Tag: christmas

Crowdfund a New Handbag

As presents go, handbags are right up there with the best. They’re the ever-loyal accessory that will always fit and always make you look smart, even when you’re in your scruffiest clothes. Really special ones can be a bit expensive – but don’t worry – you don’t need to take out a loan to afford one. You can patchwork it.

If you have a fashion-loving friend who would love a new handbag, why not club together to buy them the object of their affection? A well made, good quality handbag will last for years and years, so you know your gift will be loved and appreciated for a long time to come. And if you share the cost with friends and family, it’ll become much more manageable.


We’ve made a template handbag patchwork that you can easily customise and share with friends to fund. Then once you’ve collected all the money you can go and buy the bag, wrap it up, and present your lucky friend with it. What a lovely treat.

The beautiful bag in our patchwork is from Mhulot – head to their site to see more. Or, if you have a specific handbag that you would like to make a patchwork of and need some help, just email us at hello@patchworkit.com.

Patchwork Loves: Kennedy City Bicycles

We like bicycles. They’re fun, they’re planet-friendly, and they make a brilliant gift. Especially if you share the cost with friends. And we really like well made, reliable, beautifully designed bikes. That’s why we like Kennedy City Bicycles.

James builds each unisex bike in his Hackney studio, with a frame light enough to be carried up a few flights of stairs, in a small but perfectly chosen variety of colours and styles. You choose your frame colour, handlebar style, and leather, and then James will get to work – no fuss, just a simple, fantastic city bike.


If you think a Kennedy City Bicycle would make the perfect gift for a loved one, just customise this readymade bike patchwork, send it out to friends and family so that everyone can buy a piece – whether it’s a bell, a saddle, or a wheel, and once you’ve collected the funds you need, you can head to kennedycitybicycles.cc to place your order.

Out of the Box Thinking

Five ways to reduce waste, save money and give gorgeous gifts this Christmas.

Make something:
If you’ve got little ones and can’t bear the idea of dragging them around the shops, why not remove the stress and spend some precious time together making gifts instead. Seeds and Stitches and Mini Eco are both super stylish craft blogs with tons of simple gift ideas for all the family – a cheap, fun and really special way to show your love.

Bake something:
If you’re visiting family for Christmas how about taking along some homemade treats for the table instead of gifts for under the tree? If you want your ginger bread, marzipan sweets and Christmas cake to look as good as they taste, take some tips from Handmade Charlotte. It’s a great website for fun foodie gifts with simple recipes and printable templates.

Buy second-hand:
What with vintage becoming such a trend in the last few years buying second-hand isn’t always cheap but there are still bargains to be had on eBay and Preloved and down at your local charity shop, flea market or boot fair. For vintage fashion finds try Rokit and Old Children’s Books for a beautiful range of classic kids stories.

Swap stuff:
Swap shops are popping up all over the UK, so why not use the opportunity in the run up to Christmas to get rid of your unwanted gifts from last year, and swap them for something someone might want instead. Mumsnet is a great source of information about local kids swap shops, for women’s clothes and gifts check out swishing.com and if you want to swap baby clothes and toys online try Baby Swap Shop.

Have a whip round:
If there’s just one thing your mum, son or sister really wants, that’s beyond your budget, why not get the whole family to chip in? You can use our website to get everyone together to fund one big gift – piece by piece. From a playhouse to a bike to a weekend away, you can register any gift idea. And once you’ve collected your cash contributions direct, you buy the present where you like. No waste, no worry, no more unwanted gifts. Everyone’s happy.

To make your own patchwork just customise one of our readymades or create one from scratch.

Guest Post: Claim back Christmas! Ideas for a non (or less) consuming Christmas

We asked one of our favourite bloggers, Hannah of Seeds and Stitches, to share her ideas on how to consume less this Christmas. As Hannah says, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice and ‘stuff’ at this time of year, so she’s come up with some thoughts on how to navigate through it all. Read her tips below.

As Christmas creeps ever closer, I have been thinking about ways i can enjoy and celebrate the good bits of the season without it feeling like a god-awful consumer-fest. I pulled these thoughts together into a blog post that Patchwork fans might appreciate.  

At this time of year, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with gift guides, wish lists, party dress buying guides, essential holiday makeup you NEED, Best Buy Christmas booze lists, and, and, and….  and before you know it you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds buying gifts for everyone, new outfits, Christmas films, stocking fillers and food. But it doesn’t have to be this way, I feel so so sure of it. 

If we focus on celebrating the season– the solstice, the frost and the cold, the fires that warm us…if we try to decorate simply and give thoughtfully…. if we focus on the giving, rather than the receiving….then maybe those things will help us to reconnect to what Christmas is about- love, grace, giving, family and community. Christmas shouldn’t leave us feeling totally strung out, in debt, with a planet struggling with the huge influx of unwanted presents, wrapping and food waste. 

