What a year! It feels like 2020 could be summarised with a few simple milestones. Lockdown, tier 2, tier 3, lockdown v2, tier 3, tier 4, with Christmas falling somewhere in between tiers 3 and 4.
I decided this year to start to celebrate Christmas as early as possible. I usually have the lights and the tree up by the end of November at the latest, much to Marks’ dismay (he loves it really!). Getting into the Christmas spirit early meant that for once I was thinking ahead about lovely Christmas gift ideas for people. That and the many variations of lockdown meant I had more time to think about what I could do for people for Christmas when I might not see them as normal. I love(!) the gifting element of Christmas – I really enjoy putting the thought into what people might like and trying to think of things that are as personal as possible and not something from the gift selection at our well known pharmacy chain! Having learned a valuable skill this year, I was determined to try and put it to good use and to make some presents for people instead of buying. So… what to make?
I often love to curl up with a cushion in the winter when sitting watching the tele, and having already practised cushion covers whilst starting out, I thought I would pair this with some different Christmas fabrics and make some lovely festive cushions. The idea being that they were fairly easy to post (albeit a bit bulky), but something that people could have with them on the sofa while they curled up in front of the tele with their favourite Christmas films, either with the cats, dogs or kids. And so I went to work finding the right fabrics.
I just managed to get in touch with Love Fabric in time to get some metres of the last Christmas cotton fabrics they had in stock. Jenny was able to supply me with some beautiful deep green cotton with snowflakes, and a lovely last half a metre of a white cotton with some gold and silver Christmas trees.
As always, I had to also visit my other favourite Textile Express and from there found some fabulous Festive Sausage Dogs that I had in mind for my friend, Tinsel Trees in gold, red and ivory, and a gorgeous green cotton with gold reindeer. We also decided to make some less Christmassy cushions – good all year round ones – for some dog lovers in the family, and found some printed linen fabric (as well as a fabulous cat print linen that I couldn’t resist for us at home!).
Mass manufacture was a breeze and it felt great to have something simple to make, but also to be putting such love and care into Christmas presents. I’d worked out which fabrics were going to each recipient, and the only challenge I had was with the directional prints, making sure that the back pieces were both facing the correct way when I turned the cushion cover through!
To go with the festive sausage dogs for my friend, I also had my very first red tartan cushion cover that I’d made and really wanted to go to a loving home and I knew it would work so well with the Dachshund linen.
I’d ordered some wash care labels from Bags of Love for all of my homemade items and I stitched one into each of the seams of the gifts that I had made. The pièce de résistance!
I knew that I needed to send the cushions complete with filling, so to solve that I ordered 16 x 16 inch cushions from Amazon in bulk. Packaged in some large postage bags for those people that I wouldn’t be seeing this year, they went via the Post Office, and it made my year to receive photos of them in situ on people’s sofas, beds and chairs. I hope that they get brought out every Christmas for years to come as a little reminder of the first year of handmade gifting by Stitched up at Straws, and may it be the first of many!
Here’s a little gallery of some the images I have received. Happy viewing!