Friday Chatter: What are your favorite quick-and-easy projects?


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This past weekend, I made two skirts in less than two hours.

Both skirts were made in knits, so they were extremely quick and easy to sew. I don’t have photos yet, but they are very simple wardrobe staples. I’ve already worn them both and plan to wear them many times more.

Sometimes quick projects can really get your creative juices going. It’s so satisfying to have something usable in a few hours.

I’m really going to try alternating longer term projects with a few quick and satisfying ones for the next few months.

What are your favorite quick but satisfying sewing projects? Bags? Accessories? Underwear? I want more ideas!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 65


I just made a knit top in half an hour. I agree with you on quick projects. For me, the best ones are shirts and skirts from knits (wardrobe basics), I often make them from scraps. I also made knit mittens recently, and sometimes I sew little pouches as presents.


t-shirts without a doubt! zip up bags and totes are good too. i tend to find anything that i have made before so i don’t have to go through the tracing/FBA and lengthening/muslining/adjusting process before i really get started seems really quick!


Totally agree with how satisfying quick projects are!For me it’s knit tops and leggings!You can have a full outfit in just a few hours!


Yoga paints! Or, generally any knit pant with an elastic waist. Once upon a time, I had a perfect pattern for the me then and could whip up a pair in less than an hour.


Colette Sorbettos! I have literally made dozens . I never get tired of them.


I just checked out the pattern and can’t wait to see if it will become one of my favorites, too!

Sheri Ahmet

im going to do a sewing class on monday ….how to make lingerie so im hoping that would be my quick makes of the future but at the moment im trying to lose some weight so finding it difficult to justify starting anything much, the simple a line skirt is a fav though i agree small time small fabric maximum satisfaction. also a woollen pinafore from the laurel pattern as i figure if it gets too loose i can layer stuff underneath.


Leggings. I have a big four pattern for them (McCalls I think) and it’s easy to cut out a pair and whip them together in an hour or two. I can usually get a pair out of a yard or so, which means I can use remnants from the fabric store so they’re an inexpensive project too!


Coin pouches! I love making them when I have a lot of scraps lying around. They take maybe half an hour at the most.


I love making reusable grocery bags (now for friends since I’ve got enough!). Austin passed a ban on plastic bags, requiring us to bring our own bags or buy one from stores. I use the remnants from vintage maxidresses that I have cut into minis, as long as it’s strong cotton. All my bags are bright 60’s patterns and I get a big kick out of using them and doing a little bit to help the planet!


Tees! As an in-between project, I find myself to the hemming stage in 6 seams. I also keep panties cut out and ready to sew. I like to change the laces, so it turns out no two pair are ever the same.

Claire (aka Seemane)

A ‘Sorbetto’ top pattern is quick, or Sewaholic Patterns ‘Renfrew’ are simple for me too :)
Or a quick Maxi Knit Skirt like this one: are fast to make!

Jennifer Lachman

I like refashion projects for instant gratification. My favorite one is to cut patches and decals off of worn out clothes and sew them on t shirts or the pockets of jeans.


For me, it’s a Renfrew or a sleeveless Laurel. I’ve made several of each. Laurels don’t take a lot of fabric — about a yard and a half if you’re short like me and don’t do sleeves.


I just made a pair of skinny jeans in a day! I have a few pants, skirts, and my own self drafted tee pattern that has loads of possibilities!


Pajama pants and coin purses.


Pajama pants for sure. Tote bags. Clothes for my daughter, though she never wears them. Pillow covers.


Pajama pants and tote bags are swifties, but I have to admit that recently I royally @#$### up both in the space of 24 hours. Cut the waist too small on a multiple cut of three pairs of ‘jamas; ran the handles up the wrong way on a tote. Sometimes, even the easiest projects (the ones I do in my sleep?????) are the most endless ones. The jams were repairable (though not very elegant) the bag…not so much. Funny note: I sell patterns for both on Craftsy. I should probably post the ‘@#$@#” photos for grins. Friends don’t let friends sew exhausted.


