Sewing Chatter: Do you enjoy sewing for others for the holidays?

If so, we've got some ideas for you!
50

holiday

You might have been excited to see holiday decorations suddenly appear the day after Halloween, or you might have been bewildered to see pumpkins next to jingle bells. One thing is for sure, the holidays are quickly approaching and that means we’ve got some work ahead of us!

If you’re experiencing anxiety about a looming deadline for handmade holiday projects, now is the right time to start thinking about what to make for your loved ones, friends, and crafty co-workers who will appreciate all the time and love you put into their gift.

So I’m wondering, do you enjoy sewing or making gifts for others for the holidays?

  • Does the joy of giving match the hard work you put into a gift?
  • Are you making a big project for someone extra special this year? Tell us about it!
  • Do you have any last-minute handmade gift ideas?

Let’s support each other and share some ideas (or encouragement) in the comments below!

Need inspiration? Here are some ideas

gift-grid

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

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Comments 50

Jessica

The only person I regularly make gifts for is my mom because she is the only person who consistently wears what I make her. However, my “Portland mom” is also really good about this, and I’m adding her to my list this year :-). [maybe a mom thing? Portland mom has two biological daughters] Making things for other people is often fun, but when the recipient doesn’t understand or value the effort that goes into making a gift, I’m much less likely to do it again.

Right now, though, I’m focused on knitting hats for the folks at Standing Rock. Because winter is COMING. Worsted yarn held double, Purl Soho’s free Super Soft Merino Hat pattern.

Meg colettehq.com

That’s really inspiring, Jessica. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah anachronismsarah.blogspot.com

I won’t sew things for holidays, unless it’s for somebody super extra-special. Like, my husband. He gets jammies.
I like making gifts for new babies and weddings… And those are Quilt Occasions. But I won’t do it for people who don’t understand how much time and money goes into a quilt.
Things I will gladly make and give away, especially around the holidays?
Wreaths, jams/jellies/preserves, home crafts like potholders, and a bag every once in a while.

Meg colettehq.com

You can’t go wrong with homemade food :)

Robin

Great question! I generally do not sew holiday gifts, except for a family mystery gift exchange one year. My brother-in-law got me the previous year and gave me a gift card for Target. I bought a good little sewing machine to replace the one I gave up for a move. The next year I got him for the exchange, so I made him a western style shirt from a beautiful cotton veleveteen in charcoal with a complimentary yoke, and he loved it, (it was dressy casual) plus it fit him perfectly (no measurements taken – I winged it and got very lucky). That was such a wonderful success I haven’t jinxed it by making any other holiday gifts..Except for a friend’s retirement from the Army – I made her a simple scarf from cuddle fleece with a colorful Day of the Dead skull print on a black background. She LOVES it, especially since she can now wear whatever the heck she wants! So my gift makes have to be inspired, or I experience what previous posters have – disappointment in the response, so my suggestion would be, make it something you know for sure that the recipient will adore, and not what you think they would like, and not especially what you would like or what would most impress you. Oh, and simpler is always going to be better, IMO..

Marjolein

I always make most of my Christmas gifts, though this year I’m making more than usual. I’m knitting socks for my brother and sister and a scarf for my stepdad and sewing a wool skirt for my best friend, a tablet sleeve for my mum and toiletry bags for my older sister, her partner and their 2 kids. I love giving handmade gifts, they seem so much more meaningful than anything you can buy!

Diana

That is incredible!! Very ambitious range and intensity for those projects. They must be super special people. :)

Marjolein

They are my people and that makes them special! I don’t have a significant other so I have a lot of love to give to the other people in my life. I enjoy gift giving and spoiling other people…

Carol

No I am a little or a lot selfish about sewing depending on how you see it but it is a treat for me and I have so little time to do it. The things being made by me are for me alone.

Becky

Here, here! I have no friends who sew irl, so I am constantly ignoring their hints to make them things – they have no idea how long it takes me to sew up things at all, let alone how little time I have to devote to it.

Regan Louise

I only sew for people who I know will appreciate my hard work, so no casual acquaintances, only special people like my best friends, my mother, and my boyfriend (this year anyway–we’ll see how often he uses the knit shirt I’m making him). I also mainly just sew for people who aren’t extremely picky, because that ruins the fun of making.

Becky

I commented pretty much the same thing last year – but my mantra is still “give a gift and not an assignment.”

I enjoy making things for people, usually food, but if I find myself attaching expectations to the gift I am making, or any gift for that matter, I either figure out something different or manage my expectations. I can’t help but think about what it’s like to receive a gift with obligations attached, and for me that really takes the joy out of the whole gift-giving thing!

