Here is Part 2 of my present guide. For another 10 easy-to-make gift ideas, see Part 1.
Felted cafetiere muff
A beginner’s needle felting project that makes a felted cafetiere muff to keep a pot of coffee hot.
Cork wine glass charms
It’s party season and glass charms are a boon for any host or hostess who doesn’t want to spend the whole evening washing up glasses. Issue everyone with their unique glass charm when they arrive and it should be easy to re-unite half-drunk drinks with their owners. Have a look at my tutorial page for cork wine glass charms for the instructions.
Bottle cap pincushion
These tiny pincushions are incredibly useful, both for dedicated sewers and anyone who just needs to have a needle and thread handy for running repairs. Keep one in a desk drawer in your office, on your dressing table, in the car glovebox, in your knitting bag, your suitcase and attached to your sewing machine. They use small amounts of felt, stuffing and embellishments, plus plastic bottle caps that would otherwise probably end up in landfill. Full instructions from VeryBigJen on Instructables. See also her shop if you’d rather buy one of her ready-made miniature works of art.
A gift that is equally suitable for men, women and teenagers, and particularly good for travellers and clubbers. Visit my Money Belt with Hidden Pocket Instructable for a tutorial on how to make a discreet belt in which you can carry cash and small valuables.
Alternatively, just make a decorative version to dress up a gift of wine or spirits.
Full instructions in my Blind Tasting Bottle Bags Instructable.
Knitting needles in a case
Know a knitter who keeps saying, “I must try socks some day”? It’s not too late to buy a set of inexpensive bamboo double-pointed needles (try these from UK Amazon or these from US Amazon) and then make a pretty case with slots for them to slip into, like the one in the photo. Add a ball of sock yarn and perhaps a free pattern downloaded from the internet and you have a DIY sock kit.
Or maybe you know someone who is always borrowing your circular needles because she hasn’t taken the plunge and bought herself a full set yet? Again, buy a set (60cm/24″ is probably the most useful length) and make a case to personalise the gift.
Metallic nylon shopping bag
Everyone needs a strong, lightweight shopping bag for those unexpected purchases. Metallic nylon looks much classier than a plastic bag from the supermarket yet a bag made from it scarcely takes up any more space. See my tutorial for instructions on how to make a couple of metallic nylon shopping bags from a metre of fabric – one to keep and one to give away.
Always popular, a lavender bag will scent your underwear drawer, keep moths away from your jumpers and help you to sleep when placed on your pillow. If you don’t have any dried lavender then rose petals or any pot-pourri can be used. If nothing else is available, then sprinkle a few drops of essential oil onto a handful of dried rice in a small bowl, give it a good stir with a spoon and then use the rice to fill the bag. For larger bags (like the bird motif one in the picture below which measures 5″ square), line the inside with a folded-over piece of polyester wadding to plump it up and fill some of the space economically.
Cut a piece of cotton or linen fabric that is twice as big as the bag you want to end up with, plus a seam allowance. Decorate the half that will be the front with embroidery, applique or both, embellished with buttons, beads or sequins if you wish. A simple shape in felt works well, outlined with running stitch in embroidery thread, like this bird.
Then fold the bag right sides together and stitch around the three open sides in a small seam, leaving a gap of perhaps 2″ for turning. You may want to incorporate a ribbon hanging loop in the seam. Press, turn right sides out, press again, insert wadding if required (roll it to get it through the hole), add lavender, pot-pourri or scented rice and then slipstitch the opening closed.
Useful for keeping all sorts of bits and bobs in, a little zipped bag in a pretty cotton will appeal to women and girls of all ages. I make mine using the tutorial on the Kelby Sews blog. This method produces a lined bag with no raw edges on the inside and a particularly neat zip insertion, although it does have a seam along the lower edge. I have tried to make them without a seam but have yet to find a way of doing it that isn’t more of a fiddle than it’s worth. If you have a method, do share.
Santa gift card holder
If inspiration fails and you resort to buying someone a gift card for Christmas, you can at least personalise it by taking a few minutes to make a greeting card to go with it. Full instructions in my Santa gift card holder tutorial.