Friday, December 5, 2008

Frugal Friday--homemade gifts for kids

The Holiday Season is a notorious time for overspending. Just when we should be feeling warmth and love, many of us are stressed about finances and what to give to whom. So I thought I'd share a few ideas of inexpensive things you can make for kids...

These are so simple, and because they're small you can even hand-sew them and it won't take very long. I made a tutorial here if you don't feel quite up to freehanding it. ☺

Dress-up clothing
I have made some fancy things like jester's caps and knight's tunics, but even a beginning sewer can make good dress-up clothes.
  • A long scarf or sash requires no sewing at all, and can be looped around like a toga, worn over the head as a veil, or tied like a belt!
  • A cape can be made with a big rectangle and a ribbon across the top.
  • Skirts are two rectangles with elastic at the top.
  • A long robe/dress/tunic can be made with these simple instructions. This other site has more elaborate directions for essentially the same thing (including directions for doing a neck facing). (Please note that both sites are in adult sizes! You can make a child's tunic with less than a yard of fabric, and a full-length dress with under 2 yards.)
  • Some hats are simple and some are more complex, but a no-sew option is to get (or make) a circlet the size of your child's head, then wrap it with lots of ribbons (wrap in or glue on some silk flowers if you like). Tie the ribbons on so they stay, but leave long tails hanging down...your little princess/fairy/gypsy/queen is bound to love it. A mob cap (second one down) is just a big circle with some elastic on it (or here's a fancier version). A chef's hat is a big circle gathered into a wide band. If you're up for a slightly fancier hat, try a bonnet. 
 (a tip for getting large quantities of inexpensive fabric--go to a thrift store and buy old curtains or sheets!)

Sock puppets are a classic option, as are finger puppets. Another option is to get some small stuffed animals from a thrift store, make a little hole near the tail, and stick a dowel (or pencil) up into them. Voila, stick puppet! Alternatively, get larger stuffed animals from the thrift store, make a larger slit by the tail, and pull out the stuffing for a hand-in puppet. Finally, try cutting a large gingerbread man-shaped piece of nice stiff felt, and then decorate it. Cut a matching back piece and sew the edges from one outer ankle to the other (don't sew up between the legs of course or you won't be able to put your hand inside!

Lastly, FlyLady has a list of "clutter-free" gift ideas (experiences, many of them free/homemade). Thanks to RasJane for the link!


Beth said...

I have had a blast making handmade stuff for the kids on my list. I already made 8 crayon rolls, and 2 colored pencil rolls. Little Aprons are fun and easy also!

RasJane said...

I read that link somewhere (LDS Living?) but it wasn't me!
I'm making lap-desks for the boys for Christmas I think. A fun colored pillow with a clipboard on top. Should be perfect for car trips.
I also saw these ( that I thought were so clever!
So many people have such fantastic ideas. No need to go near a plastic-filled toy department. :)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

The bean bags are a great idea that I might grab one day. Free is GREAT!

One year we just purchased 1 yard of a bunch of silky and flowy fabric with coupons and on clearance. I can't sew and don't try often, so I just gave them the yard of fabric. We call it the scarf bin and those yards of fabric have been everything from table cloths to dresses!

Jessica said...

One more idea for girls' dress up clothes: Go to the thrift store a pick up some formal dresses. You can shorten the skirt and use the extra fabric to make the top more modest. If you're lucky and find sizes 0, 1, or 2 you may not even have to take them in to fit your little girl! My mom did this with three dresses last year for my daughter and she absolutely adores her "Princess Dresses"!

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