I love the idea about the knit skirts and leggings. I need a good TNT pattern for both. My recent TNT go to pattern is the Jalie scarf top. Ridiculously easy. I can make it from fabric to wear in less than two hours.


Mine is a jersey batwing top with banded hems. I have made many as it is so quick and easy and looks a bit dressier than a regular tee with set in sleeves. I use a pattern by Fitzpatterns which no longer seems to be available, but there are similar free patterns on the net.

Fiona M

Knit tops – Renfrew is a favourite – I can bash them out in double quick time using the overlocker!


Turtleneck tops, Style Arc’s Elle pant, tennis skirts. They’re all knit: do I see a theme here?

French Toast Tasha

Totally underwear. I try to sew a little bit every day, and if I’m not ready for my next bigger project, it’s easy to cut and sew a pair of dainties in a couple of sessions. I also love how almost any knit project will leave enough scrap fabric for a pair, and I keep a small stash of fabrics and stretch laces on hand.


Colette Sorbettos! I like to cut them on the bias and nip them in at the waist–The bias cut makes the piece stretchy enough to still be a pullover even though it’s more fitted at the waist.

I also make an A-line skirt with a wide (2.5″ or even 3″) elastic waist.


What a great idea for modifying the Sorbetto. I’ll have to try that!

I don’t have a favorite quick and easy project, but I certainly need something to get me going: my stockpile of patterns and fabrics is over-abundant.


Thanks for the idea, I’ve been wanting to try something like that!


I second a lot of the suggestions above and also want to add stuff for the sewing room: pincushions, thread catchers, machine covers, pattern weights, pouches and buckets for sewing paraphenelia… all are quick and satisfying, get my creative juices going and leave me feeling inspired to spend more time in my sewing space.


simple skirt patterns, knickers are a brilliant quick sew and so too is your Laurel!


At the moment my quick-fix project has been underwear. I have a little stack of old t-shirts to use and its easy to cut out a pair and sew them up quickly. I also like to make bias binding from fat quarters when I want to do some quick and easy sewing. It’s incredibly satisfying to see all my little rolls of handmade bias tape in the trimmings drawer.


I like the bias binding idea. There’s a lurking pile of donated fat quarters in my sewing room that aren’t being used. Perhaps they’ve been waiting for the right calling!

Michelle Rose

T-shirts (the SBCC tonic tee is my current favorite, and the PDF version is free(!)) and leggings.


Any knit top. Once I’ve got the fit right, I can bang them out.

Kids’ knit tops and leggings especially. They’re so tiny to cut and out and sew up. Pre-washed fabric and 30 minutes is all you need!


I love making leggings for my 5 year daughter when I want to make something quick. Also, I’m addicted to watching the cool workings of a serger in action (it’s soothing!), so sometimes I will make baby doll-sized cloth diapers or wipes.


I like making these bagettes here: I only have to cut out woven rectangles, and then I have a very practical pouch with a clear top that is always useful, since i’ve always got random small objects sitting out that need to be organized


Along with the Sorbetto and the Renfrew t-shirt, other quickie projects for me are the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark (a free download), the Carol leggings (Burdastyle downloadable) and the Tessuti Anita Ponti Pant (downloadable from the Tessuti website).


I’m still at the early stage when you don’t have many TNTs and everything is new. I am a fan of simple T-shirts, though.


Agree with many who said T-shirts! Would be even quicker if I had an overlocker… :)

Lady ID

I should say knit tops and simple full skirts. I made my first sleeveless top and it was so easy. I usually make more complicated dresses.


To the surprise of no one, bras are my go to for a quick sew. They take no time to make and I always end up with a usable and highly wearable garment!


I spent almost all of January fitting and sewing a pair of pants from a new pattern. Yesterday I paired a knit top pattern with a fabric and I plan to sew it today after work. Maybe after that I will be ready for another challenging pattern in February.

Jet Set Sewing

After making 4 Chanel-style jackets, anything seems quick and easy lol!


I feel like I’m the slowest sewer alive, so there’s no such thing as a quick make in Chateau Madalynne. I always turn something into way more than it is.


I hear you. I can be fast when I need to, but when I’m working on personal projects on the weekend, I take it sloooow.