Meg colettehq.com

That is such a good mindset, Becky. Thanks for sharing!

Beth

A couple of years ago I made my husband a beautiful vest, but it was too short for him. This year I’m going to remake it, but I’m not going to surprise him, he’s got to put up with the muslin phase. So far so good. My husband loves to wear vests so if I can get the pattern perfected I’ll be able to do lots for him in the future.

Chloe

I don’t really enjoy sewing for others, but I am trying to save money this year in making everyone gifts instead of buying them. This list is really helpful.

I am gonna attempt to make bow ties for all the men in my family from this:
http://www.moodfabrics.com/radiant-aqua-and-spring-pink-paisley-damask-jacquard-311111.html

An I am thinking about this one for the head wrap for the girls:
http://www.moodfabrics.com/red-and-ivory-geometric-floral-printed-cotton-woven-313076.html

Thank you so much for the inspiration!

Meg colettehq.com

Wow, good fabric finds! Have fun :)

Kara

I make a lot of Christmas gifts – for appreciative recipients and not-so-appreciative :) I make things for my immediate family because it’s my way of showing how much I love them. I will also make items for teachers or extended family members, and I view those gifts as opportunities to try a new pattern or skill that I’ve been interested in but isn’t necessarily something that I need. That way the recipient receives a unique gift and I get a chance to learn something new!

MaryAnn

I make pajamas every year, and last year I made little make-up bags as well.

SJ Kurtz erniekdesigns.blogspot.com

Pajama bottoms for the men. Star wars Xmas flannel (super soft after washing, which really surprised me, usually novelty flannels are board stiff after the preshrink).
I am going to finish up a quilt backing project WITH the recipient. She is paying me to do it, and I am going to give it to her when we’re done. It was her auntie’s great unfinished quilt, and this is one time I know the recipient will love the present.

Most folks you sew for have no idea how hard the process is, so I think it’s less a case of ingrateful as just unaware.

Opal

I had a tradition of always making (mostly sewing) gifts for my nieces each year but this year I might have to break the tradition as I’m running out of time and have no ideas. I’ve made them each little fold-up fabric houses for toys, dress-up capes and skirts but some years I’d specialize the gift to each kid (the merkitty was a big hit – I made a removable mermaid tale for a stuffed cat).

Meg colettehq.com

A merkitty! That sounds adorable.

Katie colettehq.com

A Purrmaid! ;)

Piper

Eep!

Diana

Also eep! It’s so much more fun to sew silly things for children. The more serious a project gets, the less fun for everybody. Expectations tend to get in the way on both sides.

Mary in AZ

There are a few friends that I make things for and they all look forward to the gifts. One year I made an eye mask, one year a neck pillow, napkins, placements. Mostly they are small personal gifts or for the home. I get a lot of ideas and free patterns from craftsy.com — a very good resource for small gifts.

Jean

A few years back, I kicked off the holiday by giving my nieces and nephew and sisters these adorable snowmen Moda toweling I hemmed. No big deal, thought it was adorable, wasn’t their real gift, just a season starter. You would have thought I was The Most Brilliant of Aunts….so the next year I made embroidered stuffed initial ornaments…squeals of delight were heard. I now call these little gifts my Christmas Follys. This year…mug mats, featuring snowmen! My family really loves these, and they use them. I tend to not sew “out of family” because a lot of people don’t get it. They feel it’s cheap…when I can attest… a hundred dollar place setting is way cheaper than the last wedding quilt I made. Extra deep King…

Raquel

I don’t sew after halloween, too stressing for me. I prefer sewing all my gifts (if any) beforehand. I choose to knit because I find it relaxing but at the same time I’m able to sit down with my family and friends and knit without going to my craft-sewing room, or during car traveling (normally I knit socks with tiny circular needles).
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Trish

I’ve never made gifts before, but this year I’m making a few-not all, because I get pretty busy this time of year at work. Wish me luck! I know they’ll appreciate what I made because they’ve seen me work on stuff before. I chose projects that are useful things aimed at travel, so I think they’ll get used. I hope so, anyway!

Sarah

I have made gifs for Christmas, quilts, lounge pants, little skirts for the granddaughters. My daughters still tell me how much they love the quilts I made them three years ago! That year I made three king sized quilts whew.
I am taking a break this year and right now I feel a relief at not having a deadline. I do love making things that people use and enjoy anytime of the year.
Love what you guys at Collete do, keep it up.

