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A Gift a Day 2017: Day 5: Polka Dot Skirt

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Polka Dot Skirt The Prudent Homemaker 

My five-year-old daughter has been wanting a polka dot skirt. She knew I had this fabric, and asked that I make her a skirt from it.

Because she is still small, I just cut one piece of fabric from selvage to selvage. I sewed the side seam together with a French seam.

Polka Dot Elastic Casing The Prudent Homemaker

I ironed 1/4 inch down across the top of the skirt, and then folded it and ironed it again at 1 1/4", to make a casing for the elastic. I sewed this part, leaving a small opening, and then ran the elastic through the casing by attaching a large safety pin to one end and pulling it through.

I hemmed the skirt in the same manner, first folding and ironing under 1/4", and then ironing an additional 2 inches, as I wanted a deep hem.

 

Supplies:

polka dot fabric (I used a little less than 2/3 of a yard)

1-inch wide elastic



Tools:


Sewing Machine

Iron

Sewing pins

Scissors

 

Time:

About an hour



Cost: $4

I purchased this fabric on a Black Friday sale several years ago from Fabric.com.

I purchased the elastic on sale in bulk from Wawak.

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A Gift a Day 2017: Day 4: Button Bobby Pins

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Button Bobby Pins The Prudent Homemaker

I made button bobby pins for my eldest a few years ago, as she puts her hair up every day. Her younger sisters often ask her to style their hair for them (you can see some of the styles she does from her Pinterest board). This year, one of my younger daughters asked for some of her own fancy bobby pins for her own hair for Christmas.

I was gifted a number of vintage buttons over the past year, and several of them were shank buttons, which were perfect to use for these.

 

Supplies:

bobby pins

shank buttons

jewelry wire



Tools:

wire cutters

needle nosed pliers

 

ShankButtons The Prudent Homemaker


Cut a piece of jewelry wire about 3 inches (approximately 7.5 cm) long for each bobby pin.

Wrap the wire through and around the end of the pin, through the shank button, and around the shank of the button several times, using the pliers to pull the wire tight each time.

When you get to the end of the wire, use the pliers to tuck the ends into the holes of the button, so that nothing sharp will stick out.



Time:

It took me 4 minutes per bobby pin (I've gotten a tad bit faster from when I made these three years ago). 

Cost:

$0.02 each.

I used buttons I had been gifted.

If you don't have buttons, you can purchase some on sale from Joann's, Hobby Lobby, etc. I usually buy buttons on sale for 40-50% off.

Black bobby pins can be bought from several different dollar stores.

I purchased the jewelry wire on a 40% off sale at Michael's several years ago. The wire regularly goes on sale, or you can use the coupon that comes in the weekly ad.

You can see the ones I made three years ago in this post.

 

Button Bobby Pins in Gift Box The Prudent Homemaker

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Flannel Scarf The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

 

My eldest son needs a long, warm scarf. I have this beautiful herringbone brushed flannel that was just perfect for a scarf. It's super soft.

I didn't have a long enough piece from what I had, so I sewed together two pieces with a french seam in the middle before hemming all the edges.

I used an existing warm scarf of my own as a pattern for width and length.

 

Supplies:

approx. 1/2 yard (1/2 meter) flannel fabric

thread

Tools:

Sewing Machine

Iron

Sewing pins

Scissors

Time:

About 30 minutes. If you have a longer piece of fabric and don't need to piece it together, you can make this much faster.

 

Flannel Scarf 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Cost:

$3.24 (including tax)

I bought the flannel last year on sale at Joann's for $5.99 a yard. This took about half a yard.

 

Last year I made a vintage-style cloche with this fabric, which you can see here.

 

You can find the hat here and the gloves here.

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A Gift a Day 2017: Day 2: White Eyelet Skirt

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Eyelet Skirt The Prudent Homemaker

When I was at a garage sale in October, I found an unusual king-sized bed skirt for $1. It had snaps every few feet, but there was no middle piece that went on the bed itself for the eyelet ruffle to snap onto. Fortunately, the ruffle itself was what I needed. The seller was asking $1, and I gladly took all of that eyelet home. 

Not only did it have a ruffle, but it had a top edge just like the waistband of a skirt.

