Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kristen: 9 Homemade Civil War Christmas Gift Ideas

Perhaps the most fulfilling time of year approaches: Christmas. Nothing fills me with more joy than battling through crowds on black Friday and wrestling an old lady for a necessary Tickle-Me-Elmo. Please note the sarcastic tone I've taken thus far...

I've decided to come up with a list of gift ideas, just little things with the Civil War reenactor in mind. All of these have been featured with tutorials on my blog, so if you're new or want pictures, I've made it easy! So far, here's a list to get you started:

1. Travel bags: I have a post here that shows how to make these. It could be an afternoon project!
Cost: These can be made with leftover materials, or you could go all out! $0-$100
Time: I tend to take breaks while sewing. If you make this simple with less embellishment and use a sewing machine, this could be a 2-6 hour project.
Skill Level: Sewing intermediate. Need to know basic stitch and buttonhole.

2. Thread Waxer: It's an acorn, how can you not love it! I can show you how to make that here.
Cost: Beeswax ($10), play-dough ($1), string/soutache ($1), bead cap ($1-$3). Total about $15-$20, making dozens of them.
Time: At least 2 hours, plus wax melting time.
Skill Level: Not setting yourself on fire, patience.

3. Handkerchief: Really easy, an awesome gift for men and women, tutorial found here.
Cost: About $9 a yard here, with that making at least 3-4 hankies. Thread from stash.
Time: 2-3 hours each, depending on skill level.
Skill Level: Sewing Intermediate, hidden stitch.
****Special Note! Make your hems much smaller than I did!

4. Hair Flower: I've tried the basic gimping technique multiple times here, here, and here. A very unique gift, especially when placed inside of a necklace. If you can make one, it will be a very unique and thoughtful gift, especially for a loved one! 
Cost: $0-$15, depending on the jewelry/frame you put it in
Time: Practice makes perfect! Anywhere from 4-8 hours. 
Skill Level: Wrapping hair around a stick. Seems easy, incredibly frustrating!

5. Housewife: I have a housewife tutorial, right here. Can be good for both men and women!
Cost: $0-20. Honestly, this cost me about $5 for scraps and all the twill tape.
Time: 2-3 hours, with generous eating time allotted.
Skill Level: Sewing Intermediate, basic and invisible stitch. 

6. Spectacle Case: Can be for males or females! Check it out here.
Cost: Leftover supplies, 1/2 yard fabric and cotton soutache. Total $3-10 with leftover supplies.
Time: 3-4 hours
Skill Level: Sewing Intermediate, whip stitch and tacking down soutache.

7. Basic "hiding" bags: A gift any reenactor will love! See it done here.
Cost: Probably free from stash-leftover fabric, any thread.
Time: 10 minutes or less. I've got it down to 3.
Skill Level: Sewing basic, or machine perfection!

8. Cooler cover: One of the best presents I ever made myself! If you need a different thing covered, just make sure to get the right measurements!
Cost: About $10 for fabric, more if using actually treated stuff.
Time: An hour or two with the sewing machine, more if by hand.
Skill Level: Sewing basic, emphasis on measuring skill!

9. Beaded Butterfly: Are you in the mood for butterflies? These things make the perfect little additions to bonnets or hair pieces. Documentation was used to support nature's colorful friends.
Cost: $5-10, beads and wire.
Time: 15-30 minutes
Skill Level: A good set of eyes and finger dexterity

Happy gift-making everyone! And if you don't feel like making anything, you can always check out my etsy shop, The Victorian Needle.

~Kristen

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