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Free & Stylish Christmas Gift Ideas

We all love to get something for nothing, but can this really extend to Christmas gifts? Of course it can! Thereís nothing more personal and individual than a homemade gift Ė something from the heart thatís taken time and effort to create, something special and something that will be kept forever. And thereís no reason it canít be super fashionable at the same time.

Itís easier than you think to create a stylish present for next to nothing Ė itís all about getting imaginative with what youíve got to work with. Dig out your sewing box or if you havenít got one, have a sorting out day and put to one side any clothes you donít want anymore. These will be your tools to work with Ė all you need next is a good pair of scissors! Cut and chop off any attractive features like pretty buttons, bits of lace, ribbon, studs, embellishment or even simply put to one side any cut-offs of gorgeous, brightly coloured or textured fabric.

Once you have developed your customisation kit, itís up to you to let your imagination run wild and make something fabulous. One idea Iíve tried myself is customising a plain black clutch. Go through your handbag collection and look for any you can spare or donít use anymore. If each and every one of them is far too precious to give up, then go to your local charity shop and hunt out a plain, fabric bag Ė you choose the style but bear in mind larger bags like totes will involve more work whereas a cute little clutch will only need a small amount of customising magic!

Once you have your plain bag and your creative pile of haberdashery gems, all it takes is a bit of imagination and some mean needle and thread work. If like me youíre a bit of a stranger to the world of craft and sewing buttons on shirts, fear not, customising is deceivingly easy. Keep stitches simple and if youíre working with flat buttons, thereís no harm in cheating with a little superglue.

Hot looks for handbags and clutches this season include embellishment, sparkle and block colours. If the thought of getting handy with a needle and thread still daunts you, why not look for a super glitzy, oversize brooch to pin onto an otherwise plain clutch? Adding a little sparkle to dull purses and bags is easy with the addition of some glimmering sequins, beads and studs. Sew or stick these onto fabric bags in floral arrangements or keep it simple and sparkly and sew on at random for an eclectic, truly original design.

If youíre after more of a casual, daytime accessory for your lucky friend, go for neutral block colour customising. Wooden-effect buttons, brassy beads and creamy lace make for a more casual but vintage-effect handbag design. Try this failsafe arrangement: choose your bag and select a corner for decoration (remember, less is more when customising). Sew on a patch of lace, attaching to the bag just along the top of the lace, leaving the bottom loose to sway (cut diagonally or use pinking shears for a zig-zag effect that wonít fray). Then sew over the top a statement button or large bead/brooch (if you canít source one from your wardrobe, check out your local haberdashery for an inexpensive, striking feature). Once these two pieces are in place, add a few extra beads over the top or sewn on and around the design in swirls, patterns or, if youíre feeling adventurous why not sew in the formation of the recipientís name or initials?

Thatís what customisation is all about, personalising something into an individual, not to mention affordable gift that no one else will own Ė now thatís what I call the perfect Christmas present.



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