I cut out two pieces, avoiding the set-in snaps that were there. The skirt was rather long, so it was just perfect for a knee-length skirt for my 7-year-old, who asked me for a white skirt for Christmas.

The only tricky part was putting in the elastic. Since I had two pieces of skirt that would be closed once I sewed the sides together (as the existing skirt already had a "waistband" sewn in) I cut two pieces of elastic and sewed them in at each end. I sewed both sides of the skirt closed with French seams.

  

Supplies:

a piece of a bed skirt (or wide finished eyelet)

thread

elastic


Tools:

Sewing Machine

Iron

Sewing pins

Scissors

Eyelet Skirt Detail The Prudent Homemaker


Time:

About 30 minutes

Cost: 

$0.35, including the cost of elastic. I have lots of fabric left and I can make more projects with it. The same daughter who requested a white skirt has also requested a white dress, so I may work this same fabric into a dress for her as well.

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Harry Potter Pencil Bag The Prudent Homemaker

I've made lined pencil bags and other lined, zippered bags before. They're a pretty quick and simple gift to make. The important thing is to figure out what size you need it to be, depending on what purpose it will serve.

For this bag, I chose to cut the bag 9 x 4 inches and use a 1/2" seam allowance.

I used scraps to make this bag. As both the inside and the outside of the bag were made with thin fabric, I cut a lining from iron-on interfacing and ironed it to the wrong side of each fabric piece before sewing.

For the outside piece, I simply wrote the word "Quills" with a blue washable fabric marker before embroidering the entire thing by hand with an outline stitch in two strands of embroidery thread.

The outside is made from a line/cotton blend fabric. The inside is sewn with some leftover London map fabric I used for three other projects (a pillow, an apron, and a change purse). I made sure that Kings' Cross Station was visible when the bag was opened from the front.

 

Supplies:

2 pieces of fabric for outside (9 x 4 inches)

2 pieces of fabric for the lining (9 x 4 inches)

4 pieces of interfacing (8 x  inches)

zipper at least 9 inches long 

embroidery thread

Tutorial 


Tools:

Sewing Machine

Iron

Ruler

Sewing pins

Scissors

embroidery needle

Washable marking pen or pencil

embroidery hoop (optional)

 

Harry Potter Pencil Bag Lining The Prudent Homemaker

 

Time: 30 minutes for the bag itself (including cutting the fabric).  1 hour for the embroidery. 

Cost: $0.10, plus $1.44 for the pencils and eraser to go inside.

I used leftover scraps from other projects to make this, so the fabric didn't cost me anything. I used a few cents worth of embroidery thread. The zipper was one I inherited from my grandmother (she gave me a large number of zippers). The interfacing was purchased at a Black Friday sale. 

I spent $1 on the pencils I included and $0.33 on the polymer eraser. I bought the erasers with a coupon at back to school sales. The pencils were from the Target dollar spot (purchased in August).

 

For my Gift a Day series this year, I will be making gifts using only supplies I already have on hand. I'll include my cost when I purchased materials for the gift (i.e. when they weren't made from hand-me-down fabrics and/or supplies) but none of this money was spent recently. The pencils and eraser that are part of this gift are probably the only things that I purchased in 2017 for any of the gifts that I will be making. Everything else I already have on hand.

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Rethinking Christmas Stockings

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Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

A few years back, we were in need of new Christmas stockings. Our family had grown, and we didn't have enough matching stockings for the family.

At the same time, I had been seeing beautiful miniature stockings online made from vintage grain sacks. I loved the simple red stripes at the top and I especially loved the fact that the stockings were tiny. Small stockings (rather than ones that could fit an entire adult's arm) mean there is less to fill, and I can have a wrapped gift sticking out of the top, which is something I had always wanted to do. That didn't work with our previous stockings, which were so long I could fit all of our gifts for each person in with room to spare.

Chirstmas Stocking The Prudent Homemaker

I drew up a small stocking pattern and set to work. I didn't have vintage grain sacks, nor a budget for them, so I used my sewing machine to sew red stripes on some painter's drop cloth that I had previously bought at the hardware store. (Note: Our city got an Ikea store last year; they have dishtowels for $0.79 each that have red stripes at the top which would work beautifully to make these stockings).

