Hot! The ‘Handmade Holidays’ Gift trio

As it is that time of year, I don’t have time to sew for me, because I’m sewing for other people. I’ve got three items to show off in this post, and by happy chance they coordinate (unfortunately I couldn’t photograph them at once because one item had to be posted off before the others were done, and the 2nd had to be hidden from the photographer who took the shots of me!), and none of the intended recipients read the Sew Weekly!

First, a summer robe for my mother-in-law. I’m so excited that I finally got to sew something for my MIL. She’s the loveliest woman, and the best MIL you could ask for (really, I am so lucky!), but she’s a very different shape to me, and doesn’t wear a lot of skirts, and I’ve never known what to sew her. This year she mentioned that she really wanted a summer robe, as all the ones she could find in the shops were too thick or heavy.

I found this gorgeous cotton that has MIL written all over it – it’s all her favourite colours, and just her kind of print (and it was 50% off, yay!). For a bit of contrast, I trimmed the robe with some sky-blue soutache.

Robes are so easy to make, this one went together lickety split. I took the time to do flat felled seams at the shoulders and sleeves, and french seams under the arms.

My next bit of sewing is for my own Mum, who I have sewn for lots. This one isn’t really a proper present – it’s a re-fashion of a dress I made her years ago. The dress never really suited, but she loved the fabric – it’s all her favourite colours (and one of the few places where my Mum’s and my MIL’s taste would overlap).

For the refashion, I cut the skirt off the bodice, ditched the bodice, re-cut the skirt panels to improve their shape, re-sewed ever seam, finished them with coordinating overlocking, inserted an invisible zip, re-cut the hem so it would end just below her knee (my Mum has AMAZING legs), finished it with a lilac bias turned hem (not my Mum’s favourite colour, but the only bias hem tape I had in stash that looked good with the fabric), and finished the waistline with some teal bias tape (this part is her favourite colour).

The skirt is currently en-route to Hawaii along with some other presents and a ton of NZ goodies (Whittakers chocolate and RJ’s licorice…yum!).

Finally, for Mr D, a pair of pajama pants in a little blue & red plaid. He keeps telling me not to make him any, but his old pair is getting pretty grubby, so I ignored him. These will go in his stocking.

They are pretty basic – I just copied the old pair for a pattern. Unfortunately they need a button and pressing in the photos – I was snapping them in a hurry while he was out of the house for 5 minutes, and then hiding them away again.

And that’s it. Three bits of sewing to make other people happy to wrap up my Sew Weekly year (unless we can submit one more for the 31st?). It’s been amazing. I’ve gotten so much better at organizing my sewing and not procrastinating. I’ve learned the value of just making something, and as long as you make it well it’s better to have it made than to wait forever for the perfect excuse. Most of all, I’ve loved ‘meeting’ all the amazing women who sewed along – all of our skills, and experience, and taste . You’re all fabulous.  Thank you for the year!

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric: 2.5 metres of cotton poplin (robe), 2m of thin cotton batiste (pajama pants)

Pattern: Ooops…forgot to note down which pattern I used for the robe before I went out of town for the holidays.  Sorry!

Year: contemporary

Notions: 3m soutache, 1 button, and invisible zip.

And the insides? Very pretty indeed.

Hours to complete: Robe: 2, Skirt: 2, Pajama pants: 1.

Make again?: The robe, yes.  The pajama pants only if Mr D likes them.

Total cost: I’m going to skip that this time ;-)


Leimomi Oakes - The Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes learned to sew as a child in Hawaii, and hasn't spent a day without doing it in the-more-years-than-she-would-like-to-admit-to since. When she was 18 she was nicknamed 'The Dreamstress' and bought the domain name, and now she's stuck with it. After getting degrees in Art History, Costume Design and International Relations she worked in a number of fabulous museums before going freelance as a textile and fashion historian and historical seamstress. She lives in Wellington New Zealand with a lovely husband and a world-famous cat.


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  1. Perfection, Leimomi! I especially love your details on the robe. Let us know what pattern that is when you get back for your holidays. I may have to pick that up for myself :D

    Fantastic job this year! I know you did a bit of catch-up after missing a few challenges at the beginning of the year and I totally commend you for that! Congratulations on making it to the end!!!

  2. Congratulations on making it through the challenges! Love the piping details on the robe. Have a happy new year!

  3. What wonderful gifts for your loved ones! I’m sure they will be appreciated for their quality and because they were certainly made with love. Happy holidays to you and your family . If I don’t see you here on the Sew Weekly, I’ll visit you on your blog. I’m looking forward to participating in some of your sew alongs.

  4. Very cool! I love the robe. The trim and color combo is so pretty. I also did some sewing for everyone but me over the holidays. It’s a double edged sword. I love sewing for others, but then have no time for self-sewing. Hope you had a happy holiday :D