The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Stash and Scraps Gifts

I enjoy making handmade gifts for the girls' teachers each year, as well as for certain close family and friends. Our budget was tight this year (isn't everyone's??) so I was determined that my gifts would be made from stash and scraps I already had on hand.

I wrote about my day of cutting a mountain of jersey scraps into usable pieces for teacher scarves. That mountain of scraps eventually became a small hill of scarves:

I made about 25 in all before Christmas. Half of these became gifts for teachers, half went into my Etsy shop to see what would happen. When the scarves sold out in three days, I dove back into my stash to see what other unused pieces could be turned into scarves and made another fifteen over the holidays (infinity scarves make for a great "filler project" when I want to make something but I don't have much time or I'm too brain dead to do something more complicated). There's a million tutorials out there if you want to make your own - I found I didn't need one and just experimented until I found the most efficient steps (cut, sew long side together to make a tube, turn right side out, stitch short ends right sides together until I can't anymore, slip stitch the opening closed). My shop is full again and we'll see if things move as fast now that folks aren't looking for stocking stuffers!

The most complicated scarf I made was this one:

I've been watching Angela Wolf's Creative Serging course on Craftsy, and I wanted to try out a technique I'd seen there. I used the rolled hem stitch on my serger to make faux piping at the seams and in a couple other random places. I like the effect! I want to try it again with specialty thread, but I've got to wait - that stuff is pricey! I've been stalking the Sew It's For Sale yahoo group, but someone always beats me to the wooly nylon thread that I want. I hate being out-stalked like that.

I made one garment gift this year, a dress for my best friend. We wear the same size so we periodically trade clothes. This dress is one of mine that I gave to Malinda a few years ago. It's a simple throw-on summer dress. I brought it back with me this summer with the intention of making a pattern from the old dress. It's an odd project for the middle of winter, but I suddenly got a bug up my butt to tackle it.

Old dress:

I used the same combination of the rub-off and pin through methods that I've used before from Steffani Lincecum's book.  This dress was particularly easy to copy because there's only three pattern pieces: front bodice, back bodice, and front/back skirt.  The dress has some darts to shape it a bit, but no closure - you just slip in on over your head.  I used some rayon challis from my stash to make it up for Malinda:

 I think it looks better with a belt, but doesn't almost everything??

I did a rolled hem on the serger for the hem, and used another tip from the Creative Serging class. The fabric was so thin and floaty that my test didn't look very good. I pressed the hem under by 1/4" so that I could serge through two layers, and it made all the difference. Thanks, Angela!!

I did a simple turn-and-stitch hem on the sleeves and then finished the neckline with bias tape I made from another rayon challis in my stash. I love the purple surprise on the inside!

Since we're the same basic size, I do confess I made a version of this dress for myself as well (from the purple fabric that I used for the bias tape). But I'll wait to showcase that one when I can wear it with strappy sandals outside. While the dress would really pop against the snow, I think my blue toes and pained expression would probably ruin the look.
4 comments on "Stash and Scraps Gifts"
  1. Gifts from your hands are gifts from the heart. And it never hurts to give yourself a gift as well!!

    1. I appreciate your blessing on my selfish project!

  2. I'm the lucky, proud (delighted!) owner of the red polka dot (bottom right) - thank you Lisa! :)