This Christmas, if finances are a little tight, you could always get out the sewing machine and make your own gifts instead of buying them. It does not need to be an intricate article of apparel at all. The following recommendations are all straightforward and uncomplicated to put into action. The cost of the fabric will be the primary expense, so look for remnants and cheap textiles wherever you can.
Elegant Table Runner & Placemats
If you stop and think about it, a table runner is nothing more than a long rectangle, and placemats are simply shorter versions of that shape. You won’t find another present quite like it, and it won’t take you more than a few minutes to make if you get some lovely organza or patterned satin material in festive colours.
Table runners should ideally be 60 inches in length and 13 inches in width (or 160cm by 34cm). Placemats should ideally be 175 millimetres by 125 millimetres in size (or 45cm by 32cm). Therefore, you’ll need approximately 2 yards of fabric to make 6 placemats in addition to 1 table runner (2 metres).
You will need two pieces of fabric for each item you make, so fold your fabric in half with the right sides facing each other, and then use tailor’s chalk and a ruler to draw up your pattern pieces; don’t forget to include a seam allowance in your measurements.
After you have cut out each piece, sew them back together, leaving a gap between each one (to turn the right way around). Iron the garment with the right side out (ironing the unfinished seam in place). Now stitch a seam all the way around the entire outer side, getting as close as you can to the edge. Voila!
Ladies Evening Wrap (or Day Wrap)
Summer evenings are great, but sometimes they can be a little cool. Why not make this easy evening wrap – a quick and easy gift idea for Christmas too! Or, if you have a friend with Lupus, why not make them a daytime wrap so they can be shielded from the sun.
Great fabrics for this include silk or shot silk for an evening wrap, and tight weave cheesecloth which blocks the sun but still allows for air circulation for a day wrap.
The wrap is 31½“ wide by 63“ long (or 80cm by 160cm). However, our preference would be to have both long edges of the wrap as a selvedge edge, so if you find suitable fabric in a roll with a width just slightly larger than these (say 36″ instead of 31½ “), go ahead and buy it – a little extra width won’t hurt.
Before you buy your fabric, you need to decide what embellishment, if any, you want to put on the ends of the wrap. You can leave the edges as just a straight edge, you can attach some fringing or other decorative ribbon, or you can make your own fringe (if you are using a fabric than fringes easily). If you are buying decorative ribbon or fringing, you will need 63″ or 160cm.
If you decide to make your own fringe, don’t forget to factor that into how much fabric you will need. An average fringe is 2½“ long (or 7cm), so you will need to buy 31½ “ wide by 68 “ long (or 80cm by 174cm).
Then just stitch those edges that need to be stitched. For the sides (if you have to stitch them) I’d use a really tight zigzag stitch (test first on a scrap piece of fabric). For the ends, if you are just hemming, use the same stitch. If you will be attaching ribbon or fringing, sew a normal hem.
If you are fringing the wrap yourself, start unpicking the material at one end, and continue until the fringe measures 2½“ long (or 7cm). Now grab bunches of the fringing about 1/4″ wide (1/2cm), and tie in a knot so that the knot is as close the edge of the solid fabric as possible. Repeat every 1/4″ until you have knotted the entire edge. Now repeat with the other end of the wrap.
So, start sewing – hopefully these ideas will inspire you!
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