pencil pouch in navy blue waxed canvas with jeans gold topstitching and leather trim

Handcrafted Christmas gifts 2018

I’ve been in the process of shifting my business Oxford Dogma from hand sewn products to artwork, including custom pet portraits. One of my goals with this change is to put sewing back on my hobbies list to do for enjoyment instead of for income. This got me totally enthusiastic to sew Christmas gifts again! Something I haven’t done in a few years (I think 2015 was the last time).

canvas zipper pouches - handmade Christmas gifts 2018

Things got rolling when I chose Noodlehead’s Canvas Pencil Pouch Tutorial as my starting point. Normally I deliberate for days on end when it comes to choosing a sewing project, but I thought one of these pouches would be perfect for my nephew who loves to draw. I loved the zipper Anna uses in the tutorial, and ordered a set of 5 from Zipit on Etsy for my project. And after a somewhat disastrous attempt to wax my own canvas, made things easier on myself by ordering a yard of hand waxed canvas from A. L. Frances Textiles on Etsy.

With 5 of these zippers on hand, the navy waxed canvas, and plenty of different canvas options in my stash, I was able to also make pouches for my mother-in-law, a close friend, and a Dopp kit for my brother. The Dopp kit is my own design, not the Noodlehead pattern. And with one zipper left, I found a beautiful fabric from Rifle Paper Co/Cotton + Steel on Etsy that I thought my mom would like.

waxed canvas pouches with metal zippers and leather trim
A set of waxed canvas zipper pouches for my brother (the Dopp kit) and nephew (the pencil pouch).
navy blue waxed canvas dopp kit zipper pull and snap detail
This snap-strap detail was highly experimental — I’m so glad it worked out right!

I thought it would be fun to make some stickers for my nephew’s pencil pouch (always looking for reasons to use my Silhouette Cameo and the pack of label sheets I bought for it!). This sent me on a mission to learn about drawing Kawaii style illustrations. I filled some in with color and left some as black line art so he can color them in himself. If you’ve never doodled cute characters like these I highly recommend it — totally delightful.

For my mother-in-law, I used one of the same printed canvas fabrics from the big tote I sewed her back in 2015. I really like the color block design Anna used in her tutorial and went with that same concept here, pairing the canvas with a dark denim.

zipper pouch in yellow stripes canvas with denim contrast and metal zipper - Noodlehead pattern
Jeans gold topstitching complements the dark denim color block plus echos the yellow stripes of the canvas
denim and yellow stripes canvas pencil pouch - Noodlehead pattern
Detail of zipper and leather pull

For my friend I chose black and grey canvas, again in the color block style. And for hers I added a foldover leather detail.

zipper pouch in light grey and black canvas with leather accent - modified Noodlehead pattern

black and grey pencil case - modified Noodlehead pattern

To choose the fabric for my mom’s zipper pouch — which I imagine her using more as a toiletries bag than a pencil case — I thought about the colors she likes to wear and how her middle name is Rose. When I came across the Rifle Paper Co. fabrics I fell in love with them and chose one that would work well for this slender pouch. There was one I liked even more than this one, but the scale of the print was much too large for what I was trying to achieve.

zipper pouch in Rosa Natural by Rifle Paper Co - Noodlehead pattern
Fabric: Rosa Natural by Rifle Paper Co.

pencil pouch in Rosa Natural Linen Canvas - Rifle Paper Co Fabric with metal zipper - Noodlehead pattern

I think everything turned out great and I’m really happy with the results. The Noodlehead tutorial helped make these a joy to create. Treating myself to nice zippers and fabrics helped, too! I enjoyed digging into my stash of leather and hardware, putting them to use in new-to-me, interesting ways.

It was very rewarding to be able to learn new things and experiment while creating gifts for the people I care about.