A handmade holiday

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    In the shop, we were discussing fun quick projects for handmade gifts. Here are a few of my suggestions.

    I liked the vintage lines of this clutch purse. It would be a great present for a mom, friend, sister, or yourself. ;)

    Clutch purse
    Clutch purse
    Inside of clutch purse.


    I used a fat quarter that I found at Wish Upon a Quilt to make my own version of the clutch. I had to add some extra fabric to the sides to make sure I had enough width for the back and front and I added a few seams since the print was directional (I didn't want the ladies hanging upside down.) The pin is optional since the clutch is fastened with Velcro but I added a pin I "borrowed" from my mother's jewelry box when I graduated from college.

    I also added a pocket inside before I assembled the lining. I've gotten too used to sliding an ID into the pockets of my clutches not to have one in this clutch.
    I liked the handle of the clutch too. You hold onto the loop on the back but in a pinch you could slide it onto your wrist to have a hand free. (Great when at a party and you find you have too many things to carry all at once.) While I was sewing this I was struck with what a great present this would be for bridesmaids. It would look great being held with a flower bouquet or it could become a bouquet with a large corsage cascading down the front tab. They could be made in fabric that coordinated with the wedding party's dresses. It is also quite roomy for a clutch. I could throw my cell phone, lipstick, wallet, and a few other necessities into this clutch.
    Amy Butler's Businesscard Keeper


    Inside of the business card keeper.


    While working on the clutch I also tried out one of Amy Butler's free patterns. I made her business card keeper. This sews up really

    fast and would make a great gift for coworkers. The inside has two pockets for storing business cards, frequent shopper cards, or ID cards. You could make several out of one fat quarter. Amy Butler has several small projects that look like they would make quick presents - a scarf pattern, a portfolio cover, a fabric necklace, and a lavender eye pillow. I also noticed she's added some new holiday patterns to her free projects too. They include napkin and holder sets, pillow with 3D flower, felt stocking, gift box sash (what a great green idea!), and a tree skirt, among other things. These projects would look great in the new Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabrics. I'm a big fan of Amy Butler patterns. The pictures are inspiring and the directions are well illustrated. She makes construction tasks like installing zippers and piping approachable.
    Another project would be to make fabric gift tags or ornaments. This would be a great opportunity to practice your machine quilting on a small project. I dreamed this one up while working on the clutch and haven't had a chance to do it yet. I want to run into Wish Upon A Quilt and Grab some of the Christmas prints for this. Once I have made this up I'll post it. But here is my idea. The over all gist is to make a quilt sandwich, practice your machine quilting by stitching around the motifs in your featured, top, fabric. Leave a side open on each shape and leave room between the motifs for cutting them out after stitching. You can meander across the top to outline several different motifs. I would use a fat quarter or half yard just to keep it manageable. When you are done cut the motifs out, turn the ornaments/tags right side out. Topstitch near the edge to close the seam. Attach a ribbon for hanging. To make them tags just write on the back with a permanent marker. To make the quilt sandwich so that the ornament reverses properly you would need to layer a piece of muslin or canvas down on your work surface (this is to make sure the batting doesn't get hung up on the feed dogs). Then layer down an appropriately sized piece of scrap bat (this is a great use for those long pieces of scraps from the sides and bottoms of other projects that didn't quite fit the standard batting sizes). Note that you could just leave the batting and muslin out if you don't want the body in your tags. Next lay your backing fabric right side up. Finally layer your featured fabric wrong side up. Make sure you can see the motifs well enough to stitch around from the wrong side. Baste as desired. Stitch around your motifs leaving enough space on a side open for turning. When you cut the motif's out try to leave a quarter inch seam allowance. I'm thinking this would be fun to do with Winter Village by Quilting Treasures, the Penguins panel, the Mary Englebreit prints, and the Advent panel, among others.
    Sandi Henderson of Portabellopixie has a nice tutorial on how to make beautiful Rolled Roses. You could add these to a bag or attach a pin back to these for gifts.
    What quick and easy projects are you planning for the holidays?

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