Handmade birthday gifts

After making more than enough drawstring bags for my Dungeons & Dragons dice sets, I had to come up with a reason to sew more bags: birthday gifts! Since then, most of my gifts for my friends have been handsewn. I have since evolved into giving my friends more than just drawstring bags, but at the time I started sewing, it was the only thing I could do.

a small flowery drawstring bag for a friend I’ve known for over 10 years

a small and a smaller drawstring bags for a recent but good friend and her daughter

a small drawstring bag for a friend I’ve known for over 20 years

I believe there is a special touch to a handmade gift that something bought can never reach. Of course, every gift is special and what matters is that you thought of the person while you got it – whether you bought it or made it. But I think handmade gifts show a little extra attention. I spent more than 5 hours making each of these bags: more than 5 hours spent thinking about each receiver and pouring my love for them into each stitch. And I will forever cherish with all my heart the handmade gifts my friends have made for me over the years.

Red velvet for a vampire

A few months after I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons, one of the friends I made in my local game store invited me to play a session of Vampire: The Masquerade. Actually, it was a World of Darkness game where the Game Master mixed Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Awakening, and Werewolf: The Forsaken into the same Chronicles of Darkness setting, and there was at least one character of each in the party. I chose to play a vampire.

My character was an apparently 11 year-old girl with long blonde hair and blue eyes, called Francisca. I later watched Interview with the Vampire and disappointedly realized how similar I had made my character to Claudia, without even having watched the movie (there is indeed nothing new under the sun). But I loved playing with her: she was friendly, but selfish; adorable, but spoiled; fun, but self-centered. I commissioned a portrait of her from an amazing artist and carried its print with me to the sessions.

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Francisca, by Loic Bourgeois

As I’m sure my love for this character has become obvious, I believe you know where this post is headed: I made a dice bag just for her. Although Francisca’s fashion style was miles away from what is usually considered vampiresque, I decided to use traditionally vampire-themed fabric, such as red velvet, for her bag, to match her red and black dice sets, as you can see in the left picture below.

I had recently gone on a fabric and strings shopping spree, so I was free from the previous constraint of having to use old shoelaces for the drawstrings. Yet, the ones I used for this particular bag weren’t my best choice, being a bit too big. The black strip, despite being (I believe) extremely vampiresque, needed a much more experienced hand to sew it – after a few months, to my misery, it started to fall apart. However, the bag definitely served its purpose: it was fun to make and helped me learn more about sewing.

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Unfortunately, I haven’t played Chronicles of Darkness in a long time. Since people’s schedule became incompatible with each other to keep playing on a regular basis, we decided to end its campaign. Thus, Francisca has been retired, at least for the time being, and her dice sets have been distributed amongst my D&D characters.

In my next post, I’ll take a break on the sewing posts for a while, and show you a little bit of another hobby of mine: photography. Until then, I encourage you, as usual, to try playing an RPG tabletop game. If Dungeons & Dragons feels like too much Lord-of-the-Ringsy, try finding a local game of one of the World of Darkness series, and play with a vampire, a mage, a werewolf, or any of the other options. It’s not as popular as D&D, but it can be just as fun! If you’re more of a videogames person, I have also heard good things about the Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines videogame. Have fun!

Flowers for a druid

My first Dungeons & Dragons character was a halfling druid named Luna. A halfling is a D&D race of short cheerful people, unsubtly inspired by the hobbits in Lord of the Rings. A druid is a D&D class of people who have a strong connection to nature and can even turn into animals. (dear D&D enthusiasts, please forgive me for these gross oversimplifications)

She was a sweet and simple girl, who loved animals and always wanted to help people, specializing in healing spells and potions. She had no backstory (and essentially no personality), as she was my first character and I had no idea what I was doing. Still, I enjoyed playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen with her, and it was during this time that I started to craft my little drawstring dice bags. It must come as no surprise, then, that I quickly decided to make a dice bag just for her – and that’s how this little bag was born.

 

It’s a much smaller bag than my first one, because I realized that the other bag was way too large for the dice that I owned at the time (now I struggle to fit every set of dice in there, but that’s another story). Due to the druids’ worship of nature, I’m pretty sure you can guess why I chose to ruin an old dress of mine that featured a pattern with flowers. I also liked how it had tones of blue (sky and water) and brown (earth).

 

This bag held (and still holds) the dice sets that I have determined to be Luna’s – yes, I am one of those people that chooses specific sets of dice for each character. I haven’t played with Luna for over a year, but she still exists in my characters folder, ready to be called to action whenever we play a one shot at level 8 (admittedly rarely).

In my next post, I’ll stop talking about Dungeons & Dragons (only for a little while), but I’ll stay on the RPG tabletop games theme and show you the dice bag I made for my Vampire: The Masquerade character. Until then, I encourage you to google images of dice sets and tell me if they’re not the cutest little trinkets you have ever seen. Don’t they just make you want to play Dungeons & Dragons, just to have an excuse to own a set? Trust me, after you roll a few, you’ll be hooked. Have fun!

There’s a first time for everything

My first post could be an introduction to this blog, an explanation of why I’ve started it, or even a long post about me. However, when I decide to do something, I like to dive right in, so I’ll use the first post in this blog to show you the first time I tried to sew something.

I needed a bag to store my growing collection of Dungeons & Dragons dice and didn’t like the ones being sold at my local game store. I went to the wise teacher that is the Internet and asked it “how to sew dice bag”. I found a very informative (and funny) youtube video that I watched around 32 times before and while sewing the bag.

I used a friend’s hand-me-down powerpuff girls sweater as fabric and some old shoelaces for the strings. If you know a little about sewing, you may notice the terrible stitch (I don’t have a sewing machine) or the squares’ uneven edges, but it works surprisingly well and the bag hasn’t failed me yet. It now holds the smaller drawstring bags that actually hold my dice.

 

 

Open (above) and closed (below)

 

Even though it took me around 10 hours to finish this (I know!!!), I had a lot of fun, and decided to sew other dice bags, for friends and for the future dice I was thinking of buying (you can never have too many dice). And it was by sharing online the products of this new hobby, and the positive response they got, that I thought about making a whole blog about the little things that come out of all my creative hobbies: sewing, photography,  and music.

In my next post, I’ll show you a similar, though smaller, drawstring dice bag, made specifically for my Dungeons & Dragons character, Luna. Until then, I encourage you to do two things: 1) If you don’t already, play Dungeons & Dragons. Go to your local game store, or roll20 if your city doesn’t have one, and try it. It’s amazingly fun, I promise. 2) When you get addicted to the game and to the passion that is collecting dice, try to sew your own dice bag. Just follow the youtube video I watched – trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Have fun!