Gifts for Thee, Gifts for Me

Part of the irony of shopping for gifts for friends and family is that I often find just as many things that I would like to see stuffed in my own stocking. Does this happen to everyone, or just me, I wonder. But I digress. Here are a few select items just right for a sewing and/or fashionable friend or relative, or maybe for a treat for yourself, as well.

Colette Patterns has come out with a Sewing Planner which is divided into two sections: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. There is lots of room for listing goals, priorities, and inspirations, as well as two-page layouts for individual projects. This planner makes sense to me, and I think it will finally encourage me to keep a record of fabric swatches for each of my projects – something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but never got around to doing!


The December 2016/January 2017 issue of Vogue Patterns featured, in its Must Haves section, Handy Tape II. Although I haven’t ordered this yet, I am going to (if I don’t get it in my stocking), as I think it could come in quite, well as they say, handy! It is self-adhesive repositionable tape marked in 12” repeats.

gifts-for-thee-tapeMany of you have probably already purchased a copy of The Tunic Bible, by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr. Who doesn’t like a tunic? They really are timeless, which appeals to my penchant for clothes that transcend current trends. Once you see some of the examples in this book, you will definitely want to make one – or more. I guarantee you will love the photographs and diagrams in this book. After perusing The Tunic Bible, I discovered the perfect solution for what to make out of a piece of vintage embroidered linen which I own. Bought on a whim, its future was a mystery to me until I realized it will make a beautiful tunic dress. More on that in a future post!


For those of you who, like me, love the fashions from the 1950s, and have a preference for Vogue patterns, you really should go on eBay and find yourself one of these handkerchiefs.

Vogue handkerchief

Vogue handkerchief

The one I own still has its original tags on it.

The designer was Pat Prichard, who along with Tammis Keefe, was known for her whimsical and creative compositions for textiles (although Keefe was the better known of the two.) The colors are charming, the fabric is a beautiful handkerchief weight linen, and the design is a dressmaker’s dream. Most of us don’t use linen handkerchiefs any more, but this one, framed, would be perfect for the walls in your sewing room.

Vogue handkerchief

Vogue handkerchief

How delightful that this handkerchief features Vogue patterns!

No list of gifts is complete without something for pleasure reading (although I must admit that reading sewing books is pleasure for me, too!) If you, or a friend, is a lover of historical fiction, then “run, do not walk”, to get a copy of The Time in Between, by Maria Duenas. The heroine is a dressmaker and her profession both saves her from ruin and puts her life in jeopardy. Set during the Spanish Civil War, in the lead up to World War II, this book is also a love story, a story of redemption, and a story of resilience and bravery in the face of incredible odds. It is a wonderful, captivating read, and the descriptions of fabrics, patterns, sewing deadlines, and fashions will thrill anyone with a knowledge of fashion sewing. I read the English translation from the original Spanish. I love this story!


Perhaps you have a young girl for which to buy a special gift. I have written on this book before, but I want to again recommend Brave Irene by  William Steig. As the title implies, it is also a book about bravery, pint-sized, but every bit as meaningful, especially for a young future dressmaker. The story is charming, the illustrations unique, and the lessons implied are ones of old-fashioned values: family, love, duty, and perseverance. I love this story, too!

This book is still in print and available on Amazon, of course!

This book is still in print and available on Amazon, of course!

The title page.

The title page.

I will end my list of gifts with something that would be right only for those of you who don’t mind splurging on an occasional ready-to-wear piece. But, really, who among us who loves haute couture could possibly pass on these pajamas?


Featured in the Gumps (of San Francisco) Catalogue, they are called “Fashion Week in Paris” pajamas. If we can’t be in Paris for Fashion Week, then surely we can dream about doing so, right?

Right about now I am dreaming of a white Christmas, as the song goes. Whatever you may be dreaming of in this busy, happy season, I hope you find it, settled comfortably under your tree or, especially, comfortably in your heart.


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14 responses to “Gifts for Thee, Gifts for Me

  1. Thank you for yet another wonderful post. I am currently swamped at work and have very little time to sew. I read your blog on the commute from work and dream of accomplishing beautiful projects such as yours. May 2017 be filled with delightful projects, wow fabrics and health to you and your loved ones. Keep your post coming! Cheers Catherine

    Envoyé de mon iPhone

    Le 14 déc. 2016 à 18:35, fiftydresses <> a écrit :

    Fifty Dresses posted: “Part of the irony of shopping for gifts for friends and family is that I often find just as many things that I would like to see stuffed in my own stocking. Does this happen to everyone, or just me, I wonder. But I digress. Here are a few select items jus”

    • This is a very tardy thank you for your lovely comment, Catherine. I can’t tell you how much it cheered me to read your kind words. May 2017 be kind and fruitful for both of us!

  2. Great ideas for the holidays. I’ve ordered the two books you mentioned, one for me and Brave Irene for my grand daughter. Her mother is already talking about “getting grandma to teach you to sew.” I hope you have a joyous New Year and a wonderful time with your family.

    • Brave Irene is just such lovely story – you will enjoy it as much as your granddaughter! Happy 2017 to you and may we both be blessed with lots of beautiful fabrics and the time to sew them!

  3. I adore that hankie! A Merry Christmas to you!

  4. White Christmas here, and oh is it cold! Looking forward to seeing your vintage linen tunic! Love all your recommendations; I’m certainly going to search out The Time in Between. A special Vogue hankie would be grand in my sewing room-to-be. Sending best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

  5. Ronda Rohde

    Thank you for your information on Pat Prichard. I have been searching for ages!

  6. If you’d like to make your own pajamas that are very similar in style to those rtw ones, look at the Closet Case Patterns “Carolyn Pajamas” pattern. It’s a great pattern and has the same classic details. (It’s the pattern I used to make the pjs on my Christams card. And I didn’t need to alter anything about the fit of the pattern.)

    • What I really like about those pajamas is the fabric, which, alas, seems to have been made just for the pajama company. But thank you for the good info on your PJ pattern. And – Happy 2017 to you!!

  7. acorn2oak

    I’ve also heard the claim that Pat Prichard is a Tammis Keefe nom de hankie, but found no documentation, only a patent for a fabric design in Prichard’s name. Would someone not use their legal name for a patent?
    Thank you.

  8. acorn2oak

    Sorry to comment in pieces like this but forgot to include this link to another fabric/textile related blog:
    Would seem that Tammis and Pat were two different, talented women.
    So much still to learn! Thank you for your interesting blog too.

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