Sewing for All Seasons

Sewing for All Seasons

One of the things I love best about sewing as opposed to some of my other creative ventures is that I can do it any time of year. In the fall and winter, I can make blankets, jackets and other warm items. During the spring and summer months, I can make cute skirts and dresses and flowy decorative items. The different material weights and textures means it’s never too hot or too cold to sew! Here are some of my favorite projects for each season.

Sewing for All Seasons

Sewing for All Seasons

Winter

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than lighting a fire and sewing something with warm, cuddly fabric.

Flannel Blanket

I absolutely adore flannel. It’s always warm and gets softer with each washing. This cozy blanket is easy to do and can be made in any size you like. We’re big on throw blankets in this house, so that’s what I did. Because flannel is available in so many colors and patterns, it’s easy to find something that will match your home and your personal style.

Dinosaur Hoodie

The challenge with winter is that kids are stuck inside. This sewing project will keep you warm and provide them with hours of imaginative play. Can you say “roooarrrr!”? Your kids will love playing dinosaur with this hoodie. Make a couple of the neighbor kids too and have a dino party!

Spring

Spring is a time of renewal. The weather warms up and life starts to return to the great outdoors. It’s still a bit cool to go out and enjoy it without a light cover up and there can be days on end of rain keeping you indoors. That’s where these sewing projects come in!

Napkins

Spring is often a time when we entertain more. We can open the windows and doors and guests can flow in and out without tracking snow, ice and dirt. Depending on the occasion, setting a pretty table can be part of the deal as hostess. Check out these colorful napkins. They’re perfect for spring and summer and a conversation starter too!

Picnic Blanket

It might be a bit cool yet to have a picnic, but it’s never too early to plan for one. This adorable picnic blanket is a great spring sewing project. While you’re inside working on it watching birds and other life return to your yard, you can daydream about that first picnic of the year. Won’t it be great with this new blanket?

Summer

Summer is all about hot days, trips to the beach and keeping cool. You may not be spending too much time with your sewing machine, but that’s okay. These quick projects won’t get you overheated – instead they’ll help you keep cool once they’re done.

Towel Wrap

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of getting out of the pool or ocean having to struggle with my towel. This fabulous towel wrap means I can keep my hands free for a drink and a book while still staying dry. Even better – it upcycles towels that might otherwise get tossed.

Wine Bag

To go with that lovely picnic blanket you made during the spring, you need a wine bag to tote your bottle for that elegant picnic. You could also use it as a wine gift bag if you need to bring a gift to a house party. It works up quickly and can be made for any style you can imagine.

Fall

I love fall! The changing leaves, the crisp air and the smell. It’s somehow romantic in a way. While I’m going to spend as much time outdoors as I can, there are some great fall sewing projects for those dreary fall days when I can’t get out.

Pillow

I love this! Making this pillow means I can bring some of the fall colors inside while using up some of my scrap stash. Don’t have all the colors? No problem! Remnants are cheap and easy to find in every color and pattern you’ll need.

Coasters

As much as I love fall, I dislike rings on the coffee and end tables as strongly. These adorable leaf coasters solve the problem while bringing all my favorite fall colors into the décor. I personally went for more realistic fabric colors, but you can do whatever you like.

What are some of your favorite seasonal sewing projects?

The Scraps of Christmas

The Scraps of Christmas

It’s officially Christmas week, guys! The day is just around the corner, and soon we’ll be heading into a less twinkle-lit world. Until then though, there’s still time to revel in the holiday for one more blog post! For this particular one, how about we go with a nice wrap-up idea?

You see, I’ve covered a tree skirt, ornaments, and homemade gifts, but if you chose to go all of those routes, you potentially would have collected a series of Christmas fabrics. Each project could have its own material, so there might be quite the variety. Another decent assumption would be that you didn’t have just enough material for all projects, so you could easily have scraps of Christmas fabric left over from your handmade-Christmas-extravaganza.

The Scraps of Christmas

Sure, you could stash it away for future use, but if you keep every scrap of material you ever come across, you’re treading on fabric-hoarder territory! There’s nothing wrong with keeping the pieces that would reasonably be user-friendly in the future, but I’m talking about the small bits that won’t be much use without other smaller parts to make something happen, or for a small enough project.

So, maybe this post will help keep that fabric stash a little smaller and farther from hoarder territory by answering one simple question: What projects can you do with those small parts of leftover Christmas fabric?