Last year, with our new baby, I wasn't worried about hanging a stocking for him. Now that he's a year and a half, it's time for me to make a stocking for him too!

You can make your own small stockings out of your fabric of choice. Not a fan of red stripes? Try cutting up a velvet skirt or dress, or an old sweater that you find at the thrift store! Repurpose an old sheet to use as the lining.

Christmas Stockings The Prudent Homemaker

 

When it comes to filling the stockings, consider the simplest things.

In the toe, put a clementine or an orange. These are always on sale at Christmastime in the U.S.  (Readers in the Southern Hemisphere, please share your favorite summer fruits for stockings in the comments below!)

Include some candy and/or nuts. I like to buy some candy from the bulk section at Winco when it goes on sale right before Halloween and give that (this year I bought peppermint patties). Candy canes, purchased on sale, work well. I like to make homemade candies too, such as peppermint bark, which I put inside in plastic bags. For nuts, look at buying them in bulk from Sam's Club, Costco, Winco, or another place that sells bulk nuts. If you grow your own, whole nuts in the shell look pretty in stockings as well. If you prefer cookies to candy, a beautifully decorated Christmas cookie or two is a nice, edible gift.

For gifts, I like to keep the cost down. Most "inexpensive" stocking stuffer ideas that I see include several gifts that are $10-$20 each. Most years, that is my entire Christmas budget per person (candy and nuts come from my regular grocery budget, rather than my planned gift budget), which means I need to lower that amount considerably to keep within my budget for the year. I usually include two to three gifts per person in stockings. Here's some of what I like to include:

 

For my daughters:

Jewelry. I find pieces at garage sales for $1 an item. I'll make jewelry from repurposed or garage sale pieces. Broken or old costume jewelry is great for this purpose. I've also bought beads, elastic, and jewelry findings on sale to make pieces between $0.15 to $1 each.

Small toys. Garage sales are also a great place to find small toys. I found a number Legos for a total of $0.50 this year, and I'll divide these up between my four younger girls.

Art supplies. I purchase these for $0.25 to $1 at back to school sales.

Hair ribbons. I buy them on sale by the spool and cut them on the diagonal (to reduce fraying) in lengths for the girls.

Homemade barrettes.

Hair elastics. I buy these in packages of 100 from the dollar store.

Bobby Pins. I get these from the dollar store.

Hair brushes. I also get these from the dollar store.

 

For my sons:

Legos. Garage sales are again my source for the least expensive small Lego stocking stuffers.

More Candy and/or nuts. My boys like to have the same candy as their dad.

Ties. My boys wear a tie to church every Sunday. I find them at garage sales for $0.50 to $1 each.

 

For both boys and girls:

Toothbrushes. I buy them in packages of 4 or 5 for $1 from the dollar store (last Christmas I saw this same deal at Walmart too).

Chapstick. I often buy a bulk package and divide it up. I look for coupons and sales to get the price lower than $1 each.

Bouncy balls. You can buy a bag (usually of 6) in the party section of several stores.

Puzzles. The dollar store has small puzzles that fit in stockings. 

Earbuds. Again, I get these at the dollar store.

Bookmarks. Homemade bookmarks are a favorite gift at my house. My children are avid readers who always have a book going.

 

For my husband:

His favorite candy. At my house, this means a large bag of peanut M&Ms and/or a bag of Werther's. I can always find coupons and sales on these to get the price down considerably.

This is all I usually get my husband, but this year I'm thinking of adding a restaurant gift card using points I earn on Swagbucks. We don't usually exchange gifts between the two of us, so this would be a surprise. It also won't cost me anything at all!

Christmas Stockings detail The Prudent Homemaker

Reducing the size of your stockings makes it easier to fill a stocking and keep within a tiny budget. There's no need to feel obligated to spend money on stocking stuffers that will end up broken and unwanted before the New Year. Let your gifts be simple.

 

As I was writing this post, I asked my 12-year-old son what he loved getting in his stocking. He immediately mentioned the clementine, then candy, and then bouncy balls! And only then did he mention Legos. What my children have come to remember is the simple traditional items that we have included, and they look forward to them every year!

 

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