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November 2020- Making Inexpensive Christmas Gifts

Hey All,

I have been pondering topics for the November blog for some time, and as we approach the Christmas season I have also been thinking a lot about the lists of Christmas gifts to purchase, make, organize, ship. Christmas shopping can be daunting in a regular year, but 2020 has thrown us many many curve balls and a lot of families are facing little to no budget. Handmade gifts can be a way to save some money while also creating something that means a lot more than anything store bought and lets admit all of us have a stash of fabric just waiting to be made into something pretty. 

While my family celebrates Christian holidays I do recognise there are many religious, spiritual, cultural and other celebrations during the winter months that you may be preparing for in your own lives and I hope that the ideas that I have here can help with preparing for any of these. 

My goal in creating an inexpensive gift is to use fabrics and notions that I already have on hand and to choose patterns that are free or close to free. Almost all of the major pdf pattern designers have free patterns in a wide variety of styles and topics to choose from so finding a pattern for your project might take a bit of searching but shouldn’t be too difficult. To help each other out with finding some fantastic free patterns link your favourite in the comments below. If the pattern requires a code, please be kind to the designers and say where to get the code instead of posting it. 

Here in northern BC it gets very cold as it does in many parts of Canada and my southern BC heart struggles with that so when sewing for winter or Christmas I often look for patterns that can be made with all kinds of warm fabrics or provide layering opportunities. I'm all about the layers here because I'm always, always cold and my middle child shares my thoughts on cold but I swear the dryer loves to eat gloves, hats and other winter items even more than it loves socks because I can never find enough items to clothe everyone in my family when we choose to venture out to get fresh air. I can't be the only one who never has enough warm things to wear  so I went looking for  the perfect pattern to fit this bill. What I came up with was a couples set of mittens, I started with the I Glove you Mitten from Make It Last which is designed for hand holding something I love to do on our family walks and miss terribly in the winter months. It is not a free pattern but at the time of writing this blog was on sale for $3.50cad. To compliment this I thought a set of regular mittens or gloves would be perfect, I could make them to match and it would be a complete set for one of the couples in our lives. The Merry Mittens from Max and Meena fit the bill, free with a code from the group and doesn’t take a whole lot of fabric. 

link for I Glove you: https://makeitlastpatterns.com/products/i-glove-you-mitten-pdf-sewing-pattern

Link for Merry Mittens: https://maxandmeena.com/products/merry-mittens-sewing-pattern-pdf-sweater-mittens-or-fleece-mittens

Now that I had my patterns sorted it was time to pick out some fabrics. For the outer layer I went digging in my scrap bin and hit gold, a large piece of grunge hockey french terry leftover from a hoodie I made in the fall. Next I needed a lining, this I wasn't worried about because a few years back during one of those buy one get two or three sales at fabric land I thought it would be a good idea to buy 3m of white polar fleece. I know right! Who needs that much white fleece? Well it turns out that it has come in handy more than once but I still do have an obscene amount leftover for future projects.

If you know me, you know I don’t have a ton of time for sewing, most of my projects happen during hubbies night shifts because with three kids running around it's difficult to get a moment to head down to the basement and organize my thoughts. Luckily enough though when planning the blog I found a moment where hubs and kiddos were happily cuddled on the couch watching a christmas movie so I took my opportunity and ran downstairs before anyone could notice I was gone. Surprisingly enough I was able to find my fabrics, cut out my patterns and sew up the I Glove You mitten before anyone questioned where I was. It was glorious! The I glove you mitten sewed up so fast and it was so satisfying to have that part of the project done so quickly. I knew better than to tempt fate and finish the Merry Mittens so I snapped some pictures and headed back upstairs. 

Hubs did not understand what this thing was that I had made, I explained it's a mitten for two people and he insisted no it is a hand warmer like they wear in football and proceeded to shove both his hands in to prove his point. Well… that didn't go over well, he struggled to get the second hand in by himself and ended up ripping a couple stitches on one cuff. He then admitted maybe I was right that it was better suited for two people but said that it’s not a complete set, why didn’t I make a mitten for the intended recipients other hands? 

A day or two later when I had another chance to get some sewing in, the Merry Mittens were first on the docket. They sewed up incredibly fast and I was so proud that I had made this awesome gift for a hockey loving couple in my life. It was my first time sewing both of these patterns and I was very happy with the ease and speed at which they both came together. I could easily make a few more sets from scraps I have on hand. So let's go over the cost breakdown for the total gift since our goal here is to make inexpensive gifts. 

I glove you pattern: $5.50 (on sale for $3.50 at time of writing)

Merry Mittens: FREE with code

Grunge Hockey fabric: $7.75 

Fleece: ~$2

Total cost: $13.25

Now because I already had the I glove you mitten (I won a copy when Make it Last Opened) and all of the fabrics came from leftovers of other projects, I could call this project entirely free. It certainly didn't cost me anything out of pocket this month which I consider to be a win for budget Christmas presents. I plan to wrap this set up with a couple packets of hot chocolate and some chocolates so that it's packaged like a little date night set. I imagine it for a walk though the neighbourhood or a local park admiring the lights or getting caught up on all the things. 

I hope you found this inspiring for your own holiday sewing and would love to hear your ideas for inexpensive, handmade gifts this year. 

Merry Christmas from Hayley and the rest of the SVK team