Thursday, 31 December 2015

Gift Sewing Part IV - The Shaky Man's BBQ Apron

The last Christmas gift I made hadn't been planned, but suddenly popped into my head as an idea that just had to be made.

I'd asked my mum what my dad might like for Christmas and she suggested a barbecue apron. I thought about a standard BBQ apron and where I might buy one, but then I thought more about how my dad would, or could, use it....

My dad has Parkinson's disease and while he's perfectly capable of wielding the BBQ tongs I figured tying apron strings in a bow behind his back would be impossible. And that would mean a regular BBQ apron would just never get used. Time to make one, right?

I wanted some nice elastic and an easy to do up buckle. The straps could cross behind and then buckle in front. I knew exactly where I would find nice elastic and a good variety of buckles - Jimmy's Buttons.

I zoomed across town and found exactly what I needed. As I was describing what I was making to Jimmy himself he was enthusiastic and when I mentioned needing a denim or canvas he went upstairs and found a bolt of very dusty, but perfect denim. He cut off a metre or so from the uneven end of the bolt and gave it to me for free! Awesome - I was on track to make a $13 apron.

You don't get to see my dad modelling it, and Roger wasn't available this time, sorry.

I kept it pretty simple and measured up Flipper to get a rough measurement for two rectangles. Each is hemmed on three sides before being joined with two waistband sections.

I cut the waistbands to be the same width as the elastic so it could exit cleanly out the short ends, then topstitched the whole lot.

Flipper was now having some input and suggested a pocket (good call), then I decided it needed to be monogrammed.

It turned out to be too hot for firing up the barbecue on Christmas day but my brother gave the apron a test run in the kitchen on Boxing Day - cooking our dinner, while consulting Jamie Oliver on the 'net and drinking.

It may be that this is the only time the apron will be used for cooking. I rather think dad liked the idea of taking it out to the garage where he has a pottery wheel and paints and so on.

Christmas day was so very hot. We moved our table to the carport for shade, strung some bunting and made it as festive as it could be. Only cold food was served, lots of drinks then a round or two of Wet Head....

 Here's what Christmas lunch looked like:

I think that needs to become a new southern hemisphere Christmas tradition!

The last of the handmade Christmas gifts weren't made by me, but I really want to share them here as I think they're brilliant. I discovered Odds and Ends Handmade through her instagram feed and fell in love with her quirky little cacti and succulents.

On our kitchen window was a ceramic pot that Flipper had made some time back in primary school - let's say more than 35 years ago. He'd kept it, or rather his granny had kept it for him and now we had it. It needed a plant, but our track record with plants is poor. I contacted Odds and Ends for a custom order and was delighted to discover that she's a local. There's a cactus knitter in my neighbourhood!

It's such a cute little cactus and perfectly designed for the pot. Thanks Andrea, we love it!

My brother and his partner have a new house so, with another cactus, a house warming and Christmas gift could be combined and it wouldn't matter that their "houseplant" would be in a suitcase for a month or two.

This little one has the softest, fluffiest feel!

When I put them both together for a few photos I realised that I really want another to keep for us! Good thing I know where to find the cactus knitting lady now - if there isn't one in your neighbourhood then hit the internet and check out Odds and Ends.

That's it for this year. Hope you're having a great New Year's Eve. If you're still sweltering from today's heat then come on over. There's beer in the fridge and the Wet Head game ready to play!


  1. Wet head? What is wet head?

    The apron buckles idea is excellent. I should have done this with children's aprons when they were little.

    All the best for 2016 to you & yours.

    1. Ha ha. Wet head is like Russian roulette. Eight pins, one of which releases the contents of a reservoir of water onto the wearer's head. Add in that the hat makes you look like a total dork and plenty of alcohol and it's about the funniest thing you can do all summer.
      It was one of the Kris Kringle gifts at my work party. The next day we all went out and bought our own!
      The buckle would be perfect for kids as well as grandpas!

  2. The apron is lovely! It has a very Japanese apron/pinafore vibe - I'd like one in linen:) I enjoyed seeing your Christmas photos too. I've never celebrated the holiday in a warm climate - ours involved a lot more snow and skis - but your outdoor, garden-party celebration looks like a lot of fun! Happy 2016!

    1. Thanks. I would reshape the apron a bit if I did it again, but I kinda like it too.
      I've had european Christmases and it all makes more sense in a cold climate. We're not religious, so it's just a big family gift giving, eating binge. The hot weather is the perfect excuse not to have to know how to roast a turkey!
      I almost included a photo of Santa riding the local country fire truck, giving out lollies and icy poles to the kids. We all drop our presents and run to the front gate when the fire truck siren sounds!


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