A handmade Christmas

So I'm going to start this post by saying it is 6 more sleeps until Christmas! I mean how did that even happen? This year seems to have gone ever so quickly although this is the one year I will be pleased to see the back of! Such a difficult year on so many levels. Still, I always love Christmas.

For gifts this year I decided (waaaay back in October) to try and make things for family. Gift-giving is one of my favourite things to do. I love seeking out something special and seeing their faces light up when I hand it to them. I love it even more when they find out you made said gift for them. 

This is my first handmade Christmas and I am so stoked on this I know I'll be doing it next year too. The thing I love about Christmas is the general feeling and atmosphere. I'm a sucker for old style romance and there's that kind of old-style-romance around Christmas. I hate how commercialised it has become and this is my way of giving gifts without simply feeding corporations my hard earned cash buying presents they have forced me to get through efficient advertising. I could go on about this but this post isn't a rant about that. It's about what I made. I should probably move on to that now...

As it stands it's now the 19th of December and I have made all but two of my Christmas gifts which I want to share in this post. I will be making my dad and boyfriends present over the next week as I'm now off work until 3rd of January (YES!) so I'll show those off at another point.

Coco top Tilly and the Buttons Christmas

 So, first up we have my mum's present. A Tilly and the Buttons Coco top. I love sewing the Coco. It's super easy, there's not really much fitting to worry about and although it's simple you can still make it look different each time with your choice of fabric, collar or no collar, top or dress, contrast yoke etc. For a simple pattern there is literally a myriad of choices. I mean, I have four in my wardrobe alone (one I have yet to blog about!). I do think this is an excellent gift idea. It will suit most people and the other bonus is how quick it is to make up. This literally took me about 2 hours.

Coco top tilly and the buttons Christmas
Coco top Tilly and the buttons Christmas

I bought the fabric from ebay and I must say when it first arrived in the post I wasn't all that thrilled with it. In fact I was slightly disappointed with it. I'm not really sure why though. But as soon as I finished making it up I fell in love with it. It's turned out so nicely and I know my mum will love it. 

Coco top tilly and the buttons Christmas

For my sister I again choose to go with the Coco but this time I made the dress version with the collar and cuffs. Again, the fabric came from ebay and this was my first foray into a boarder print fabric. It took slightly longer to cut this one out as I had to be carfefully where I placed the pieces to get the look I wanted and in the end I cut it all out on a single layer as it was less of a headache. And once again, I am super pleased with the results. 

Excuse the ill-fitting-ness of this photo - my sister and I are totally different sizes...

Excuse the ill-fitting-ness of this photo - my sister and I are totally different sizes...

The pattern on the fabric is not one I would have initially chosen for myself, but now it's all made up I'm actually kind of jealous! 

Tilly and the buttons coco dress collar
Tilly and the buttons coco dress cuff
This photo was taken 'pre-hemming'. It took another week before I completed the hem...

This photo was taken 'pre-hemming'. It took another week before I completed the hem...

Next up, the niece. I saw this pattern in a copy of Burda I picked and featured in my 'sewing magazine' post and new instantly I wanted to make it. This is such a great little pattern- so simple and a great way of introducing you to sewing faux fur. Which, so long as your careful and have a bit of patience, is actually not all that bad!

Faux fur coat Burda christmas

The worst part of sewing this coat was definitely tracing the pattern pieces - I had heard of the nightmare of Burda magazine pattern pieces but only realised just how real the nightmare was when I pulled out the pattern sheet! My goodness is that a crazy mess of lines! I decided the best course of action was to get out the tracing wheel and cutting matt so I could trace with the Burda sheet on top of my pattern paper. Luckily, this coat doesn't have too many pieces!

This photo should have come with a warning- do excuse the bright yellow walls in the background. The previous owner of our flat had somewhat interesting tastes...

This photo should have come with a warning- do excuse the bright yellow walls in the background. The previous owner of our flat had somewhat interesting tastes...

As I've already said, sewing with faux fur wasn't actually all that bad once I started. I did some prep beforehand by watching a couple of videos and reading up about it. It definitely needs patience (it took me like four hours to cut out all the pieces - there are like five pieces to this coat...) but it's worth it. Plus if you sew with faux fur it's likely the pattern itself will be relatively simple in design so there wasn't really any head-scratchy moments once I got to sewing. It's literally just a few straight lines.

The only other bit I didn't like quite so much was sewing on the hood to the main pieces and also sewing the armholes into the lining. I don't know why but these parts stick out in mind as not being as easy as they should have been.

Beige and baby blue are now officially my two favourite colours to pair together! The original pattern calls for snap fastenings but I much prefer these hooks and eyes I got from Ditto. 

Beige and baby blue are now officially my two favourite colours to pair together! The original pattern calls for snap fastenings but I much prefer these hooks and eyes I got from Ditto

Faux fur coat Burda

I purchased both the outer fabric and lining from Calico Laine. I do really like this lining - they have it in loads of different colours and although it is acetatey (totally a word...) it's actually quite soft. And such a good colour match for the shell fabric!

If I made this pattern again I would definitely interline in the lining/ quilt it. The pattern itself does specify 'quilted lining' but I couldn't find any pre-quilted stuff that would go and I was a bit pushed for time to do it myself. It's worked out fine but you can feel the back of the fur fabric through the lining slightly and it would be a lot warmer with some sort of layer between the two.

Faux fur coat Burda

All in all I'm really pleased with this. It looks super cute and I think she'll love it. What 4 year old doesn't want a faux fur coat? (As a side note: I wanted to make the coat in her favourite colour, but then I realised it was yellow and worried she might look like big bird from Sesame Street so I went with blue instead. Much safer!)

Finally (for this post) I made a Seamwork Paxson jumper for my sister's fiancee.

Paxson jumper Seamwork Christmas

Now, this is the only one I'm slightly worried about. I bought the fabric from ebay (along with the Coco fabrics above) and I thought it looked really interesting and unusual. When it arrived I was a bit like 'Oh it's pink...'. I puzzled over it for a while as to whether I should sew the jumper up with black sleeves and hem band and just have the front portion as the pink optical illusion pattern but one Saturday afternoon I got the rotary cutter out and just went for it.

Once it was finished I went back to my 'but it's pink' thinking. I think there's definitely a certain kind of man that could pull this thing off - I'm just not sure it's my sister's fiancee! Although, he is colour blind so maybe he'll think it's a different colour? In any event when I showed my mum she said she would wear it and she thinks my sister would too so if he doesn't like they can get an extra present!

Seamwork Paxson jumper

For a moment let's forget the fabric and talk about the pattern. I have seen many a Paxson around on the big wide web and I've been itching to stitch this together for a long ol' while. I really don't know why I haven't. I think it's probably because it's a pdf and I HATE pdf patterns. Although there's something more instantaneous about them - they literally get emailed to you within minutes of placing an order - they're also so much more hard work (in my opinion). Cutting them out, taping them together and then cutting out the actual pattern. Eurgh. But in the name of Christmas I finally stuck this one together.

This pattern is meant to take one hour to stitch together and I would actually say that's pretty accurate. It's so simple (after you've taped the bloody thing together)! So much so there's not a lot left to say about it. It really is a great present sew and I'm already looking forward to sewing another for my boyfriend. Sometimes the simple things are really the most satisfying things to sew.

Well, that's quite enough typing for one day! Have you made Christmas presents this year?