We have a secret santa swap at work too & unless I am stumped as to a great gift to make that my partner will appreciate, I try to make this one too so it can be personal & one of a kind.
My partner this year was Carol, a beautiful lady who manages our indigineous playgroups for some school funding. The success stories that have come out of these groups make me realise how little I know about how some people just get by in our affluent society. She is rightly proud of her heritiage & having seen lots of beautiful aboriginal fabrics in the past, I wanted to make her something using some. As she flew off to France (including Paris!) on Friday to meet up with her daughter who is on a student exchange there, I thought a bag would be just the go.
I had come across a very handy pattern called the 12 Pocket Bag on the blog of SewCalGal. It has handles made of webbing so is very sturdy & able to hold a good load too. My bags always seem to be overloaded & weigh a tonne so I like that in a tote bag. The instructions made me think a little but I haven't made many bags so that is not a reflection on the pattern & I eventually did the lining slightly different so it was boxed like the outer bag.
I went to 2 shops for fabric & Murphy's law, all the beautiful fabric I had seen had disappeared in to others stash's at home. After much digging I finally found this dot painting one in the $6 pile at Spotlight (the Joondalup store sould really do with a good cleanup in the quilt material section!).
Unfortunately on the day the gifts were given out I was at my quilting group's Christmas party so didn't get to see Carol open it but was told she loved it & was taking it away with her - yippeee!
I can assure you it doesn't take very long to make. After having had a busy week I started sewing on Wednesday after the Calsthenics AGM at 11pm. I had cut the fabric one night previous when I couldn't sleep but ended up recutting the dot print fabric as it was printed on a very obvious angle (not so obvious when I originally cut it at 3am one morning!). It was finished & in it's Santa bag by 1.30am ready for giving the next day.
I can see me making this up again in so many different fabrics & have a couple of colour requests from workmates already. Time will tell whether there luck is in or not!