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Cold Winter Nights – The perfect excuse to stay in, get cosy and craft

The nights are drawing in, the days are getting shorter and the weather colder. For many people this is a time of disappointment but I personally love the winter evenings. I admit that the clocks going back fills me with a certain amount of dread, getting up in the dark mornings is much harder and finding my mojo each day takes that bit longer but that the dark evenings fill me with a sense of contentment. I like nothing more than settling down with a crochet blanket on my legs or one of those longline warm cardigans around my shoulders and working away on a crafting project.

These winter months offer so much variety for the crafters. Whatever your craft of choice there is so much that can be made around this time of year and even more exciting is that you can use as much sparkle as you like!

First up on these dark evenings is Halloween and a chance to make a costume or adapt some clothing you already have to add that “fright” element. Whilst Halloween used to be seen as a child's event, nowadays you see so many adults partaking with many celebrities leading the way with fancy costumes for Halloween parties. Its a great opportunity to create a set of costumes that your whole family can make – and the great thing about Halloween is that the outfits don't need to be perfectly finished – no one will be looking at your seams to inspect them for perfect finish! You really can let your creative juices flow. Or if sewing is not your thing pumpkin carving is something you can do individually or as a family. I've seen some great designs already this year although I do love the simple triangle eyes and nose versions.

Christmas can also be a great excuse to get all the family in matching pyjamas! Planning ahead will allow you to buy enough fabric for you all and start on the construction. Elves, penguins, Santas, Christmas trees – there really is so much choice and what better than all putting on your matching pjs on Christmas Eve while watching a winter movie.

As soon as the nights draw in I start my Christmas makes (I have been known to start them even earlier). Christmas offers so many great crafting opportunities. I usually like to whip up a garment or two for the festive season, plus a few makes for decorating my house and then some homemade gifts for friends and family. I really do try to use many of my different crafting skills at this time of year from garment construction, through to knitted scarves, crocheted decorations and this year I am turning my hand to felting too.

My must have garment make for the 2021 Christmas season is a sequin top. I'm loving the Tilly and the Buttons Billy sweatshirt which I have been making with a sequin top layer. In fact I love this top so much that we, at Sew Ab Fab, decided to release this as our complete dressmaking kit for November. I have personally made myself one in each of the two colour ways we have selected – silver and blush pink – but there are so many choices of sequin out there this year that you can make this top multiple times to suit your winter wardrobe. You can dress sequins up or down – I love wearing my tops with a pair of jeans and pumps, but you could dress them up with a beautiful pleated winter party skirt (to purchase one of our complete dressmaking kits head to our website at

I don't know about you but I love all the festivities centred around the Christmas lunch table. When I was a child I always loved pulling crackers ( I still do!). The tug of war, the thrill of trying to get the bigger end, the classic cracker sound, the joke, the hat and of course the gift inside. Nowadays I love seeing the joy my niece and nephew get when they pull the crackers and this year I have decided to make my own. There are many stores now selling kits to help with this process – they provide the decorated shell, the hat and the cracker – you then fill them with your own gifts and a joke and construct the cracker according to the manufacturer's instructions. I love choosing personal gifts for each family member and, when I have time, I often try to make these gifts hand made. This year I'm thinking of felted key chains and fabric bookmarks.

Homemade decorations are another crafting love of mine. Each year I love to make some home-made baubles – I am building my collection slowly but I love unpacking them each year knowing that I have made them with love. I often make these as gifts. Again there are many forms of baubles you can make – they can be knitted, sewn, folded material or crocheted to name a few. My sister loves to buy the glass baubles from craft shop, she then fills them with snow, or twigs, little buildings or cars etc and hangs these on her tree. Of course you can also decorate glass and plastic baubles using glass paints or pens.

One of my most special makes has been personalised stockings for my whole family. These are beautiful home made stockings with wadding between two layers of pretty fabric. They are sturdy yet beautiful and have been so gratefully received. While they take a time to make they look wonderful hanging around a fireplace on Christmas eve and I know they will last for years.

If you are unsure where to start on your winter crafting journey I strongly recommend you turn to your local craft school or shop. Many are running classes (for all ages) at this time of year – they can be a great way to learn a new skill and I can guarantee they will usually be lots of fun too. And what's great is you will go home with your own handmade item plus a new skill or two.

For those local to Rutland Sew Ab Fab is running a great selection of winter classes from felted christmas decorations to crocheted snowflakes and we are even running classes for my stocking mentioned above, for both teen sewers and adults. I can't wait to share our skills with others and I know our talented tutors are excited too. For more information please check out the timetable on our website.

And now as I sign off for the night, I will settle down with a hot drink and some knitting needles and work on on my latest winter projects a knitted tank top, and I am sure that in the next week or two I will be popping to my local craft suppliers and stocking up on materials, supplies and of course some inspiration.

I love to gain new ideas from other keen crafters - we can often be a great source of inspiration for each other, so please send me pictures of your finished makes and I can share them on my social media.

Happy crafting, Caroline.

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