Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas Stitching

I don't seem to be getting a whole lot of time for sewing right now, so in those few moments I do snatch I've been working on a couple of small, easy to stop/start makes. Happily, they are also Christmas makes.

First up is some very boring sewing - fabric bags for wrapping. We have quite a lot I've made over the past couple of years, but I'm hoping to make enough this year so we have no paper wrapping to do. They're very easy to make. Any kind of 'bag' shape - mixtures of large, small, long, thin, short, fat - with a good length of ribbon sewn on. I'm using lots of repurposed fabric which is in itself creating a variety of shapes - sleeves or trouser legs, for instance, lend themselves perfectly to fairly narrow bags. Here's an example of how I sew on the ribbon... 

Just in one continuous length on one side of the opening. It can then wrap around the opening, closing it up, then go around the present again in the opposite way before tying.

At the moment I'm sticking to quite Christmassy colours and they're looking lovely all together.

But it is, as I said, very boring sewing! So my other make is a little more interesting. I'm planning on making a set of 'Christmas' napkins as a present for someone. I say 'Christmas' napkins, but I wanted something that could be used for a little longer than just Christmas. I decided on 'snowflakes' as a theme for them. I have a big soft spot for snowflakes! I thought I'd machine embroider a snowflake, each one different of course, in the corner of each napkin.

I drew a design on first and then just stitched over it in a variegated, grey thread.

You can't really see that it's 'variegated' in the photos, it's very subtle.

But I need some help with them. We are extremely uncouth here and do not use napkins, and so I'm not sure how 'thick' I should make them. The fabric is from a very old and very lovely white, cotton sheet. It's a really good weight cotton, the kind that got starched and was all crisp and beautiful. So, for those of you who aren't as uncouth as we are, is that sort of 'weight' good enough for elegant napkins? Could I just double hem around the edges and leave it as a single layer? Or should I perhaps be adding a 'back', right sides together with a little opening, and then turning it out and sewing closed? All advice gratefully received!

I'm linking up with 'Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew' again today, can't believe it's a whole month since I last linked up!



  1. Sally, I absolutely love your idea of making cloth bags for wrapping! Your gifts are going to be so beautiful.
    I think the weight of your fabric will be fine for elegant napkins....I might use something a bit heavier if they were to be used for everyday, but for special occasions napkins it should be perfect. Your snowflake pattern is lovely.

  2. Love the napkins. I think you could leave them as is, they will be perfect. But if you do decide to back them, be sure to share the finished product with us :)

    Love the fabric gift bags. We have been using them for years, and I always sew up a few extras each year so there are less to make the next year :) I even have some people who give the fabric bags back...how wonderful is that!

  3. I think that sounds like a good napkin weight, you don't want them to be too heavy or they won't drape in your lap. And I love the Christmas wrapping bags; we've been known to use our play silks, especially for birthdays but it's lovely to have a pretty looking pile under the tree!

  4. I love the fabric bags as well. Am always trying to find an alternative to throwing all that (tacky!) paper away. I will definitely use this idea this year!

    Our everyday napkins are lined to make them more durable, but I've left our special occasions a bit thinner. Something about lighter just says "special" to me, and they hold up just fine for a few special meals in a row. Love the snowflakes!

  5. The gift bags are beautiful together and such a great idea! I agree with Carie about having them light to drape well. The fancier napkins we have are all a bit lighter, and they hold up well.

  6. Your gift bags look very beautiful,and so Christmassy! The weight of the fabric for your napkins sounds just right. What a lovely gift! X

  7. Perfect cloth napkins! Yes, we use cloth napkins when we can in the interest of being green. We are not so much proper though! I have been working on Christmas gifts so I joined the linky party!

  8. I'm all in favour of having a collection of bags in different sizes, to save on wrapping paper :) I'm especially in favour of upcycling to get the materials to make them - win/win!

    We don't use cloth napkins - when necessary we pull out a roll of paper towels, LOL. I'd say that those old fashioned cotton sheets would be a lovely weight for napkins, especially with your beautiful embroidery - I don't think you need to line them, personally :)


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