Sewing Chatter: Do you sew gifts for the holidays?



We hope you are enjoying a relaxing holiday week. Currently, I am taking a break from adulthood in Disney World, and the rest of the team is scattered across the country from Georgia, to Texas, to Missouri, to Kansas, to California. I might be speaking for myself when I say this break is much needed after a spectacularly busy (and amazing) year.

I spent the last week before the holiday break quickly sewing up a shirt for my sister and a robe for my mom. It was a bit of a rush, but I pulled it off!

This got me wondering, do you sew gifts for your loved ones during the holiday season?

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Comments 53


When I was in my teens, I made all my family’s gifts (since I lacked an income, but my mother had a very full sewing room). I did this in grad school as well. Then there was a period when I didn’t sew much at all. But when my children were small I started sewing for them. Recently, with high school kids, I wasn’t sewing, but then I received the blessing of godchildren! There is something so wonderfully fun about sewing for children. I made an embroidered wool/cashmere cape for my goddaughter. It’s the kind of thing I would never buy, but loved making! This year was really fun because my daughter has been making “monsters” and that’s what she has wrapped under the tree (see? It’s great if your mom has a well-stocked sewing room!)


I made my mom a quilt and my husband a lunch box for Christmas this year. I had more things on my list but ran out of time lol!


I love to make homemade Christmas gifts, but I try to keep it simple so I stay sane! I usually just stick to simple skirts or PJ pants. Its too hard to try and sew up something complicated during such a busy time.


Nope. I don’t sew anyone anything during the holiday season, or any other time of the year for that matter. I have made (knit, sewn, stitched, woven) things for friends and family in the past, and generally those things were not treated with the appropriate amount of respect (left on trains, destroyed in the wash, to one sister o’ mine who simply threw a handknit sweater away because she didn’t like it anymore, like it was something she’d bought at H&M for $20) or not appreciated or simply handed back to me because it was “too precious” or some nonsense. So I stopped. I’m a selfish maker now :D


I know what you mean! There were years when I sewed alllll the gifts (mostly because we were super broke) and those years taught me which people valued handmade gifts and which didn’t. Now I sew very few gifts and only for people who truly love and value them. I also have to take pressure off myself when people request or hint at my making them something, when I just don’t have the time or desire to make those things. I stopped letting that make me feel guilty.


I agree with Nikki. I only sew and knit for my children and grandchildren. I’ve had many disappointments over the years when the reaction I got, upon opening the gift, wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. Some even hinted that I sewed because it was cheaper than buying gifts. I know who the people are who appreciate a handmade gift and I reserve my precious time for them and no one else, no matter how big the hint is.


I also sew only for those who i know will appreciate it. I once made a dress for a neice. It was nice fabric and included a lot of detail. Her mother’s comment was “well, i suppose this saves you money”. I explaned that the Liberty print, buttons and trim meant that is wasn’t exactly an economy item. (I didn’t mention the time). Her response was “if you don’t save money, why would you bother?”
Needless to say, that neice never received another handmade item.

Contrast with another neice (different parents). I made a few items for her when she was little and now each christmas i make a dress for her two little girls. From the other end of the country she sends me measurements and colour requests. I have a lot of fun, and then get photos of two happy girls , who are convinced that their great aunt is a magician with a needle! (Their grandmother, my sister, missed out on the sewing gene big time, but also appreciates the time and love that goes into a handmade item.)

Betty Jordan Wester

yep. I still knit/sew things for my husband and children, but that’s it. I’m an artists and it goes the same way with that too. Friends who bought my work hang it up. Friends who really, really wanted a particular painting so I gave it to them, well… I’ve seen those paintings laying on the floor.
I have a couple of friends & family members who take care of handmade gifts and interestingly enough, they also make things. Maybe you have to be a maker to understand what someone is giving you?
ps- I’m not talking about unsolicited gifts such as, “here’s a scarf in hot pink even though I’ve never- in 8 years of knowing you- seen you wear that color!”


This is only my second Christmas sewing, so I may very well be over it for next year, but this year I made my mother a LazyGirl Nickita bag for her travels and I made a prototype 7 harmonica carrying case for my brother-in-law by adapting a hussif pattern. I’m calling it a prototype, because I’m not entirely sure of the features that would make a carrying case useful and I got the measurements by asking my sister to stealthily measure one of his harmonicas. (Related: did you know that if you google “harmonica measurements” all you get are the number of holes?)