Answer: Plenty, and I plan to take you through a number of those options!

Possibility #1: Make a banner

This is such a simple option, but it can add a classy touch to your Christmas decorations. All you need to do is pick a shape for your fabric, cut the scraps in that shape, make sure those hems are smooth, and link them together—maybe with some ribbon or yarn. If you’re feeling particular, you can make sure that each of those shapes is two-sided by sewing two pieces together—maybe spice things up by using more than one fabric for the cause. With that method, you could have (as an example) a bell-shaped addition to your banner that has Rudolph on one side and Frosty on the other! If you’re good at embroidery, use enough shapes to embroider a message across. You could even do this laundry-line idea if you had the right fabric! The options on this idea alone are numerous!

The options on this idea alone are numerous!

The options on this idea alone are numerous!

Possibility #2: Make fabric garland

This is like the banner, but requires strips of fabric tied instead of differently shaped pieces embellished and sewn. I mean, sure, you could add gems and such, but the draping quality of the fabric is kind of its distinctive factor, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the Merry Christmas message! Still, this is a simple, elegant idea that could add a touch of holiday cheer to your house by hanging from your mantel. And, as is the main idea of the post, it’s a great way to use that extra Christmas fabric you might have once you finish your holiday sewing projects!

This is like the banner, but requires strips of fabric tied instead of differently shaped pieces embellished and sewn.

This is like the banner, but requires strips of fabric tied instead of differently shaped pieces embellished and sewn.

Possibility #3: Make a Christmas tote

While you might not have enough material to make the entire tote in one style (then again, maybe you will!), you could create a patchwork look for a homemade Christmas tote! You can find patterns for totes here, and Sewing Machines Plus offers free patterns for bags as well. Can you imagine a patched-up Christmas tote in this design! I would definitely carry one of those!

I would definitely carry one of those!

I would definitely carry one of those!

Possibility #4: Make fabric bookmarks

Call me a literature nerd, but how awesome would it be to give someone a copy of A Christmas Carol with a hand-sewn bookmark to go along with it? In fact, this could be a thing you do next year — give out holiday classics with hand-sewn bookmarks in Christmas fabrics! These projects are small, and who knows how many you could make in one day? And they require little fabric, which is the theme of this post! Whether it’s to hold your place for your own holiday reading or for small gift-gestures to let someone know you’re thinking of them, these creations could bring a festive touch to a book-and-hot-chocolate December time!

Call me a literature nerd, but how awesome would it be to give someone a copy of A Christmas Carol with a hand-sewn bookmark to go along with it?

Call me a literature nerd, but how awesome would it be to give someone a copy of A Christmas Carol with a hand-sewn bookmark to go along with it?

Possibility #5: Make a keychain

Since childhood, I’ve had an interest in keychains. I don’t know why, but it’s true just the same. So, why not take a bit of that excess material and make a one-of-a-kind keychain? Keyrings don’t have to be expensive, and it’s possible that everything else you’d need you could find around your house—maybe even down to buttons like what you see in the picture. Given the teeny-tiny-ness of keychains, this craft would be a good way to use some of that excess fabric! You can find this possibility (and #5) here!

Given the teeny-tiny-ness of keychains, this craft would be a good way to use some of that excess fabric!

Given the teeny-tiny-ness of keychains, this craft would be a good way to use some of that excess fabric!

So, the moral of the story is that you don’t have to be a Christmas-fabric hoarder after your holiday sewing! There are plenty of avenues to expend some of that scrap material!

Homemade Gift Tips

Homemade Gift Tips

It’s the month of Christmas, guys! Are you anywhere near ready? I have some presents still to buy, but to be honest, I might start planning one Christmas before the current one is over. Love of holidays? Crazy organization? Awareness of a budget? Maybe one, two, or all three things—maybe even a few more!—but the bottom line is that a good chunk of my Christmas shopping is finished. Yay, me!

I’m not so naïve as to think that’s the case across the board though! In fact, someone might be thinking, “Yeah, I need to work on that shopping list…” while reading this post. If that’s the case, stick around! I have some tips coming up that you might find useful!

Make it personal

I bought a used record online for about $10 & I don’t if I’d ever seen my mom so happy opening a present.

I bought a used record online for about $10 & I don’t if I’d ever seen my mom so happy opening a present.

