Finished projects · Gift ideas

DIY Handmade Gifts

Now that Halloween is over, it’s OK that I talk about Christmas, right? I don’t know how many of you are of the thought “Christmas should only be discussed AFTER Thanksgiving!” but I am all for busting out the Christmas decorations right after Labor Day. Sick, I know…

But it’s never too early to start thinking about and making Christmas gifts! We all know how long handmade gifts can take, so the earlier you get started, the better.

I’m sharing gifts that I made for my friends’ birthdays in October, but they are suitable for the holidays, too! I used the general idea for my Disney T-shirts and made a framed piece of [sewing] art that represented their interests.

Friend #1: Very artistic; loves photography.

IMG_6330A cool camera seemed like a good idea. I Google image-searched all kinds of things (DSLR cameras, camera clip art, camera embroidery, etc.) and came across this image. I love the “sketchiness” of it and thought it would translate well into free-motion embroidery.

IMG_6206The process was the same as the T-shirts. I traced the image onto tracing paper, then reversed the image onto stabilizer. Once the stabilizer was adhered to the fabric, I traced one line of stitching over the whole image. I flipped the fabric over to begin filling in the lines (shown above).

IMG_6327I love the texture thread makes when you “draw” with it. This image took a little while to finish since it was so detailed, but it sure was faster than sewing a whole outfit. 😉

IMG_6326Voila! It just needs a frame and it’s ready to make someone smile.

Friend #2: Also very artistic; loves manatees, cupcakes, and anything shabby-chic.

IMG_6334I never thought I could get all three in the same piece, but there you go! I found the frame at Wal-Mart and it just screamed “Friend #2!”

I found the image by Google image-searching “cute manatees” and this image of a manatee loving on a cupcake popped up. Perfect!

IMG_6324Since it was a fairly simple image, I decided to spice it up a bit by adding some fabric. The purple sparkly fabric is a scrap of knit from a circle scarf that I made a few years ago. I wanted the cupcake to stand out more since it was the same color purple as the manatee, so I colored it in with Copic markers.

IMG_6325To add to the shabby-chic feel, I bordered the image with lace. I think it makes a nice transition from the image to the frame.

So what do you think? I think it’s a great way to personalize a gift, make it unique, and use up some of that scrap fabric stash! The holidays are upon us and this is a fun and fairly quick gift to bust out.

Are you making any personalized gifts for the holidays?


6 thoughts on “DIY Handmade Gifts

  1. With a solid 1/3 of the houses who put up lights already being on display, my neighborhood is certainly oblivious to it not even being Thanksgiving yet. The camera turned out so great! Thread does really have a cool texture when you draw with it indeed. And using your machine for embroidery like this I think makes for a more unique look than typical machine embroidery or even hand embroidery which both all start to look really the same after a while. My boys often get new handmade pjs at Christmas based on need/fabric availability. I might be spending more time with my oldest in the sewing room working on a couple of projects together from a book I set aside for that purpose like 6 months ago (oops!).


    1. I wish the people in my neighborhood decorated early! I love the twinkle of the lights at night. But I have to admit that we don’t decorate outside – we have so much inside to put up that it’s too much work to do both. Yes, I am lazy, LOL!

      Working on projects together with your son sound great! I’m sure it will turn into fond memories for both you and him. Spread the love of creating. 🙂


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