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Holiday Hints for Sewing Enthusiasts

With all the hubbub surrounding the holidays, it’s sometimes impossible to make another trip to the mall to pick up that last minute hostess gift, wrapping paper or extra decorations you might have forgotten. Sewists often have stashes of fabrics and trims at their fingertips that can be transformed into unique and festive items at a moment’s notice, saving time and fuel.

An inexpensive picture frame covered in fabric with a sewing motif or accented with bows fashioned out of tape measure ribbon is a simple gift solution for a sewing friend. Add several charms such as miniature scissors, thimbles or thread spools for more dimension. In lieu of a gift-wrapped box, stitch up a simple drawstring bag to hold the gift. The recipient can reuse the bag instead of throwing more torn paper and ribbon in the trash.

For a very festive presentation, wrap holiday colors of lame’ fabric tightly around a box. Tie widths of matching or coordinating tulle or bridal illusion around the package and into a full bow. By cutting the tulle longer, an additional bow or two can be tied and layered on each other. Place an ornament or other decorative item in the center for sparkle. Burlap works well, especially for male recipients. Use it for the wrap and top the package with red pom poms centered in a cluster of holly leaves cut from green felt or tie it up with colored twine or macramé cord. Add instant dazzle to plain or muted fabrics with glitter paints and pens either before or after wrapping the gift. Spherical items are easier to wrap with fabric, but pleating instead of gathering the excess around the top is a more refined appearance. Pull the fabric around the item which has been centered and cut off the excess about an inch above the item. Form small pleats held in place by tape until the entire sphere is covered. Tape, glue or stitch in place and cover the raw edges with a circle of fabric, bow or ornamental object.

To dress up a table setting, partially insert neatly folded napkins into small lace, sheer or lame’ bags that are quick to sew. Attach place cards to the bags with ribbon or write guests’ names on them with decorative pens. A square of milliner’s netting with elegant ties gathered around anything from foil-wrapped candies to a votive candle makes a simple yet sophisticated party favor. Red ribbon and some greenery can transform a plain white chair into a festive one.

Add a little softness to your door with a cloth wreath. Sew three tubes using different fabrics, turn right side out and then stuff them with batting, polyfil or even old pantyhose. Using a glittery fabric for one of the tubes will add instant luster. Braid the tubes together and form into a circle. Attach a bow or decoration of your choice where the raw ends meet. Insert or attach floral picks, Christmas balls, garland, etc. for added pizazz. A dress form can easily become the base for a “tin soldier” decoration.  Cover the body of the form with red fabric. Felt works well. Decorate the front with gold braid and buttons and add epaulettes on the shoulders.

No time to make a new outfit for yourself? Change plain buttons to Rhinestones or hand-stitch lace or heavy fancy braids onto a collar or cuffs. That little black sheath dress can also be transformed by adding wide embroidered sparkly lace over the bottom third of the skirt.


by Marcella Joswick
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