Thursday, 17 May 2012

Handmade Gifts


This post should really be called "Putting that Liberty fabric to good use at last". A few weeks ago I was sent this beautiful and inspiring book through the post as a surprise gift from a very good, good friend. I was itching to get going as soon as I opened it. Full of ideas for gifts, toys, artwork, homewares and soft furnishings all with a slightly retro and feminine feel to them. Easy to follow intructions and projects both big and small


The first thing to catch my eye were these bookmarks.



As with all projects that promise to be "super fast" they took me a little while...an afternoon to make four. I think that is more down to my lack of skill than anything else. But it was such a pleasing little sewing task...I got so much pleasure from choosing ribbon and buttons to match the fabric.


And then I decided to cover a notebook, using the pattern from the book. 


It was to be a birthday present for my friend Debora. I bought some Moleskine notebooks, as I know she is a fan of these, and covered one and gave her the other as a spare for when the first is used. I only wish they were a little thicker, as they are quite slim notebooks.


But instead of the suggested applique decorations, I made a "d" (for Debora!) in fabric to match the bookmark. I want to make more covered notebooks but I need to play around more with the best way to do it, and the best weight of fabric. You can see where my sewing wrinkled at the bottom. I wonder if I should have used a heavier fabric.



But at least it was satisfyingly easy to wrap!


Lastly I made two simple cotton shopping bags for two more lovely ladies who have birthdays this week (May has been such a busy birthday month!!). The pattern is from my head, but it was so very very easy - I just looked at some bags I had and thought...I could make that. It is simply a long rectangle of fabric, hemmed at the top and bottom, folded in the middle, sewn down the sides, and then turned the right way out, with handles sewn on. I appliqued on flowers for added colour and pattern and because, well, I do like to applique things.



They are intended to be the sort of bag you keep folded at the bottom of your handbag for shopping when you are out and about. I would like to have a go at lining them, and making some oilcloth ones too, so that they are a bit sturdier.



So, three birthday presents made in the last week, saving me about £30. Which is about what is cost me to have my Winterwoods ABC Sampler professionally framed, so that all balances out rather nicely in the household budgets, and marital harmony prevails.

21 comments:

  1. What a lovely array of sewing projects! I'm sure the recipients must have been absolutely delighted. As well as being cheaper it's so much nicer to give something beautifully handmade. Those shopping bags are just fab! Much too nice to fold away at the bottom of a handbag! Well done you! E x

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    1. Thank you! Being hard up does make one very resourceful. I just wish I'd made a third bag for myself...

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  2. what beautiful makes...you are a clever lady and have very lucky friends :o)
    I have that book too, it is so pretty...you have inspired me to did it out and make something lovely...thank you.
    love jooles x

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    1. It's such a fab book, I want to make everything in it but need to improve my skills level first. Notice how I did the two easiest projects in the book! x

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  3. Wow, everything you made is sooo lovely! I love them all! x

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    1. Ah, thanks (but don't look too closely at the seams!) ;-)

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  4. Wow, all gorgeous Gillian, you are talented.
    Hope you have a great weekend,
    Essie x

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    1. Thank you, but I'm really not talented at all, I'm just following a easy pattern from a book! The nice fabrics make it all look lovely! You have a lovely weekend too. x

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  5. So pretty! Well done, I've always got a list of lovely projects I want to start on but life seems to get in the way a lot at the moment. I had the shock of my life the other day when I got a new follower on my blog, and I realised it was THE Chloe Owens! I'm very pleased to have you following me too! Will have to get this book, it looks gorgeous. Rachel x

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    1. Hi Rachel. I didn't know she had a blog - how very exciting! Gillian x

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  6. These are all so beautiful, just gorgeous! Am mightily impressed and not a little envious of your friends who received such divine gifts. Love the appliqué letter in particular, and the tote bags - so much more stylish than my usual crushed recycled carrier bags. Awesome array of loveliness :-)
    Kate

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    1. Ah, thanks Kate :-). That is really kind of you. I do like making gifts if I have time, and anything that saves a few pennies is a bonus too, if I'm honest!

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  7. I have that book but have not yet made any of the projects. I love the book and bookmark, it is so pretty!
    xxx

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    1. It's a great book, lots of good stuff - but I'd love to know where she finds all that beautiful vintage fabric!

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  8. Beautiful gifts Gillian - what lucky recipients. I love the bookmarks and the tote bags - the bags would be great in oilcloth for shopping :)

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    1. Thanks Donna - I am dying to try an oilcloth tote. I have some off-cuts of Cath Kidston Cowboy from an old tablecloth...I may have to start experimenting!

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  9. Ooh what lovely things you have made, you clever clever thing. I love the fabrics you've used and the flower designs are great. I would always have a book on the go if I had a pretty bookmark like that! xx

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    1. I am not clever - Mum will tell you how I swore over the sewing machine while making them! ;-) xx

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  10. These bags are beautiful - I love the fabric you chose. I've not done much sewing but I would love to try to make some of these. They seem like a fairly easy, and very useful project. Maybe this weekend!

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    1. Thanks Jenny. The main fabric was from Ikea - I love it as it's pretty and very good value. They were very easy and simple to make.

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