For sewists, we can feel the pressure to want to make handmade gifts for the people in our life. We want to show off our mad sewing skills AND give something heartfelt to our loved ones. Who doesn’t want to watch your child or your husband rip into a package and treasure it all the more because it was made just for them? But sometimes the pressure of making all the things can get too much, especially this time of year when the calendar is already filled with so much activity. Sewing should be fun, not stressful! So let’s tackle how to make handmade gifts for the holidays without going crazy.
How to make handmade gifts for the holidays without going crazy
First, we’ll dive into helping you define your why when it comes to creating handmade gifts. Next, I’ll share some strategies that will help you identify projects that make great handmade gifts. Last, I’ll show you how to organize all your goods for a successful gift sewing experience.
Why do you want to make handmade gifts?
Before we start talking about what projects that make awesome handmade gifts, let’s define your why. Why do you want to make handmade gifts in the first place?
Do you feel like you have to sew all the things? Do you feel like buying something seems impersonal vs. making something? Does it feel like because you have this skill of sewing, you’re a bad sewist if you don’t make at least 1 thing for all the people on your list? Friend, you might be setting yourself up for stress if you believe these things. But…
Do you love sewing for others? Want to be able to show your love for your family and friends through your sewing? Is there lots of fabric in your stash ready + an easy project that you can sew up quickly for gifts? Good! Those are all great reasons to make handmade gifts. Which ones to choose???
Choose an easy, fast, repeatable project
What projects are good choices for handmade gifts? Things that don’t take a lot of resources and are easily repeatable can make wonderful handmade gifts. If you can cut out 10 and make it in a couple hours, you’ll be well on your way to being able to love your family and friends without a lot of headache.
Here’s a whole list of easy video tutorials I put together last year for quick and easy projects for handmade gifts.
Small projects like bags, scarves, mittens, or hats take very little fabric and can all be made in just a few minutes. If you’re looking for a slightly bigger project, pajamas are a wonderful option. Sewists of all levels can easily tackle pajama bottoms for anyone. Pajamas get an extra vote because virtually every pattern company under the sun has an easy pajama pattern.
But check out these too:
Quick and easy projects that make great handmade gifts for the holidays
Use the same pattern
Once you’ve found some projects that you might be interested in for making handmade gifts for the holidays, do yourself a solid and use the same pattern for your gift sewing adventures. It might seem boring to do so, but once you’ve made up a project in multiple fabrics, each one will look totally unique. And shoot, if you want to use the same fabric, that could be cool too. Everybody loves a good matchy matchy pic of your family!
Patterns that come in multiple sizes are perfect for this kind of thing. A pattern that’ll work for every single person on your list is pure gold. It’ll save you time of searching through your stash or looking online for that perfect pattern for every member of your family. Don’t forget the power of the one-size fits all pattern too!
So you’ve identified your project, you’ve found the perfect pattern that’s going to serve all your needs. Next, how do you prepare for the best, non-stressful sewing session?
Clean your sewing space
Ok, cleaning your sewing space isn’t fun to do, but a clean work area will really help clear your mind for a round of stress-free sewing. You’re going to have a hard time making all of your handmade gifts in a cluttered room. If cleaning the whole room is going to be too much, just clear out a small area that can be totally uncluttered and dedicated only to your project. You’ll be amazed at how much a little organization can help!
Check out my sewing room tour. You’ll walk away with some great thoughts on organization.
Identify and prep your fabric
Determine which fabric you’re going to use. Will you be using the same fabric? Did you buy enough to cover all your needs? I know certain fabrics like flannel come in obnoxiously and seemingly ever-shrinking narrow widths, so I have to constantly remind myself to buy extra! What if you’re using stash fabric? Will this be a scrap-happy project?
Whatever fabric you choose, wash and dry all of it. If you’re using scraps from another project that you’ve saved, set them all out in a work area and double check to make sure your pattern pieces will fit.
Do you need any special notions like zippers, interfacing, bias tape, or buttons? Gather all those things out and set them in a pile with each fabric.
Sew with love
Finally, don’t forget to sew with love. Remember who you’ll be making things for, and the affection you want to share with those people. With these things in mind, your work will become a joy and not just one more thing on your list!
So we’ve looked at defining why you want to make handmade gifts, what projects make awesome handmade gifts for the holidays, and how you can begin to set yourself up for a stress-free gift sewing session. Stay tuned next week when I’ll be sharing some awesome pajama patterns that are perfect for handmade gifts!
Until then, you can sign up for my newsletter and get a free Holiday Sewing Project Planner. It’ll help you organize your thoughts and get you going in no time! Just click on the image below to join my newsletter, and you’ll have happy mail from me in no time!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.