22 May 2012

Birthday Gifts

I have made it a goal of mine to focus more on handmade presents lately.  (I did it at Christmas, too.)  A few reasons:  they cost less, they are more personal, and no one in my life needs more cheap plastic toys.  So when my little girl's second birthday rolled around this month, I chose two handmade gifts to make for her.

The first was a circle skirt from this website; I absolutely love MADE and find lots of my inspiration from there.  (I also did a shirt dress last week, but I don't have a photo of it.)  I read Dana's tutorial and saw her say how easy this skirt was, but I assumed that there was no way it could really be that simple, especially since her sewing skills are head and shoulders above mine.  But, really, the longest part was drawing the perfectly-curved line for the pattern.  The entire project took about an hour, and the only tedious part was the hemming.  I used a scrap of fabric I had laying around -- less than a yard -- and spent about $2 for some colored elastic at JoAnn's.  My daughter loves it; it's very feminine and girly and perfect for spinning in circles while we dance in the living room.

The second project took a bit longer and was much more involved, but I'm prouder of it.  The pattern came from the book Little Things to Sew, which I borrowed from a friend.  (The last thing I need is another sewing book sitting around reminding me of how little time I have to devote to sewing.)  However, if I was going to buy another sewing book, this would be it.  It's full of clothes, toys, and kid-sized useful items specifically designed for small children.  There are dresses, backpacks, art smocks...and a fabulous child-sized front baby carrier.  I spend a lot of times these days with my six-month-old son in a Baby Bjorn, and my two-year-old gets irritated because I can't then pick her up.  I kind of hoped that a carrier of her own, for her own doll (named "Baby", conveniently enough) might cheer her up a bit.  

The pattern itself is quite simple, and very little fabric is required.  However, some of the curves are tiny, and didn't come out quite as neatly as I'd have preferred.  She didn't notice, though!  In fact -- sadly -- she was kind of underwhelmed.  She was more interested in her new crayons.  Bummer.  So I couldn't get a picture of her wearing the baby carrier; I'm hoping it will grow on her.

The next three gift-giving opportunities I have coming up are both for my husband:  Father's Day, our anniversary, and his birthday.  At some point, I'd like to learn to sew a men's shirt, but until then, I'm not sure I have anything in my repertoire that will serve as an appropriate homemade adult male gift.  Any suggestions?


Alisha said...

This is adorable and I want to try it. My sewing skills are right now relegated to the fact that I think its a big deal when I can thread Lillian's machine and get her bobbin set up. So hey, why not tackle this :)

As far as men's projects, does it have to be sewn? Um, Jason uses handkerchiefs (always has one with him). You could make/hem/embroider some for him? Or, you could leave the realm of sewing and do something with pictures for his office. The girls and yourself could make a cool/fun frame and then take a picture he doesn't know about (there are decent amateur photographers everywhere like myself who would be willing to take it for you). I don't know.

treen said...

I haven't tried the circle skirt yet because I thought I didn't have enough of a stretch of fabric for it, but less than a yard? Yesssss. I can do that.

Men's gifts .. hmm ... I also have Adam's birthday, Father's Day, and our anniversary coming up. Good question. I've done Alisha's ideas of new photos before. Making a frame could be fun. What are Jeff's hobbies? Do a google search on how to make something associated with it - like, if he plays golf, make covers for his clubs.

Adam recently hit on making camping gear and has spent the past month making a hammock and bug screen. (The sewing took very little time - most of his experimenting has been with the ropes to get the thing up, and waiting on ordering fabric from online.)

Alisha, if you can thread the machine, you're most of the way there on the hard "technical" stuff. Seriously. The machine itself - especially the bobbin - always freaked me out a little, and once I figured that out, I was good to go.

Lauren said...

Thanks for the ideas! I'm not extraordinarily crafty beyond sewing, so I hadn't left that arena yet. I made him a bow tie for Christmas a few years ago, and his mother embroidered him some handkerchiefs with math symbols this year. But a good picture and a frame would be the classic Father's Day present, and I've got time for that!

Alisha, I'm with Trina. Figuring out how to thread the machine and run it is half the battle! But, when I started sewing, I was shocked at how much of sewing isn't actually sewing -- it's cutting, measuring, and ironing. And when I started, I'd try to skip steps because I wanted to get to the sewing part (hence, my projects were always pretty terrible). Just have fun and experiment!

Lauren said...

Oh, and Trina, the fabric doesn't have to stretch at all. I just used cotton quilting fabric that I'd bought at some point because it was cute. Anything will work! (Mine had stripes, and I was worried that they would look strange, but it came out quite nicely.)