Handmade Christmas 2010
Our family’s Christmas traditions are simple. I always make at least one handmade gift for my children, they each get pajamas and one Christmas book that gets added our family’s Christmas book collection to open on Christmas Eve and they frequently get practical gifts that are nicer than they would normally get during the year (kind of our way to splurge but not fill our house with useless crap).
Some years it is harder than others to decide what to make. They already have very special items I’ve made them, quilts, dolls, embroidered pillowcases and one can only wear so many hats and scarves. This year was looking to be a difficult year to choose a gift, but as I was browsing for a practical item that they needed (slippers) and I was considering paying $30 for a pair of wool slippers that would need alterations after I got them (leather soles added to prevent the sad toe-wearing-through situation that we have experienced in the past), a light bulb clicked and I realized I should just make some nice felted slippers for them. The main problem is that I don’t know how to knit, so a different approach was necessary. After some searching, I decided to felt a sweater and use that to make slippers. I used this pattern and basic technique, but wanted a bulkier slipper, so I went with the felted sweater rather than wool or acrylic felt off a roll at the fabric store. I also added decorative blanket stitching with yarn around the openings and added felt appliques to each slipper using acrylic felt scraps I had lying around.
This was a really frugal gift as well. I purchased a large women’s sweater at our local consignment store. It was 88% wool, 6% polyester and 6% cashmere. A sweater should be at least 80% wool for it to felt. It was marked at $9.50, but when I got to the register, it was 50% off, so the cost of material for three pairs of slippers was $4.75! I was just able to get parts for the three pairs out of this large sweater, but I wasn’t short on material. I machine stitched all the seams. As I mentioned previously, we have had wool felted slippers that developed wear holes in the toes and they were really not easily repairable, so I wanted to have a slipper with a sole. My husband had some pieces of leather in his stash, so he cut out soles and adhered them to the bottom of the finished slippers.
The other gift I made was a pincushion for my oldest. She hasn’t had her own stash of straight pins and her borrowing mine or her sister’s always leads to issues, so this was a practical gift.
Obviously this has storage under the pincushion. It was made using this tutorial and materials I already had at hand, except the grosgrain ribbon. I used leftover fabric from my cargo pant purse. M. loved the pincushion, because she is becoming more of an avid sewer. Actually, she sews more frequently than I do!