Handmade Christmas on the Cheap—Idea #1

Back when I was a stay-at-home mom, my husband and I were dead-broke for the holidays. To combat this, I spent months making homemade gifts for our extended family. Considering that I have no crafting skills whatsoever, I had to teach myself a number of things. The one skill I learned, and it has been valuable, is how to use a sewing machine in the most rudimentary way possible. I can sew a fairly straight line, but THAT IS ALL. My sewing machine has plenty of functions, attachments and other doo-dads that I am clueless about. I can literally turn the machine on, thread it, sew a line, and turn the machine off again.

However, that small skill let me make one of the cheapest, coolest, guy-friendly gifts ever. On an episode of Creative Juice, I saw Cathie Filian stitch together a few t-shirts and some fleece to make an adorable t-shirt quilt. It looked easy enough to figure out, and it was billed as a way to recycle old t-shirts, especially for people who have tons of concert, event or other graphic shirts. It also required very little sewing skill, which was right up my alley.

I decided to make these for two guys in our family. Since I did not have a bunch of t-shirts lying around, I went to Goodwill, dug around, and found an assortment of graphic t-shirts that looked like a young guy would like them. I spent roughly 50 cents per shirt. Then, I used a 40% off coupon to purchase the fleece fabric from JoAnne’s. All total, I picked up the materials for each quilt for less than $15 apiece. They were super easy to make, and the guys loved them. As for the time I spent, I made each one in less than a day, and that is saying something considering I move like a snail when doing an unfamiliar project.

Though I could not find the link to the show’s written instructions, Cathie has the instructions on her blog (and that is her picture shown above):


I also later made one for a little girl with cancer, using t-shirts donated by a women’s group:

So, assuming you have basic skills with a sewing machine, and about $15 (or less if you actually have a cache of shirts), you can make a super-original Christmas gift that any guy or girl will love. If you have questions, post them in the comments section.

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