Completed: A random assortment of items

The one thing the items I made yesterday have in common is that I really needed to get them finished but I never started them because I wanted to make other things first. The problem was the other things didn’t get made either because I felt I had to make these items first. It was a rather depressing vicious circle but yesterday I finally decided to get a grip and just get it over and done with. The stupid thing is I enjoy making these items so it really is the lure of the even shinier project that can sometimes keep me from being productive.

First, I made this fabric pouch. Intended for someone I swapped some handmade goodies with. I received my package weeks ago and still needed to get my items shipped. Bit of a problem if they aren’t actually finished… I hope it was worth the wait. The dimensions at the base are 23.5 x 10.5 x 18 cm (l x w x h). I chose these fabrics because these colours should be her favourites. The outside fabric is “Journeys dot dot dash” by Kathy Davis for Free Spirit. I bought it in Stockholm two years ago when I was there for a conference. I really like this quite simple design.

fabric pouchOn the inside I made a zipper pocket and a patch pocket that is divided into two. I hope it will be useful for storing craft supplies.

Pockets in pouch

Then some fabric postcards and a bookmark. Made the same way as described here. This fabric has a bit of a retro vibe that I think is fun and even though (or maybe even because?) it is a large scale print I think it works very well for postcards. It is “Wild Child Passionate Petunias” by Jane Sassaman for Free Spirit. I believe I also have it in a different colourway so perhaps I’ll make some postcards with that one as well.

fabric postcards

Lastly, a Growing up Sew Liberated envelope tee size 6-12 months for a baby boy born in April. This really is my go-to baby pattern. I kept it simple and used only one fabric (left-overs from the Comox Trunks) for the t-shirt but added some accents with contrasting thread for the coverstitching. This has the added benefit that I only have to thread my overlocker and coverstitch machine once instead of switching the right colour thread from one machine to the other several times during the construction. Because the sleeves on baby t-shirts are absolutely tiny I usually sew the hem first before attaching the sleeve instead of sewing it in the round. I did have difficulty matching it up when the sleeve seam was sewn. Apart from that I think the t-shirt turned out really good.

envelope tee

All in all, I had a productive day. Getting these items finished also helps to clear my mind because I can cross some items of my crowded mental to do list. Now it’s time to tick some non-sewing related items from that list…

Coverstitching details

Some thoughts on gift making

I love making gifts for the people I care about. Nearly every time I get an invitation for a wedding or a housewarming or hear a baby is expected I get excited and think “oooh, I’ll make a gift!”. Sadly though, my creative time is limited and if I made a gift for every single occasion I don’t think there would be any time left to make anything else. As a result, I have to make choices and often the choice is made for me because I simply run out of time (planning these gifts and starting way ahead of time is not my strongest point). That gets me in a whole different spot of trouble because now I suddenly have to think about what to buy. Of course I didn’t give that any thought since I was going to make something and thus spend all my time thinking about what I was going to make and how I was going to do that.

Last week was no exception. I had a housewarming this weekend and decided weeks ago that I was going to make something (like I always do). But what to make? Hmm, since it is a housewarming I suppose it would be nice if the gift is somehow house-related. An apron, maybe? It is a bit of an obvious gift and I think most people already own at least one. For example, we have 3 and I didn’t make or buy any of those myself so chances are she already has one. A pillow? Could be nice, but I’m not sure whether she changed her décor during the move and what if I pick completely wrong colours?

Then I suddenly realise the housewarming is this weekend so I am running out of time (again!). On top of that I have a busy week at work, work several long days and am tired. Crafting doesn’t really happen when I am tired. Still, I stubbornly think I’ll manage to squeeze out a gift at some point, not sure when though. And what, that too.

Some of the options that crossed my mind the last couple of days:

  • Fabric bunting, it can be really festive to decorate your home with bunting for a birthday. Not sure though if someone living on her own is going to use it. Probably better to save this idea for families with young children.
  • A cherrystone pillow! That is really warm and cosy when it is cold outside. Problem, how on earth am I going to get my hands on cherrystones to fill a pillow and still have enough time left to actually make one? Might be a good idea for a future gift however!
  • Ooh, I know! A set of fabric napkins! That is really nice to have when you have some people over for dinner. And I can use the rolled hem feature on my overlock machine! That should make it a fast make too! And then I discovered that it is advised that you use fray-check or something to secure the thread ends. The only store I know in Leiden that might have stocked something like that closed its doors last weekend. Perhaps I should make sure to get some fray-check for future napkin endeavours.
  • I could of course make fabric napkins with mitered corners. But, do I really want to make 24 perfect mitered corners when I am tired? Not really, but perhaps I could make a set of 4 instead of 6? But that is still 16 corners, don’t think so, I’ll probably give up after napkin #1.

This time I was smart enough to admit a day before the party that it just wasn’t going to happen (I don’t really want to know how often I’ve had to rush on the day itself to get a gift). I went ahead and bought a set of nice, thick, soft, organic cotton kitchen towels in a lovely green colour that I think my friend likes as well.

Am I learning from all this? I sure hope so, it’s about time I get realistic about what I can actually achieve in the time and energy I have available. So, for now I have decided to only attempt to make gifts for newborn babies because that is something I really enjoy doing (probably until their numbers rise to ridiculous figures at which point I’ll have to get realistic again). For other occasions I am first going to see what I can buy. If I’ve already bought something I won’t be tempted to think I can still make something and waste a lot of time thinking about projects I never end up making in the process. I’ve already given at least one handmade gift to most of the important people in my life anyway. I will continue to make gifts but I’ll just be more selective in choosing the occasion.

After buying the gift for the housewarming on Friday I blissfully watched the men’s 5k speedskating on Saturday, which couldn’t have gone better for the Dutch team. Today I watched the women’s 3k speedskating which also went very well and finished a quilt top (also a gift by the way…).

Does anyone recognise these gift making dilemma’s? How do you prioritise ?