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Tajima Software
Tajima Software
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Tajima Software
Tajima Software
Posts: 457
Hand Made Gifts for the Holiday Season
By Peggy Forde

As Christmas approaches, anxiety rises as many people frantically search for just the right gift for each person on their list. The jewelry stores would have you “say it with diamonds”, but in my experience, a handmade gift says “you’re special” more than anything else you could give. Today, I’d like to share a few last minute gift ideas which add a personal touch to the usual holiday gift giving, and are sure to be a hit with friends and family members alike!

Baby Blankets with a Personal Touch

Polarfleece and embroidery were made for each other. Personalized baby blankets made with fleece are particularly fun to make since they are simple in nature, but there are many ways to make them completely unique. They’re also incredibly soft and warm, ensuring the little recipient will sleep snugly through the cold winter nights!

To make one, you’ll need a piece of Polar Fleece about 1 metre by 1 metre in size. If your fleece has a pattern on it, you can embroider the baby’s name and birthdate in one corner, or in the centre, depending on the pattern style. If your fleece is a solid colour, your personalization or design can be embroidered anywhere on the blanket, although a design placed in the centre will still show when baby is tucked in.
Before you decide where your embroidered design will go, measure in about 10 cm (4 in) from all edges and mark with pins or a dressmakers marker; you will be cutting a fringe after you have embroidered your design. Don’t cut first, as you need the fabric intact for the hoop to hold on to. All machine embroidery requires stabilizer, but embroidering on fleece requires water soluble stabilizer on BOTH sides of the fabric. This ensures that the stitches don’t disappear into the fleece.

Once you have embroidered on the piece of fleece, it’s time to cut the fringe. If you’ve never cut into fabric before, this can be a bit scary, but I assure you, the results are worth it! Using a pair of sharp scissors, estimate about 2.5 cm (1 in) between each cut, and cut to your marked line. You will also need to cut a 10 cm (4 in) square out of each corner so the fringe is even on all sides. Once you have made a fringe all the way around the blanket, you may tie a simple knot in each piece of fringe to complete the effect.

Unique Scarves for Cold Winter Days

Another easy to make Polarfleece gift is a scarf. Scarves lend themselves to many winter embroidery motifs: snowflakes, skates, snowmen, and mittens for example. For the sports fan, you could embroider his or her favourite player’s number, the team crest or a depiction of that sport, such as a hockey stick or basketball. If the wearer of this scarf is prone to losing these kinds of things, you might want to embroider their name on it, too!

To create a warm scarf, you’ll need a piece of fleece that’s about 25 cm (10 in) wide and 115cm (45 in) long in the colour of your choice. As with the baby blanket, you’ll need to use water soluble stabilizer on both sides to ensure the stitching stays easily visible. Regardless of the size of your design or personalization, the bottom of it should sit about 20 cm (8 in) from the end of the scarf to make sure there is enough space for fringing. After you have finished embroidering your design, measure 15 cm (6 in) from both ends and cut the fringes using the same method as for the baby blanket. Optionally, you may knot the fringe as well to complete the scarf. Imagine the delight on the recipient’s face when they unwrap this gift designed uniquely for them!

Bean Bags for Toddlers

Little children love playing with bean bags; they also outgrow their blue jeans before they wear out. Fortunately, denim makes for great bean bag material and is very easy to embroider on.

To begin creating bean bags, cut the legs off the jeans and cut vertically up both sides of the heavy doubled seam (it is probably the outside seam) so that you have a flat piece of denim with a seam up the middle. You need to leave this intact to have enough fabric to fit into the hoop. You can discard the strip of fabric that you have cut off. For little hands, the finished bean bag will be about 10 cm x 10 cm (4 in x 4 in), so your embroidery design needs to be smaller than this and fairly uncluttered. I have found “baby” animals, dinosaurs, cars & trucks or the recipient’s initials to be suitable designs that fit well in smaller areas.

Although denim is fairly sturdy, you still need a light, tear-away stabilizer to ensure smooth stitching and avoid puckering of the fabric. Centre your design on one half of the pant leg – the existing seam will be one end of the bean bag. Once you have finished embroidering your design, cut a 25 cm x 12.5 cm (10 x 5 in) rectangle making sure that your embroidered design is in the centre of one half. Now, fold it right sides together along the existing seam and sew a 1.5cm ( ½ in) seam around two of the open sides. Turn the bean bag right side out and fill it about ¾ full with dried beans or peas. Then turn the raw edges in 1.5 cm (0.5 in) and stitch across the opening to close up the bean bag, completing a great low-tech gift for an active toddler!

Home Made Wine Bottle Gift Bags

You can probably get two or three bean bags out of one leg of a child’s jeans, but what do you do with the other leg? If it is a least 37cm (15 in) long, you can make a wine bottle gift bag! When bringing a bottle to the next holiday party, yours will certainly stand out among all those cardboard boxes and paper bags!

Leaving the hem end intact (this is the “top” of the finished bag), cut straight up the inside seam of the pant leg until it will fit flat in the embroidery hoop. Try to leave the hem intact if you can, as it is difficult to sew this back together! Place the hoop so the design will be centered about 5 cm (2 in) from the bottom of the finished bag (the cut end of the leg). I find it easier to cut a piece of stabilizer a little bigger than my design and use temporary spray adhesive to “glue” it to the wrong side of the denim. There are many fun wine-related designs available for purchase, and you could even personalize the design for the person to whom you are giving the wine.

Once you have finished embroidering your design, turn the leg (right sides together) and measure about 5 cm (2 in) from the hem (top of the bag). You can then cut a piece of ribbon or cording that complements your design about 55cm (21.5 in) long, and then fold it in half. Insert the ribbon or cording about 5cm (2 in) from the top of the finished bag with the fold poking through the open seam. Now, re-stitch the seam you cut apart, making sure to stitch across the folded ribbon or cord, and then stitch across the bottom. If you like, you can pinch the corners flat and sew across them about 2.5cm (1 in) in to create a flatter bottom to the bag. Turn it right side out, slip a bottle in, tie it up and present it to your favourite oenophile. If you’re lucky, you might even get it back one day!

I hope you enjoy making some of these uniquely creative gifts for family and friends. Happy Holidays!
edited by PulseMicro on 12/9/2014
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