Published October 03, 2007 by
In 1925, the Farm and Ranch 'Review had a contest to find out which readers could best describe how to make their own Christmas gifts. One of the winners, identified only as m.w., explained how an early winter had prevented her family from finishing the harvest, so money was in short supply. She presented the following suggestions for making C9hnstmas gifts.
With preparations for Christmas now only a matter of weeks away, the busy housekeeper turns her mind to gifts, which, this year, must of necessity be inexpensive, with so much of the grain unthreshed.
For making dainty and useful gifts, nothing will come in handier than sacks. Flour, sugar, cereal and salt sacks can all be sterilized. In the first place, to wash out the lettering, use Naptha soap and cold water. Afterwards, wash and iron like ordinary linens, and you have material for a surprising number of gifts.
A beautiful tablecloth can be made from four squares, put together with strips of colored cotton. Have the joining sections double so that all seams are inside. Put a double fold of the same material around the outer edges and both sides of the cloth will be the same. Any desired shade may be used. Delft blue is very pretty and durable.
A breakfast or tea cloth can be made from one square, blanket stitched around in red, blue or black, with a small pattern on one or more corners. A more elaborate cloth can be made with crocheted edge and four or six serviettes with the same edge to match.
Perhaps no tea towel gives more worthwhile service than the one made from a flour sack. For gifts, they can be embroidered in simple stitch with such patterns as cup and saucer, knife and spoon, glass or pitcher.
Hot dish holders are always acceptable. Small squares interlined with clean, soft, worn cloth, and stitched from corner to corner, or in squares, make very pretty holders. Bind or blanket stitch the edges, and put a ring, loop or eyelet in one corner to hang them up by.
The large sized sugar sacks are best adapted for dusters, as they are so soft. Hemmed nicely and marked "Duster" with red or blue chain stitch, they find a ready welcome from many a friend.
For the children, the small salt sacks make pretty handkerchiefs.
Plain hem the edges and put an initial, a flower or a figure in one corner, or use a simple, easy crocheted edge. Slightly larger squares hemmed and marked "Noon House," or "Good Eats," make attractive cloths to place inside the school lunch basket, pail or kit.
A few other suggestions for useful articles would be children's underwear (bloomers or slips), rompers, aprons, caps, kitchen curtains for the shorter windows, cushions, doilies, buffet or dresser covers. Any or all of these might be enhanced with facings of gingham or chambray, leftover from the summer dresses.
If the supply of sacks is limited, a few yards of unbleached cotton, at a very reasonable cost, may be used with the material on hand for these attractive, useful hand-made gifts.