Hi I’m Trish (@floralsflannels), a blogger and sewer from Canada, and this is my first post for Sewalicious to put you all in the holiday spirit!
I always love giving hand-made gifts over the holidays! Prior to starting sewing this past year, handmade knit sweaters, mittens, socks and scarves were my go-to items for Christmas crafts, but having taken up sewing, I hope to up my game this year when spreading holiday cheer!
First, I’ll start with some overall gift making tips:
- Plan early! I like to plan out little “deadlines” for all of my handmade items to avoid a last minute frenzy. Aim to have all your gifts finished at least a week before you need them to be – to give yourself a little buffer time.
- Stretch and loose fitting items are your friends. Included in the suggestions below are items which may be a bit more forgiving when it comes to fit, as you sneakily try to find out people’s sizes.
- Make sure you’re choosing something that they will like and appreciate – not just what you like.
- Be honest with yourself and your skills to avoid a last minute shopping frenzy! Making gifts for others should be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one.
- Take advantage of deals! Sewalicious currently has a deal that if you buy a pattern and fabric, you get 15% off until Dec. 24! Why not take advantage?
When I was asked me to write this post, I wanted to give gift ideas for everyone on your list – and I didn’t have to look any further than my own family for inspiration. In my family, I’m the oldest of five kids. My husband Chris is the youngest of a blended family – and this year I can say that I now have 4 new parents and TWELVE new brothers and sisters in law! Because both our families are so huge, we have three separate “Secret Santa” exchanges. Below I list my ideas on what I would make my various family members – but tune in on Boxing day for the big reveal of what I created!
Here is my list of handmade gift suggestions, based on the people I know and love best:
For the young professional…
My Sister-in-Law Olga is in her 2nd year of dental school! In her studies, she recently became able to practise on clients of the dental school (prior to that, it was only on mannequins or her lab partner). She’s moving into a more professional point in her life – and as I’m sure many of you know, this often requires a bit of a wardrobe shift too!
The Charleston is one of my absolute favourite tried and true patterns! Every version I’ve made has turned out amazing, it’s super quick to sew, and the panelling on the pattern allows for easy sway-back adjustments or colour blocking. The fabric from Sewalicious is stretchy (i.e. Forgiving when it comes to fit), comfortable and feminine, making it a perfect pair. The black and white palette makes it easy to match with a black pair of shoes, or black Morris blazer!
For the University Student…
My sister Susie is 10 years younger than I am, and about 10 times “cooler”. If you compare us to the TV show Brooklyn 99, I am the Amy Santiago of the family, my sister Kate is Rosa, and Susie is eerily similar to Gina Linetti, the interpretative dancing, Instagram queen.
For Susie, a simple, cropped, black sequin top is what I would make. Sewalicious has a GREAT sparkle and shine line, with a variety of colours, but black can be paired with jeans for Wing Night at the University Pub, or with a skirt for a more elegant affair. My pattern recommendations would be the Scout Tee or Linden from Grainline Studio, or the Sew Over it Ultimate Shift Top – with the darts omitted. A boxy top is also quite forgiving for fit as well.
I’d pair these with Sewalicious’ line of bags – perfect for the dorm room! That and maybe a sassy cross-stitch?
For your Eccentric Brother-in-law…
Nick has a rather large beard, enjoys Scotch, has his ears gauged and listens to heavy metal music. I have never met another person like him! I think his individuality would be best showcased by an equally extravagant button-up shirt – classy enough to wear out, but unique enough to strike up a conversation!
I love the line of patterns from Thread Theory Patterns. The Fairfield shirt comes with 6 different collar option. I’ve also made the Colette Negroni – for first time shirt makers, this is an easier pattern, that turns out a nice looking shirt. As it does not have a collar-stand and button placket it creates a more casual shirt. It all depends on your skill level and style you’re going for. My third sewing project (ever!) was the Rosa Shirt Dress from Tilly and the Buttons – don’t be scared of shirts as there are lots of great tutorials out there to help.
For your Crafty Family member…
My mom is a crafting queen! She tends to go through phases as to which type of craft she’s interested in, and since my recent interest with sewing, she’s gotten back into it too. The great thing about Sewalicious is all the cool sewing related items that they have recently included in their stock. Their line of sewing pins and necklaces would make great stocking stuffers!
