Selfless Sewing: Christmas 2021

Christmas is over, which means now I can share my Christmas makes with you! I have done completely Handmade Christmases in the past. Mostly because I didn’t have money, but I did have time and yarn. As I started to earn more over the years I also started being more strategic about which gifts to buy and which to make. Some years I didn’t make any presents at all. This year I decided to sew gifts for my two sisters.

My middle sister does the most incredible Jack Sparrow cosplay. It seemed obvious that she needed a pirate shirt in her life and repertoire. I used the same basic pattern and instructions as for my own pirate shirt, but with a few modifications. My sister’s shirt is made in a mid-weight linen, where mine is made of handkerchief linen. I also made her shirt slightly narrower – the entire shirt circumference is one Width of Fabric. I did a lapped shoulder seam on her shirt, where mine has no shoulder seam at all. And I sewed her shirt on the machine with French Seams.

Most of the visible stitching, such as at the collar, hem, and cuffs, is done by hand. The buttonholes are done by machine. Doing so much of the work by machine made this shirt MUCH faster than mine, which I sewed completely by hand. My sister was beyond thrilled, and that made me happy.

For my youngest sister I made a pair of plaid pants. Truth be told, I started these for her birthday in August, but then I got bogged down with fitting, and gave her something else for her birthday. It was nice to pull these out a few days before Christmas and have them almost done already! I based her pants off my modified pants pattern (which is based off the Cigarette Pants from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual), and then adjusted them to her measurements. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby. I really wanted to make pants from this fabric for myself, but I had already made myself a pair of grey plaid pants earlier in the year, and two pairs of plaid pants in one year seemed like overkill. The pants turned out fantastic! I accidentally cut them too short for a double-fold hem, so I finished them with black fold-over elastic instead.

Do you make Christmas gifts or do you prefer to buy presents?


Christmas has become such a commercialized holiday. People are so concerned about what they are going to get. The day after Christmas is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. How did this happen? When did Christmas change from being about celebrating the greatest gift of God to man and about reflecting God’s love to family and friends and even strangers to being all about stuff?

I used to be all about the stuff at Christmas. Sure, I enjoyed being with the people I loved, but I was concerned with what I was going to get. That changed a few years ago.

I had moved out of my family’s home and was on my own for the first time. Also, I was across the country from my family, and had not seen them in months. I decided to go see them at Christmas, so I booked my flight for Christmas Eve, but told my family I was flying in late Christmas day. I wanted to surprise them by coming in a day early.

My mom cried when she saw me Christmas morning, and the look of wonder, of Christmas magic, on my littlest sister’s face was priceless. That experience really made me look at Christmas differently. I learned that stuff, while it can be really cool, is still just stuff, and that I should instead relish the joy that giving brings.