handmade dolls

10 things to sew when you’re stuck at home

Let’s talk about 10 things to sew when you’re stuck at home.

With all the shakeup happening in the world right now with Coronavirus, I’m really glad I sew.

Sewing is one of those hobbies that occupies your mind as it busies your hands. As such, sewing can really be a great way of handling the stress of uncertainty around you.

With that in mind, crack open your fabric stash, and let’s sew!

"10 things to sew when you're stuck at home" with handmade dolls

Sew some basics

I know sometimes that basics aren’t the most glamorous things to sew. But hey, if the time is sitting before you and so is the fabric, go for it.

Here’s a couple of basics to sew up when you’re stuck at home.

1. T-shirts

T-shirts will forever be one of the things I reach to make when I don’t know what else to make.

They’re quick, they don’t take a ton of fabric, and you can easily make a batch of them for you or others in your house.

How to sew a raglan t-shirt

From popular raglan patterns for everyone to a DIY pattern to construction and variations like a henley and more

raglan tee series

You can stick to classic styles, or do a little pattern hacking. Check out the raglan tee series for some ideas for sewing a tried-and-true raglan tee + variations.

2. Underwear

Sewing underwear is a surprising way that you can run through some scrap knit fabrics. As long as you have some elastic on hand, you should be able to make a few pairs of underwear with very little yardage.

My favorite fabrics for underwear:

  • cotton spandex
  • double brushed poly
  • rayon spandex
  • tri-blend

Bonus: sewing underwear is a great way to practice handling knits without stretching things out of whack!

Here’s my tutorial which will run you through making your own underwear with Megan Nielsen’s Acacia panties.

Evaluate your wardrobe

Another thing you can do while you’re at home away from the germs is to evaluate your wardrobe. You can shore up things as needed or make a plan.

3. Batch sew

Batch sewing is a great way to get a whole lot done in not a lot of time. It’s a great way to sew when you’re at home with time on your hands.

I’m currently eyeing some cotton plaid shirtings for Spring shirts for my boys! Plaid shirts definitely fall under the category of basics that they wear year-round.

Here’s some strategies to help you plan for a round of batch sewing.

4. Plan a capsule wardrobe

A simple capsule wardrobe can be a good project when you’re at home. Making a few key pieces that’ll mix and match can be a great way to prepare for the next season. Even if you’re just at home, being able to get dressed in something besides never ending pjs can be the mental lift you need to go on. Here’s some things to consider when you’re sewing a capsule wardrobe.

wardrobe sudoku 3x3 sample grid

For a little bit extra fun and to take it to the next level, you can even play some wardrobe sudoku. Use your sudoku grid to plan out how to wear your capsule wardrobe. It’ll help you balance color, plus it’s a fun puzzle challenge to help you pass the time. That it’ll be a tool that’ll help you get dressed is even better.

Be sure to grab my Wardrobe Sudoku planner when you sign up for my newsletter.

5. Simple refashions

When you’re stuck at home, one of the things to sew can be some simple refashions.

Pull out these things from your closet and ask some questions:

  • Things that are too big: can you take in the sides? Could you cut it into something else?
  • Stuff that’s dated: can the fabric be saved somehow? Are there details like ruffles that can be taken off to update the style?
  • Things you haven’t worn: is there something you can add to this garment to make it more wearable? Ask yourself if there’s a simple garment you could make that might give your wardrobe orphan a buddy to wear with it.
  • Things that are too small: can you cut it down for a kid or something like a home dec project?

Stuff to sew with your kids when you’re at home

If you’re like me, your kids got an unexpected extension to their Spring Break. Why not take advantage of the time and help them learn to sew a little? Whether you were ready for it or not, take encouragement in the fact that it’s always a good thing to invest in teaching your kids life skills like sewing!

Here’s a couple of simple things you can sew with your kids + a couple of easy things you can make with them in mind.

