How to Plan Sewing Christmas Gifts

Whether you are making Christmas sewing projects to sell or give as gifts to loved ones, these tips will help you plan ahead and succeed.

Updated September 10, 2018
How to Plan Sewing Christmas Gifts

Christmas is the most magical time of the year but the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping can be stressful, tiring and a huge drain on the family budget. With a little forward planning, you can sew personalized gifts for everyone on your shopping list without breaking the bank or falling into the holiday blues.

Retailers will tempt us with the latest gadgets and the most sort after products, but a handmade gift portrays a whole lot of love to its recipient. Trends and technology change in a heartbeat but something made from the heart will be treasured forever.

But while sewing gifts for Christmas will put you in the festive mood, you don’t want to be madly sewing the last pieces together on Christmas Eve. So here are a few ideas for How to Plan Sewing Christmas Gifts that will help with planning your projects so you can sew something special for everyone.

PLUS! Do Not Miss Our Special #NationalSewingMonth Giveaway to Win a Janome Sewing Machine Worth Over $1,000! Comment at the bottom of the page and enter here for an additional entry. Contest ends 9/30 at midnight.


Threadbare Creation Patterns

Christmas Sewing Gifts Planning: Start Early

It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas sewing and some people like to sew gifts all year long.

Before you start, write a comprehensive list of gift recipients and plan the projects you would like to sew. Be realistic - you need plenty of time for larger projects so start sewing early and endeavor to work on them at regular intervals. You can achieve a lot if you consistently devote a small amount of time each day to sewing projects.

Make extensive lists of all the materials required for each project and tape them to the lids of individual project containers. As you shop or gather your supplies, add them to the appropriate container and mark them off your list. This will keep everything together and organized, avoiding that last minute dash to the shops for a misplaced zip or those matching buttons. Keep a project container near your sewing machine so you’re organized and ready to sew when time allows.

Shop from your fabric stash first and then add newer pieces of fabric to keep costs down. Be sure to shop the sales and use any discount codes companies offer prior to Christmas. Leftover batting scraps are perfect for smaller projects and consider recycled materials such as denim, preloved clothing, and linen etc. which add that personal touch to all projects.

Large Sewing Projects: Consider Your Time Frame

You may not have the time to sew a large project for every family member so consider sewing a quilt that can be shared as an entire family. Photo quilts are a great way to incorporate everyone into a gift, and you can personalize it by embroidering their names on the images or in the quilt sashings.

A quilt made from family clothing is another way to include everyone. Items such as old t-shirts can be sewn together to make a big cozy quilt that the whole family will love. It’s also a very special way to incorporate items from a loved one who has sadly passed.

If you have a family member who is in a nursing home or hospital, a fidget quilt is a wonderful way to keep their minds active. Sew together some large squares and incorporate old zips, buttons, textured fabrics, buckles, ribbons and studs etc. Anything that will help to keep their hands and minds busy.

When choosing a quilt pattern, look for designs that are quick and easy to sew. Precuts such as Jelly Rolls and Charm Packs will help reduce your cutting time, and chain piecing makes sewing quicker and more efficient. Large-scale block patterns are quick and easy to sew and they’re a great way to showcase some pretty fussy cut fabric.

Quilting panels are another great idea for large quilts, especially children’s quilts.  Border them with some simple, scrappy blocks or plain borders to achieve the right sized quilt.

If you’re planning on sending your quilt tops to your long arm quilter, make sure you book in early and have them returned to you with ample time to sew on the bindings. If you’re quilting your own quilt tops, consider simple designs such as straight line quilting or serpentine quilting to finish them quickly, and avoid undue stress on your body.

Smaller Sewing Projects: Something Small for Everyone

Smaller gifts for teachers, neighbors, and friends can be sewn in multiples. Sew a batch of coasters, mug rugs, placemats or gift bags and combine them with some store-bought or home-baked items to create the perfect gift.

Free Pattern- Christmas Mug Rugs
Free Pattern- Christmas Mug Rugs

You can find my free Christmas Mug Rugs pattern (shown above) HERE.

A mug rug with a pretty coffee cup and home-baked cookies makes a lovely gift and shows someone you care and appreciate them. Gift bags or pouches can be filled with an assortment of personal items such as nail polish, notepads, pens, jewelry, sewing supplies, kitchen gadgets and gardening tools. Christmas themed placemats and coasters can be gifted with plain tablecloths, china, coffee mugs etc. to add a homemade touch to their dining table.

One of my favorite gifts for children is books. Sew a bright, cheery cushion top and include a pocket in the back to store their favorite book. A library bag will also encourage children to read and you can include a few of your favorite books to add to their library collection.

