I'm not sure that this is a common problem, but I have someone with very expensive tastes on my gift list. It can be difficult to buy gifts for my youngest sister because she tends to like items that are often out of my price range. One way that I can get her something I know she'll love, while keeping it affordable for myself, is to find something in style and on trend, and do my best to duplicate it by hand.
This year she made it easy on me, as she pinned these designer beaded wrap bracelets from here: http://www.chanluu.com/womens-jewelry/wrap-bracelets/
My supplies: I knew by looking at the specs of the expensive version that the finished bracelet was about 80 cm (34 inches long). Using my awesome math skills, I knew I'd need about 80 cm (34 inches) worth of beads and 1.6 m of leather. Nice that they print the length of the bead strand is right there on the label... makes it pretty darn simple.
The tutorial I referenced was here: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/jewelry-main/beaded-wrap-diy-bracelet/
I did a couple thing different from the tutorial. Since this was a gift, I made two knots at the end so that the size can be adjusted a bit.
I also found that my beads were sliding around a bit much, so I went back and stitched my beads twice. That is, when I finished beading the whole length, I went back and stitched the whole thing in reverse. So I worked right to left the first time down, then left to right back up through the strung beads. This secured everything really nicely. And I like how the mirrored stitching looks.
Ta da! Here's my finished bracelet. (Yeah, I did a photo shoot. ) I know its not exactly like the inspiration bracelets, but I think it turned out pretty nice - and more importantly, I think my little sis will love it!
Anybody else DIYing knock-offs for gifts?