My DIY Christmas

Yesterday was my husband’s 30th birthday and we celebrated by going to see our favorite local Irish singer, Harry O’Donoghue at a pub with friends.

It was a great night of laughter and music, but I feel exhausted today(not hungover, just tired from all the cooking and activities of the weekend).  I just didn’t feel like having to put together a blog worthy re-fashion, plus hair and makeup(I was lazy today what can I say?), so I figured what better day to finally blog about all the DIY Christmas gifts I made for family this year.

Every year, hubby and I have a budget for Christmas gifts. This year, I thought it would be f to utilize my burgeoning sewing skills to make as many of the gifts as possible.  This wasn’t done as a cost-saving measure….we still spent as much as we would have if it had been gifts from the store; it just allowed us to give bigger, nicer gifts for the same amount of money.


My sister is definitely the easiest person to shop/make things for.  She and I have a very similar style and very similar interests, so basically, anything that I like she’ll like.  Two of her very favorite things in the world are polka dots and turquoise.  Last May, I came across some polka dotted teal fabric and I bought two yards thinking I’d make her a skirt.  When I went to start constructing it, I realized I had enough fabric to make a dress!

I used a bodice pattern I already had, and attached a gathered(aka dirndl) skirt.  Obviously, I had to go based on her measurements, not actual sizes and I was so pleased when she tried it on and it fit like a glove(seriously that pattern size was made for her body).

I made her a few different colored bow belts to wear with the dress and a petticoat to wear underneath to embrace the full Betty Draper experience.

tracidress (1 of 1)


Since the dress was so affordable(I think I spent maybe $13 total), I decided to utilize her pinterest fashion wants board and make her something she had pinned.

I decided to recreate the shirt from this pin:


I used pink stretch fabric and one of my own stretchy shirts as a guide(and made it a bit bigger since she is a bit bigger than I am).  The flowers are pins that are removable and made from faux silk flowers(from wal-mart) so that she can wash the shirt, wear it without the flowers or move the flowers around.



Last Christmas(2011), we spent more on my parents(buying them a combined gift plus an individual gift each). We wanted to do that this Christmas with my in-laws.  My FIL is a techie just like the hubby so we got him some ipad accessories.

While my in-laws were visiting in September, we were walking around Charleston and my MIL and I happened to come across a Kate Spade shop.  We both fell in love with a beautiful pea coat that had bow detailing at the neck.  We didn’t love the almost $700 price tag, however!


In brainstorming gift ideas, I told my hubby that I thought I could make a coat that looked relatively similar to the Kate Spade one for at least $660 cheaper.  I made three muslins out of old sheets before I set about making this coat.  When I was done, I realized I had enough fabric left to make a baby coat, and I happened to have a coat pattern that would fit my niece.  So, I ended up making my MIL and niece matching coats.

michellecoat (1 of 1)

Here’s my niece and mother in law modeling their matching coats!  I didn’t manage to snag a photo of just my nieces coat:-/



I’m lumping in the gift I made for my in-laws and my sister’s husband because they are the same thing, just different fabric.  I can’t take credit for the idea behind these gifts.  Hubby is the one who came up with this idea.  We were at Hancock Fabrics buying some fleece and ripstop to make something to use in the car to keep the dogs corralled in the back seat.  He noticed some Steelers Fleece(my BIL is a HUGE Steelers’ fan) and mentioned it would be really cool to make him some sort of bed/pillow for his dog Fritz with that fabric.

We expanded the idea into a dog cage cover with coordinating bed.  We also decided to make one for my in-laws(but in a much more sophisticated fabric to match their decor).

For my BIL’s, I cut the fabric out incorrectly and didn’t have the right amount for the roll-up door, so I ended up using some black fabric and making it look like a jersey. We don’t own a cage the size of my sister and brother-in-law’s, so I had to make it purely based on measurements and hope like heck it fit(which it did).



My in-laws have a favorite sports team, but they are not die-hard fans, plus they keep their dog cage in their bedroom(as opposed to the laundry room), so I wanted to make sure to pick out a combination of fabrics that would coordinate well with their decor.  I used a black gathered/rosette taffeta with black/white stripe trim and a paisley black/white minky fabric for the bed.

frankie cage closed (1 of 1)

frankie cage open (1 of 1)

I’ve received several requests from other family members to make them cage covers so I’m going to be a busy girl and putting my sewing room to good use.  My in-laws, parents and husband think I should start a business selling custom covers, but I’m not 100% certain if I’m going to do it or not…..


