Do you do seasonal sewing?
I don’t often. Gifting what we sew can trigger a minefield of emotions. What can I make? Will they like it? How am I going to work out sizing? Have I got time?
Most importantly, will they appreciate the time and energy put into making? Let’s take a step back to think about why you’re making first. You really don’t need to push your limits and build on your list of ‘things to-do’ in time for the festive season when it’s the busiest time for most of us.
Are you making because you know they love a made gift? They love your choice of material. The uniqueness of a gift made just for them. The fact you’ve spent time thinking and working on a special gift with them in mind. Maybe lockdown has meant you’ve had time. Here are a few things I think about when I start to consider it. I thought you might find it useful too.
Don’t overcomplicate the gift.
You really don’t want to try out a new pattern or idea when time is of the essence. Stick to your tried and tested patterns. Those that you know go together well and you’ve already tweeked to your liking. Or that you could step up with different fabrics or trims. Very often the simplest gifts can be the most used and rewarding to make gifts. Think basics. Hoodies, Pj’s, washbags, pencil cases, tote bags… Useful things.
Will they like it?
This is a crucial question and not one to overlook. Think about who you’re making for. What do they already wear/use? Can you replicate a favourite thing? Have you made for them before? What was their reaction? Did their eyes light up or was it a Oh yay! (going straight to the back of the draw) reaction.
Making is a financial choice.
Stop right there. Unless you have everything already in your stash this might not be the direction to go in if pennies are tight. Making is not a cheap option. Baked beans are versatile but there’s only so much you can do. Yes, you can make small gifts from offcuts and small pieces of fabric. Wash bags and the like are a prime example but do bare in mind their tastes might not be the same as yours. I suppose I’m saying know your giftee. Well, unless it’s a secret santa and the you can have some real fun. For that I’d say use your whackiest fabrics and go all out wild.
The elephant in the room. I’m putting this out there. When gifting, sizing matters. This may seem a very unromantic thought but if you want to make for someone check the size. Ask their partner/ parent for an idea. Where smalls are concerned take height as well as age into account. Are the smalls in question due a growth spurt? Toddlers and teens are both good at this. Are they in line with their commercial age or height. If in doubt go up a size. They’ll grow into them. Or just get the tape out and get comfortable with the idea they know something fabulous is arriving under the tree.
For grown ups you can be a little more open generally. Ask or if you’d like it to be secret, check on the size labels of jackets/ jumpers etc for a peek. Obviously not when they’re wearing them. They maybe over a chair, you might even be out shopping with them. This makes it even better as you can see the sort of things they’re drawn to as well as the size they pick up or the shops they prefer. Another clue as to whether they’ll want what you might make.
Are they makers themselves?
Do you swap made gifts? Do you make the same sort of things or are you exchanging different making skills. Could you gift a making experience? A new skill or time spent doing something you both love together.
Make a thing.
As I’ve mentioned before, the small gifts are often the most used. Project bags, cushions and toys are always loved and dare I say, useful. Sometimes you just want to make something fun. It won’t last forever but it’s a project that brings a smile. This is where me-made is perfect because you can really go to town and enjoy the process. That’s also important. Don’t take so much on that you don’t get any joy out of the makes you’re producing for others. You don’t want to be sick of the sight of them by the time you gift them. The whole point of making for gifts is that they are fueled by love or at least joy.
If in doubt Don’t make.
I was always told it’s the thought that counts. The thought and time you put into a me-made gift is most definitely important. Make sure the giftee is going to appreciate that. I’ve stopped myself making once or twice due to realising that I’ve either not got the time or it’s not really going to mean quite as much to the recipient as it does to me. Not everyone ‘gets’ it. Save that time and buy them something beautiful that they’ll love with your budget.
Christmas is coming!
If after considering everything you’ve decided you’ll make a gift or two then Yay! Gifting a me-made is a lovely thing to do. Enjoy the process. Hunting through the stash for the right fabrics and choosing the beautiful trims, can be a fun part too. Making time to do it gives you head space. I’ve a couple of things to make for gifts but I’m starting small so that I can keep on top of things. Nothing worse than a last minute maker panic.