The big day is in 2 weeks, and I am *almost* done with my holiday sewing. Making gifts by hand can be very rewarding...or it can drive you a little batty. Here are a few tips that helped me survive the holiday season.
1. Plan ahead
I started the Christmas gift planning process back in October. I didn't start sewing back then, mind you. Mostly I thought about who was on my gift list, who would enjoy something handmade, and what projects would be appropriate. Start looking through books (like this one!), magazines, and search the internet for projects early on. Goodness knows there are enough fantastic tutorials and such out there.
2. Make lists
I am a great lover of lists. Make a list of the people you need gifts for, a list of the projects you'll be making, a list of the materials you need, listy list list listy list. When you complete a task, cross it off. It feels great to cross things off.
3. Choose your projects wisely
Let's face it, you're probably not going to be able to make a king sized quilt for every person on your list in two weeks (or maybe you can. Hello, super sewist). Decide on projects that fit your skill set and can easily be completed in time. Consider choosing the same project for several people on your list, and customize each item according to their tastes.
4. Do a trial run if possible
One of the items I decided to make for a few people on my list this year was something that I have made for myself in the past. Because I have made this project before, there were no unpleasant little surprises in the sewing process, and I knew that it would yield excellent results. If you have the time, this step can prevent a lot of heartbreak.
5. Choose all of your fabric before you start sewing
This was a huge help for me. I took a few hours one day to just weed through my stash and decide on fabrics for each project. Doing this can really end up saving you time since you won't have to dash off to the store in search of a forgotten piece of material in the middle of your sewing. If you're not a crazy fabric hoarder like me, you'll have to go to the store anyway. Who wants to make unnecessary trips to the craft store around this time of year? I most certainly do not. They're nuts around the holidays.
6. Don't overdo it
You do not have to make a perfect and pristine handmade gift for every person on your list. In fact, some of them may not even like handmade gifts. Save yourself the time and effort, and only make things for those who will truly appreciate your hard work. I am sewing for roughly 1/3 of the people on my list this year.
Time is running out, and I know that the first step on this list is 'plan ahead,' but you still have some time to squeeze in a little handmade goodness! How about a sweet hooded doll blanket for your favorite little person who loves their dollies? A tote for your best shopping buddy? A bbq apron for the chef in your life? There are lots of great ideas out there. Get to work!