6. Drawstring backpacks

My kids love these bags for all their soccer gear. While they won’t be hitting soccer practice for a while, this is definitely an easy project you can help your kids make. The loops might take a little help from you, but everything else is straight-line sewing a kid could absolutely handle.

Drawstring backpack pattern + tutorial

drawstring backpack with water bottle and soccer ball

If your kids are too little to make stuff on their own yet, have them find a favorite fabric in your stash for the backpack. They can help pull the drawstring through the casing or turn the bag inside out.

7. 7 minute DIY zipper bags

I don’t think I’ll ever stop finding uses for these little bags. They can hold any number of game pieces, Legos, crayons, pencils, you name it. Shoot, you can make some from laminated fabric to hold snacks.

Easiest zipper bag

Line it, make it with scraps, all in short order

DIY zipper bags made with serger and sewing machine

They’re a wonderful way for kids new to sewing to practice sewing straight lines. If they’re having a hard time with the zipper between the two layers, modify the 7 minute DIY zipper bag so that they’re sewing the zipper to just one piece of fabric at a time.

It’ll take your kids longer to make a zipper bag on their own, but this little tutorial is a gateway to a lot of good sewing practice!

8. Embroider your kids’ art

This is one of my favorite ways to preserve my kids’ art. If you have a favorite picture your kids have made you, turn it into a simple embroidery project.

Embroider your kids’ art

Your kids’ art + your stitching = an heirloom they’ll love to wear. Here’s how to do it.

child wearing an embroidered t-shirt

You can add this to a t-shirt or a drawstring bag or a pillow. And while this is a project that’s probably too complicated for most young kids, I know my kids would jump at the chance to draw a picture for this project!

Here’s how to embroider your kids’ art.

9. Dolls

Dolls always need new clothes, am I right? You can help your child make some simple clothes for her favorite friend. A basic skirt or a little sweater are all great little projects for dolls.

Another thing to look out for are doll or animal panel prints. There’s a ton of doll panels on Etsy or Spoonflower. The quilting company Moda in particular has a great collection of doll panels. Many come with the dolls plus outfits and maybe even some accessories.

I made these princess dolls from a panel I bought in Texas a while back. Yesterday feeling cabin fever descend on me, I whipped up another skirt for the purple one. Smaller dolls like these are best for adult hands, but larger panels are easy enough for kids to sew themselves.

These animal tea towels from Mibo are great projects for kids!

Bonus project for kids: DIY sewing cards

And one more thing for your kids to sew for themselves: these easy DIY sewing cards. Upcycle old cards into a simple way for kids to practice hand sewing. Even better–it’s a quiet project!

kid using sewing cards for kids

Treat yo self sewing

10. Sew something luxe for yourself

The last of these things to sew when you’re stuck at home is something really nice for yourself. This is Donna and Tom treat yo self time.


Pull out your nicest fabric you have in your stash and sew it up. The time is now, and you know you’ve been sitting on that silk jersey or group of leather skins for a jacket for too long now. The challenge will get your mind off of what’s going on in the world. That you’ll have something that you really love at the end is even better.

silk jersey
Silk jersey, I’m comin for you!

So I hope you’ve got some ideas now of things to sew while you’re stuck inside. And while you’re at it, call up a sewing friend on a video chat and hang out together. Keep posting in any sewing Facebook groups you’re a part of too. While this is a tough time for all of us, taking a little time to keep sewing and checking in on your friends while you do it will help. This too shall pass, friend!

keep calm and sew on graphic

2 thoughts on “10 things to sew when you’re stuck at home”

  1. Sewing my own clothes has been on my mind for the last couple of years. Recently, I realized I don’t know what my style is so fabric selection hangs me up. I glanced through the capsule wardrobe post and am looking forward to looking at it more closely. It seems as if you hit on some of my pain points!

    1. Finding your style is definitely part of the game, Nicki. I really think that once you can decide what kinds of colors you like to wear the most, a lot of things start to fall into place. Capsules are great for that, and putting together even just 4 pieces can really help you nail down how you like to dress. I went through a couple capsules before I realized that skirts are not my favorite!

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