Cymru Culture

Fashion and Designers / Ffasiwn a Dylunwyr

Handmade gift ideas for Christmas

(September 01, 2017)

Handmade gift ideas for Christmas

Black felt heart card with Melin Tregwynt detail

Yes, yes, I know it's only September and you've only just got back from your summer hols, but if you want to have all your presents sorted for Christmas without that all-too-familiar stress because you've left it all to the last minute... best start planning now!  

My Grandmother (Mam Owen) was a seamstress, and always made clothes and items for the home; lovingly, by hand. I can especially remember her knitting dolls for the local church fête, and week after week, leading up to the day of the fête, a community of knitted characters were added to, lined up on the sofa (one example of which I still have); all awaiting a new owner.

Each knitted figure would have different shape (teddy bear or doll were favourites) with personalised knitted outfits and accessories, and I can remember studying them closely, intrigued by the attention to detail and individuality of each created piece (even down to the rosy cheeks, which were achieved by using old red crayons).

This probably explains my love of handmade items. Indeed, making things by hand has now become acceptable again, and the stigma of 'handmade' is rapidly being replaced with terms such as artisan - but the one theme which connects all of these activites and creations, through the generations, is a focus on quality and individuality, moving away from mass-produced and impersonal items.

I don't pretend to be an expert in this field, but I do enjoy making items for our home, and gifts for friends and family. They certainly seem to be well received when given as gifts, or when images of 'makes' are shared on social media.

Here are some recent items I have made, ranging from Christmas and special occasion cards, felt Christmas garlands and characters made from Melin Tregwynt fabric remnants, designed to hang from door handles (or in wardrobes).

The first designs and 'makes' I am sharing with you are some handmade cards:

Desiging and making a handmade card for a friend or family member is a rewarding crafting activity, and suits all abilities and budgets. The most simple of designs can be chic and modern, and if you are short on ideas (but not enthusiasm) then websites such as Pinterest and 'Not On The Highstreet' are great sources of inspiration.

The first design is a non-specific special occasion card. It has multiple layers and textures and has been made using a combination of complimentary fabric swatches, black ribbon, buttons and a handmade felt heart which is filled with cushion/toy padding.

The black felt heart is further decorated with a section of black and white Melin Tregwynt fabric, cut into a heart shape.

Black felt heart with Melin Tregwynt detail Black felt heart with Melin Tregwynt detail

Felt can be bought in individual pieces or in sets from eBay and from drapers such as Shaws, as can the stuffing.

The two further designs I am sharing with you are Christmas cards for 2017.

I created a reindeer template on paper (after seeing some similar designs on Pinterest), then cut two shapes out of felt, hand stitched them (after filling them with some padding) and added them to a card blank which has been decorated with glitter quality card.

Felt Items 2017 5 (2)

Reindeer Christmas card Reindeer Christmas card

Reindeer Christmas card

The beauty of these card designs is that they are truly individual, and because they are raised, make real conversation pieces.


These cat shaped characters are made using fabric from Melin Tregwynt and are stuffed with padding, with complimentary velvet ribbon loops attached to the top so they can be hung.

Cat-shaped Melin Tregwynt air fresheners Cat-shaped Melin Tregwynt air fresheners

The comical expressions are created using differently sized buttons.

I use these around my home as quirky air fresheners. If you add a couple of drops of fragranced oil and sprays of perfume to them, they can be hung from door handles or in wardrobes.


This Christmas garland design took many hours to produce.

Each character was created by using a paper template of my own design, cut out from felt, decorated filled with padding, hand-stitched and then stiched together to form a garland.

Velvet ribbon has been attached to each end so the garland can be hung up.

Christmas garland

Christmas garland

The characters are decorated with a wide range of items, from ribbons, buttons and crystals, but you could use pretty much anything to decorate them – sequins work really well with Christmas garlands.

These felt garlands can also be adapted or created for other occassions such as new-births, anniversaries etc.

Claire Meredith, September 2017

If you liked this, you'll also like:

      Get crafty this Christmas; December 2016
Christmas gift guide, December 2016
Upcycling home accessories: part II; March 2016
Upcycling home accessories: chalk paint; June 2015
Steampunk #1, photo frame; March 2015
Steampunk #2, glass bottle pendant; March 2015
Crafting: felt accessories for your home; March 2015
Crafting: 'vintage' frame; March 2015
Vintage-inspired gifts; December 2014

Handmade cards; December 2014
Handmade gift tags; December 2014
Stylishly wrapped presents; December 2014
Personalised Christmas decorations; December 2013
Accessorize your home this Christmas; December 2011
Shades of Grey; Caregos Couture new collection; September 2011
History of costume Jewellery; September 2010
Statement pieces from Caregos Couture, September 2010
Easter/Spring party gift and decoration ideas; March 2010
Modern accessories vs retro-chic; March 2010
New Art Gallery in Cardiff 'Off the Wall'; Septermber 2009
Statement necklaces; September 2009
Stylish party canapés, September 2009

George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009
Whitefriars Glass, March 2009


cylchgrawn Cymru Culture magazine
Published by/Cyhoeddwyd gan: Caregos Cyf., 2017

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