I did make my sister a pair of the nantucket shorts for her birthday in October and my bestfriend is waiting on her pair from her November birthday. Oops.


This is my first sewing Christmas…. I made 2 bedside pocket caddies for my great-uncle and aunt.

As a new maker, I can say that I definitely had no idea the effort and expense involved in a hand made gift, and how much it means to the maker.

Liz Harges

I start sewing in October. A quilt for my son, backpacks for my husband and mom, tee for my dad, shirt for my daughter and dish towels for my aunts from fabric I had made on Spoonflower. I sew for everyone each yesr. I love Christmas morning because my gift is something that no one else can buy. It’s my passion.


For the most part, no. I sew for myself and my immediate family, well, four legged family. Husband is not into clothes. So, I did just sew a new dog bed cover for my girls for Christmas and they occasionally get new collars made by me.

For so many people, handmade and/or crafty stuff is a personal taste thing. You like it or you don’t. Just like I don’t gift people RTW clothes because there are so many variables in what works for them, I’m not going to invest my time in something that may not be needed, wanted, or appreciated. I try to be very careful with the gifts I give because we have become such a disposable society.

I also remember all the times I have been given handmade items that I can appreciate for the time and effort put into them, but in my head I’m thinking, “what I am supposed to do with that? Don’t they know me enough to know that that is 100% not me? Now what????”


Yes I sew all my gifts for friends and family. This year I started sewing gifts in October. I made aprons, shoe bags, pencil cases, coasters and napkins. It’s a lot of sewing but I really enjoy making a gift and thinking of each person as I choose fabric for them and sew. I find sewing gifts makes giving more meaningful.


I love sewing for babies so I tend to do a lot of that at Christmas! This year I made my husband some pyjama pants, and some adorable bandana bibs for the babies in my lives. I wish I could have seen more but it’s always a time management challenge! Merry Christmas gorgeous Colette ladies xx


Sort of….my mom wanted me to hem some pants for her, and make a lining for bag she had crocheted. They got finished in December, and I’m bringing them to Christmas so I can give them to her, but they aren’t actual presents. More like a coincidental bonus.
Last year I made American Girl doll clothes for my boyfriend’s niece, which was unexpectedly challenging because the seams are so tiny!
They were very cute, though, and an excellent use for some fabric scraps.


Doll clothes are hard! People told me I would love sewing them because they’re so quick and simple but I was about ready to toss them out the window after setting in a stupid tiny sleeve :D :D


I know what you mean! I was looking at the super small seam allowance on the super short seam, and I thought, “This is just asking for trouble.” However, aside from one total disaster where I had to recut the whole front of a little dress, they were pretty nice when I got done. But I had to hold my breath the whole time I was doing a seam and resorted to some hand sewing in some places. Who knew doll clothes could cause so much terror? They look so sweet!


Our family doesn’t do Christmas gifts. The children receive books on St Nicholas’ day and chocolate coins at Epiphany, and I sometimes make little felt purses for the coins. I like to sew a new dress for my daughter to wear for her school Christmas concert every year; does that count?


Not this year but I have in the past and only to people who will appreciate my work. However, I do often wrap presents in a creative way for a special few using fabric. Little monster gift card holders with zipper mouths. Tags that are made with fabric, paper and nuts and bolts. It’s a challenge for me and something I do for me. It’s fun to come up with the ideas then launch it away to someone who looks forward every year to see what I come up with next.


I made gift bags for the Christmas presents. My daughter started this a few years ago and each year we add to it depending on the size of the gift. My son-in-law loves them because the Christmas wrapping is so quick. They look really nice under the tree. It is expensive to start with but through the years they will pay off.


I made lavender sachets with photo transfers onto fabric. Easy, fun, quick AND I used up some fabric scraps and even those annoying bits of pompom trim we each have a piece of taking up space – you know, too small to do anything with but too big to through away.