Liz

The only person who appreciates homemade in my family is my four year old nephew. Seeing his face light up at receiving a new item and then hearing about how everyone at school liked it really makes it worth it for me (he recently got a crochet knight helmet lol). He’s just so cuteeeee! I’m thinking of making him some cute warm pajamas this holiday season and since I’m a new sewist that’s going to be my big project. Lol wish me luck!

Lynda

Your nephew sounds lovely, my grandson (9 on Christmas eve) is the most sew and knit-worthy person in my life. He won’t part with anything I’ve made him (annoying to his very minimalist mother! but I do consult her first). Presently (ha!) I’m knitting a vest at his request. He doesn’t want to part with a previous one I knit for him so I suggested I turn it into a hot water bottle cover, he was so happy he could cuddle up to it “and keep it forever” :)

I’m also a new sewer and highly recommend the Oliver & S PJs – https://oliverands.com/oliver-and-s-patterns/OLV-OS029SLD.html
I felt like a champion when I made them, the instructions are excellent (just like Colette ones) and the cuffs can be let down to extend the wear.

Liz

Why must kids be soo cute?! Ah, your grandson makes me smile! <3
Thank you for the pattern recommendation! I just went over there to browse and was amazed at the collection! It's really nice seeing patterns for boys! :D
Maybe if I get good at it I can make sewing pajamas a tradition for us! Thank you again!!

Marina Mowrey

I just made a mermaid tail blanket for my nieceling (my bestie’s daughter) for Christmas. I’ll probably never know if she really loves it or not, because they live in a different continent, but I’m proud of how it turned out. In fact, I think I’ll make one for her mom too.
Also, not really gifts, but I made stockings for our family Christmas vacation this year, and will make sure everyone understands how awesome they are :)

Julia Miller

I’ve made table runners & Christmas stockings in the past but this year my sisters have asked for bags and a quilt. Everyone in my family makes SOMETHING so they know what they’re asking & gave me lots of lead time! The sister who asked for a quilt has waited a long time before asking for it just because she knows how much work it is. I know these gifts will be much appreciated.

Susan Stull

Because my immediate family are all living overseas – UK and Australia – my rule for sending Christmas gifts are they have to be small and light enough to able to be sent in a padded envelope. I often try to add something that I have made to each package – something I think they will appreciate, let them know I care, but will also not cost a fortune to send! The Christmas after my mother died, I sewed together tree ornaments for my family decorated with buttons from her button tin. It was only a very small gift, but meaningful as we had all played with them as kids. This year I am crocheting drinks coasters for everyone, using a pattern and yarn from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, in colors to co-ordinate with little linen-coated trays from Shop Fog Linen.

Kath

I love to sew for friends because it tells them that I value them. There are only so many scented candles one person can use!! This year it’s aprons. There are lovely quilting fabrics out there, I can mix and match, ruffle, pipe appliqué and trim without going over the top. I have a basic pattern that I use so they are quick and easy. My branch of the Australian Sewing Guild does Kris Kringle the only stipulation is that the gift has to be made by the gifter so that always gets me thinking outside the square. I like to surprise my sewing friends. So yes I do sew for friends it gives me joy to share this gift I have been given and friends love hand made creations.

Maria Welker

The Brigiette scarves are quick and easy. I used left over quilt fabric with bright colors and fun prints. Since it’s small, I could make it as bold as I wanted.

Dalia

I really have a love/hate relationship with gifts. I like giving the one thing they wanted and seeing lit-up faces, but I find giving something on a particular day is such a chore, especially grown-ups who buy their own stuff and then give you a “wish list” thats basically a shopping lists, or you buy them something and everyone knows it’s basically clutter. I do so hate receiving clutter that I am thinking we should just buy our own stuff and give it up altogether.
Having said that, I do like DIY-Gifts, because I like making things that have a purpose or can be consumed, and then they are gone. And its usually quick and easy, but still personal. I made some “reading-bones” last year, they were a great success. This year I am thinking linen-oven-cloves, stuffed with thermolam, and the recipients name quilted onto them. Can’t get those at the dollar store.

Dalia

Excuse the typos. Not my first language+ typing while also stirring soup= messy comment.

Donna Horowitz

I am part of a charity sewing group and each year we start our Christmas sewing in July then finish it up and donate the items in December . It helps us all get into the spirit early plus we have an awesome fellowship meal to celebrate !
This year we made fabric baskets that will be filled with small items for Meals-On- Wheels . The baskets turned out so well that many of us decided to create some for our own families & friends.

marg f

I only make gifts for the grandchildren and close friends who are also sewers. This year I am making a floor cushion, pyjamas and vest with quiver for my granddaughter as she has a bow and arrow set on her present list from Father Xmas. My grandson will receive pyjamas and perhaps a hoodie. They both appreciate the things that I make for them and love that they are different.

