When is it too early (or too late!) to talk about making Christmas presents? This is such a hot debate in the creative world…mention it too early and people scroll past because they aren’t ready to think about Christmas yet, but mention it too late and everyone panics because there isn’t enough time to make things! Argh!!!
My first thought is…never panic or worry about this! Putting pressure on yourself to make everyone beautiful handmade gifts is not fun. Handmade gifts should be made with love and joy rather than blood, sweat and tears! But if you do want to make some of your gifts this festive season, here are a few suggestions that might help make it a little easier.
Choose quick makes that use smaller fabric amounts
This is a great idea if you’re short on time or don’t have a big fabric budget, or both! This is also an excellent idea for beginner makers because a quicker make that uses less supplies will help to reduce your frustration if you encounter any difficulties. Taking 2 hours to make a 1 hour project has to be better than taking 8 hours to make a 4 hour project (especially if you want to make a few), and needing to re-cut a small piece of fabric because you’ve made a mistake that can’t be undone has to be better than needing to order another 3 metres of fabric!
A great Waves & Wild pattern that ticks all these boxes is the Crowning Glory. Even the largest size uses significantly less than a metre of fabric (and this could be even less if you choose non-directional fabric) and there are only a few pattern pieces to cut out. And although you will need to choose sizes for the Crowning Glory, all the fastening options in the pattern make each individual size a flexible fit so there is some room for size-choosing error.
Choose a pattern without any sizing…
…or at least a pattern with very easy sizing options. A real dilemma for handmade gifts is trying to work out the correct size to make without spoiling the surprise. There are a few ways to try to estimate the size to make but, honestly, it will always still be a bit of a gamble and if you spent time sewing something you want it to fit properly. especially when it’s a gift. You can avoid this issue by choosing patterns that aren’t sized at all or only have a couple of sizes to choose from thereby making it easier for you to choose the correct one.
The Back to Cool Backpack has two sizes; toddler and older child. But don’t let the “child” sizes discourage you from making this bag for an adult. At 37cm x 28cm (14 1/2′′ x 11′′) the older child size is similar to many adult backpacks. And the toddler size would still work for older children or adults who wanted a mini-backpack, simply extend the straps for a better fit.
Extra tip: hat patterns often have less size options than other clothing item so might seem like a tempting option for gifts but heads are tricky customers when it comes to guessing sizes; for example, I fit into hats that are two sizes smaller than the ones that fit my nine year old!
Make the same pattern for everyone
The more you do something, the easier it becomes. I think this is absolutely the case with sewing patterns; not only does it become easier but the repetition of making something over and over can also make you more confident in the process which will probably speed up your make time and encourage you to try different options. A pattern that can be made over and over but also has a good selection of different options built into the instructions is the perfect choice for handmade gifts.
The Fireside Slippers fit the bill perfectly. Firstly they are one of the quicker Waves & Wild patterns to make (and that’s always a win for handmade gifts) but secondly they have a ton of options. Choose between short boot, tall boot or tall boot with rolled down top. Then you can add the reinforced heel detail or leave that off. And finally you can add ties to the front, or add ties to the back, or choose not to have any ties. You can really vary the look of the Fireside Slippers with your fabric and tie choices too.