Thursday 13 February 2014

Secret Valentine Exchange - the giving part

I was excited to put my name on the list and join in with Sanae and Ute's Secret Valentine Exchange. Making something for someone else is always such a buzz. Doing it amongst a group of fellow sewers, who are also in a way strangers to me is, somehow, even better.

There was a bit of trepidation too, as I was away on holiday for one week which cut into my making time, and what if I had to post something to a far flung country. It could have been tight....

But then my recipient turns out to live close enough that I could have ridden my bike over and hand delivered my gift! Love that!

The information I received was that my gift recipient's favourite colour was blue, specifically aqua. She liked floral patterns and polka dots. There was some references to named fabrics which went over my head, but perhaps which I should have paid more attention to. Her name is Ros and she blogs at Sew Delicious.

I was keen to try and stick to the idea of using only what I had to hand, so I went hunting through my fabric stash and found a fabric that was flowery, had blue bits AND polka dots. It's a gauze that I'd used previously for a Japanese skort pattern (sorry Ros, you did get remnants ;) )

It seemed perfect for a scarf and when I saw Ros' blog profile photo where she is wearing, you guessed it, a scarf, I felt quite delighted!

My inspiration was this Japanese cross stitch magazine with a beautiful embroidered gauze scarf on the cover:

Total lack of skills aside, I couldn't do exactly that as my fabric already had a pattern on it (phew). So I did some chain stitch to outline, and then satin stitch to fill in some of the blue floral pattern on my gauze.
Then I set to with the seam ripper and "fringed" each end of two layers of gauze before sewing them together into a tube. Then I tied the ends closed every cm or so across the fringe. Voila, a scarf!
I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the fabric fringed. I'd been worried about the embroidered dots but they peeled off almost intact and I found myself smiling at my little pile of dismantled dots.
So, I finished with some time to spare and in order to stop myself overdoing (or potentially wrecking) my scarf I wrapped it. Then I spent a bit of time "getting to know" my Valentine through her blog. And here's where my confidence started to wobble..... Those fabric references were quilting cottons. Something I know very little about but she obviously uses and likes a lot. Everything looked technically perfect, useful, bright... My flimsy, beige (with only a tiny bit of blue really) scarf was starting to worry me.
Still, what's a blind date without an awkward spot in the middle. In my own head I was starting to make my Valentine's date feel that way. So I did what I'm inclined to do when it comes to gift giving and give something that I like. Anyway, the internet could cover up any uncomfortable moments when it came to unwrapping. We can all make "that's nice dear" sound better if we think about it awhile before we type.
I also found the tiniest scraps of aqua, polka dotted quilting cotton (yep the real stuff!) and made some little flowers for the wrapping.
The flower tutorial can be found here.
I'm happy to say Ros has received her gift and has been very flattering. Which makes her either genuinely pleased or a really good Valentine's date, or maybe both!
If you want to bask in the warmth of some crafty gift swapping love then check out the Secret Valentine Exchange Flickr pool
I'll be sure to share my joy when the postman delivers me some luvin'. Happy Valentine's Day everyone.


  1. What a wonderful exchange I'm sure she loved it! And what happy packaging :)

    1. Thanks. it's such fun making things for other people. nerve wracking as it is!

  2. Genuinely pleased!! It's really beautiful - shame it's too hot to wear it at the moment! Looking forward to the cooler days of autumn where I am sure it will get LOTS of wear. I really love it (and the flowers too - I have stashed them away for a future use). Thank you again, can't wait to see what you receive! Ros xx

    1. Thanks Ros. I'm so glad you like the scarf and I agree the weather is too sticky for any clothes let alone a scarf!

  3. The scarf is gorgeous. The colours and simplicity are just right for this fabric. I like the fringing too.

    1. Thanks Jen, I'd be tempted to try the full Japanese design on some plain gauze. But it would be one of those can-I-do-it projects. Not necessarily something I need....


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