Now, I’m going to ask you a question and I don’t want you to panic. Yet.
Are you ready for Christmas?
I know what you’re thinking. Of course not! It’s only October. We have at least two or three months until Christmas, depending on how creative we are with our maths.
Actually, it’s a good thing that we have two or possibly three months until Christmas, because when you make your own presents, it’s best not to leave things until the last minute. We all know last minute Christmas shopping generally involves battles and quests so grand they deserve a trailer voiced by a guy with an epic voice.
Last minute Christmas making, on the other hand, involves a lot of caffeine, some language that would push things past a family-friendly rating and a sleep-deprived crafter on Christmas morning who never wants to see a crochet hook again.
All things considered, it’d be best if we made a start now, right?
Why Choose Handmade?
Admittedly, even a fraught visit to a shopping centre on Christmas Eve might only take you a couple of hours, whereas making your own presents is going to take you a lot longer. A loooooot longer. So why bother?
Firstly, the reward. Nothing beats handing over a present you made yourself for a loved one. You know it’s going to be unique and they know it was made especially for them. Everybody wins!
Secondly, it removes stress. You get to sit in the comfort of your own home or a cosy café and craft something, an act that is actually beneficial to you in itself. Not only do you avoid busy places full of stressed-out people, you get to do some good stuff for your brain and wellbeing in the process.
Thirdly, it’s sustainable! All of my suggestions make use of scraps or leftovers and they’re useful. So you’re saving scraps from going into landfill and you’re making sure your giftees are going to put your present to use rather than reluctantly sending it to a secondhand shop after the fiftieth time they’ve dusted it.
Watch the Video!
1. Cotton Dishcloths
Now these are a fabulous way to make a little difference to the world while giving someone a handmade present. Not only are cotton dishcloths fabulous to use, you can re-use them. Unlike a sponge that ends up being thrown away, a dishcloth can be washed and brought back to new.
They can even be gifted as face washers: same pattern, different use.
These are a fantastic way to use up those ends of cotton yarn. And even if you need to buy cotton yarn to get started on this project, you know you’ll be using every last millimetre of it for good.
Try this dishcloth pattern on Ravery:
2. Pot holders
In the past, I’ve made crocheted pot holders as Easter presents for people who can’t eat chocolate and I personally think those non-chocolate eaters got the better presents. After all, chocolate only lasts until it’s eaten; pot holders last a loooot longer and are actually useful.
They are also a great way to use up some of your scraps. The important thing here is to make sure the fabrics are made from one hundred percent natural fibres, but I’ve still managed to come up with a selection of prints that makes me happy.
You’ll also need some insulation inside. For my pot-holders, I used Insul-Bright and a 100% cotton batting, just to be extra sure. I don’t want anyone’s hands getting burnt while they’re admiring the silly moustache print of their pot-holders!
Try my pot-holder pattern:
3. Project bag
I love making these little project bags. They are ideal for knitters or crocheters because even though they’re intended to be for sock knitting, they fit a surprising amount inside! I do believe they will be useful for non-crafters, since they’re such a handy size and the interfacing ensures they can stand up by themselves. They’d also make an ideal little pouch for storing special items when packing a suitcase or even protecting a camera or phone in your bag.
The possibilities are endless!
The best bit about this pattern is that you can make the two bag pieces in two parts, meaning you can use up those smaller scraps in your stash. And since it’s reversible, you could easily mix and match four different pieces of fabric.
Try this pattern by Very Shannon:
4. Covered Coathangers
Everybody needs a bit of granny chic in their life! Once you have a covered coathanger in your wardrobe, you’ll want an entire rail of them. I have three covered coathangers and they are reserved for my favourite dresses. Until I can make myself some more covered beauties, that is!
My favourite coathanger covers are crocheted ones – they don’t need any extra padding and they look gorgeous. Plus, you can match colours to suit the person who’ll be on the receiving end. I use a pattern from an old Mollie Makes magazine for mine but you can use this slightly different online version: Mollie Makes Crochet Coathanger Cover.
Your other option is a fabric cover, which gives you another excuse to go ratting through your scraps and offcuts. You can even add those end bits of lace or ribbon for extra decoration. The best bit about this is that you make a gorgeous coathanger out of those horrible wire ones that seem to multiply when you’re not looking. Don’t throw them out – make them look fabulous instead!
Try this luxurious cover from Tilly and the Buttons:
5. Re-usable Shopping bag
This is one of my favourites because it works on two levels. Firstly, you’re using scrap fabric or worn-out pillowcases to make something new… which is then going to be used in place of a plastic or single-use shopping bag. Winning!
I make my shopping bags from a fabulous book I found in an op shop but I have sourced a couple of online tutorials you can follow.
Try These Patterns:
Time to get Started!
The best thing about all of these patterns is that they don’t take forever to make. You could head to your scrap pile right now, pick out a project and have a lovely handmade gift finished before tea time.
Do you have a favourite handmade gift you like to give? Let us know about it in the comments!