I always plan on making lots of handmade gifts every year, but usually the holidays sneak up on me and nothing comes together in time… and this year is no exception! There are a few crafty items on my To-Gift List that I’m determined to make for various gifty occasions, and the first one just passed… so now I can share it here on the bloggity-blog!
Last weekend was the December meeting for the Music City Modern Quilt Guild, which consisted of all kinds of fun quilty activities… a seriously tasty potluck, show-and-tell (sharing that project soon too!), Dirty Santa played with yards of fabric, and a Secret Santa Swap. I made a few handmade items for the swap… both are pretty easy, and great gift ideas if you need to fit in a quick project this season.
Pocket Tote Bag
First up is this pocket tote bag… I’ve never made a bag before (and I was super nervous to make one for someone else), so I stuffed it with extras to sweeten the deal… it’s definitely not perfect, but it’s still a fun project that could be perfected with more practice. And it turned out pretty well for a first try!
My secret swap partner wanted a tote bag and mentioned that she loved Charlie Harper fabrics, so I hunted for some yardage online (found at Maggie Anne’s Fabrics on Etsy) and looked to Pinterest (of course) for a pattern. I found this free pattern for a six-pocket tote bag from Better Home & Gardens and it looked simple enough for a tote-novice like me.
Look here for the free pattern. The instructions are pretty straightforward, and the only thing I did differently was the handles. Instead of using a third coordinating fabric to make the handles, I bought canvas webbing (from A Graff Supplies on Etsy) …. with pros and cons. It saved the step of making the handles and hopefully made it more durable in the long run, but it was also more difficult for my sewing machine to handle and caused some headaches.
It turned out pretty cute, even if there are a few wonky bits. I really like the six pockets, which should be perfect for craft supplies. To fill up the tote, I added a magazine and a few other notions… pincushion and pins, binding maker, tape measure, and… a coordinating notebook of graph paper for sketching quilt ideas.
Which brings us to the next handmade gift idea… a journal cover!
I’ve wanted to make a journal cover for such a long time that I finally decided to go for it… in fact, I blogged here about wanting to make this very project way back in 2012! I used Stitched in Color’s tutorial to make a cover for one of those ubiquitous comp notebooks, and even used her suggestion to order a notebook with graph paper from Staples. Perfect for a quilter! Of course you could use any kind of plain notebook, but the dimensions in the tutorial are absolutely perfect for the standard composition book.
This was a super simple and quick project with almost instant gratification… my favorite kind! I used scraps from the tote bag to make a coordinating cover, but I have all kinds of ideas for more journal covers… now that I’ve finally made one, I think I’ll end up making a lot more!
Edit: I did indeed make more! Here are a couple more that I made as gifts, that I’m finally able to share!
It was fun to play around with some more colors and to try to make one more “manly” for my brother.
Having a deadline definitely pushed me to actually finish these two quick gifts during a busy holiday season… and more to share next week!
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!