quick and cool grocery tote

Handmade Christmas gifts 2015

Clockwise from large picture on left: Great Big Tote, Home and Away Cable Cozy, Quick and Cool Grocery Tote, Zippy Wallet

For this year’s Christmas presents, I wanted to do some sewing, something that fit each recipient’s personal style and interests.

Both my parents and my husband’s parents like to travel, so for the guys I made Home and Away Cable Cozies. This pattern includes a zipper pouch, which went together fine, and strips of elastic to hold cables. That part was trickier. For the first one, I tried stitching down just the width of the elastic, which required tying off each thread end. For the second one, I learned my lesson and ran the stitches all the way across the panel, allowing them to simply be backstitched at each end.

For my mom and a close friend, I made Quick and Cool Grocery Totes from Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay. This was a fun pattern to make because it’s an efficient use of fabric, and it accommodates different fabric widths (which was good because I ran into that issue with my fabric choices). Boxing out the bottoms was an interesting and challenging experience. I couldn’t envision how they would come together, and had to just go for it (“use the Force” as a friend would say). Luckily it worked out just great!

My sister-in-law tends to like dark, basic colors (like me) and has simple, unfussy taste. I thought she’d appreciate a little Zippy Wallet for unencumbered trips to the store or whatnot. It turned out cute, except I wish I had attached the snap with my new snap tools — this one is a little unrefined.

And I also made two zippered pencil pouches for my nephews that didn’t get photographed — one in a Minions fabric, and the other in Skylanders fabric. I filled them with some mini markers and Field Notes-style notebooks with their names printed on them.

It feels great to sew something special for loved ones, and I hope the projects get lots of use. One of the best parts of this project is that I started making them back in August, making it a relaxing experience free of rushing and pressure. That’s definitely going on the calendar this August, too!