Gifts do not need to be elaborate. A few years ago I made a basket of simple pincushions and left them on the table at my mother in laws. Every time a nurse, cleaner or neighbor visited they chose their own pincushion to take home as our gift for helping us with her care.

I also like to include a small item in the Christmas cards I send to my family and friends, and last year I included some Fabric Star Hangers. Cards will be disposed of but these little ornaments can be used every year on their Christmas trees.

You can find my free Fabric Star Hangers pattern (shown below) HERE.

Fabric Star Hangers

Planning Decorations: Deck the Halls

Christmas decorations also make beautiful gifts, and they will be displayed for many years to come. Advent calendars and tree skirts are very popular but also consider mini quilts, bunting, cushions, Santa sacks and table runners.
A Christmas apron or oven gloves would make a lovely gift for your Christmas lunch/dinner host, along with a nice bottle of wine and a promise to clean all the dishes.

You can find my Christmas Mini Quilt Patterns (shown below) HERE.

Yuletide- PDF Pattern
Nutcracker- PDF Pattern

Sewing Group: Sewing Together with Friends

Sewing together as a team keeps us motivated and focused. Organize a sewing group with a few friends and meet as often as time allows. Inspire each other with new ideas and techniques and offer a hand to those struggling with their Christmas sewing deadlines; you can hand sew the binding of a quilt quickly if everyone grabs one side and starts sewing!

It’s also a great way to share your sewing supplies. You can save money by buying items such as batting in rolls and sharing as a group or selecting fabrics from each other’s stash.

Special Gifts: The Wishing Tree

Don’t forget those who struggle every day to provide for their families. In Australia, we have Wishing Trees set up to collect gifts for children of all ages. A hand-sewn quilt, doll, cushion or jacket will bring much more comfort and security to a child than the latest gadget or toy.

Sew something bright and cheerful and pop it under the Wishing Tree. Be the reason someone you have never met smiles on Christmas Day.

Consider an Online Shop: Fill it with Handmade Items

Shopping from home is more popular than ever before, so Christmas is the perfect time to open an online store, such as an Etsy shop. Everyone loves the look and feel of handmade items but not everyone can sew or has the time. Make multiples of Christmas ornaments and stockings, hair accessories, library bags, cushions, advent calendars, tree skirts etc. and sell your items online.

Promoting your online business early will allow you to take custom orders and work with your customer’s one on one to make their Christmas shopping stress free. Be aware of shipping times as the postal services will be inundated with Christmas deliveries during this busy time of the year.

Good Luck!

Sewing gifts for Christmas is rewarding and lots of fun. Make sure you have an achievable plan in place and allocate time to sew your projects. Put on your favorite Christmas music and show everyone just how much your care with a gift that you have sewn especially for them. You can’t buy the joy these gifts will create!

Christmas Star- Free Quilt Block Pattern

National Sewing Month: Enter for Your Chance to Win a Janome Sewing Machine!

Contest Rules:
  • There is a maximum of one extra entry per person. The extra entry will be based upon a comment left on this post that includes #NationalSewingMonth. Duplicate comments are not tallied.
  • The winner will be selected at random from the comments on this page and the entries on the contest page.
  • The winner will be contacted on the morning of October 1st, 2018.
  • Email Address provided in their account (please do NOT leave your email address in the comments--you already provided it when you created your account).
  • You have until September 30th, 2018 at 11:59pm EST to leave your comment on this post. Comments posted after that will not be counted.
  • Contest open to anyone 18+ in US and/or Canada. Excludes Quebec and Puerto Rico.

How far in advance do you start crafting for Christmas?
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I usually plan in September, but I am usually rushing to finish on Christmas Eve! Great tips to help me do better this year. #NationalSewingMonth

I usually start sewing for Christmas around September or October when the autumn season arrives. When the days are shorter and the air is cooler, that is when I really start to feel like getting the machine out and making gifts. #nationalsewingmonth

Thanks for this article! You have given me lots of ideas! I am definitely making mug rugs and pot holders this year. You have given me so many more wonderful ideas! #NationalSewingMonth

Great article!! I do plan on making small pouches or mug rugs this year for friends. I made quilts for all my siblings and their spouses last year so I'm going easier this year! #NationalSewingMonth

This year I started in August because I am making table runners and quilts, I believe in making handmade gifts #NationalSewingMonth

This year I started in August because I am making table runners and quilts, I believe in gifting handmade items

I try to work on my Christmas gifts during the year, yet I still end up behind at the last minute. These are some great ideas for quick gifts! #NationalSewingMonth

I try to start as early as I can, but, September always seems to be the time that works out for me. #NationalSewingMonth

Every month should be national sewing month!

I can hardly wait to start making the mug rugs.I normally start Christmas projects in August, so I'm a little late this year! #NationalNationalSewingMonth Thank you for the ideas!


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