To begin, here are some ideas to have a thrifty, low consuming Christmas! 

Give back.

Donate money or time to a homelessness charity (or one of your choice) We are currently selling tons of stuff on eBay and have opted to give 10% of everything we sell to a charity that provides a meal for a family struggling to make ends meet in the UK.  Donate to the Big IssueContact your local food bank and offer to  collect donations or help pack boxes. Time bank has tons more ideas too. 

Avoid toys. 

I am coming to realise that kids don’t need that many toys at all, in fact too much stuff can actually be damaging for kids imaginations and sensory development, and the planet certainly doesn’t need all the plastic fumes clogging up the ozone layer. Here are hundreds of non-toy gift ideas for kids

Bypass the stocking. 

I know, I know,  Not only should you avoid toys, you should deprive your kids of a stocking too! Baaaah humbug. But most of those pound shop stocking fillers end up in landfill anyway. Alternatively, wrap small but useful things, or little parcels of food. My 2 year old would be utterly delighted if I wrapped mini pats of butter and cream cheese (err, yeah. she loves butter), boxes of raisins, buttons, individual crayons and pencils, individual socks etc.

Buy fewer presents!

”Have an “I won’t if you won’t” agreement with friends and family and save money and hassle. We have done this with my family this year and I feel light as a feather. No stress! Or set up a secret santa for friends and family, like we have done with Dave’s family this year. If friends and family are still keen to buy you or your kids presents, choose one big thing and ask for contributions toward it: driving lessons, a bike etc, a spa day. Patchwork offer a service to help with just that. We’re using them this year for Frankie’s present.

Make, make, make.

Make, rather than buy presents, wherever possible, or buy second hand. Chutneys and jams make lovely, thrifty presents. We made tons of seville orange marmalade in January which we saved for Christmas. (organised or what? eh, eh?) Make your own simple cards printed on to recycled paper, or send an e-card and newsletter instead. 

Avoid Amazon.

They are tax-evading, union-busting bullies; undercutting and consequently bankrupting tons of independent companies. Those next day delivery deals are tempting I know. And I’m not perfect. But I’ve found that eBay has most of what Amazon has. 

Focus on the season.

Focus on the seasonal delights of Christmas- the winter solstice, evergreens, candle light, log fires, Jack frost. Thats where the real magic is. Creating traditions around those things.

Use recycled wrapping.

Use fabric wrapping paper from your stash, if you can. Or use old newspaper, tarted up with string or wool or fancy gift tags. Even if you have to buy the fabric, it’s better than wasting paper as the fabric can be re-used year after year. 

 Buy or rent a living tree.

Our tree is waiting for us in the garden as we bought a potted tree last year that we have managed to keep alive. An essentially free tree! Alternatively there are companies all over the UK that offer the option of renting a living tree, do an internet search for a company near you.


Thank you Hannah for your brilliant tips. Check out Hannah’s lovely blog here for lots of craft and creativity. 

Has this post inspired you to make a Christmas patchwork and save on waste? Get some ideas here or create your own from scratch

Our Five Worst Christmas Gifts of All Time

So we’ve been discussing the worst Christmas gifts we’ve ever received. It’s a tough one. So many years, so many slightly disappointing presents. But here are our five favourite worst/weirdest gifts ever:

5. The broken horse

Rosie’s grandmother knew Rosie liked horses so one Christmas she sent her one. Not a real one but a small china one. A small broken china horse with only three legs.

4. Zulu on VHS and the lint remover

Ismay’s mum wasn’t a massive fan of the 1964 film ‘Zulu’ starring Michael Caine. She’d never seen it, or mentioned it, but that didn’t stop Ismay’s brother from buying it for her. But it’s okay because he also gave her a lint remover to keep her sweet and bobble-free.

3. The Habitat catalogue

Liv was twenty something. She’d just bought her first flat and was a bit obsessed with all things interiors. Knowing this a close family member gave her a Habitat catalogue. Not with vouchers in, just the free Habitat catalogue for Autumn/Winter 2002.

2. The electrocuting slippers

Kim tried to look happy when she unwrapped her synthetic slippers. She thought she could cope with her feet being sweaty and itchy just for Christmas day. But had to take them off after discovering that they were supercharged and gave anyone who touched them an electric shock – including the dog.

1. The icy glove grabber

Last Christmas Liv’s husband was given a very unique gift by his Nan – A single, nylon, dark green padded mitten with a kind of claw attached. More like a spade really coming from the finger-less-bit. Baffled by the weird weapon Laurie thanks his Nan and politely asks what it is. “It’s for wiping your ice off your windscreen” says Nan. “Brilliant” says Laurie. “We just need a car and some snow and we’re sorted.”

If you think you can beat these little beauties tweet us @Patchworkit – #worstgiftever