I’ve always thought homemade gifts were a great idea. When little kids give you something homemade, it’s adorable (even if you’re not quite sure what it is.) As an adult, though, you kind of have to hold yourself to a higher standard…
Since learning how to knit and sew my goal has always been to give some homemade gifts at either birthdays or Christmastime (basically, any gift-giving time). The winter I first learned to knit, I was a broke college student. I only knew the knit stitch, so you can bet I made a dozen basic-knit scarves for family members for Christmas. (they all claimed to love them…) But I never really got beyond that for homemade gifts.
I can make excuses (that I ran out of time — which is true, but mainly because I was lazy and waited until the last minute), but really, I just need to be dedicated to doing it; I need to make the time for it throughout the year so that by Christmastime, the gifts would be ready.
Last year, I ended up making only 2 gifts. The 2 gifts went to 2 of my cousins (one had just had a baby and the other was due a few days after Christmas). So I made the diaper pouch and changing pads.
This year, I planned to make 5 homemade gifts: initial pillows for my niece, nephew, and my 2 cousins’ children (recipients of the diaper pouch and changing pads…moving forward they will also be called niece and nephew, to make it easier to type and read) and a (still) secret gift for my sister (I ran out of bias tape that I need to finish, so I haven’t been able to give it to her yet—and in the off-chance that she reads this, I don’t want to give it away!).
I ended up having to finish the last 2 pillows on Christmas Eve (surprise!), but all 4 were ready for Christmas day. I was excited to give them to the kids, and everyone loved them. Some people were surprised when I said I made the pillows. (I always like to surprise people – in a good way).
In addition to the initial, I personalized it further with the fabric. My 10-year-old niece likes sparkles and things, so I chose a fabric that had different shades of pink flowers with sparkles on a black background:
My 4-year-old nephew LOVES all the superheros and currently his favorite is Spiderman:
My about-15-month-old nephew LOVES Mickey Mouse. He loves watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show and whenever he sees Mickey, he starts saying “hot dog” because of the Hot Dog song at the end of every episode. So getting Mickey fabric was a no brainer:
And last, but not least, the pillow for my almost 1-year-old niece (she’ll be 1 tomorrow!). My cousin sometimes calls her “her little monkey” so I found cute, soft monkey fabric that I thought would be perfect:
I had been thinking about making these for a long time and at first searched for patterns to follow. However, I couldn’t quite find something that mimicked what I saw in my brain. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that my first thought wouldn’t work out so well, and decided to go a bit easier: find a font that I really liked and print it out on large paper so I could use it as a pattern. So I browsed fonts and came up with ones that I liked. I wanted to do the letters lowercase and some fonts looked better than others depending on the letter, so I’ve used a few different fonts to make the pillows.
I then traced the letters onto pattern paper so I could test them out before using the real fabric. The original print outs were too small to my liking, so I made modifications to make them larger. Then I folded the fabric and traced the letter, pinned the 2 letters together, and sewed as much as I could except for an opening where I could stuff with the fiberfill. (I wish I had take pictures of this process, but I didn’t).
Originally, I had chosen a capital “G” but then realized I didn’t like the way it looked. I ran out of printer ink so I couldn’t reprint a lower case “g”. So I got creative: I took the “a” print out, flipped it, and stretched the hook so that it became a “g”! (I was so proud of myself for doing that — it’s the little things, people!)
Trying to figure out how much I could close up and still be able to flip right side out was a little trial-and-error for all but the “s”. (The “s” was pretty straight forward, just leave one end open!) For the “m” I figured out that I could stitch up almost the whole thing except for the end of the middle “leg”. For the “a” and “g”, I ended up sewing the whole outside shut, but had to leave the middle circle open. I first stitched the “g” and realized after I started stuffing that I could have handstitched some of the circle closed before I started stuffing. So I stopped stuffing to close the circle as much as I could. Then after I finished stuffing I closed it up. I took what I learned from the “g” and applied it to the “a” in the beginning: close up some of the circle first! (I thought the circles would be a pain to handstitch closed, but it was actually easier than I was expecting– yay!)
I’ll post about my sister’s gift once I’ve finished it & given it to her.
My homemade goal for next year is to make more special, personalized gifts for my friends and family.
Do you like to make homemade gifts? What’s your favorite gift you’ve made? What you’re favorite homemade gift that you’ve received?