I make everyone’s gifts every year but am rethinking it after this year. I make handmade tote bags with homemade food items and small sewn items like place mats or scarves that are tailored to each family. Like someone else said, you get a feeling for who appreciates the time and effort and who would really rather have a coffee gift card. Funnily enough, its the young and the older who seem to appreciate it in our family.


I still lack the confidence in my sewing to make something for someone else. I’m always afraid it just won’t be up to snuff and they will feel “obligated” to wear it whenever they are around me to make me feel better. The whole idea makes me cringe :) I hope someday my skills reach a point where I’m confident enough to actually make something for someone else. I think it’s such an expression of love to labour over something you really know they will enjoy and appreciate having.


I always have bigger plans than I have time to complete! I generally give handmade gifts to people who have seen something I’ve made and asked me where I got it, or complimented me on it. I ask if they would like one, or if they just like it on me. For the most part it has allowed me to focus on making handmade gifts just for those who really want them. I feel so proud when my brother calls the shirts I make him the best shirts he owns, whereas I really don’t mind that my husband would rather have an RTW shirt and eat homemade toffee.


Yes, I still sew my gifts. I always try to think of something different so that they wont get it from someone or somewhere else.

SJ Kurtz

I make most of my gifts, usually pajamas and winter wear, for my immediate family. I use Spoonflower to make designs that are particular to them. The rest would be things people ask for during the year. There’s no point in being bitter about gifts people didn’t love as much as you, or the reverse; it really is the thought that counts (said enroute to the inlaws to receive stuff I don’t need but will be grateful for their love).


I’m chronically ill, so I don’t always get things ready for “christmas” per se, but whenever things get done, people get them. I honestly think people appreciate a gift more when it comes randomly in February than with all their other gifts, ha! I am an artist and a geek and a maker so people usually know they’ll get an art piece or a sewn or handknit item or something super geeky. My husband got handmade Stargate Sg-1 boxers from a Spoonflower fabric this year. It was fun because I was challenging the no-underwear-for-Christmas rules ;) I am also sewing up two toy bunnies with outfits for a friend’s daughters. I’m enjoying toy making but it’s really, really hard on arthritic hands! But it also soooo adorable to watch bunnies emerge. Those can go to the kids whenever they have a full set of clothes each, and the rest of the outfits can be given out as they get made, for fun little “extras” throughout the year.

I won’t sew anything for anyone as a gift unless I’ve already made them a version, too! That’s why husband got boxers — I’ve perfected that pattern, so I don’t have to worry about fit or anything. I’d hate to have made him a t-shirt as a gift and have it just not fit right. I made my brother a sweater a few years ago (also Stargate themed, hmm) and it just didn’t fit and it was sad. His cat sleeps on it now, which I’m fine with because I love his cat, but I know he loved and appreciated it…but it was kinda my bad to make him something that didn’t fit!


I was super excited to sew up things for my nieces and nephews this year. Everyone lives really far away, so I asked months ago for measurements. I’m still waiting on measurements for one nephew. Never again. I’ll probably still sew non garments in the future, but unless they live close to me to get measurements, I will not be sewing clothes!


Hello. No, I don’t. Only answering the ? cause it was asked. I don’t observe many of the holidays (including Christmas) so I don’t do “holiday sewing.”however, I just happened to sew a few fleece blankets last month and a pillowcase last week, but that’s just trying to squeeze something in as I have to get sewing in when I can (work FT and in school) :-)


I stop myself from making gifts for the reasons cited by previous posters. It’s sad in a way, but I feel it’s best to put my effort where it’s appreciated, or at least useful, such as gifts for charity, silent auctions, etc. where maybe the item doesn’t have to be appealing to a specific person, but it will still get a lot of use or be desired by the recipient. If I knew any young children, I would probably sew for them (and give them lessons if they wanted), but I don’t. That’s okay too – I am plenty busy still learning how to make decent clothes for myself. The last piece I made for a gift was a western style shirt for a brother-in-law for Christmas several years ago. It turned out great and he loved it, but I think I got lucky….


All my gifts are hand sewn or home cooked. I can’t think of anybody who can’t use a tote bag or a handy zippered pouch or a dozen cookies!


I made three pair of corduroy rompers with coordinating piping and fun buttons for our 18 mo. old granddaughter. Oh, I can’t wait to teach her to sew!


