I was inspired by this "chicken scratch" embroidery (via Pinterest) at the weekend and spent a rainy Sunday afternoon stitching some Christmas tree designs onto some red gingham scraps, not really sure what I was going to do with them.
I was impressed with the effectiveness of the chicken scratch design - the way the background colour of the fabric stands out when surrounded with embroidery silk - see how it looks like the tree has little baubles?
I've been thinking about making some fabric gift bags. They're wonderfully environmentally friendly but I've been resistant to make the change over to them because wrapping paper can be so lovely and fits in with my love of stationery but also because I thought they might be a bit boring - the same bags year-on-year. Last Christmas, though, I saw some really beautiful fabric gift bags on other blogs and looked at them another way. Each advent, when the boxes of Christmas things come out of storage, we love seeing all of the items that have become part of our traditions - homemade decorations, stockings, favourite festive books etc. Why can't special fabric gift bags have that same "heirloom" status?
Yesterday I set about making a felt bucket-style bag. It is probably the most technically advanced improvised machine sewing that I've ever done and it turned out extremely well.
My original idea was to use decorated white linen bags but, thinking about the purpose of the bags a little more, I realised that they definitely can't be at all see-through (the temptation to peek is too strong!) so felt seemed like a good choice - nice and opaque - and it holds a nice shape, too.
I cut a fabric square the size of the base that I wanted and then cut another piece four times the width of the square and the height I thought seemed right. The larger piece was sewn to make a tube and then the base was attached. It all just seemed to come together easily (a first for me - my sewing machine and I don't often get along well!).
I edged my chicken scratch embroidery with contrasting bias tape and hand-sewed it into place on the bag.
The top edge of the fabric gift bag was simply finished with a pair of pinking shears (another good reason to use felt - no fraying!) and I used some green ribbon for the tie to fasten the bag with.
I'm really pleased with it and am now thinking about other Christmas fabric gift bag ideas. It feels good to have finally got started with some festive crafting.
Are you doing any Christmas crafting yet? Do you use fabric gift bags and have any tips to share?