For the dad who knows the difference between bearnaise and balsamic, a kitchen apron is the perfect fit. To make this no-sew gift you'll need iron-on fusible webbing, fabric, and a plain apron. Begin by tracing the letters in reverse onto the paper side of the fusible webbing. Iron letters onto fabric and cut out. Remove the paper backing on the letters and iron them to the apron.
Magna cum Laude
Whether Dad reads Ezra Pound or about pounding nails, a bookmark hits the spot. Make a bookmark from fabric and iron-on fusible webbing. Cut two pieces of fabric and one piece of fusible web to size. Iron fabric to webbing, remove paper, and repeat process with second fabric cutout. Trim edges and corners with pinking shears.
Every good fisherman needs a good reading light to map out the next trip. Purchase fishing bobbers and sinkers at sporting goods stores. Sew them to a paper lampshade using heavyweight thread the same color as the shade. Repeat until shade is embellished.
Create fabric-covered storage boxes for Dad. Measure inside of each box and cut fabric to fit. Clip fabric to corners and glue. Measure outside of each box, adding 2 1/2 inches to each piece of fabric. Outside fabric will wrap around to the inside of each box, concealing the rough edges. Clip the corners of the fabric to the top edge of the lid, folding one side at a time, and glue.
A valet box helps Dad find his keys and watch. Measure inside of each box and cut fabric to fit. Clip fabric to corners and glue. Measure outside of each box, adding 2 1/2 inches to each piece of fabric. Outside fabric will wrap around to the inside of each box, concealing the rough edges. Clip the corners of the fabric to the top edge of the lid, folding one side at a time, and glue. Line each box with felt trimmed by pinking shears.
Dad needs a place to set drinks and popcorn. Our coasters are made from two round, contrasting pieces of fabric stitched together. Begin by cutting 4 1/2 inch circles from both cotton and felt. Put the cotton round on the felt one. With embroidery thread, sew a running stitch about 1/2 inch from the edge of the coaster.
Monogram a pair of boxer shorts to furnish his dresser drawers. (Confirm Dad's current waist size before proceeding.) Purchase iron-on letter patches at fabric stores. Place the letters D-A-D on the lower corner of the shorts and iron.
Modern dads love ties, especially when not around their necks. Find six different ties to make an 18-inch square pillow. Begin by removing the ties' interfacing. Trim each tie to 20 inches in length. Also trim the width of the ties, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance on both sides. Sew ties together. Cut a 19-inch square back from wool or felt. Right sides facing, sew ties and backing together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance and leave a 6-inch opening. Turn right side out. Insert pillow form. Whipstitch the opening closed.
Originally published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2004.