I always make xmas fabric drawstring bags and fill with my own selection of small treats that I know each of the grandchildren enjoys. The bags are used by them for all their bits and pieces.

For friends, I have been picking sloes and the sloe gin is gently turning to a lovely rich red hue. I will include some home made fabric weights or a mug rug and know that it is the thought that counts rather than the actual gift.

I love receiving home made gifts as I can appreciate the time and thought that has always been put into them by the giver. And I really love this time of year as I can often get a little bit extra time for sewing in front of the fire on an evening.

Carolanne sweetcarolanne.com

I find that many people don’t appreciate the effort that goes into a handmade gift so I save my handmade gift efforts for people who I know will appreciate it! I make clothes for my 5 year old god daughter and she loves to wear them and match me so I feel good about making things for her.

Beth adventuresofbethy.blogspot.com

One year I made zippered pencil pouches from oilcloth for a couple ladies and they were a huge hit and took very little time. That was a success I’d say! I do love the feeling I get knowing I’m making a surprise for someone but I prefer the random year-round unexpected gifts over the stress of holiday crunch time sewing.

Jenny Sandoval

I’m blessed to have 8 ride-or-die friends. They’re getting either a Rigel Bomber, SALS Bomber, Evergreen Moto, or a 909 Jacket. One’s getting the Hudson Pants with either the Halifax Hoodie or Undercover Hoodie. If I have time, I’ll make her a Renfrew. She’s a member of the Itty Bitty Tittie Committee 😆.
The last one mentioned, though I’m an only child, is my sister; my folks had custody of her.
I always make for my 3yr old son and I’m so happy to make adorable girly things for the aforementioned sister’s daughter aka my niece!
My dad’s getting a merino french terry raglan sweater and I’m making my mom undergarments and pants. But I always make for them.
I’m making my husband the Albion. I’ve bought a GORGEOUS soft plaid wool for the lining and Robert Kaufman twill for the shell. My husband doesn’t like hoods, and I’m having a problem finding a way to make a mandarin collar.
HELP!!!

Jenny Sandoval

OMG! I forgot to mention: I bought yards of Liberty of London cotton/silk voile and cotton poplin to make a variety of double fold 1/2″ continuous bias tape. I made 7-10 yards for each of the WAHMs I buy fabric from that are just awesome women. I used foam core board wrapped in washi tape to hold the bias tape.
I’ve never bought, nor sewn a Big 4 pattern; I’ve only bought indie since the beginning (4 years ago.) I’ve never bought fabric from a big box store, just family-owned and online WAHM and women-owned shops.
The shops that have been good to me are getting Liberty bias tape. My fav customer rep at Papercut Patterns just got a Deer & Doe sewing pattern. I’m buying and shipping out Colette patterns as well to some shop owners and employees as a thank you!

Talula Hepburn

Wow Jenny, you’re so generous! And what an impressive work rate you must have! I hope Santa brings you something suitably lovely x

Talula Hepburn

I love sewing for my husband’s Mum (I think mother-in-law sounds cold). She’s tirelessly measured herself and tried things on all year while I’ve taught myself to sew and she promises that she actually likes the wearable toiles she’s so far received! (I haven’t seen her wearing any but I don’t blame her because it’s all been cheap fabric while I practice). So for Christmas I’m making her a shift dress from silk from Liberty. It’s so beautiful and I think she’s going to love it, which is making me so much more excited for Christmas. I love sewing for people who appreciate the love!

Nancy

We exchange gifts with two other couples. We are all older adults and live in smaller spaces. I usually try to make something for them and as the years go by, I try not to repeat. This year I’m making banana bread, knitted dishcloths and the ingredients for making their own foaming handsoap including the first bottle of soap. These items will be used up but represent time spent making something useful.

Tracy duckbucket.blogspot.com

I make my husband a Star Wars pillowcase every year (this will be year #3 — it’s becoming a tradition!) I also try to make some blankets for the shelter kitties — just fleece remnants stitched around with catnip sprinkled inside.

Trying to remember — did you guys have a necktie-making tutorial a few years back? Always wanted to make one. Maybe I’ll give it a shot this year…

Caroline

Last year I made pyjama’s for my daughter and a navy striped sweater for my husband. I put a lot of effort in making them extra special by adding nice details such as embroidery, trimmings and nice finished pockets. But both my presents ended up in the wardrobe and where hardly ever worn. So this year i’m not making presents at all, the only person I’m making things for is myself!

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