Handicraft Gift Idea: Make an Apron

If you are looking for a handicraft gift idea to make for someone special, perhaps that person would like an apron. When we think of aprons, we often think of mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen, but men can often benefit from having an apron as well. They often enjoy barbecuing, for one thing. They also can use an apron in the workshop.

Children, too, can use an apron for many of their activities, such as arts and crafts. Here are simple instructions for making a handicraft gift of an apron that can be adapted for anyone.

handicraft idea apron

     1.   Start with a piece of sturdy fabric suitable for the individual for whom you are making the handicraft gift. The fabric needs to be wide enough to wrap 1/2 to 3/4 of the way around them and long enough to cover them from collar bone to just above the knee. For a large adult, 62.5cm to 75cm (25 to 30 inches) wide by 90cm to 100cm (36 to 40 inches) long should be about right. A slimmer adult can use a narrower apron, but if they will be wiping their hands on the sides of it, they might appreciate the extra width. An apron for a child of 10 could start with a piece of fabric about 45cmm (18 inches) wide by 62.5cm to 75cm (25-30 inches) long.

The best types of fabric to use are sturdy cottons, such as medium weight denim or twill. Soft cottons such as broadcloth or muslin are all right in the kitchen, but will not last long, and would not hold up in the garden or workshop at all. Other materials you’ll need are thread and a sewing machine. You will also need enough extra fabric to make a strap to go around the neck, ties for the back, and pockets.

When designing the handicraft gift, you can be as creative as you like with pockets. Every apron is more useful with pockets. A person who cleans houses, for instance, can use pockets for odds and ends they pick up as well as for their spray bottles, sponges, and scrub brushes.

handicraft idea apron

     2.  To make the apron, fold the piece of fabric lengthwise. This will allow you to cut the shape with one cut, making the two sides symmetrical. What you will be shaping when you make the cut will be the bib section of the apron. The bib for an adult sized apron will need to be about 22.5cm (9 inches) wide. Measure from the fold about 14cm (5-1/2 inches). This is half the width of the bib plus a spare to fold under twice to form a hem. The piece you will cut off the side to shape the bib will be a half bullet shape with the tip of the bullet being where the ties will be attached. The length of the half bullet shape should be about 30cm (a foot), and the width will be from the spot you marked 14cm (5-1/2 inches) from the fold to the outside edge of the fabric. When these pieces are cut off, the result should be an apron shaped piece of fabric.

Now decorate the apron with pockets and any other decorations you desire.

handicraft idea apron

3.  After this it is time to fold under the edges all around and stitch down with sturdy stitching for a nice hem all around the handicraft gift. Cut two pieces of fabric a yard long by two inches wide. Fold lengthwise and fold raw edges to the inside. Press and stitch down along the length to make the ties. Attach the ties at the waist of the apron handicraft gift. (If these ties seem a little long, it is because a lot of people like to bring the ties to the front and tie them there.) Cut another piece of fabric 45cm to 50cm (18 to 20 inches) long by 12.5cm (5 inches) wide, fold in half lengthwise and press. Press again with the raw edges of the long side tucked under 1.5cm (1/2 inch). Stitch down the open side. Attach this piece to the sides of the top of the bib, sewing it to the back of the bib and topstitching on the front side of the bib. Be careful not to twist it when you attach it.

People who work hard at homemaking, barbecuing and in the workshop will appreciate a handicraft gift of a sturdy apron. Mostly they will appreciate the effort and design you have put into making a handicraft gift that they can use.

Homemade Gift Idea – Melt and Pour Soapmaking

Making homemade soap as gifts can be pretty easy and a lot of fun. Homemade soap bars are great gift ideas because you can also whip up pretty large and attractive batches of them in a day or two and satisfy your entire holiday gift list. I made these as gifts for the holidays a few years back and some of the recipients were sincerely unsure whether these were purchased at a boutique or if I had actually made them.

