This post is a bit delayed. My apologies. I like to offer an assortment of gifts to make each year. Here we have excerpts from “Christmas Gifts for Women” by Frances E. Lanigan, 1896. Each of these can be made with these directions. Some you will find easier to make if you have Fanciful Utility to consult for techniques. If you missed previous years’ gifts, please visit Homemade Christmas Gifts from 2012 and 12 Gifts of Christmas from 2011.
A useful darning-case is made by covering and lining two pieces of stiff pasteboard, six by four inches in size, with silk or linen of contrasting colors. This can be best done by covering only one side of four pieces of board, uniting the uncovered sides of these with glue just before completion. Then make cross straps of baby ribbon on the lining sides of the inner boards; on one place a card of white darning cotton, and in the other a card of black. In the centre of the other place a loop of ribbon to hold the pair of scissors, and at one end tie the handle in place with a bow of ribbon. Place a needle-case of flannel on the other end and then unite the two boards with ribbon.
A particularly pretty needle-book may be made by cutting two square pieces of pasteboard. Cover one side of each, the side intended for the outer cover, with white linen or silk, on each embroider tiny holly berries. Line the reverse side with red surah silk and bind with a red or white silk cord. Sew securely together after inserting small leaves of white flannel to contain needles of varying sizes. Cover this join with narrow red ribbon, ending in the centre with a bow having long ends and loops, and use ribbons of the same color to tie it together.
The latest fad in card cases is to have them made to match the calling costume. A charming one made of black and white satin was recently seen. A strip of black satin, seven inches long and five inches wide was used. To its four corners were stitched triangular-shaped corners of white satin, one and a quarter by two inches in size. A layer of cotton matting sprinkled with orrisroot, was tacked to the reverse side, and a lining of white surah silk added. Two other strips of black satin, five by three inches, were next taken, and two corners put upon each along one broad side. These pieces were similarly lined. Two flaps of white satin, also lined, were added to the ends of these pieces, making two apparent envelopes having satin corners and satin flaps. These were laid, lining side within, upon each end of the lined large piece and securely over-sewed all the way around. This made the card-case in the form of two pockets. A white and black satin cord was then sewed on all the edges, cording also the two flaps, the whole forming a most useful and dainty card case.
A useful case for holding shoe-buttons, thread, etc, is made by taking two strips of ribbon, seven inches in length by three inches in width. Make an inch-and-a-quarter hem at one end of each strip, and in this hem, an inch from the top, run a row of stitching, so as to admit a drawing-string. Midway between the ends sew the strips together, uniting them on each side as far as the casing, thus making a small bag. Half an inch below the foot of the bag make a second row of stitching, closing up one side of division. Take a piece of stiff pasteboard, a trifle smaller than this opening in width and three inches in length, cover with flannel and then with ribbon, sewing a tiny ribbon loop to one end. In this place several needles of various sizes, suitable both for darning purposes and for sewing on the shoe-buttons which the bag end of the case should contain. At the two open ends of the ribbon make hems in which strips of whalebone should be placed so as to secure elasticity and firmness. Then sew the edges together, leaving an opening at the end, to hold the darning cotton.
A dainty little addition to the work-basket is a set of three pieces, emery-bag, pincushion and needle-case. They should be made of flowered silk, ornamented with narrow ribbon and bound with silk cord of a prettily contrasting shade. The needle-case may be either circular, square or octagonal in shape. The inner leaves of white flannel should be prettily button holed or pinked about the edges. It should have ribbon ties. The cushion, which may be either circular or square, has no ornamentation other than the dainty binding of cord. The emery bag may be either heart or strawberry in shape, and finished with a tiny bow of ribbon. The three pieced should be connected by a narrow ribbon.
A pretty gift is a clasp-pin holder, which is made by taking a strip of white flannel twenty inches in length and two in width. Pink the edges evenly. Then take a strip of satin ribbon the same length but a little wider. Midway between each of the ribbon and flannel cut a slit large enough to admit the head of a tiny bisque doll. Gather both materials tightly at the waist, and tie a sash of narrow satin ribbon ending in bow and streamers about the waist. A similar bit of ribbon should then be tied about the neck, and loop made at the back from which to suspend the holder. Clasp-pins of various sizes should be placed evenly in the flannel.