Posted in Sewing

Christmas Gifts 2017

Back in April, I decided I was going to try and make as many Christmas gifts as I could. My husband had been out of work since February and I was already panicking about how expensive gifts usually are because I am a worrier and like to make the worst of things. It was a lot of work and I was nervous giving homemade clothes as gifts, but these projects were a helpful distraction during a stressful time. Also, I made most of the clothes out of knit fabric so that a perfect fit wasn’t as important (I spent a lot of time stalking pictures of my family on Facebook to try to guess what sizes to use for them.) Here is a roundup of the patterns I used and where the fabrics are from:

Purl Soho Turtles

The very first, and simplest projects, I finished were these turtles for our 6 and 8 year old nieces. I used this free pattern from Purl Soho. The floral fabrics I used for the shells are scraps from old projects and the linen fabric for the head and top of the legs is from JoAnn. The felted wool for the underside is from the Etsy shop Benzie Design. I was relieved to find out that turtles are one of our 6 year old niece’s current favorite animals. My brother-in-law seemed to like these too. I might make one for him with some scraps of Star Wars fabric I have.

Kathryn's Fen Top.jpg

This is a Fen Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts for my sister. The flannel fabric is Robert Kaufman purchased from Craftsy. This is the only garment I made out of woven fabric because I have already made a longer sleeved version for my sister and I know it fit her. This was originally going to have longer sleeves as well but I kind of liked the way this one looked with short sleeves after I had started working on it.

Carol's One Hour Top

This is another top from Fancy Tiger Crafts for my mother-in-law. It’s a free pattern called the One Hour Top and the french terry knit fabric is from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. It’s an easy pattern that goes together really quickly but the sizing seems really big.


Yes, these are matching shirts. And they were for my brother and sister-in-law. I made the Seamwork Eugene shirt, leaving out the placket, for my brother first using this white and grey heathered french terry knit from Koshtex and scrap grey ribbing for the bands and pocket. When I was done, I realized I had enough leftover to make the cropped version of the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio along with some leftover coral french terry knit fabric, also from Koshtex. I wasn’t sure who I should make this for at first, but my sister-in-law is probably the only one in our family who would have any interest in matching my brother.

This tie from Sew Over it London made out of some scrap Robert Kaufman chambray was for my dad. We wrapped this up along with some lottery tickets because I can’t let a gift-giving occasion go by without giving my dad some hope that he’ll become a millionaire. The grey top is for my mom and I used the Hemlock Tee pattern by Grainline Studio, which is free if you sign up for their newsletter. The knit fabric is from Fabric Warehouse in Rahway, NJ.

Jessica Martin's Ryan Top

This is a Ryan Top by Whitney Deal for my sister-in-law. I had some of that white knit fabric left from another project and thought it was so pretty and had enough to get the yokes out of it for this top. The purple french terry is from The pattern calls for woven fabric, but the first one I made was hard to pull over my head so I decided to try making it out of a knit this time.

Kathryn's Toaster Sweater

This is the last project I made. After my sister saw me wearing the first Toaster Sweater 2 by Sew House 7 I made, she said she liked. So I asked her if she wanted one and she said yes. I also asked her what color she wanted and she said black. So here is my sister’s black Toaster Sweater 2. After Christmas, she texted me to say she wore it work and then to bed for three nights straight because it was so comfy. And I have to agree. I love wearing mine also and I think this pattern is one of my favorites ever. Maybe I’ll just make one for everyone next Christmas because they’re so easy to make and they are toasty just like the name says.



Here are all the gifts wrapped up and ready to go. That floral tote bag is also a homemade gift for my mother-in-law holding all of the things we got for her inside. Luckily, my husband started a new job in November so we bought some gifts for everyone just in case they hated the homemade stuff. Halfway through, I remembered sewing doesn’t really save that much money because patterns and quality fabric are kind of expensive. But it was nice being able to give everyone something other than a bunch of stuff we ordered from Amazon at the last minute and supporting small businesses like these pattern designers and fabric shops instead. So who knows if I’ll make everyone homemade gifts again next year. But at least I can say I did it once.


Posted in DIY Tutorials

Scrap Fabric Coaster Tutorial

I’m always looking for projects to make in an attempt to get rid of fabric scraps I don’t know what to do with. I feel so bad throwing fabric away because of it’s impact on the environment but haven’t been able to find a place that takes fabric scraps yet. So one day this past December, I came home from work early and an idea hit me. I decided to use some of the scraps (from what’s becoming a very overwhelming pile!) to make coasters as Christmas gifts this year. Here is how I made them.


Supplies Needed:

  • Scrap fabric- (Ideally a stable woven of some kind. I used flannel to fit the winter season.)
  • 1/8″ thick sheet of cork (Tip- try to go to your local craft store if you can seeing as it’s about triple the price on Amazon to compensate for the free shipping that comes with Prime.)
  • Two circles to trace, one slightly smaller than the other. For my bigger circle, I used a container of dried cranberries that measures 4 3/4″ in diameter and for the smaller circle, I used the lid of a candle that measures 4″ in diameter.
  • Fabric scissors
  • Craft scissors
  • Chalk
  • Mod Podge
  • Cheap brush


  1. Iron your fabric (this will make it much easier to handle) and use the larger circle template to trace as many circles as you like, one circle for each coaster. Use your fabric scissors to cut them out.


2. Use your brush to apply a generous, but even amount, of Mod Podge to each circle and then press it onto your sheet of cork. Since the fabric was cut in the shape of a circle, the bias of the fabric may cause it to stretch and misshapen. Don’t worry about it though, this will be corrected later using the smaller circle template.

3. Let dry for 30 minutes. (The fabric absorbs the Mod Podge much more than paper would, which means more is needed and drying time is longer.)


4. Apply generous, but even amount, of Mod Podge as a top coat. Let dry for one hour.

5. Cut out each circle.



5. Use chalk to trace the smaller circle template onto the cork side of your coasters.

6. Cut coasters around new edge.


This is what your coasters should look like when you’re all done! The only thing left is to get some ribbon and tie each set of coasters together to gift to a friend/family member or forget the ribbon altogether and keep them for yourself!


I decided to include these in gifts for my Aunts and Uncles this Christmas along with a pretty mug from Anthropologie and some good ol’, classic Swiss Miss. I think they went over pretty well.

Mug Coaster Set 4.JPG

Mug Coaster Set 7.JPG