5 Fast and Easy Sewing Projects for Handmade Gifts

pokey boltonWhoa! I just looked at the calendar. Between the October snowstorm back in Massachusetts and the move to Houston over Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas has snuck up on me, and I am way behind on my holiday checklist.

Fabric Gelt Gift Tag

If I'm going to create any homemade gifts this year, they have to be fast, easy, and so adorable, no one will guess how fast and easy it was to make them.

And if these projects were to use fabric scraps so I don't have to spend time shopping for fabric, so much the better.

I'm guessing many of you are in the same boat, so I'm going to share my five fastest holiday gift and decorating project ideas with you. These easy sewing projects (and one non-sewing project) all from the 2011/12 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts.

handmade gifts stockings
Mini quilted stockings

1. Mini Quilted Stocking Decorations by Diane Rusin Doran.

Diane's full instructions call for fusing and quilting 2 pieces of craft felt for the back of the stocking and dupioni silk or hand-dyed cotton for the front.

The front is free-motion stitched with contrasting thread. But to make them even more quickly, Diane suggests using one layer of wool felt for the back and screen-printing a design on the fronts.

handmade gifts decorated clothespins
Mini Clothespins
easy sewing project gelt
Stitched fabric gelt

2. Decorated Mini Clothespins by Diane Rusin Doran.

Apply glue to the mini clothespins above the metal bar, then apply glitter. Let dry completely.

Now reach into your embellishment cache and glue buttons, costume jewelry, and other small decorative shapes to the small end (the pinching part) of the clothespin.

Use the clips to attach holiday cards to a ribbon or as a gift embellishment.

3. Fabric Gelt Coins by Karen Fricke.

Measure and trace the gelt design onto tear-away stabilizer with a permanent marker. Pin the stabilizer to the wrong size of a gold-colored fabric scrap, making sure you have enough fabric to turn the raw edges to the back of the coin.

Free-motion stitch the design, using the topstitching thread in the bobbin. Clip the threads, tear away the stabilizer, and wrap around a cardboard circle backed with heavyweight fusible interfacing. Hand stitch around the circle, pull the thread tight and knot. Add to handmade gift tags or use as décor.

easy sewing project phone cozy
Felt Phone Cozies

4. Felt Phone Cozies by Lisa Cox.

Cut 1 piece of industrial felt 10¼" x 3-3/8" and several small pieces of felt (for decoration). Iron the small pieces to the fusible and cut out decorative shapes.

Fuse to the the part of the large strip that will be the front of the cozy and topstitch. Fold the cozy in half and position a 4½" piece of elastic 1-7/8" down from the top edge of the back of the cozy, with the ends tucked inside the raw edges into the seam allowance.

Fold a 2" piece of ribbon in half and position it within the seam allowance along one edge, ¾" up from the bottom fold. Stitch both sides of the cozy.

easy sewing projects wine bag
Festive Bottle Gift Bag

5. Reversible Wine Bag by Barbara Delaney.

Cut 4 rectangles of fabric 7½" x 14½" (2 of 1 fabric and 2 of another) and two 5" diameter circles. Stitch each matching set of rectangles together along the long sides to create 2 tubes. Stitch the matching circles into the ends of each tube, easing in the fullness.

Turn the bag exterior fabric right-side out and place inside the lining tube, matching the side seams. The fabrics should now be right sides together. Pin around the top edges and stitch together, leaving a 3"-4"opening for turning. Turn, press, and topstitch the top edge of the bag.

Barb shows how to make a tie for this project, but you can also use a contrasting ribbon.

See what I mean? Fast! There are several more quick and easy projects in Quilting Arts Gifts as well as many more complex patterns and quilted gifts to make if you have the time, now and all year long.

So, if you're running short on time this holiday season, what one project will you absolutely be sure to make time for? Tell me in the comments section below.

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3 thoughts on “5 Fast and Easy Sewing Projects for Handmade Gifts

  1. Pokey, I just moved from Houston to NH in early November, so I know what you mean. My easy go to project for this year’s gifts will be zippered pouches. They are quick, easy and fun to personalize !

  2. Hi Pokey, I want to thank you for all the EBooks and free sewing ideas you give us all.
    I am going to take advantage of the wonderful reversible wine bottle bag. Some of my Bunko girlfriends like their wine on occassion! Great for Christmas Happies. Believe it on not I have the same outter fabric that is showing on your display. I will reverse with some fabric they can use all year.
    Thank you so much for all you do

  3. I met a grandmother on a shuttle bus a year ago and she was describing a “Fast and Easy” baby quilt she was making her grandchild. It was cut into squares, each about an inch different in size. For example, the back piece was 7″ square, the top was a 6″ square and the stuffing was a 5″ square. Somehow they were sewn in a strip and then the strips were sewn together. When all the strips were sewn together the quilt was done. She then machine sewed an “X” from corner to corner on each square to finish it off. I am giving measurements “as I remember them”. They may not be accurate. But, does anyone know about this quilt and can give me the correct measurements and directions. I have tried Googling it to no success. S. Eley