Thursday, December 26, 2013

Handmade Christmas: one gift done

Every year, I make a plea to my family to forego the Christmas shopping frenzy and exchange small tokens instead. Over the years, it's been met with varied reactions, none of them positive. This year, I decided to embrace the consumer spirit and do my best to buy thoughtful gifts that everyone would enjoy. True to form, I started the day after Thanksgiving (in Midtown with my Detroit Small Business Passport). Not surprisingly, by planning ahead and not racing around the mall on Christmas Eve, Christmas shopping was actually enjoyable this year. Christmas morning hasn't changed much at my parents' house since I was a kid, except we get started a little later and drink mimosas now instead of hot chocolate. This was the first year I was more excited to watch people open my gifts to them than to open presents to myself. It took me 28 years, but I finally got the Christmas Spirit.

I wanted to give a handmade gift to everyone on my list. As usual, my optimism was tempered by reality and I had to scale back my plans. My sister is an avid baker and I was really excited to get her the Kitchenaid stand mixer she'd been wanting for years. When I saw these cupcake oven mitts on Pinterest, I knew they'd make a perfect accompaniment.

For some reason, I had assumed I could buy the pattern as a pdf. When I sat down to make them the Saturday before Christmas, I realized it was only available in hard copy. I didn't have time to wait for it to be shipped, so I tried looking for other patterns. There were a few downloadable ones out there, but none as cute. I decided to draft my own and it went surprisingly well. So well that I considered posting it and writing a true tutorial, but there are other ones on the internet already and I feel bad for ripping off the original designer's idea. Note to craft pattern designers: offer PDFs! I would have gladly paid for it!

The construction was simple, albeit time consuming. I cut out front and back pieces of the two sections and three thicknesses of batting for each of the two mitts. I sewed the scalloped edge and turned and pressed it, then hand-basted everything together. As always, I do not have the patience for bias tape. After ripping out the haphazard machine stitching twice, I attached the top side by hand, which took FOREVER, but was worth it in the end.

And because I can't ever part with fabric scraps, I sewed a little bag to accompany these. I was really happy with how they turned out, and my sister seemed to like them too. The colors are off in the after picture, but they looked better IRL.

I also made a Christmas apron for my mom and somehow took zero pictures of it. It took me a few tries to get everything right, but in the end I really liked it. Hopefully she'll wear it next year and I can get a picture.

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