Have you looked into the world of printed fabric panels yet? If you are someone who wants to sew, but doesn’t want to take the time to do detailed, intricate work, a printed fabric project might be more your speed. With pre-printed fabric you can easily sew up gifts for babies and new mothers, teacher and holiday gifts, and so much more.
Kids and New Moms
Making a gift for an expectant mother or little kid in your life? Now you can piece together quiet books, soft books, plushies, play cubes, and toys by buying fabric panels, cutting out the patterns, stuffing, and sewing. Here are a few darling examples.
Tara Lilly’s Whimsical Storybook, Sea Urchin Studio’s Forest Fellows 2, Ed Emberley’s Happy Drawing, and Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ What Pet Should I Get?
Housewarming and Hostess Gifts
The next time I sew an apron, I’m going to buy a pre-printed fabric panel and just cut and sew. Likewise, there are fabric panels available out there for every type of friend and host or hostess gift you may need. I especially like the two highlighted below for beer lovers and DIYers.
Carly Griffith’s Merry Matryoshka, Robert Kaufman’s Cheers, Maia Ferrell’s Home Grown, Hawthorn Thread’s Bengal Panel.
Make Your Own Pillows
Never buy store bought decorative pillows again. Now you can cut out and sew any size panel with an endless array of patterns, designs, and quotes by inspirational people. I’ve got the John Muir quote one in my shopping cart.
Hawthorne Thread’s Calypso in Aegean, Redwood Panel with John Muir quote, Autumn Fawn with Henry David Thoreau quote, and their Brave Panel in Valor.
Full-sized Quilt Panels
That’s right. Now you can buy an entire fabric panel ready to quilt. You don’t have to piece these beauties together. Just add batting and a backing and start quilting. For my Star Wars and Outlander fan friends, yes, you can now get your favorite heroines in full-sized quilts!
Camelot Cotton’s Rey and BB8, Hawthorne Thread’s Bengal Quilt Panel, and their Fawn Quilt Panel in Aspen, and Kathy Hall’s Outlander Panel.
Holiday decorating and seasonal teacher and co-worker gifts are much easier now that fabric comes in these printed panel projects. Make a stocking for everyone in your kids’ class or just make them all for you and deck the walls at home.
Makower UK’s Wrap it Up Hanging Panel, Ann Kelle’s Jingle 4 Stockings, and Hawthorne Thread’s Oh What Fun Stockings cut outs, and Hawthorne Thread’s Fairisle Panel in Multi.
This is Halloween
I had to spotlight Halloween printed fabric panels because I know a lot of my friends struggle to find Halloween crafts. No more! Make your own trick or treat or gift bags and spooky buntings and pillows.
Hawthorne Thread’s Nocturne Trick or Treat Bag panel, Halloween Pillows, Halloween Bunting, and Halloween Treat Bags by Heidi Kennedy on Spoonflower.
What a Doll
Full fabric quilt panels and doll patterns are where I think preprinted fabric panels really shine. Both categories are a lot of work when you make everything from scratch. These cut-out-and-sew doll patterns will have you finished in no time, and the gift recipients are guaranteed to love what you make.
Daphne by stacyiesthsu, Cute Dia de Los Muertos Doll by elladorine, Frenche by ewa_brzozowska, Ruth Bader Ginsburg by nicoleporter, Angelina Cut N Sew Doll by tiffanyhoward, Cut and Sew Doll Pattern Steampunk Princess by selinafenech, Margo by stacyiesthsu, Frida Kahlo by nicoleporter, and Cut N Sew Bunka Dolls by heidikennedy.
Do you use preprinted fabric panels? What are your favorite projects to make from them?
Charlotte Kaufman is a writer and sewist in Mammoth Lakes, California. She specializes in marine and home interiors and continues to fall more and more in love with quilting. You can follow her at charlottekaufman.com.
I’ve had planned indoor picnics with my nieces for the sake of Valentine’s Day and Halloween.
Christmas is even closer than it was when my last blog about homemade, sewn gifts was posted, so it seems fitting to keep with the holiday vibe! Whether or not I mentioned this earlier, I’m a fan of holidays to the point that I’ve had planned indoor picnics with my nieces for the sake of Valentine’s Day and Halloween, so don’t be too surprised if you see a good number of holiday topics when the big ones roll around!