The process to making these gifts is quite simple. Simply melt the soap base for a few minutes in the microwave, add the natural scents and exfoliants, pour them into molds and let them cool. That’s it! Creating unique names and gift labels can add to the creativity and presentation of these gift to make them even more memorable. Soapmaking purists might use a more difficult process that requires the use of lye and therefore there is a safety issue, but I found that the melt and pour soap variety as gifts can be just as elegant, much easier and safer, and creativity can be involved in every step of the process.

Soap Base…

Brambleberry.com can be your one-stop shop for all the supplies. I have had a lot of success, and have been very happy with their site and products. They specialize in everything that is soapmaking, from soap base and molds, to exfoliant and essential oil ingredients, to even boxes and labels. You can get an olive oil soap base (as well as some of the other ingredients) at Michael’s, or other craft store if you can’t wait for the shipping, but brambleberry.com has so many interesting and quality choices of soap bases that it would be a shame not to use them. I have used their aloe vera base, their creamy and dreamy goats milk base, shea butter, organic clear, a honey base and they even have shaving base, that would make a homemade gift idea that is more accessible for guys.

Ingredients…

As soon as your base is melted, you can add your ingredients. Now there are far too many options to mention here but I will mention a few. As far has scents, Brambleberry carries an enormous variety of essential oils and other types of scents. Again, you can get a few of these at Michael’s, or better yet your local health food store, Whole Foods or grocery co-op. They tend to be a bit pricey depending on the scent, that is why Brambleberry carries cheaper options like extracts and fragrance oils. Essential oils, though expensive, have a stronger, purer scent than any of the other types of scents, so if you are making large batches I would recommend getting a few of the basics. The ones I’d recommend as essential oils are a nice soothing lavender, a citrus oil like bergamot which is a great uplifting, “wake-up” scent, and maybe a rosemary, eucalyptus, or peppermint. You can get a essential oil sampler kit from Brambleberry. They also carry a wide variety of exfoliants. My personal favorites are their shredded loofah and pumice. You can also be creative and use oatmeal, (which a lot of people combine with honey) a light exfoliant like bamboo extract, and walnut seeds, or even cornstarch. You can also look in your kitchen for ingredients like cinnamon and coffee grounds. You can find soap recipes to start out with at teachsoap.com. They also have a detailed tutorial on melt and pour soap making. You can use dyes and colorants, but I have found that once you add the other ingredients, the bars take on an already attractive, and natural looking character.

A few tips on scenting…

The scents listed here are pretty universally enjoyed by men and women alike. I would keep the scents on the subtle side, and stay away from the overly floral scents unless of course you know that the person receiving the gift will enjoy it. When experimenting with scent combinations your smelling sense will often soon become overloaded, making it difficult to sample each smell. A tip that a local soapmaker once told me is to keep coffee grounds nearby, and smell them to sort of cleanse your olfactory palate between batches. Coffee grounds, by the way, are a great ingredient to include in a kitchen soap as it tends to remove or at least disguise strong smells. This is great for when you have chopped a lot of onions for instance.

Molds…

Brambleberry carries carries a wide variety of soap molds. You might also find molds at your local craft store or Michael’s. I personally use just a standard rectangular soap mold I got from Michael’s. Again, I think that the soap ingredients make the bars attractive enough, and have found that unusual shapes might just make them look chaotic and busy.

Here is a video tutorial on the complete melt and pour soapmaking process.

Presentation…

Yes, brambleberry.com also carries gift boxes for homemade soap. If you use these sliding gift boxes, make sure your soap molds are rectangular and small enough to fit. They also carry natural-looking gift bags for homemade soap. These gift boxes are excellent for applying your own personalized gift labels that you can make from Avery’s full sheet labels that you can get from any office supply store. It was fun for me to come up with an overall design and unique names like “lavender dreamtime” or “sunny citrus”.If that is too much work for you, wrap them in some raffia ribbon from your local craft shop, and tie a little gift label to it.

Counting down 100 homemade gift ideas at http://100homemadegiftideas.com

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