Sewing

Crafty Gifts for Grads, Brides and Dads

Are you a subscriber to the Pacific Fabrics or Quality Sewing email lists? If not, you may be missing out! This week Annette has listed many great ways to make gifts for these special occasions that are not only heart-felt but also useful and fun. You can sign up for these mailings on the home page of their websites.

For Grads:

One of my most cherished possessions as a graduate was actually something I made myself: a t-shirt quilt. Whether or not a grad is going off to college, it's a great way to commemorate their "glory days" from high school. As an active athlete, scholar and club member in high school, I had many t-shirts I had collected over the previous 4 years from various events I had attended. It made a great conversation piece and was comforting when I was far away from home at school. A t-shirt quilt is quite simple to assemble, but there are some preparation steps that will help ensure it stays looking good for a long time.

  1. Determine the size of the blocks by measuring the designs to ensure uniformity and that no sentimental value will be lost by cutting. Make a cardboard or similar template for tracing cutting lines. Remember to add seam allowances to the template; I recommend 1/2" for durability.
  2. Knit fabrics need to be stabilized to stay looking good as a bed cover and to keep seams from stretching. Either use a stable fusible interfacing (woven or weft insertion, such as PerfectFuse Light) or baste the seam allowance of the squares onto a piece of cotton fabric. I used an old white sheet at the time which worked well.
  3. Use a white sheet or similar white fabric as backing under the t-shirt top for support and also to give additional opaqueness to any thinner t-shirts.

I only quilted mine by stitching in the ditch between blocks. I did not want to alter the appearance of my t-shirts and I found that by reinforcing with a firm cloth behind and using a wider seam allowance it did not need any additional quilting for support. But if you alternate shirts with plain blocks, that is a great opportunity to do some embroidery or quilted motifs.

Of course Grads also appreciate items that reflect their favorite college (or at least their favorite college sport teams!). Sports Solutions makes these super cool Sticky Patches that look like embroidery, but stick on and are quite durable. Great for totes, shoulder bags, jammies, scrapbooks, shirts and much more. You'll find the University of Washington, Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State at all of our stores. And while you're there, check out the sticker collections. You may find something collegiate to spark a crafty, personalized card idea, too!

For Brides:

Here is a great idea for a wedding gift from Annette: Protecting the Bride's Future ~ Gifts made from Pacific Silvercloth! I usually give practical shower gifts and pretty wedding gifts. This idea fits both occasions! Pacific Silvercloth is a tarnish-preventing fabric that keeps both sterling silver and silver-plated treasures clean, bright and shining in-between uses without the hardwork of cleaning and polishing! Designed for function, it's a rich chocolate brown, and very cool stuff! You'll find this in all of our stores.

Here's a few gift worthy ideas for you:

  • Stitch up a set of storage bags for serving pieces
  • Line a custom crafted jewelry box
  • Add a custom cover for a silver or plated gift you are giving
  • Artfully wrap up a yard or two of Silvercloth, so the new couple can line drawers or jewelry cases or wrap other silver gifts for storage
So, how to do this? Pouches are easy. Measure some of your own tableware or serving pieces for generic sizing if you're making a set!

 

  1. Start by running a measuring tape around the circumference of the largest part of the piece, then add 4 inches for "ease" to this measurement. This is the width.
  2. Then measure the height of the piece, add 2 inches and double the measurement. This is the length.
  3. Cut a piece of silvercloth that is the width x the length and stitch up the sides. Turn under a half-inch hem at the top for a drawstring or use a zipper for a little extra, classy touch.

And there's more . . . Think about making pocket rolls for flatware or pouches with a flap on the top that folds over the front and snaps. Travel jewelry pouches would be nice for the upcoming honeymoon, too!

For Dad:

It's not always easy to make gifts for men. In my household, one of the items they have enjoyed are pillows made from their old ski sweaters and button-down shirts. They're still 'manly' but also look good on the couch and are good for snoozing and hanging out. Annette has some great suggestions as well: Quilts for Men book Quilts for Men is full of inspiration from "Crib to Dorm to Den". You'll find more than a dozen projects that include throws, wall hangings and full size quilts. It's a very nice illustrated book with full color diagrams and 24 full size applique patterns that could be used in lots of different ways. It may be a bit late for a large quilt, but I think an inventive quilter (like all of you, right?) could come up with a project that would be done by the 21st! Available at all of our stores.

Okay, call the kids, because the Man in the Kitchen apron is perfect to do with them or as a first sewing project "on their own". Dad (or Grandpa) will be SO proud! Designer Jan Lutz (the Apron Lady) says her favorite place is the kitchen and her second favorite place is the sewing room. She proves it with this nice easy, clean line apron. Try a handprint or two on the pocket or the bib, maybe a sports theme, fishing or whatever he loves and save time to make a matching mitt. Of course, the next step is have the BBQ and steaks ready when he opens the package! Available at our Bellevue, Northgate & Puyallup stores and you'll find a good selection of other apron patterns at all our stores, too.

If this isn't enough to get your creative juices flowing, why not check out the many patterns and books available at both Pacific Fabrics and Quality Sewing? One of my absolute favorites is Amy Butler's In Stitches. This book is chock full of all kinds of great gift ideas, including lots of dorm/apartment accessories. Designs are either simple enough to create from a diagram, or else are made from the included set of patterns. Although the photos may not look masculine, many of the projects within would be appropriate for guys with a simple change of fabrics.

Finally - how about the gift of sewing? As a grad and a bride, my sewing machine has always been one of my most prized possessions. I used it in college to make curtains, fix and alter clothing and even help make costumes for a theater production. As a new "career woman" and bride, the things I've used my machines for are endless! There are many great machines to choose from but if you're looking for something basic for a starter machine, stop in to a local Quality Sewing store for some advice. You'll not only find a good machine, but also peace of mind knowing that your gift recipient will have excellent service, education and support for their machine as well. You can't buy that at a box store! And of course there are many classes offered by Pacific Fabrics and Quality Sewing to help a new enthusiast make the best use of their machine.

--Katrina

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