Easy, Elegant Project to Make for Mom

One of the things I most enjoy about International Quilt Festival is seeing all the little stitchers-in-training who attend with their moms, grandmothers, or aunts.

These kids come with their ATCs to trade (or, like young Lexus Estes, they submit their quilts to the show), they participate in workshops, and they enjoy that bond between the generations that comes when one woman passes her needle art skills onto another.

As I was looking over the Spring 2010 issue of Quilting Arts Stitch before it went to press, I noticed several fresh and fun sewing projects that are not only easy for beginning sewers of any age to make, they would make great gifts for moms. What better way for a young person to gain an entrée to quilting? Of course, because these projects involve cutting and stitching, some adult supervision is required for younger sewers.

Malka Dubrawsky's Scrap-busting Coin Purse would make a terrific Mother's Day gift, as would Kevin Kosbab's Stepping-Stones Pot Holder made from wool felt with a '70s vibe. The lacy Travel Lingerie Bag by Blair Stocker is perfect for learning hand-stitching and basic raw-edge appliqué.

But I'd have to say my favorite project for kids is the Passementerie Pincushion by Eva Hanusova. Simple, elegant, fresh, and useful-what more would a mom want in a handmade gift.


  • 8-10 fancy trims, at least 6" long
  • Two 6" x 6" squares of taffeta
  • Cotton or all-purpose sewing thread
  • Matching polyester or all-purpose sewing thread
  • Small package of rice or sand
  • Basic sewing supplies


  1. Cut the trims into 6" lengths and play with their arrangement.
  2. Position the strips in the desired arrangement on the right side of one taffeta square.
  3. Using various colors of cotton or all-purpose thread to enhance the design, carefully topstitch each trim, stitching along both edges to secure. If necessary, hand stitch delicate trims or those with beads and sequins.
  4. Place the 2 taffeta squares right sides together and pin. Using all-purpose or polyester thread, stitch around the perimeter, leaving 3" open in the middle of one side. (Do not sew over beads.)
  5. Turn the pincushion right-side out and fill with rice or sand.
  6. Turn in the seam allowances along the opening and pin, then hand sew closed with a slipstitch.

If you're looking for a more challenging, and yet thoroughly modern project, Spring 2010 Stitch features a ton of fashion and home-dec projects for moms, including Tricia Waddell's Waterfall Scarf (left) with cascading ruffles, Malka Dubrawksy's Windows Improv Table Runner & Place Mat, and a Patchwork Lace Top by Erin Gilday that's flattering on just about everyone.


Hmmm. That gives me my own ideas for making gifts for the moms in my life. Tell me, what was the first stitched project you ever made, or your favorite handmade Mother's Day gift? Leave a comment below.

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9 thoughts on “Easy, Elegant Project to Make for Mom

  1. I was 8 yrs. old [ 42yrs ago.. yikes] and I drew a doll on some plain white fabric and stitched it up on my moms old kenmore, I loved it, the doll was about 8″ tall, and a magic marker face, stuffed with cottonballs, and I wrapped a strip of fabric around her body for a dress, don’t think she had hair.. that was my first sewing machine project….

  2. My first stitched project was a “needle book” when I was about 6. It was a Christmas gift for my mother. A needle book is an embroidered cover with flannel “pages”to keep your needles in, size around 3″x 4. My grandmother taught me how to do the cross stitches and helped to put it together. 55 years later I made a new one “for my Mom’s birthday as the original was starting to show its age. Talk about a usefull object! Ineke van Hasselt, Victoria Canada

  3. I have a funny mother’s day gift story. When I was about 10 years old I decided to raid my mom’s fabric stash and make her a mother’s day gift. My parents used to sleep in on weekends and I have always been an early bird. I hand picked the prettiest little scraps and pieces of lace and arranged them on a fabric covered ottoman to hand stitch it all together. I stitched away making what I thought was the prettiest apron ever for my mom to wear. When my mom got up I rushed to get her and show her the very special Mother’s Day gift I made her. Alas when I tried to lift it up so she could try it on I discovered I had sewed it to the ottoman!!

  4. My first stitched project was a Barbie dress, I sewed it on my grandmother’s old treadle Singer sewing machine (converted to electricity, but you still could use use the treadle).I was 9.
    My favorite Mother’s Day gift was one I made for my mother. I had wrote her a poem, & when she read it, she cried & said she wanted it “stitched”. (she knew I loved to do cross-stitch). So I cross-stitched the poem & added 2 decorative cross-stitch borders around it. She absolutely loved it. My mom passed away 10 years ago, & I have that framed poem hanging in my sewing room. It’s a very special keepsake to me.

  5. I was about 5 when I stitched a scarf for the dresser. It is yellow daffodils on a dishtowel stains and all (some might be my blood) made from a flour sack. I didn’t know Mom still had it until only a few years ago. She is not with us now, we had a long time, 101 years, to learn to make better stitches and wrap our fingers with a strip of cloth when we pricked them. But never did we stop at that time anyway, because of a prick!! Some stitches are at least a half inch long and a knot on the top but is a precious possession to think it was kept all this time! 60 plus years and it is a finished piece! Mom crocheted around it and displayed it on spare bedroom dresser until sometime after I went away to work. Amazing I don’t remember the long stitches or the knot being there then! Now so many unfinished projects! LOL marty

  6. My first project for Mom was an apron…spent all day on that thing… she even wore it! I was so excited Happy MOM’s day lets remember the ones who want to be yet aren’t yet…

  7. I was about six to eight years old and made Mom a napkin of red cloth crudely embroidered with a flower and the word “Mom” on it. I believe this was made in school as a Mother’s Day present. It’s now in our family trunk where we keep memorabilia of several generations, starting with a few things from our great grandparents.