I made almost every gift I gave this year – and it was exhausting!!! It was all of my free time for six weeks and ended being a very stressful endeavour. I had hoped that drawing as much as possible from my stash of fabrics would save me some money but that wasn’t the case in the end either… However were I to buy the things I made it would have been three times what I spent at least. Not all of my family have received their gifts yet but everything so far has been a hit. I’ll do it again next year but I’ll start in August!


I’m not really in to xmas gifting, rather do it on impulse when I feel to. On Xmas eve I gave my GS (he was 8 that day) a bag of freshly dug potatoes from the garden, he was genuinely so happy :) he’s such a sweet boy, no is that it? but “thanks, I love potatoes Nanna” and put them under their tree.I did also have a book for him but he was so happy with his potaoes I gave it to him later so as not to spoil the potato moment :) ”

my DD, DIL and their children love, appreciate and use/wear my handmade sewn or knit gifts. very sew-worthy.

Alyson Ray

I made a Paxson for all three of my adult children? They loved them and loved loved that I made them! They are in their thirties and they seem to appreciate anything handmade. Plus….they fit them perfectly!

Janie Koehler

I sewed for all the women in my life this year:
My sister: a fur infinity scarf, pink wool poncho with a big collar.
Mother in law and sister in law: fur infinity scarves.
Teenage Nieces: monogrammed infinity scarves.
10 year old niece: knitted a turquoise sweater with a snowflake on the sleeve.
4 year old niece: crocheted a mermaid tail blanket. : )


I used to make so much more when I was younger. If I lived closer to my family, I think,I would sew for them more. My daughter had many hand made items as a child.
Now that I’m retired I’d like to sew for her more.


It really depends. Some years I have, others I haven’t. I’ve learned that giving hand-made can be a mixed bag of appreciation, so sometimes it’s more appropriate to give smaller crafted items in tandem with purchased items that you know the other person wants or needs.


I knit for a select group of people who I think/know from past experience will appreciate the gifts. Hats, scarves, hand warmers, baby sweaters. But then truthfully, most of my friends and I just get a meal together for the holidays instead of swapping gifts, so my life is a bit easier that way in the present department :-).


I have mixed feelings about homemade Christmas gifts. Like many, I rarely feel that my homemade gift is fully appreciated (not worn, hung up, displayed, etc). At the same time, I have received homemade gifts that really didn’t appeal to me. Although I am touched by the time and effort the gifts took, and I have always taken excellent care of them, I hesitate to put my family and friends in that awkward position. Plus, I have a long list of sewing, knitting, and crochet projects I want to make for myself. That said, I already have plans for making a few gifts next year. :)


Some years I make a lot of gifts — either knit or seen. Other years not so much. Hand made gifts go to those who appreciate it — my sister in law, one brother, my mom, and the kids.

Two years ago, I made three full sized quilts for my kids and I finished very early on December 23. This year, I knit a pair of socks for my mom, made an Oslo sweater for my sister in law, and knit a baby surprise jacket for my niece.

Catherine Marie

This year I made everyone a hand made gift, I found myself thinking about the recipients while I sewed. Everyone loved their gifts, & I’m glad I did it. Although I was still sewing at midnight on Xmas Eve and finished four more today! I’m looking forward to a day of selfish sewing tomorrow though.

Mary in AZ

This year, I made two sofa pillows for a friend 14×22. Everyone else got neck pillows using the free pattern – comfort pillow. If I remember correctly, it was from


Several years ago I suggested that instead of drawing names among the siblings that we make something instead. Mostly because I love to make gifts for the holidays. This year I made everyone lovely tote bags. It was fun going through my fabric and trying to match the fabric to the person. I then filled the bags with home made jam or something pickled (all from my garden). In past years I have screen printed family photos on dish towels or pillow cases. One year I want to make matching shirts for everyone in the family.
I also make my husband a warm shirt every year for Christmas…this year I made him a Negroni from Pendleton Wool.


I always plan to but then run out of time. This year all I managed was a personalised wine bottle gift bag. I’ve decided to therefore make my gifts through the year in 2016, no rush and everything done in time. A new year’s resolution I hope I can stick to!


