Handmade Gifts of 2009: Part 1

Every year for Christmas, I try to make a few of the gifts we give to family and friends by hand.  As much as I love to share my crafts, this always presents a blogging dilemma: whose Christmas surprise will I ruin by sharing gifts before we give them?

Last year, I had every intention of having a post-Christmas recap, but the hub-bub of the holiday caught up with us and by the time January rolled around, I doubted anyone would care about the presents I made in November!

This year I’ve decided to finally show what I created and gave in ’09.  Since it’s only December 9th, that leaves plenty of time for any of you readers to borrow or adapt these ideas for your own gifts!

First I wanted to show you these “family tree” pillows we gave last year.  They definitely took time and patience, but they were fairly inexpensive to make and I love the finished result.

Let me pause and say I have to give 100% of the credit for the creativity behind this design to Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew.  Her pillow was the winning design in Sew Mama Sew’s Scrap Buster Contest last year, and I loved the look of her design so much I knew the ladies in my family would love it as well!

Her tutorial for this pillow is a great resource, so if you have any specific questions about how these pillows came together, I bet her blog will have the answer!

Here’s the run-down on how I made mine.  I started with a square piece of neutral fabric for the front, cut about 1-2″ larger than my square pillow form and starched for good measure.

Next, I laid out my fabric scraps (left over from this bird mobile) on some Heat n’ Bond and ironed them on.

The Heat n’ Bond has a paper layer that peels away from the back, so you can draw all over it, cut out your shapes, peel away the backing and then iron it to the front of your pillow for a pretty permanent hold.

I flipped the Heat n’ Bond over and drew out the shape of my tree trunk on the paper backing.

After cutting out the trunk, I made sure it was the right size in relation to my pillow form.

Next I drew simple leaves on to the Heat n’ Bond, making sure to center the leaves in the fabric scraps.

Here are all the pieces, cut out and ready to become a tree!

After peeling the backing from all the pieces, I laid them out on the front panel of the pillow and moved them around until I liked how they looked.  I was careful to stay away from the edges of the square where I would be sewing the sides of the pillow.

It took several passes with a hot iron to make sure all the leaves were bonded in place.

After that, Allison suggests sewing around the edges of the individual pieces.  I liked the whimsy of this look, so out came the sewing machine and away we went!

Finally the front of the pillow was done.  The last part of this project was to cut out and hem the 2 overlapping pieces for the back of the pillow.

After they were laid over one another with the right sides together, I pinned and sewed the edges.

Once everything was sewn up, I turned the pillowcase right side out and ironed the edges.

After stuffing it with a pillow form, here is the finished result!

Like I said, I made 3 of these pillows, and luckily I have photos of all 3 fronts and backs.  Here are the other two.

I love how these pillows turned out and was tempted to keep one of them for myself, but in the end they were so much fun to give away!  There’s just something about making gifts by hand that makes them that much more meaningful, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for more handmade gift ideas tomorrow!

Linking to:

Just A Girl’s Show and Share Day

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