Made by me gifts

When I have the time, I really like to make my own gifts rather than finding something at the shop.  As well as being thrifty (sometimes) and creative (sometimes!), I like to think the time, effort and love that went into the gift is more than it would be if I’d bought the gift and… it means I don’t have to go near a mall – a huge bonus for me!

Christmas is usually crunch time with many many gifts to make, buy, think of.  This past Christmas, I managed to make quite a few of the family gifts for the women (women are so much easier than men!) and my go to idea was a zipper pouch.  I made some in cotton Shwe Shwe off cuts and then also some in a cream canvas that I had hand printed with the girls previously as part of an “art project”.

The pouches are all lined (sorry no picture). The Shwe Shwe ones are lined in bright green cotton and the hand print ones are lined in PUL left over from my nappy making.

The pattern is basically one that I’ve figured out as I went along but there are hundreds of tutorials out there and I particularly like the ones by Ros from Sew Delicious because they are clear with great pictures and it looks like she’s made a few thousand pouches in her time!

When I started running out of time and energy for sewing zipper pouches (and realised that my family has increased in size since I’ve returned to South Africa!), I fortuitously came across some plain canvas shopping bags.  I them snapped up and had lots of fun making hand prints with the girls.  I did consider trying to be a bit more creative (I’ve seen fun versions where hands are turned into owls, feet into butterflies etc) but my artistic skills weren’t going to extend that far.

Here’s little B demonstrating how it’s done: 

The gifts were very well received and I had fun putting them together.  Now for ideas for this year…?

The MC pants

The ‘MC pants’ were originally named for their ‘Multi-Cultural’ ethnicity but as they came into their own I soon realised that they also liked to own the room, announce themselves to the world and be their own ‘Master of Ceremonies’.  So without further ado, I present the MC pants… ta da!

Multi pants4“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the MC pants show!

I started life a long time ago in a pattern making class at Studio Faro. But as a well fitting block and calico toile, I sat in the sewing pile waiting to be made into something special.  You see, Mary is (was?) a bit scared of sewing pants.  And designing a pair from scratch?! All those bits and pieces of flies, and fly shields and pockets and pocket facings and waist bands…Heaven forbid.  But I’ve gotta give the girl credit, after a successful Me-Made-May, she realised that she needed more pants in her life because otherwise how would be she make it through winter?  So she got out the ol’ pants block and got going on turning it into a real pair of pants.  The idea was that the shape of the toile would stay pretty much as is but with a proper waist band, pockets, fly etc.

DSCN2628A lot of research went into how to cut and sew a fly in pants. This tutorial from Notes from a Mad House Wife was particularly helpful. And the Sewaholic Thurlow sew alongs also provided guidance.  Finally the pattern was ready and it was time for the fabric.  And this is where my Multi-Cultural ethnicity comes in.  You see, Mary had her eye on some tartan and had figured it was time to try her hand at that.  But a pure Scottish lass, I was not to be.  So she had to add some red Xhosa Shwe Shwe into the mix as the contrast on the waist band and pocket inserts. Quite an ecclectic mix but I think it works.  The pocket bags were a bit of left over lining from the Ziggi jacket. The button is a self-covered button made from one of those kits and a bit of the contrast fabric – I have my doubts as to how it will survive the wash.

With Mary’s new-found overlocking skills, I can even expose my insides to the world to show the neatly finished seams…aahh bliss.

DSCN2631Oh and please note the piping around the pockets…gotta love piping.  That idea was almost thrown out the window because it was ANOTHER step in this already long complicated process.  But Sew Maris’s timely tutorial on piping reminded Mary that piping really does add that extra zing.  She put piping on her first pair of pants so why shouldn’t I get it too?!

MC pantsThe legs of the pants did turn out to be rather wide as the original pants block for the legs wasn’t altered at all.  This does pose the risk of people mistaking me for pajama pants but with red shoes it’s more likely people think I’m clown pants! But it’s all good.  With a good fit around the hips and butt, I rock the tartan.

MC pants2Mary did think about matching stripes and tartan but somehow the thought got lost along the way and I’m a bit ‘bummed’ that the tartan doesn’t match up across the…bum.  Better luck next time.

Thanks for listening folks and I’m sure I’ll see you around because I think I’m gonna get out a LOT.”

Phew she had a lot to say!

Pattern: Self drafted ‘MC pants’ pattern

Fabric: Cotton Poly (I think) Tartan from a Marrickville fabric store for a steal, Red Shwe Shwe from Fabric World in Cape Town, left over lining from the Ziggi jacket

Alterations: This WAS the alteration

Do it again: Yup – this was v.1.  The next ones need to be a bit narrower I think

Thanks for joining me.  I’d love to hear from you.