The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 9 (December 1, 1937.)
Christmas Gifts. — Bought or Made?
Bought or Made?
Lucky you, if you have the time to plan and make for your friends. You, no doubt, with deft fingers, have cut and sewed a little frock, a tunic, a négligée, which has been the envy of this friend or that. Even your smallest efforts, the crocheted coat-hanger cover, the val-lace collar and pockets for the old brown frock, the crisp organdie envelopes for the “best” undie sets, have roused interest and admiration among your girl friends.
Very well, then! If you really want to give, and really want to please those less leisured than yourself, make a little something that Joan—or Mary—or Natalie will search the shops for in vain.
Do you remember the macramé belt you made for Joan years ago? She wore it with tennis frocks for seasons. Why not get out our needles and knit her some tennis socks? Any wool shop will tell you about the special non-shrink wool that is just right for these. They'll wash and wash, and wear and wear; Joan couldn't buy their like.
Mary isn't too well off, is she? Do you remember her as your bridesmaid—pretty, vivacious—years ago? She loves colour, but is no good with her fingers. She has struggled with the children's frocks, but has never attempted extras. How about a new bedspread for her? It wouldn't cost you much, and that would be a good point when pressing Mary to accept the gift.
Buy that very cheap art taffeta. It wears remarkably well. You'll want a piece the length of the bed plus some extra to allow a good wrap over at the head, and sufficient for a flounce. Measure the length of flouncing (sides and foot of bed) and allow a third again for gathering (or more, if you prefer it rather full). The flouncing may be gathered by using the gatherer on your machine or simply by machining several rows, using a long stitch, and pulling up the thread.
Natalie, too, loves dainty things, but can't always afford to buy them. At present she's skimping for a trip. How about running her up a slip, using that sleek pattern with a brassiere top, or a nightie, bias cut, with a full flounce, or rucking, at the neck-line? The expensiveness of the material will depend on your purse, and on the likes and dislikes of the recipient. I have seen the daintiest night-gowns made of pastel, flower-sprigged, boiling silk.
Your richer friends love the little extras they haven't thought of buying. I remember how thrilled 'Retta was last Christmas when I gave her a set of page 74 six organdie envelopes, initial-embroidered, each of a different pastel shade, for keeping matched undie sets tidily together. She finds them specially useful when travelling.
Can you make flowers? Take a peep at your friend's wardrobe, and produce a spray in just the colour to go with the frock that needs “dressing-up.”
Your old macintosh has some good pieces in it. How about waterproof envelopes, bound with braid or bias trim, for shoe-cases for holiday-making friends. The waterproof obviates the danger of any stain from shoes, even damp ones—and you can't guarantee weather, even at holiday time.
Do get John, or Peter, or Brian, or whatever your husband's name is, to knock up a couple of seed boxes for Anne. You know how she loves growing things, and she has no man about the place to do those odd carpentering jobs for her. And I wonder whether Lydia has ever thought of a window-box for her flat? It's worth while dragging the conversation round to flowers for flat dwellers, and finding out. What fun you (and John, or Peter, or Brian) are going to have!
And, while mentioning gardening friends, have you ever thought of giving them a new glad, dahlia, tulip or shrub? Not that that is a matter of making something, but it is a matter of thought and investigation.
Brother Bill? Buy a large square of crepe de chine, tack a wide hem, and have it hem-stitched. He'll much appreciate his white scarf.
I'd better stop, or you'll think of so many things that you'll have no time for your very own Christmas preparations.
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