Madeline Chard

Half-circle skirts. I was in a real funk the other afternoon. I went through my stash and pulled out a fabric I have had for absolutely years. The colours are too gaudy for me, but in a short half-circle skirt they are perfect. I felt great….new work appropriate skirt, and stash reduction. Win-win!


Knit t-shirt dresses and tote bags!


This is suuuuper basic but I love to make little oilcloth zipper pouches. They are my instant purse organizers and people seem to love them as gifts too so I make any old size that works for my purpose and put a nice metal zip on one edge. Quick as a wink!

Emmy Jay

I go *really* simple — my favorite quick projects are long, wrap-around-the-neck scarves. Whenever I’m in a fabric store, I poke through the remnant bin for short cuts of interesting prints at 50% or more of regular price. A yard or less costs next to nothing compared to ready-to-wear scarves, and making them is practically addictive.


Laurel dresses – I have ten.


By the way, what happened to Rachel?


For me a quick project is one from a previously fitted pattern. There is so much fitting and petite-ifying involved when sewing that I’m reluctant to try a new pattern (even though I own tons). I have 2 go-to dress patterns that are simple and do not have closures. I plan to make a Laurel w/o a zipper but I need to petite-ify it (and make a sba too). Reminds me, I really should do some sewing this weekend!


tshirts, long & short sleeve from a TNT pattern. Sometimes switch necklines, scoop or curved vee. Rarely make anything in a single sitting, other stuff to do. ; )

Nisha Williams

What a great suggestion to mix in simplier projects with more complex projects. I have a tendency to hold onto a project and not set it aside until it’s complete. But I love the prospect of celebrate a minor win while I’m working on something that is difficult or outside of my comfort level.

Karin T

for me it´s the Kimono Tee from Salme Patterns. So nice and wearable in silk in every possible color. I have even made some for my sister. But when I read all your answers I wish I and my machine could get the hang of sewing in knits…


Sewaholic Renfrew! The fit is spot on, and no hemming!


Skirts love how quickly and easy to make,I recently bought the Colette ginger skirt pattern. I love how easy is to make yet so lovely!!!


Kitschy Coo’s Lady Skater, Sewaholic’s Renfrew, and my new favorite, the Deer and Doe Plantain Top – I love sewing with knits for a quick, comfortable garment that always fits right!


I’ve been Plantaining, too! I slimmed it down a bit and lengthened it. Might make a Lady Plantain hybrid…


Ooooo sounds like a great idea!! And I would love to see your slimmed-down Plantains – I just made a few and love the pattern! (I blogged about them a week or so ago)


Knit tees, for sure. I mostly sew for my kids, so it always feels like it will take forever to make something for myself. But whenever I do sit down and cut out a knit top for me, I am so pleasantly surprised at how quickly it sews it. Been getting a lot of mileage out of that new D&D Plantain pattern.


Skirts for sure are my favourite quick project! Especially cause you don’t always need a pattern for them!


For me, it’s a simple dirndl-style skirt. With the exception of hemming, I would guess it could take me an hour or less to whip up, now that I have the hang of it. Love all these ideas! I’m a beginning sewer & have learned that simplicity is the key to not getting super frustrated (at several failed attempts at dress patterns in expensive vintage-style fabrics).


I just recently picked up sewing again (after a couple year’s hiatus) and am nearly finished my first Sorbetto. Looks like this is my favourite quick and easy project so far because I have another Sorbetto lined up! :)


Little repairs give me a tremendous sense of satisfaction – particularly if the garment’s been sat in the to-fix pile for a while, it’s almost like getting a whole new piece all in one go. Of course, usually the fact that the necessary fix is so tiny means it takes me forever to get round to it, whilst more interesting and involved things take priority.

My other go-to for small, fill-in projects is quilt blocks. A whole quilt is a dauntingly huge undertaking, but I can put a single simple block together in ten minutes, and the whole thing seems much less terrifying when broken down into ten-minute chunks.


Which pattern did you use?

Sacia Ashe

I always make a maxi skirt- but I love to make quick softies!

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