend making gifts as rewarding and fun as possible:
Check-in with your why - why you are making. If you spot yourself using words like ‘should’ and ‘ought’ maybe think about other options
Narrow down your list - I’ll share some steps to help with that
Consider other gift giving opportunities - if you want to make, could you spread them out more by giving for birthdays or other occasions instead to take the time pressure off?
If you are making more than one, consider using the same project- You can still personalise the fabric and haberdashery options but making more than one of a particular project can be quicker and easier as you get lots of practice
When planning double your time estimate - these type of projects always take longer than you think (unless you are batching up or making something you’ve made before) so give yourself more time and congratulate yourself if you do it in less.
Focus on making gifts for those who truly appreciate the effort and thought that goes into a handmade present. And remember, it's perfectly okay to not make gifts for everyone on your list.
Sewing Gift Ideas: Projects That Delight
Now, let's talk about some sewing gift ideas that are sure to delight both you, the maker, and your lucky recipients. Here are a few projects that I've enjoyed making and giving:
1. Zipper Pouches: These are fantastic for all genders and ages. You can customize them in countless ways – different fabrics, sizes, and embellishments. They're practical, too, perfect for storing makeup, toiletries, or even music paraphernalia.
2. Fold-Away Shopping Bags: Environmentally friendly and incredibly useful, these bags were a hit among my friends and family. They're also a great way to practice and get creative with different fabrics.
3. Kitchen Sets: Think aga covers, tea towels with button loops, and oven gloves. These are wonderful for those who love spending time in the kitchen and appreciate a homemade touch.
4. Handmade and Bought Combos: Sometimes, pairing a handmade item with a bought one can create the perfect gift. For example, a handmade apron with some kitchen utensils, or a sewn wash bag with lovely toiletries.
Making Gifts Cheat Sheet: Your Sewing Companion
To help you navigate the world of gift-making, I've created a "Making Gifts Cheat Sheet," available for download by clicking the button below.
This cheat sheet is packed with tips, ideas, and strategies to make your gift-making process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It's a great resource, especially if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or just looking for some fresh ideas.
It also includes a planner to help you decide what to make, how long to spend on it and what your plan B will be if you run out of time.
Wrapping It Up
As we wrap up this post (pun intended!), if you are a podcast person then be sure to listen to the full podcast episode.
There, you'll find even more insights, personal stories, and tips on making gifts. Whether you're a seasoned sewist or just starting, there's something in it for everyone.
Making gifts is a journey of love, creativity, and sometimes, a bit of a challenge. But remember, at the heart of it all is the joy of creating something unique and personal. So, grab your fabric, thread your needle, and let's spread some handmade happiness!
And don't forget, after listening to the episode, download the "Making Gifts Cheat Sheet" from the show notes. It's your perfect companion to plan and enjoy your gift-making.
Happy sewing, and here's to gifts that are not just made, but lovingly crafted! 🧵✨
Useful links and resources
Stitch: Sewing projects for the modern maker by Jen Rich
Take Two Fat Quarters: 16 Gorgeous Sewing Projects by Wendy Gardiner
Fat Quarter: Gifts by J Schlee
Sew Eco-Friendly: 25 Reusable Projects for Sustainable Sewing by Debbie Shore
2. YouTube Channels/Videos
Fold away shopping bag by Crafty Patti (2 hrs)
Oven gloves by Debbie Shore (3 hrs)
Zipper box pouch by Gentleman Doll (2 hrs)
Chubby Tote Bag by Sotak Handmade (3 hrs)
Easy Snap Bags by Jaddas Craft Cottage (2 hrs)
Weighted Eye Mask by Thrity Stitcher (2 hrs)
10 Gift Ideas to sew with Free Patterns by Stacey Lee Creative
Sew to Sell - great tips on how to finish and package your gifts
4. Blog posts
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And if you would like more help with any of the aspects mentioned in this article or this podcast episode then I would love to hear from you so do please email me at email@example.com.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope you find some useful tips that you can apply.
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