Holiday Sewing Remembered

Holiday Sewing Remembered
"It's the most wonderful time of the year. With the kids jingle belling. And everyone telling you 'Be of good cheer'. It's the most wonderful time of the year." The lyrics to this most familiar Christmas song was written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle and recorded by a popular singing artist Andy Williams. These lyrics and other traditional songs of the holiday season are delightful treasures that have become part of our holiday nostalgia.

Sewing, once a necessary domestic pursuit, as well as spinning, weaving, quilting and knitting, is among the oldest of textile arts. Like a joyful holiday song sewing together bits of fabric and thread whether by hand or machine also is a familiar part of holiday recollections. Handcrafted holiday ornaments, gifts and decorative trims are a long tradition for many cultures celebrating the season of giving.

A few quick and easy holiday projects to consider:

Torn Muslin Angel – to use as an ornament or a brooch and so easy to make by hand. Tear two muslin fabric pieces. One is approximately 5-inches by 8-inches, the other 3 by 3 1/2-inches. To form the head, arms and dress, fold the larger torn muslin piece in half. Place a cosmetic cotton ball under the fold at the center for the head. Wind a length of thread or yarn over the fabric and the cotton ball to form the head shape and tie off. Tie corner edges in a small knot to form arms leaving enough fabric to form the dress. For wings, make tiny fanfolds from the remaining muslin piece. Tightly tie thread around the middle of the fanfolds. The edges will fan out. Glue fanfold wings to the center back of the angel body. Glue a pin back to use as a holiday brooch or a loop of gold cord to use as an ornament. Decorate the angel’s dress with stamped stars or hearts.

Raw Edge Raggedy Stocking – a homespun stocking to hang on the mantel. Denim scraps from no longer useful jeans or any loosely woven fabric like burlap or linen can be used. Cut out two stocking shapes the desired size with an extra amount at the stocking top for what will be folded down for a cuff plus 1/2-inch seam allowance all around. Place both shapes wrong side together and stitch around the stocking 1/2-inch from the edge leaving the top edge unstitched for now. Pull out threads from the edge to the stitching line to make fringe if using burlap or a loosely woven fabric. Stitch 1/2-inch all around the open top edge then pull-out threads from the edge to the stitching line as before to make fringe. Fold down the top to form the cuff. If using denim, no need to pull out threads, just machine launder and machine dry the stocking so the raw edges bloom, then fold down the top to form the cuff. Add a loop of ribbon for hanging. Embellish as desired.

Covered Hangers – keep clothes from sliding off plastic hanger edges and brightens up closet spaces too. Use any seasonal print fabric piece that is large enough to cover the hanger when folded in half. Lay hanger on top of the folded fabric with the hook above the fold. Trace outside the hanger shape adding about 1/2-inch to all sides. Cut out. Mark where the hook will eventually poke through the top and cut out a small half circle at that area. Stitch around the sides of the hanger shape. Stitch up the bottom for a neat hem. Decorative stitch or zig zag stitch around the cut out circle the hanger hook will go through to support the edges from fraying. Turn right sides out, press, then place over the plastic hanger. Make a pair out of any seasonal fabric for gift giving.

Closet sachet - a natural closet freshener. Cut a fabric piece 8-inches by 4-inches. Woven fabrics work best. Fold in half to form a 4-inch square. Stitch on three sides. Add a ribbon loop for hanging by hand stitching the loop into the opening. Fill with lavender or other sachet or potpourri scents, stitch the opening closed. Pink all edges to prevent fraying. Make several to stack and tie all together with ribbon for gift giving.

Microwaveable Rice Heat Packs - an old but welcome gift. Heat-able rice packs are great for soothing sore muscles or to warm the bed on chilly nights and reusable over and over. Make any size needed from a rectangle of dense cotton terry cloth fabric or use a new cotton hand towel. Fold in half, stitch the two open-ended sides, add uncooked rice through the remaining opening, then stitch closed. Optional - sew hook and loop tape to the open end instead of stitching permanently closed if time permits to allow for an easy change of the rice, although the rice will allow for many, many times through the microwave. Consider adding some lavender buds if available to the uncooked rice for a wonderful soothing aroma.

Sewing can bring out our most cherished memories.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.