Hello! Amy here. As the holidays are quickly approaching I always have the same panicked response: “QUICK! Buy all the things!” This is ridiculous. As a generally very frugal person who favours me-made garments over RTW, thrift store finds and lovingly framing my kids’ paintings, why would I start compulsively online shopping just because it’s the beginning of December?! While shiny new things are lovely and often appreciated (stay tuned next week for our annual Sewist Gift Guide), this year I’d also like to give presents that align more with my rest-of-the-year-aesthetic: resourceful, handmade, unique and made with love.
In that spirit, I thought I would put together a little primer of all the things on our blog you can make that fit that description so you can get inspired too. Some of these projects are more in-depth but a few of them are something that you could batch sew in an afternoon for a bunch of people on your list, which is what I plan on doing in the coming weeks. There is so much pressure around the holidays to make EVERYTHING PERFECT, and even though these will ultimately become gifts for others, I consider it a small gift to myself to lock myself away and work on some gentle sewing as things are getting stressful. I have decided I will refuse to be upset if some of these projects don’t turn out exactly right or look a little homemade. I figure if my loved ones love me back they will just be glad I made them something! And that my friends, is the kind of holiday spirit I am looking for this year.
Let’s see what we can make with all those scraps we created this year!
- The Scrap Busting Pouf: This is a free pattern we created that is not only made out of scraps but is filled with them too! If you are short on scraps (this eats a whole lot) you can also make this as a storage solution for extra blankets or off-season clothes. For more inspiration on this one, you can check out the beauties many of you made using the #closetcasepouf hashtag.
- A Geometric Lap Quilt: Heather made this gorgeous couch quilt using garment scraps, and while there are a million quilt patterns out there, this basic improv quilting technique is a great way to maximize your scraps and as quilts go, one of the faster sews.
FOR THE SEWING ROOM
- Pegboard DIY: This is part of a larger blog post on how we stay organized in our studio at work but we give you all the goods on how to put this together at home. This is also an ideal way of storing any kind of tools so if you have a woodworker, mechanic or gardener in your life give them the gift of organization this year!
- Sewing & Cutting Table DIY: Here we give you instructions and downloadable plans for making this cutting/ sewing table. This is something you can put on your wish list if you have a builder or handy person in your life.
- DIY Portable Ironing Board: We made this for filming our online classes and it’s a great solution if you want a large ironing surface that can be stored away when you’re done. We think this would be a welcome (and easy to make!) gift for the fellow sewist in your life!
- Sewing Machine & Serger Covers: These are a fun little scrap buster, especially if you have some sturdy, pretty fabric hanging around. We give you a free downloadable pattern as well as instructions for both styles of machines. Another lovely present for fellow sewists you love.
IN THE KITCHEN
- Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps: This is a super simple no-sew tutorial for using up any quilting cotton or muslin you have laying around. Make a set for just about anyone on your list!
- Reusable Snack Bags: I made a set of these for my kids’ lunches and we use them constantly. The ones I made in water-resistant fabric are holding up especially well. These are a super quick sew and since they use up so little fabric you can get a lot for a little!
- Reusable Produce Bags: A lot of grocery stores and farmer’s markets are starting to phase out plastic bags and these are a great way to coral your green beans or cherry toms until you get them home. These ones are made with polyester tulle which you can find at just about every fabric store and are naturally mold resistant and easily washable. You can even wash your goodies in the bag and store them in the fridge.
- Napkins & Tea Towels: These make such a lovely hostess gift especially if you have some linen leftover that isn’t quite enough for a garment; so luxurious! You could even add a little embroidery or monogram to make them extra personalized.
THINGS TO WEAR
- Rope Bag: You can make this bag pretty quickly with one skein of clothesline cord (from a hardware store) and a roll or two of thread. We give the instructions to make this exact bag but you could also make a smaller bag, a set of nesting bowls or a pretty place to put a plant. Warning: sewing rope is totally addictive.
- Shibori Dyed Everything: You can shibori (tie dye) just about any natural fabric. This is my favourite way to upcycle past their prime white shirts and though this tutorial is using an active indigo dye, you can apply all these same techniques using store-bought dye and a washing machine. How cute would it be to make matching tie-dye shirts for everyone instead of xmas pajamas?! Much less work!
- Sienna Maker Jacket: I included this pattern in our roundup because this is one of our sewing patterns that I actually think you could make for someone else without many measurements. The inspiration for this pattern was workwear for men or women, and with a few simple adjustments could work for any maker in your life!
- Leather Belt Bag: This is a great first leather sewing project. If you don’t think your machine can handle it, it can all be done by hand. It’s also a good upcycle for any leather/ pleather/ vinyl you might have from a garment that is no longer wearable.
A lot of these tutorials and free patterns are accessible in our members-only resource library which you will have total access to after signing up for our newsletter (we send you the password with the welcome message). I hope we got your sewjo going with this post, and that the holidays are filled with joy, happy memories and a little bit of handmade!