A Handmade Christmas part 1
I wasn’t able to take pictures of all the Christmas gifts that I made this year. I think it had something to do with finishing up the last of them 10 minutes before we were out the door to the party. But, I do have a few. And these first two are my favorites. Last Spring Scott’s dad Lynn passed away very unexpectedly. It wasn’t long after that I got the idea to use his clothes to make gifts for Scott and his family. My first project was this quilt, but these next two are much much cuter.
This is LT and LT 2. Two little softies for Lynn’s granddaughters. But not just any softie. These are just a little bit different.
Here is Scott and his dad and grandpa at our wedding 7 years ago. Do you see that suit that Lynn is wearing? And the shirt? And the tie? They were his favorite. He wore them for every important occasion. And now they will hang around for a while longer, watching over all those important occasions that Lynn’s isn’t here to see.
This first guy, a nice little dog named LT (a knickname Scott’s dad used all the time), is made from this pattern. I cut the buttons off Lynn’s suit and shirts so I could reuse them in the joints and eyes. Each animal was a labor of love. But they didn’t cost me anything, everything I needed came from Lynn’s favorite suit and my stash. And close to thirty hours of stitching and stuffing later, I have two very cute somethings to show for it.
Each little necktie took an hour to make, at least. Turns out making teensy little ties from slippery big ties is not easy. At all. And trying to press those teensy little ties left me with a few seriously painful steam burns. But I wouldn’t have done it any other way. They are beyond cute, but not easy.
Creamie’s is still in pieces. I’ll finish it for her birthday in a few weeks. Turns out I was maybe a teensy bit too ambitious in my handmade gifting this year. But I’ll have hers done in no time. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
This is LT 2, because I couldn’t think of another name for him that suited him as well. He is made from the Parsley and Beet elephant pattern by my favorite pattern maker, Jodie. (You can buy her patterns here.) This guy gave me a run for my money. I cut out the pieces in September, and had him completely sewn together, and stuffed and nearly finished before I realized I was missing one of pieces in the back of his head. Sigh. I tore him apart, and then spent a good frustrating evening with the seam ripper trying to get both ears back on straight. And they still aren’t perfect. But since no one’s ears are perfectly perfect I figured he could get away with it. And besides, a two year old isn’t going to care much about that, right?
In September I made a quilt cut from Lynn’s clothes for Scott’s birthday. And it is still just a quilt top. But by nothing short of a miracle I was able to finish these two in time for Christmas. And these two were wrapped on Christmas morning in the back bedroom, I cut it a little close to do any pre-photographing. But they did get done on time. Barely. Do you want to know my secret? Ask for help. Lots of help.
Scott ironed on all the interfacing. Some of those shirts weren’t sturdy enough to go into a quilt. But after 15 yards of interfacing all three quilts should stand up to wear and tear for a long long time. And as soon as he was done ironing on the interfacing, he spent a long long time pressing my seams as I sewed the blocks together. I gave these to my friend Elizabeth to quilt (see her post here) and she did a fantastic job. That’s the other secret to finishing them on time. Give them to someone else to quilt, someone who has some real life experience in the quilting department. I can sew blocks together just fine, but quilting? Well, maybe next year.
Each quilt is different. The backing fabrics are all different, the bindings are different, the quilting patterns are different and the actual pattern the blocks are in is different. All different, but all the same. I love how they turned out. And I hope that they are loved for a long long time to come. I have one more post about Christmas gifts and then I’ll share some of my goals for this year and some other projects that have been simmering away on the back burner for a long long time.
UPDATE: I’m adding this post to Sew+Tell this week. And in the spirit of following the rules, check out my part 2 post to see the other handmade Christmas projects. It’s a beautiful little bit of handquilting if I do say so myself!