One of the best things about being a sewist is being able to turn your hobby into handmade gifts for friends and family. Not only are these fun, functional projects made with love, but they're also guaranteed to be something unique. Check out these ideas for your next gift-giving occasion.
1. Cosy Hannel Scarf
This is a project that only takes a few straight seams, but the end result depends on the quality of the fabric you choose. A light woollen or wool-blend flannel provides a fine finish for this project. Tiny rolled hems along the edges keep the scarf from ravelling, while a double line of stay stitching on the ends allow for a fringed edge. Even better, a yard of flannel is enough for two luxurious scarves. Make one as a gift, and keep one for yourself.
2. Napkin Set
Got a friend who loves to throw a dinner party? Make a must-having dining room accessory with a set of fabric napkins. Stitched by machine or by hand, this traditional gift is perfect for a house-warming or holiday. Choose a cotton or linen blend, as these natural fabrics are most absorbent. For a crisp finish even without ironing, look for a blend of 80% natural fibres and 20% syntheti
3. Monogrammed Wallet
The perfect personalised gift! It's particularly easy to create elaborate monogrammes if you have an embroidery machine that produces designs at the touch of a button, but a hand-embroidered design is just as meaningful. Further customise your wallet with snaps or buttons, zip pockets for change, or even a detachable wrist strap to turn it into a tiny clutch purse.
4. Plush Toys
Gifting for kids can be particularly fun. From fuzzy stuffed animals made to look like their favourite wild beasts to dolls perfect for dress up and adventures, let your imagination run a little wild when it comes to creating kids' gifts. Do keep in mind that kids tend to be rough on toys, so reserve fancy finishes for older children. For the littlest recipients, never use items that can detach, like buttons or snap-on facial features, which can pose a choking hazard.
5. Quilted Wine Tote
This gift goes over particularly well if it includes a bottle already inside! Use a fun printed fabric, or piece a design using your favourite technique to create a rectangle just the right size to wrap around a bottle of your friend's favourite wine. Quilt, then assemble with a bottom and handles to create the perfect caddy when bringing wine to a party or out on a picnic. Just don't forget the corkscrew!
6. Microwaveable Heat Packs
Whether it's a student studying for exams, a friend in the middle of a big project at work, or a new parent, we all know someone who could use a little stress relief. A warm, soothing heating pack is just the ticket, and they're easy to sew right at home. Larger packs should be divided into segments so that the rice or flax seed used to fill them doesn't shift during use. Make sure it's small enough to easily fit into the microwave. For added stress relief, add lavender blossoms for a relaxing scent.
7. Fragrant Sachets
A traditional housewarming gift, sachets tucked into the linens help keep pests at bay and provide a delightful scent to stored fabrics. Stitch up small bags and stuff them with lavender, rose petals, cinnamon bark, or cedar shavings for a quick and easy gift even at the last minute. For packing with special items, like baby or wedding clothes, use scraps of sentimental fabrics, or stitch your sachets in heart shapes.
8. Make-Up Brush Kit
What fashionista wouldn't love a roll-up kit to keep all her brushes looking their best? Even better, it's washable, so when it's time to clean the brushes, their carrier can go right in the wash as well. Use a fabric with a high synthetic fibre content, as these tend to stand up well to frequent staining and washing. Elastic straps allow the kit to accommodate a range of brush sizes, and a button and elastic loop closure gives it room to expand even when rolled up.
9. Bow Tie
For the dapper gents in your life, a handmade bow tie is a perfect accessory. Though silk is traditional, a wide range of fibres can be used to create ties with all kinds of prints, colours, and textures. Do be sure to cut your fabric on the bias, however, as this allows for a little extra flexibility and makes the finished tie much more comfortable to wear. In the ends of the tie, which will form the bow, add a bit of iron-on interfacing before sewing up the tie. This will keep the points neat and crisp, for a beautiful bow every time.
10. Baby Bibs
New babies are a joy, and an awful lot of work! Give new parents a hand with a stack of extra bibs and burp cloths they can toss in the laundry as needed. Cotton is soft and absorbent, and comes in lots of fun prints and colours. Make bibs adjustable, or provide a range of sizes to keep them useful as baby grows.
11. Throw Quilt
While this one isn't a last minute gift, a throw quilt can be a deeply personal and heartfelt gift, especially if there's history behind the pattern or the fabrics used. Be sure to include a tag and a date, so this heirloom gift can be passed down through the generations and take its story with it.
12. Pet Beds
Celebrating a new pet, or want to give Fido a gift of his own? Pet beds are a fun and functional gift that can also serve as excellent scrap busters. Piece together mats, cushions, and pillows, or use a soft, snuggly fabric like fleece or minky to create snuggly beds for your furry friends.
13. Embroidered Wall Hanging
Made by hand, or stitched by machine, there's nothing quite like an embroidered piece of artwork, framed and ready to hang. Even simple cross-stitch designs can make for fun and quirky gifts. Use an inexpensive embroidery hoop as a frame for a homemade touch.