In my experience, gift-giving can go best when you really think about the person instead of how much you want to spend or how impressive other people might find the gift. Example: My mom had been saying for years that she wanted a certain record—yes, record!—and one year it occurred to me that buying her said record could be a good idea. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Maybe I was caught up on the it-has-to-be-new concept for a Christmas present? I’m not sure. Long story short though, I bought a used record online for about $10, give or take, and I don’t know that I’d ever seen my mom so happy opening a present.

If you think outside of the box instead of putting a series of labels on what you’re supposed to buy, it opens a door to a category of gift that will be the focus of this post: homemade. Who says you can’t give someone something you made yourself? Sure, you might not have bought it in a store, but you took the time to craft it with your own hands! Not only can it be a beautiful gift, but there’s a sentimentality to it that might be harder to achieve from something store-bought.

Decisions, decisions…

Still, as with store-bought gifts, it pays to think about what you’ll craft instead of flippantly deciding on something. With that in mind, here are a few tips for any of you who want to change up some of your I-need-to-buy-a-present items to I-think-I’ll-make-something choices, specifically gifts that need a needle and thread to create:

  1. Know your recipient! This could be key no matter if it’s store-bought or homemade. If you have an idea of the recipient’s personality, you could find it easier to plan your gift. Your friend who loves rockabilly, for instance, might love a purse made from material with a 50’s theme! Is another friend’s kitchen decorated in sunflowers? Then maybe a table runner made with sunflower-based fabric could be an option! If you can tailor your gift for the person you plan to give it to, the level of appreciation that person has might seriously increase!
  2. Manage your time. This one might be something to keep in mind for next year since Christmas is so near! But if you decide that homemade gifts are the way to go, don’t underestimate the idea of pacing yourself! Working on a dozen gifts in three weeks might be hectic. Deciding in January that you want to do homemade gifts for that year’s Christmas though would let you space your work out over months—and trust me when I say that pacing yourself can be a WONDERFUL idea!
  3. Consider your budget. Just because it’s homemade doesn’t mean it won’t cost some money! Sure, there are cheaper homemade options than making curtains, quilts, or clothing, but I’m talking about sewing here! Once upon a time, I decided I was going to make my mom a homemade quilt, and I might have ended up spending more on the supplies than I would’ve spent on a store-bought item. But I had a certain fabric I wanted to use, and it required more panels than I thought it would… The bottom line is you shouldn’t assume homemade automatically equals cheap, so if you need to work within a budget, still consider that budget! Should you realize the supplies you need for your projects are going to run too high, tinker with your ideas. Is there a different fabric you can use that’s cheaper, but still a good option? Can you scale it back—maybe make a throw instead of a full-sized quilt? A beauty of crafting your own gifts is that you can make those kinds of calls because it’s your creation!
  4. Browse. You might not be window shopping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for ideas online! Pinterest is a clear example of a place to find those ideas. In fact, I was inspired while writing this post, and you can now find my “Homemade Gift Ideas” board here! Even running a Google search can help you get the creative ball rolling by giving concepts that you can alter and tailor to your gift-giving wants. Though the overall idea might have come from someone else, the details—what fabric, what color, what size—can still come from you! You can find a series of sewn gift ideas here ! FYI, I love the cross-stitching lyrics one!

How about you, readers? Are you pro-homemade gift?

Christmas Sewing Projects

Christmas Sewing Projects

Christmas is fast approaching.

Christmas is fast approaching.

Christmas is fast approaching. Thankfully, there’s still time to sew special Christmas decorations or gifts. With so many Christmas themed fabrics to choose from, it may be hard to decide which one(s) you want for your project, but with so many projects, you won’t have to narrow it down too much.

Christmas Tree Skirt Sewing Project

This 50.5” x 50.5” square Christmas tree skirt is easy to make and uses multiple fabrics to create a look that suits any home. Basic quilting skills are necessary as is a template to use for the center circle. An inverted bowl works well. You can make it from fabric scraps and by using washable materials, it’s easy to clean. The red ties in the back are cute and ensure the skirt isn’t pulled off by pets or kids.

Christmas Tree Ornament Project

If love hand sewing, this cute hot cocoa mug ornament is a perfect way to add some whimsy to your tree. The pattern ensures accurate placement of the faces on the mug and marshmallows. You will need to know how to make a French knot for the eyes. If you’ve got felt scraps, you may be able to use those for the bulk of this adorable Christmas sewing project.

