One of my commitments for 2013 was to use some of my handmade items as gifts this year. I suffer from an odd idea that handmade presents are somehow second best. Last Christmas I gave my mother a jacket that I had made for her. Her delight, combined with my sister’s envy convinced me that it was actually Ok to sew presents for people. Far from regarding them as second best, people often feel especially pleased that I have spent the time making something for them, rather than popped out at lunch time and grabbed something from the mall. I often think it would be nice to offer friends and family something that I have made myself, but then don’t get my s**t together in time to actually have a present in time.
This year I’m going to start a “Gift Stash”. I will make stuff that can be given as presents without specific recipients in mind. Hopefully when an occasion arrives I will be able to reach into the stash and pull out a handmade present.
My first offerings for the Gift Stash are kitchen items – oven mitts and gloves with matching T-Towels. I didn’t actually make the T-towels, but I got a set of machine embroidery files from Urban Threads and stitched one of the designs on a pair of cheap T towels. The rest of the items were made from Calico and Thinsulate tm, a wading specifically sold for its insulating properties. I designed them myself, and fully lined the glove and the main portion of the mitts with calico that was quilted with the Thinsulate tm, so the areas that are between the user and hot pans are all double layers of insulation. I used the embroidery as the quilting. The layers are too thick to fix into the machine hoops, so I used bulldog clips to hold the fabric and wadding on to the lower hoop.
For the gloves, I made four pieces for each glove, sewing them into two gloves, then putting one inside the other as a lining, and stitching them together at the wrist before finishing off the edge with black bias binding (made with the bias binding maker) made from black calico.
The mitts are two long oval shapes quilted with the Thinsulate tm, then two extra pieces for the ends. I didn’t use Thinsulate tm to quilt these pieces as I don’t envisage these pieces being used to protect the user. I then bound all the pieces together with more black calico bias binding.
I’m actually very pleased with this collection, and love the designs. I will be quite proud to give these away. Am I alone in feeling a bit iffy about giving home made presents?