Patchworking is a favourite of mine when it comes to sewing. The main reason is that its really quite easy, whilst also being very prolific (once you have all the materials.) I have been steadily building my patchworking resources over this year, almost entirely from charity shops. Old skirts and shirts, curtains, sheets, remnants – its amazing how a bunch of very discordant patterns come together once carefully arranged and coordinated. Whilst i’m all about mixing it up, i have generally found that too many different textures and types of material generally don’t work, due to the variety of tensions they create in a row of sewn squares, so i now stick mostly to cotton.
I made these single quilts as gifts for Lucia and Isla, my two cheeky little nieces. Both are backed using salvaged thermal curtain lining, making them fairly heavyweight and cosy. I have previously experimented with patterned or decorative borders, but having done so i resolutely conclude that a plain edging brings out the best of the main patchwork area.
Giving everyone a patchwork quilt wasn’t really a feasible option this Christmas, nor any other Christmas for that matter, so i made these smaller cushion projects for my sister-in-law x2 (can’t seem to work out the plural). With less expanse to work with, selecting the fabrics takes a bit more thought. I used some Sanderson prints and a bit of good old Cath Kidston to make sure they were pretty enough! And finally, to step the whole thing up a notch, i got these woven labels made up to personalise my work.
This year was quite prolific for homemade Christmas presents, and as promised, i am going to do a little series on the projects and how they came together. Having always been someone who can’t understand those who start doing christmas shopping in the summer, i rather surprised myself by starting some of these projects in October. Our holiday in Skye in November also featured quite significant sewing productivity.
These little make-up bags were my first projects whilst there, which were made for salvage sis Gemma and my sister-in-law Marianne. The red cord was a charity shop remnant, and the lining a very thrifty find indeed – 3 metres of Liberty fabric for a few pounds, same source. The bunting is composed of various scraps and off-cuts.
I was inspired to write a post about christmas presents having received this beautifully wrapped gift from my friend Julie.
I love receiving a well wrapped gift, especially with consideration given to detail and use of simple materials. Forget fancy ribbons and expensive print, the best materials can be found all year round (as above; baker’s twine and plain brown paper), which are then adorned with festive details (red bead, handmade leaf and painted card). However, there are a host of inventive papers to use as your starting point. For me, any brown paper based wrapping is an essential. This year i was most impressed by this print from Paperchase, with lots of fun illustrations and unusual (ie non-christmas) colours. However there are other paper sources to consider – one year salvage sis gemma wrapped everything in Financial Times paper (tinged a delicate pink), with thick black ribbon. Can’t remember what the present was, its the wrapping that stood out!!
Here are just a few fine examples…
Don’t stop with just presentation of presents. We were given this Panettone which was served at our christmas bonanza, and with a few extra trimmings, it looks tremendously decadent.
I took the opportunity to forage for some Christmas decorating resources today, now that the snow has finally relieved branches and foliage of their heavy load. Thanks to abundant supplies on Blackford Hill, i was able to gather enough for a few projects.
My main aim was to create a wreath for the front door. Starting with a wire coat hanger manouvered into a circle, attach some evergreen as a base using gardeners wire, then build up holly and berries in an ever-widening circle. I dried some orange slices for 2 weeks in the boiler cupboard, and fashioned a basic bow from red ribbon. A welcoming sight for any passer-by or visitor!
Things got a bit more freestyle when it came to the mantlepiece. Lots of greenery piled up, flanked with candles and a few twinkling LED lights, and a felt garland hung below.
With the leftovers, i created a centre-piece using the same haphazard method.
Using fresh foliage creates such a vibrant, authentic display, and costs zero other than your time and energy. As it happens, i wasn’t the only one feeling festive this weekend. Malcolm and his capable little helper created these delicious home-made mince pies, complete with brandy butter. Now all we need are some festive visitors to come and enjoy the proceeds!