Christmas Stocking Sewing Project

Christmas isn’t complete without “stocking hung by the chimney with care.” With this easy Christmas stocking pattern, you can make individualized stockings for everyone in your family. The large size makes it the ideal stocking for creative stocking stuffer gifts and depending on your choice of fabrics, it’s entirely washable. Choose different colors or patterns for each person in your family to personalize the stockings.

Christmas Tree Angel

There’s something about angels…they belong adorning a Christmas tree. This sweet ribbon angel adds a touch of class to any tree. Use different colored ribbons to make each angel a little different. Sewing is optional with this project, but it’s a great opportunity to use some of the wide ribbon you’ve got sitting around from previous projects.

Christmas Garland Sewing Project

Garland doesn’t have to be tinsel and shine. This adorable garland adds Christmas cheer with rows of fabric Christmas trees. You can either use bits of fabric from your stash or buy remnants from your local fabric shop. This is a great project to do with kids! Their small fingers are great for everting and stuffing the little trees. The number of trees you make will depend on the length you want for the finished garland. A coordinating ribbon completes the project. Use it to decorate your tree or string across a doorway.

What other Christmas sewing projects do you enjoy? If you try any of these, please share the results! I’d love to see them.

Sew Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Sew Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Do you make most of your holiday gifts?  Have you wanted to start this tradition?  If you haven’t, this is a great year to sew gifts for everyone on your list.Sew Gifts for Everyone on Your List

I have been sewing and/or making most every gift I give for many years now.  So I know from experience that it is easy to get stuck for ideas, especially for certain recipients.  But I have learned that with time and thought, it is possible to sew gifts for everyone on your list.

The most important tip I have learned in making holiday gifts over the years is to get started early.   With an early start you can complete your gifts in plenty of time to enjoy your holidays.   Starting in December can make for a stressful season!  Learn from my mistakes and get started now, or you could wind up as I have- sewing late into the night on Christmas Eve.

For babies, try a stuffed ball with ribbon tags for grabbing.

For babies, try a stuffed ball with ribbon tags for grabbing.

You can sew gifts that everyone will love.  Here are some ideas to consider for everyone on your list:

For Kids

Quiltshere are some tips for sewing fun, quick quilts.

Soft Toys –  dolls, stuffed animals, robots, monsters. For babies, try a stuffed ball with ribbon tags for grabbing.

This rainbow book of colors is one of my favorite gifts ever.

This rainbow book of colors is one of my favorite gifts ever.

These are a lot of fun, both to make and to play with.

These are a lot of fun, both to make and to play with.

Soft Books – These are a lot of fun, both to make and to play with.  This rainbow book of colors is one of my favorite gifts ever.

Bags – make a tote bag with divided pockets for crayons and include a coloring book.  Or whip up a precious little purse to match a sweet girl’s personality.  I’ve even made a Star Wars backpack from an outgrown favorite T-shirt.

ou could sew a sack lunch, complete with felt brown paper bag; pretty cupcakes and donuts; even a whole roast turkey!

Felt Food – these are both easy and lots of fun to make.  You could sew a sack lunch, complete with felt brown paper bag; pretty cupcakes and donuts; even a whole roast turkey!  There are a ton of free patterns and tutorials for felt foods available online, but these are easy to make up off the top of your head, too.Crayon, Marker, or Colored Pencil Rolls- make a great gift for kids on-the-go.

Crayon, Marker or Colored Pencil Rolls – make a great gift for kids on-the-go.

Doll Clothes and Accessories – Sew something new for her favorite dolly.  Make a dress or two, a carrying bag with a front pocket designed as the doll’s bed, or a doll quilt.

For Anyone

Lap Quilts.Zip Bags – These are useful for everyone.  Ladies can use them for cosmetics, men will appreciate them for holding shaving and toiletry supplies for travel. Children can use them as crayon or pencil bags, or for containing sets such as legos to-go.  They also make great first aid kits for the car or travel.

Lap Quilts – Be inspired by your recipient’s favorite colors or personality and sew them something special for snuggling.

Pillowcases – You can sew a pillowcase from any yard of cotton fabric.  Choose a beautiful print or fun novelty fabrics.These are always appreciated and a great way to use fat quarters from your stash. Embellish with ruffles, pockets and/or appliqué.

