Sign up for my weekly sewing newsletter or send my a comment or question

Sign up for my free weekly sewing newsletter

Sign up for my weekly sewing newsletter or send me a comment on this blog


Email *

Message *

About me

My photo
I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


Follow by Email

Follow me on Instagram




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sewing for Christmas

For some reason that is not entirely clear to me I decided to make everything for Christmas.

I think it might be as sort of a celebration of having this fall off from teaching combined with a sort of if not now when sort of thing.

In general I do not believe in putting yourself under a lot of production pressure, particularly over the holidays.

Seared in my brain is an incident at a sewing class I taught years ago when one woman had such a melt down over the stress of trying to get a huge amount of sewing done that she started crying and couldn't stop. We ended up having to call her husband to come and get her. Really matching sweatshirts for 27 people was not worth it.

That said I decided to use November to immerse myself in my projects in a sort of university student doing the term papers sort of way. This way I won't have much to do before the day actually happens and I can just enjoy my family, everyone will be back in Nova Scotia this year, and eat.

I can't for security reasons show you everything, or even mostly what I have made, due to the fact that the recipients have access to internet. 

Here are a few things I can show you however with a few thoughts on how to sew for this season without losing your mind, although it is never clear around here that I have managed to achieve that.

First the requisite Christmas jammies. I have made two nightgowns for the little girls and two pairs of pyjamas for little boys. I used Jalie's wonderful multi-sized PJ pattern, now available only as a .pdf and Peek-a-boo patterns Sugarplum nightgown for the girls:

They were a pleasant sew (I simplified the bottoms on the pyjamas to a plain elastic waist, rather than the drawstring through buttonholes Jalie suggest).

I have to say too that I recommend Peek-a-Boo for gift sewing. I used their diaper bag and changing clutch for my niece's new baby present and both were far simpler to sew than many other patterns I looked at. This nightgown pattern is also very easy, and multi-sized. Nice to have a place to look for fast projects when you need them.

I have also downloaded their sock pattern, on the recommendation of my friend Pat, and may try those too. Apparently the toe seam is on the top, not the end of the foot, and that makes these comfortable.

Sewing socks is pretty nutty as an idea. This is probably why it is a sure thing I will make some.

I also turned around a fast tree skirt for my son and daughter-in-law in San Francisco. 

They called me Sunday night to say they had bought their first tree and asked me if I would make a tree skirt for them some time. Doesn't have to be this year my son said etc. As if I am not on permanent standby for any chance to do anything for my very competent and self-sufficient adult children.

We texted a few ideas (me secretly hoping they would not want one of those elaborate quilted numbers since I am not much of that kind of sewer) and they went for something tasteful and modern.  Since they are modern and have much better taste than I have this was no surprise. 

At any rate I went from design confirmation text to a trip down to Canada Post in less than a day. This pleased me as I am not a particularly efficient person.

Here is the finished product:

For fabric I used some soft-shell, rainwear on one side, low pile fleece on the other, fleece side up of course, because it had a nice weight and of course did not have to be lined.

I finished all the edges with a sort of satin stitch on my serger, stitch length set to close and Wooly Nylon in the upper looper, so it was basically a two seam project only. I made the pattern myself on the back of some old wrapping paper with a dinner plate used as a template for the hole in the middle.

The stars were stick-ons from Michaels that I glued more securely with some E6000.

Not sure how sturdy this whole unit is but when it wears out I will make something else for them.

So folks that's why I have been AWOL but rest assured there have been multiple blog posts written in my head.

Some might even make it to print fairly soon.


bbarna said...

Since I am semi-retired, I usually do a bunch of sewing for Christmas gifts. I have an old Quik Sew pattern that I use for nighties for the granddaughters and a Simplicity two piece pullover and pants for the little boys. This year I did sleeping bag inserts for all the grandkids, as camping in BC can be chilly at night, and they have all started to go camping in the summers. I did a simple fleece jacket for my son and a Jalie raglan tunic for my daughter in law. My daughter did a kitchen reno this year and I did some potholders and a table runner in her new colours. My son in law got a long sleeved t shirt (Jalie pattern) with Star Wars fabric on it. I also made denim pants and shirts for the twins as it is their birthday in December...Most is done and ready to wrap, but I still have a few left to do . Lots of the fabrics came from my stash, but I did buy a couple of new knit prints to jazz things up.
Barb from Prince George.

Anonymous said...

How delightful to have everyone home for the holidays - aren't you LUCKY! We had 3 kids/grandson over the recent Thanksgiving holiday and I was blissed out the whole time.

Having said that, I have no Christmas present energy this all the kids are about to move, bemoan having too much stuff, blah blah. So I think everyone will get consumables for Christmas - toothpaste, floss, money..... But if I had anyone who would wear flannel PJs I would reconsider!


SuzieB said...

I like that tree skirt a lot!
Nice kiddie sleepwear too.
My 28 year old son would love those penguins!

Carol in Denver said...

I love your statement: "As if I am not on permanent standby for any chance to do anything for my very competent and self-sufficient adult children." I identify completely, although my focus is on the grandkids now.

Using "Periodic Table of the Elements" fabric backed with colorful mathematics-themed fabric, interlined with heavy cotton, I'm making their family 8 placemats and napkins. My theory is the kids can absorb a bit of knowledge, such as that a "Periodic Table of the Elements" actually exists, even if they won't use it in whatever career field they enter. They can see what element corresponds with their ages and become familiar with the terminology, maybe even how the table is organized.

I know I invest too much emotional energy in such projects; however, when I made them bright orange/blue widely-striped knit pajamas and told them I think that's probably what the Denver Broncos wear to bed, they were delighted.