Although I haven’t been writing about it, I have been busy working on gifts for Christmas. There are going to be quite a few folks receiving aprons this year. They’re so fun to sew but also really practical. Plus they make for fun packaged gifts to give. You can make potholders, homemade cookie mixes, felt cookies (instructions below), mini cookbooks, Mom-n-me aprons — really, whatever you can think of to stretch your creativity.
It’s a great time to be making aprons, too. There are so many patterns and tutorials to be had to sew aprons for all types of personalities and figures. I’m a huge fan of Meg’s Sew Liberated (formerly Montessori by Hand) patterns. They have such great style and I love the results. I’m planning to make her Lola and Lolita aprons for someone on my list who may or may not read my blog. ~_^ I’ve previously made her Emmeline apron (that’s me wearing it at left; see the reverse here) and love it’s versatility; it’s perfect for those times when you just can’t choose one fabric for a gift recipient.
TipNut.com has compiled a list of 54 free apron patterns plus another 50, which is perfect for those of us who are trying to craft on a budget. Some offer PDF patterns you can download and print, while others provide tutorials for drafting your own. Some of the ones that caught my eye are the Jeans Apron, Dishtowel Apron, Pleated Embroidered Apron and the One-Yard Apron.
Two of my favorite specialized apron patterns are hosted on blogs I read regularly. Autum’s craft apron is so cool and practical, definitely the apron to make for the crafter in your life (especially one who avoids the kitchen at all costs). Sarah’s gathering apron is just the perfect gift for your favorite urban homesteader or maybe your aunt back home with the fabulous garden (or pecan tree). Come to think of it, I could really use one to help haul the laundry back upstairs …
Some of the favorite aprons I’ve made are ones I drafted myself, basically measuring and cutting rectangles and strips for the main panel, waistband and ties for half aprons (so fast, so cute and fun!). I especially like doing those for the little girls on my lists but there’s no reason you can’t do them for boys, too. Or dads! Think of how fun it would be to choose fabrics completely different from the ones you normally buy (hey, that’s pretty good shopping justification). Denims, twill, camo, flames — just have fun and go wild!
The same applies for trims and embellishments. I added the lace on the bottom of this apron I made for my niece last Christmas on a whim but I think it just makes it. When you’re at the craft store, check out all the great iron ons, patches and funky embellishments. There’s no rule that says you can’t use rick rack or pompon trim on an apron, and it’s a great way to try your hand at adding embellishments or using up the last bit of one you used on another project, since the yardage requirements will be much less than that of, say, a skirt.
I hear my niece loved the apron we sent for Christmas but the felt “cookies” I packaged with it were an even bigger hit. They’re so easy and inexpensive to make that you’ll want to pack up a dozen with every kid apron you make. I boxed mine in a treat box from the Martha Stewart Crafts line I picked up on clearance at Michael’s, but you could just as easily use cellophane or paper bags tied with ribbon, raffia or strips of fabric (great way to use up the edges you trim to even up fabric).
All you need is craft felt — I used a light tan and light pink — an embroidery needle, two colors of embroidery floss (a light tan here and a darker pink) and some pillow-filling material.
Trace and cut out two circles for each cookie out of the tan felt. I used the bottom of a small bowl I keep on my craft table. I used the same bowl to trace circles on the pink felt, then free-handed the icing blobs within the circles and cut them out. I pinned the “icing” on one tan circle and stitched around the edge with my sewing machine.
Use the contrasting embroidery floss to add “sprinkles” to the top of each cookie. Vary the angle and spacing, but try to keep each line close to the same size, kind of like real sprinkles.
Change your embroidery floss to the tan. Stack one “iced” circle with one plain tan circle and use a blanket stitch around the edge to attach them together. When you have about a inch to two inches left to completely stitch around your cookie, tuck some of the pillow filling in the middle so the cookie puffs up a little bit. You don’t want it to be stuffed, though. I add what’s equal to about two of my thumbs, for reference. Then finish stitching around the edge and — voila! — felt cookies.