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For the last few years my intention for gift giving has been to make as much as possible myself or buy from artsy friends or people at craft shows and online marketplaces like Etsy. With the exception of books (of course), electronics, music and other similar things. The idea is to give more thoughtfully and more specifically.

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The downsides to making and buying handmade are that I have to come up with ideas for items people will really like – I have to know them pretty well in some cases. I also have to plan way ahead. If I come up with an idea too late I might not have time to pull it off or it may be too dissimilar to the other things I’m making, increasing the time all around.

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This year I spent to much time on a doomed gift (a huge crochet project that I probably won’t finish until June now), made two dopp kits and five aprons, and bought one pair of electric toothbrushes. In typical fashion I undertook a new pattern, graded another up a size, created several custom graphics that were overly complex for the application, and used a technique I only had vague experience with. I completed my last task, setting the graphics on two of the aprons, Christmas morning. I also forgot to buy wrapping paper (which I like the look of, but always feel so wasteful for using…) and had to wrap gifts in crumpled brown paper and tissue paper I had on hand.

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Things turned out pretty well, though I made the mistake of buying twill for the aprons. It was a mistake only because the vinyl stencils didn’t stick perfectly to the slightly textured weave and images were not 100% crisp. I didn’t do the graphics on the Hawaiian fabric aprons (which I also didn’t take pics of apparently), but they weren’t lacking. I did turn the white flowers slightly pink pre washing the fabric, which is still bothering me, obviously. (Must remember to try those Tide color catcher sheets). I didn’t finish the inside of my husband’s dopp kit or get to wax it, but it looked good and came home with me anyway.

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All in all the gifts were received well. Would I want to repeat the Food Seasons in New Orleans graphics in exactly the same way? Maaaaybe. I need to work on my process in getting complicated stencils from the sticky cutting mat to the project surface. I’ve used stencil transfer paper, but I find it to sticky. Next time I may try some clear vinyl over my stencil instead.

Now that Christmas projects are over Happy new year!

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Rogues of Thread will be attending the Halcyon Craft Fair this weekend, selling holiday aprons.

I’ll also be taking orders for custom aprons. There are lots of fabrics to choose from and they can be made up in most of the designs seen on this blog. Come check us out!

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Red stripped fabric, little snowmen, Christmas trees, holy and other festive greenery. This apron has two pockets, a played flounce and a generous bow.

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Two matching full length aprons for mom (or dad) and kiddo. Cute Snowman fabric and contrasting ties. Lined. The child Inge is reversible with as smaller motif from the same fabric collection.

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No pockets on these. I didn’t want to cover up the snowmen.

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I both like and dislike this apron.

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It’s more size specific thanks to a shaped bodice. Now I highly dislike commercial pattern 5/8″ seam allowances. I really haven’t run into a time when I need that much seam. Most of my patterns are at 3/8″ or 1/2″ max. It’s a good size that easily allows you to iron seams open, but if you’re making something like straps you won’t need to trim the seams before you turn.

Basically I think that 5/8″ is excessive. So I was sewing along nicely at 3/8″ and realized that I needed to follow closer to this pattern due to it’s shape in the bodice, so I picked out my tiny bit of 3/8″ and went to 1/2″. I finished stitching and ironed open my seams, turned my fabric and damn – I needed to follow the pattern. The straps had excessive fabric on the bodice portion for the strap width. Grrr. Turn, re-sew, trim stupid fabric down, turn, iron. I’m done with this pattern. I do like the waist piece.

[Edited for stupid phone-auto-complete-errors]