I’ve already mentioned above the wool coat I made for my niece out of the leftover fabric from my MIL’s coat.  I also made her a black polka dot dress with hot pink trim(and lining) out of remnant fabric from Wal-Mart:


I also had made a small bow clutch much, much earlier in the year out of some pale yellow shantung(my first time inserting a zipper was this purse actually) and so I used the rest of the fabric to be trim for a blue/white gingham dress.



For my mom, I made her two skirts.  One was a gathered elastic waist skirt in a demin-y blue color with flowers and the other was a black/white circle skirt(the BANE of my existence.  I am still not over all the crap that went on with that skirt).  I don’t have a picture of either skirt…:-O


Last but not least was my dad.  For him, I printed out a picture that showed Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings facing off against the Black Knight from Monty Python and framed it.  He loved it.  I also took the leftover fabric from my Thanksgiving Day Dress and cut out a dress shirt pattern(from a vintage pattern my grandma had given me) with a note that said I’d make the shirt for him in the future……I’ve still got the shirt in my sewing room about half completed….one of these days!

I didn’t make hubby a gift(I bought him a briefcase to carry his school work in, which he loved), but other than that and my FIL’s tech stuff, I basically had some hand in all the gifts we gave this year to family.

It was fun but man did it take a lot of work….I’m sitting here wondering how I managed to get it all done…..

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this (long) look at my Christmas crafting!



10 thoughts on “My DIY Christmas

  1. fitundgluecklich says:

    Not only you are wondering how you managed to do it 😉 With so many dogs, the house, the jobs… amazing! (Again ;-)) And you are one of the first people I’m telling it (just because I’m writing it here and wrote the word “dog” and am thinking about your cute dogs): we might get a dog soon!! We still have a cat, but there is this organization which rescues dogs and we look at their page a lot (or see the pics of the dogs at facebook all the time), and now they have the sweetest little doggie I can imagine and its perfect for us (size, good with cats etc)… so, we are going for it!! 😉 You’ll see a lot of her on my blog in the future and on facebook I think 😉 Have a great day!!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      OH MY!! I am so excited about your little dog!! I can’t wait to see her. Too bad you live across the world or else we could get our girls together for a play date!

      Girl, I am always so impressed by all that you do, plus working a high stress heavy hours job!

  2. missanubis says:

    I really adored the coats, your sister’s dress, and the gingham dress. The dog crate covers turned out so well, I think you could start a side business making them. You could charge a pretty penny too! Very lucrative. What a lucky, lucky family!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      My parents and in-laws are telling me the same thing. A major concern I have is that I would have to do the covers completely custom so I don’t know if people would want to wait 2-3 weeks for shipping………plus I don’t *love* making them so it would mean putting off making fun stuff like skirts and dresses…..but I guess it would be worth it to have a little extra $$ lying around….hmmmm…..

  3. heidi says:

    i am just stunned! i mean, a coat?! amazing! and those dog crate covers are also incredible. you are so talented and it really shows how much thought you put into finding a specific gift you could make nearly all of your family members. i hope to one day have the same sewing prowess! 😉

    • guitargrl325 says:

      I am certain you will be there shortly. It’s funny about the coat, because I bought the pattern and started making it….then my grandma gave me all her old patterns and there was a coat pattern in there from the 60s that was an even better dupe for the kate spade one….maybe I’ll make myself a version of it at some point?

      If I make another coat, I will make sure to purchase coat weight wool…that wool I used was definitely not meant for a coat and I had a lot of trouble getting it to lay properly(other than that the pattern is super easy….though the neck ends up HUGE and I had to add in a pleat in the back to make it fit better) and it shredded itself to pieces just looking at it. Seriously, if I did not have a serger there is no way I could’ve made that coat to last….it would have fallen apart after the first wear!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      Haha, I don’t think we’re currently accepting applications at this point 😉 Maybe next year? I just need to get my sewing room set up properly and organized so I can actually take the time to do more projects!

    • guitargrl325 says:’re making me blush! Thank you so much for your kind words. I did worry that all my family would be like “oh boy homemade gifts”…but luckily they loved them(or at least told me they loved them…)

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