For the fashion-forward thinker…
My sister-in-law Emily has ALWAYS been ahead of the trend. She started her own online community on Facebook, Bunz, to trade some pasta for some sauce – which turned into an internet phenomenon. Her music and fashion has always been equally innovative and unique. Coming up with something for Emily would be hard, but thankfully the pattern company Named Clothing seems to channel their inner Emily in their designs.
I would select the Reeta Shirtdress. Again, the loose, forgiving fit would be helpful in case it didn’t fit JUST right. Its 70s vibe would be perfect for Emily. Another suggestion would be the Stella Shirt Dress!
For the Outdoorsman/woman…
My brother-in-law Matt’s happy place would be around the campfire, in the middle of the wilderness, with a dog by his side and beer in his hand. No frills Matt really appreciates the simple, special things, like time spent with his family and exploring the outdoors. What do you make for someone like this? Why a “multi-purpose, tubular head/neck scarf” of course! (Like Kleenex®, here in Canada, we more commonly refer to this as a “Buff®”). Speaking from experience on many a hiking trip the “Multi-purpose tubular head/neck scarf” is both warm, and incredibly useful and can be worn in 6 different ways. They often have a hefty price tag, but out of 1m of fabric, you can make up to six! Contrary to their brand-name alternative, any scarf you make would have a seam, but I haven’t found this to be an issue. Making it reversible can help eliminate any itchiness. Make it out of a Merino wool for a really luxurious (and warm!) gift, a moisture-wicking fabric for your really active friends, or out of one of the suggested jerseys below if you would like to opt for a more practical and yet still fashionable take on the traditional “Infinity” scarf.
Here are some Sewalicious fabric suggestions for everyone on your list:
For the Super-mom…
We have two, amazing super-moms in Chris’ family – first his sister Bailey is mother to four amazing kids in South Carolina! For Bailey, I feel like a little luxury is just what she deserves! I would definitely sew her a lovely “Coatigan” like the Lola Coat from Sew Over It or Sapporo Coat from PaperCut Patterns. This could be done in a heavier wool blend like Sewalicious Red or Brown Leopard or for the warmer South Carolina weather in Mariposa by Blend. Pair it with a lovely necklace and you have a quick, fashionable, pulled together outfit – nice and easy! Again, the fit of these patterns allow for a little guessing if needed when it comes to sizes.
The other super-mom is Chris’ sister Laura! With two small kids and co-owning her own business, she is one busy lady. I would opt for something like the Ebony dress by Closet Case Patterns or Olivia Wrap Dress from Named Clothing. I would choose the Sewalicous Wild Rose Bouquet, Silver Shower or plain Black Jersey. A comfy, jersey dress like this is not only flattering, but it’s something she can easily wear to a business meeting, or while chasing the kids around the playground.
For the laid-back country Boy…
Chris’ other brother Nic has a rather large truck, listens to country music, and hoodies are his dress code. As a special treat, I would love to sew Nic a Thready Theory Finlayson Sweater in Evergreen Knit, for a fancier version of his classic look! I love the green colour of this fabric, and although Nic has blue eyes, I imagine it would look fantastic on someone with green.
Need a female alternative? Why not try the tried and true Named Clothing Sloane Sweatshirt or Tilly and the Buttons Coco in Pink Harmony Sweater Knit or Pink Cable Knit Ponte Roma from Sewalicious. Again, you don’t have to be too worried about fit, and it’s perfect for the cozy holidays.
Your rebel Sister…
This past summer, my sister Kate requested a “Pineapple Jumpsuit” which I sewed for her trip to Australia. Kate has always marched to the beat of her own drum, and the weirder and wilder the fashion statement the better. When I saw the bright pink and blue needlecord offerings from Sewalicious, I immediately thought of the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo for Kate. They also offer it in Black, for more traditionalists too. The Cleo is quite forgiving when it comes to fit, for those surprise gifts when you might not be sure about size.
A garment alternative…
My sister-in-law Lizzie has a very distinct style and preferences. I would be hesitant to sew a garment for her without her input ahead of time. To still channel the element of surprise, I would definitely recommend the “Sew your Own Clutch” course offered by Sewalicious. A classic black clutch (maybe with a little sparkle?) is something that she could pair with almost every outfit for a night out!
Happy Holiday sewing folks!
Check out my Instagram feed (@floralsflannels) Tuesday, December 26 for a reveal of the items I made for my family. Can’t wait to see all the creations you come up with!