IN THE KNOW
Still trying to squeeze in some sewing around the holiday rush? Suzy Williams is here to help you satisfy your need to stitch and tick off your gift list at the same time
No time to sew those last-minute Christmas gifts? Think again! Suzy Williams shares her clever ideas for quick presents you can whip up now
With the change of season and the chaos of the holidays quickly approaching, most of us are running a little low – low on time, low on energy and maybe even a bit low on joyous holiday spirit. Even though I can’t magically wrap all of your Christmas presents or find that perfect, elusive gift for your friend who seems to already have everything, what I can do is give you a few tips on squeezing in some sewing, even if the spirit isn’t flowing (the holiday elf in me needed to rhyme right there).
Make something, just make it small
When thinking about writing this article, I kept going back to that scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice is trying to fit through a teeny tiny door and the only solution is to drink a shrinking potion labelled “Drink Me”. It occurred to me that when I’m busy and have just a small window of time, or shall we say, a small door of time, there’s no point in trying to cram my normal-sized self through it! I’ve gotta drink first… the shrinking potion that is.
You still following? Reading this might feel a bit like you’re the one chasing a white rabbit. Let me say it more clearly – if time, energy or spirit is small, just make small things! Not only do small handmade items make the sweetest gifts, they can also serve as a wonderful catalyst to get you sitting at your sewing machine without a huge commitment. And what kind of a holiday elf would I be if I didn’t leave you with some fun and practical ideas?
Remember that friend who already has a bunch of candles, a monthly subscription to the good magazines (uhum?) and a standing weekly manicure appointment at her local salon? Well, you know what one thing she absolutely does not have? A handmade cushion by you! What was that? You made her one last year? Not making this easy on me, I see. Then do read on!
A table runner
The amazing thing about table runners is there really is no “standard size”. You can pretty much just sew until you run out of steam and then call it a table runner. They can be square-ish, rectangle-ish, long, short, wide, skinny – it’s up to you! You can scrap together some improv piecing, or make a handful of blocks from your favourite quilt pattern.
When making table runners, I actually like to take an added shortcut and avoid binding by
If energy or spirit is small, j ust make small things! Small handmade items make the sweetest gifts and serve as a catalyst to get you at your sewing machine
sewing the three quilt layers facing each other and then flipping it right-side out like a pillow. If those instructions confused you, look for a free table runner tutorial I posted on the LP&Q blog last year. There are lots of pictures, so you don’t even have to read the instructions, hurrah!
A rope bowl
I have seen tutorials for these floating around social media for over a year and it still remains on my to-make list. Let this year be the year! From what I can rope together (yes, pun very much intended), it looks like you only need a basic cotton clothesline from your hardware store and cotton thread for your machine. All you do is slowly zigzag stitch the rope to itself while coiling it around in a bowl shape. I will need to read a tutorial on this since after writing that it seems to me you’d end up with a rug rather than a bowl. Maybe it’s a choose your own adventure kind of thing! Rug or bowl, we may not know until it’s finished!
If you feel the holiday spirit seeping back in, you can even add scraps of your favourite fabrics wrapped over parts of the rope. This gives the rope fun little pops of colour. And if you’re particularly invested in this gift, you could make a couple of nesting bowls of different sizes. That would cover a holiday and a birthday, easy.
A universal, easily interchangeable pouch! Depending on who the gift is for, you can say that it’s a pencil pouch, a makeup bag, a going out clutch, a coin purse, a doggie treat case, a pills pocket, a toiletries bag, a Lego container or even a scented sachet. You could make five of the same bag and just call it different things on the label! Just make sure the recipients don’t know each other, otherwise the personalised (or non personalised) effort will be lost.
You can choose to make one with a zipper, drawstring or even a simple button enclosure. However, if you’re opting for the doggie treat case, just know that zippers can be tricky when one has no thumbs.
The amazing thing about table runners is there's no "standard size" You can sew until you run out of steam! SUZY QUILTS
Whip up a quick binding-less table runner as a stylish handmade gift!
Suzy suggests small projects like cushions to get your sewing fix