I’m sure this makes me an oddity, but I don’t generally enjoy receiving gifts in general – handmade or otherwise – because I find the guilt and expectations that comes with them is never worth it. (And yes, this applies to gifts of cash too! I guess it’s a love languages thing :))

While I appreciate that not everyone feels this way, I suppose I’m just less inclined to put even a little of that sense of obligation and dread on others, especially where my precious sewing is concerned.

Gift giving has always seemed to me to be more about the enjoyment the giver/ maker expects to receive from the process, and that’s OK with me. I don’t doubt the time, consideration & effort that goes into choosing and making the wonderful gifts I’ve received over the years, and I generally love the giver for that, but the whole dance is just not something I enjoy.

Plenty other ways I prefer to show and be shown love and consideration, all year round! :)

Not A Professor!

I hear you and I completely agree! I feel like many gifts I’ve received over the years (especially as an adult) are more like assignments than gifts. I don’t enjoy the pressure of adequately displaying my gratitude for someone or being given a task in disguise – I can never quite meet those super-high expectations!

The same goes for my gift giving, too, and my mantra has become “give a gift and not an assignment.” The whole thing is stressful for the gift recipient AND giver if that golden rule isn’t followed. Of course, I have people to whom I’m obligated to give gifts and my mantra helps because it gives me the freedom to make the process about the joy of giving.

To actually answer the question, I give a combination of homemade and bought gifts, depending on what I think the recipient would like. I simply don’t make anything that I hate to make, so I don’t have to worry about the time and effort I’ve put into it – whether for myself or others.


Like so many others I don’t make xmas gifts. I just don’t have the time, and for all the other reasons stated. I do make things throughout the year for my daughter and granddaughter, but only because they requested it. And I love doing it then because I know that it will be appreciated. But I loved the comment one lady made: only make things you enjoy making! Why do it if it’s not fun? Life is too short for that!


I made pjs for all my children, pillowcases with horse fabric for my girls, a knit hat for my husband, and the Seamwork Denali vest for my bro-in-law (but not finished because snaps messed up the front – did not stay in – so I am going to put in a zipper and cover holes with a fabric strip). I also made Christmas skirts for the girls.


Over the years I’ve made many, many gifts Christmas and otherwise. It depended upon the time I had available or the amount of money I had to spend…and time is almost always harder to come by than money! This year I made 17 pin cushions (for all the ladies at my part-time job in a fabric store) and ‘Canada’ themed pillowcases for the small cousins that were visiting from Mexico. I’ve always found that simple, useful things are the best gifts to make, and I only sew for love!


I’ve hand made a lot of gifts ever since I was a child, but honestly… I don’t feel like people always actually like them or appreciate them as much as I’d like. Sometimes this is because I’d give what I could make and not what people could use. Just because you can make a bookmark, doesn’t mean someone needs or wants it. So I’ve tried to temper my enthusiasm a bit!

Even though I just had a baby, this year I managed to do a lot of gift-sewing that seemed very well received. I was able to sew a few things that people had actually asked for — a drawstring backpack for my mother-in-law, an apron for my sister-in-law — that were really quite simple. I was able to pick top quality fabric and still save money on the overall gifts. In years past though, I just haven’t been able to find the time or I feel like the gifts won’t be appreciated by people who don’t realize what goes into them. Maybe I’m just getting better at making things people would want?


I made my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law both a Moneta and made my husband a Paxson. It was nerve wrecking, my mil and sil are very critical people and I kept wondering to myself why I was putting myself through this, but they both loved their customised dresses and they fitted so well. My husband picked out the fabric for his Paxson himself and it turned out lovely.

Sara A.

It depends on the person and whether they need something and whether I feel moved in that direction. That being said, I knit my husband a sweater for his birthday, a hat for X-mas, and a pair of hand warmers for Hanukkah. I sewed two flannel nightgowns for my daughter for Hanukkah and began the world’s ugliest ragdoll, still unfinished. I made a neck gaiter for my stepmother-in-law and a hat for my sister-in-law.

I love making things for babies. It always amazes me how impressed people are over the simplest things like hand made swaddling blankets. They’re the simplest beginner project, but if you make up a coordinated batch of 4, you’re amazing!

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