Christmas is almost here again, and we must put our wits together to find suitable presents for our many friends. I have seen several pretty presents in process of preparation, and maybe by telling what they are I can help some of the Householders who are trying to think of something to make, but can’t hit on just the right thing.
A pretty present to give to a gentleman friend is a bag for his soiled collars and tufts, and as these are usually sent to the laundry it is desirable to keep them separate from the rest of the soiled linen. Get a skein of very fine seine twine (the coarse twines have gone, out of fashion,) crochet in mitten stitch a cylinder about six inches long and five inches in diameter, finish the edges in a pretty scallop; then for the bottom of the bag make a mat in a more open stitch, sew the bottom into the cylinder, and just inside where they are fastened together put a piece of old hoop-skirt, neatly covered with white cotton; put a piece of hoop-skirt just inside the top edge too; these will hold the bag in shape. Hang a large tassel of the twine in the middle of the bottom; this will pull it down a little and make a pretty finish. Tie ribbons on each side, and tie them together in a long loop for a handle; or a handle may be crocheted, and a bow of ribbon put on each side where it is joined to the bag.
An old Japanese fan may be made useful for a wall ornament by covering it on one side with cheap but bright satin; then take a piece of pasteboard the same shape but a little bit larger than the fan, cover this with felt, or with cloth in some dark shade that will go well with the satin and line it with the satin; cut it a little way down the middle on side where the handle is on the fan, and turn back the corners, showing the satin lining; sew the pasteboard on to the fan so as to form a pocket, and finish the edge and the corners that are turned back with a silk cord the same shade as the lining; tie an enormous bow of ribbon the color of the cloth on to the handle of the fan, and just behind this bow put on a loop to hang it up by.
Most every farmer keeps a peacock or two, and the feathers are very useful to trim the house up with. One good way to use them is to get a piece of satin—old gold is a pretty shade—about fourteen inches long and twelve inches wide; sew a strip of cardinal plush about three inches in width on each end of the satin and finish one end with a gold fringe. Sew the other end on to a little roller—a brass rod is prettiest if it can be obtained —and put on a long loop of ribbon to hang it up by. Take five or six of your prettiest feathers and group them prettily in one corner so they will lie diagonally across the satin, and put on a large satin bow to hide the fastening.
Crocheted underskirts are very fashionable now, and they are also very warm and comfortable. Crochet a yoke to come down just over the hips in a close stitch which will not stretch easily, then crochet the skirt part in a fine shell stitch, or any other pretty fancy sti’-ch. Finish off the bottom with a scallop and a narrow ruffle of lace falling from underneath. These ate very nice for babies who have just been put into short clothes, as they cling to the child and keep him warm. Another very serviceable present for a child is a hood of white Angora wool. They are easily knit, and when trimmed with a band of swansdown, without any ribbon except just the ties, are extremely dainty. These hoods can be washed again and again without injuring them in the least and if care is taken they can be worn three or four winters. Five balls of wool make a hood for a baby a year old, six or seven balls will be plenty for a child of five or six.
A useful and ornamental present for a lady’s dressing-room is a board about ten by six inches, covered with plush or velvet on which are fastened four or five—four is the more . fashionable number—brats hooks of some fancy design; a brass staple to hang it up, and the back is neatly lined with silesia. On one hook is hung the button hook, on another the long rubber or shell hair pins so much used, and the others may be used for the watch at night, or for various little things which otherwise are thrown on the top of the bureau and look untidy.
A case for kid gloves, which should never be folded, is made of felt. Take a piece about eighteen by ten inches, line it with satin or some soft material, bind it with ribbon, then tack a piece of ribbon along each long side about two inches from the edge, catching it about every thr.ee inches. The gloves are laid crosswise in the case, the tips of the fingers slipped through one loop of the ribbon and the wrist through the corresponding loop on the other edge. The case is to be rolled up, and should have a ribbon to tie around it.
Source: Michigan Farmer And State Journal, 1884