I’ve been browsing online to try and find an interesting Christmas project to check out, and I came across a concept that is really fitting this season: a tree skirt. You see, we have one, but we changed Christmas stockings this year. The new ones aren’t the best of matches to the old tree skirt, so we’re currently going tree-skirt-less for the sake of coordination. Basically, the idea of constructing a tree skirt is a logical notion for a Christmas project this year!
I’ve come across more than one option including a fancy scalloped one that caught my eye, but being the patchwork girl that I am, I was more drawn to a patchwork-looking design. As easy as the overall pattern might seem to some, the idea of creating my own blocks with multiple patterns is a bit daunting to me. Usually, I just use pieces of material—one piece per section—and I don’t know that I’ve ever tried to piece together my own block. For that reason, it seems reasonable to do some research before potentially diving into the process. As I’ve said before, doing research can make a sewing process smoother, and should I try this, I want it to go smoothly!
And maybe certain readers are in the same boat with me on this one—interested in moving into elaborate blocks, but unskilled in the technique. If so, keep reading! I’m going to hand over some general ideas that I’ve found that could help with the process!
Where to start…
Tip #1: Press your material! This is a simple step, though one that can easily go overlooked. Even if you want to just jump into constructing your project, taking the time to level out the fabric you’ll use can help in making sure things line up as they should. So before you sew the first stitch, break out that iron!
Pressing is also something to keep in mind during the process when you sew fabric together. If you connect two blocks of fabric, press that seam! As you connect more material, your blocks will be less likely to have random bumps or puffy spots because the act of pressing as you go will ideally have smoothed out troublesome areas before additional pieces get locked in. That kind of consistency—no puffiness where it shouldn’t be—can create uniformity. You can even get pressing sprays to help solidify the effect!
Around the block
Tip #2: Learn the basics of block patterns! Are you planning a four patch product? Nine patch? It helps to think about those concepts before you start piecing your product so you can plan the design and get an idea of how you’re going to structure your work. This might be particularly true if you’re planning a five patch product since basic mathematics will let you know that such a pattern does not divide evenly by two! There’s a technique for each of these blocks, and being aware of those techniques can help you through the process. You can find out more about those pattern options here.
Crazy square block.
Once you get comfortable with the more traditional and beginner-friendly possibilities, maybe you can work your way into something less typical, like a “Crazy square block” of material.
The color wheel.
Tip #3: Get to know your color options! One site recommends the use of the color wheel, and I think this strategy might be a good one. While aesthetics might be subjective, decisions on color are still something to take seriously before you begin stitching. This, I think, could be particularly true when you’re creating your own block from a series of fabrics. Instead of just having 50 or so segments of color on one product—one per block—you could end up with various colors per block, which leads into a whole lot of color-consideration territory!
If you want to go with a cool tone, for instance, how easily could you do a nine patch product with different variations of color per block—one for greens, one for blues… That example is a perfect illustration of why knowing your colors could be so important. If you don’t know too many shades of cool colors, you might not have the background knowledge that would help you create the cool color, nine patch work. Basically, if you want a cohesive final product of multiple fabrics per block, think about those colors while you consider your fabrics!
Measure twice, cut once
Tip #4: Be exact with your measurements! This one might be a bit obvious—or really obvious—but it’s worth noting. Not only should you make sure your blocks are consistent in size for the best possibility of a final product, but you should make sure the individual sections of the block are measured accurately. Doing so could keep embarrassing things from happening—like running out of fabric in your squares before you get to the end of a block or having excess. Either mistake could lead to the overall product looking off because every block wouldn’t have the same mistakes. If you want uniformity throughout, measure!
Even if Christmas is too close for this concept to result in a 2016 tree skirt, this is still something I can keep in mind for next year. In fact, new goal!
~ Make a home-sewn tree skirt. ~
I wonder if 2017 – me will hate all of these goals I’m tossing her way? If so, maybe she can appreciate it if there’s a by-hand product decorating the bottom of the tree next year!
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.
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.
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.
You can sew gifts that everyone will love. Here are some ideas to consider for everyone on your list:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.