For Ladies

Half Aprons – These are always appreciated and a great way to use fat quarters from your stash.  Embellish with ruffles, pockets and/or appliqué.

Needlebooks –  These are a fun little project for playing with patchwork and make useful and treasured gifts.

Folklore Bag

Folklore Bag

Purses – What lady wouldn’t like a pretty new handbag?  My favorite purse pattern is the Folklore Bag from the book One-Yard Wonders.  I like to add special details like an attached clip for easily finding keys.

Cloth Napkins – Holiday themed sets from novelty fabrics make a lovely gift. This is my go-to for teacher gifts.

Cloth napkins.

Cloth napkins.

For Men

Barbeque Apron – Here’s another fun place to use novelty fabric.  He’s sure to appreciate one emblazoned with his favorite ball team’s logo, or choose a funky fabric with vintage cars, guitars, or hot dogs.

Handkerchiefs – I use the embroidery feature on my machine along the edges.  My machine has an alphabet, so I like to sew “Bless You” on these too.

Throw Pillows – with football fabrics or something else he’ll appreciate.  Be sure they match the couch or décor in his man-cave!

Over-the-Visor CD Pockets for the Car – include a mix cd for extra fun.

For Furry Friends

Gift wrap.Dog or Cat Bed – You can make these as a simple stuffed rectangle or square, or go fancier with patchwork or other design details.

Stuffed Toys – catnip stuffed mouse or felt or fleece “bones.”

Matching Collar and Leash – I buy ugly collars from the dollar store for the hardware, then I make nicer, new collars with nylon webbing covered with embroidered ribbon.  These make a super nice gift for pet parents.

Make this the year that you sew gifts for everyone on your list and they will thank you for it!  And don’t forget the gift wrap; use holiday fabric and whip up gift bags to fit any size gift. These re-usable wrappers are zero-waste and your recipients will be happy to use them again next year.

Birthday Present Ideas for Sewers

Birthday Present Ideas for Sewers

Birthday Present Ideas for SewersI’m lucky enough to have an October birthday, which is the inspiration for this post. But whether you or the sewer in your life has an October birthday or any of the other 11 months of the year, they’ll love these birthday gifts and use them all year long.

Sewing Machine Needles

If you happen to know the particular brand of machine, or can lay your hands on universal needles, these make a great gift. Get a variety of sizes suitable for many fabric types. Sewers know that machine needles break and get dull, so a package or two of machine needles to replace the ones they’ve gone through will be greatly appreciated.

Dress Form

If the sewer you’re buying a gift for makes a lot of clothes a dress form will be a gift straight from heaven. These aren’t inexpensive so most casual sewers don’t invest in them, but they make the process of sewing a dress much easier and help make sure they’re sized correctly and will fit as expected. Look for one close to the sewer’s size. They’re adjustable, but only to a point.

Self-Healing Cutting Mat

The larger the better. These mats are amazing! If the sewer in your life uses a rotary cutter, a self-healing mat protects the table, floor or other surfaces. Quilters use these a lot and may need to put several together to make a mat the size of the finished quilt. Get a few so they can make whatever size they need.

Straight Pins

Straight pins are essential for every sewer. They hold the sides or pieces of fabric together while they sew over them with the machine. Sometimes, the pins get bent in the process. They also get dull over time. A package of these is inexpensive and will be greatly appreciated by the sewer in your life.

Supply Boxes

Your sewer likely has numerous spools of thread, bobbins, buttons and innumerable other supplies. A set of clear plastic boxes in various sizes will help her organize them while keeping her supplies visible and easily accessible.

Sewing Books

There’s a huge variety of sewing books available. You can get a collection of patterns, tips on fitting, advanced fabric guides or a variety of other sewing related books. Depending on what interests your sewer has, you can find a book, or books, to suit.

Gift Certificate

What sewer doesn’t love a craft or fabric store shopping spree? If you’re not sure what to get the sewer in your life, gift certificates to the local craft or fabric store will be greatly appreciated. They can revel in fabrics, poke through threads and notions, and flip through patterns to their heart’s content.

Sewing Class

If the sewer in your life is dreaming about learning a particular technique, sign them up for a class. They’ll love the chance to learn something new and appreciate the thought you put into the gift. And who knows, maybe they’ll make you something to boot!

What other gift ideas do you have?