Handmade gifts are my favorite to make, especially during the holidays. It's so rewarding adding a personal touch to gift giving that you can't always achieve with a store-bought present. But it never fails that every year when the winter holidays roll around, I'm totally unprepared (or way behind on my to-sew list). I've mistakenly excluded a recipient, the holiday get-together sneaks up on me, or my husband forgets to tell me that his work Christmas party is tomorrow (seriously?!). And when I'm caught off-guard, I can never seem to think of a clever enough gift that is fast, simple and - perhaps most importantly - won't cost a lot.
So I've done you (and me) the favor of rounding up some great tutorials and patterns that are inexpensive and easy, but look like you've made all the effort! Most will take you about an hour to sew together. Some of these are even no-sew. WHAT?!! I know, it's nuts. Actually, it's not nuts, it's just a bunch of really awesome fabric-based DIYs that will make you the handmade holiday champ or gift-giving superstar. Whether it's your brother-in-law, dinner host or secret Santa, you're sure to find one of these tutorials well-suited for that certain someone. Or make one of everything for yourself! No matter who you're making for, these simple DIYs are sure to bring comfort & joy.
For Decorating The Tree
Purl Soho always has great tutorials and patterns on their site and these ornaments are no exception. I love the look of these ecru ornaments on this sparse white tree, but with simple, clean lines these easy ornaments will add a traditional or modern feel to your tree of any shape, size or color. And the best part is you don't need a sewing machine to put these together, so they make a great on-the-go (or on-the-couch) sewing project!
O.M.Gosh. O.M.Gosh. O.M.Gosh! Aren't these little forest animal ornaments super-duper cute?! If the hardest part is cutting the templates and stitching a few French knots, I think I can manage. And if I can do it, you can too. Or if you're feeling less ambitious, these twine wrapped cookie cutter ornaments might fill your holiday crafting fix too.
If you're not in the mood for felt ornaments or sewing but still want to make something, try these fabric pinecones instead! I couldn't believe these didn't have a drop of glue or stitch of thread in them. Using dozens of small appliqué pins and about 1/8 yard of fabric, these pinecone ornaments come together in under 30 minutes and are great for gifting or keeping. Make them scrappy with lots of odd pieces or uniform with a single print. And be sure to check out the other 11 designs in this Ornament Along too for more handmade ornament ideas!
For Decorating The Home
This pillow only uses about a yard of quilting cotton, a smidge of decorative trim (of your choice), embraces the true patchwork style with 2" finished squares, and the free pattern comes with a template for the lovely hand embroidery detail. Finish it up with a simple envelope backing et voila! On the couch, your favorite sitting chair or the guest bed, this cute pillow will add a little holiday cheer to any space in your home.
Not in the mood for making a patchwork quilted pillow? These buffalo check pillows look like you spent all the time and money, but only cost $3 and 30 minutes to make. Well, less the time it takes to go to Target (because the time continuum in there consistently turns 5 minutes into 2 hours) and excluding the other money you spent (because if you can go there and only buy the one thing you went in for, please teach me your ways).
This modern, festive banner is made from canvas and leather, but I'd expect that you could use the same tutorial to create a non-holiday banner without leather! Made extra simple with a no-sew process, this is one decorative gift that has limitless customization options! Write a simple wish or a favorite quote, then gift or keep (or make two and do both!) Hang for the holidays, the season, or year round.
These tiny stockings sew up quick and can be used to wrap your tree, dress your mantle, garnish your stair railing, or become the advent calendar this year! Personalize them with your coworkers' names for decorating your office, your pets names for hanging over their beds, or your family & friends' names for dinner party place cards. If you're not up for making several, make only one to hold a gift card or other small gift. However you use them, these mini stockings are adorable and useful.
For Keeping Warm
Plaid? Check. Flannel? Check. Quick & easy? Check & check. And let's not overlook the versatility of this - think: shawl, nursing cover, picnic blanket, head scarf. And perfectly gender-neutral for guys and gals alike! You had me at No Sew Blanket Scarf.
I'm forever cold. Like, even in an Arizona summer, I could have cold fingers and toes. I live in upstate New York now, where it snows about 5 months out of the year; why I hadn't thought to make myself these sooner, I have no idea. But you can bet I'll be making a set for our home this winter and they will probably get used year-round (by me). Hello stocking stuffers, goodbye cold hands!
If sewing at the last possible minute is your MO, then this one is totally for you. Like the buffalo check pillows, these fleece blankets take only a few dollars and a few minutes to look like you've made way more effort than you actually put forth. With a few yards each of your favorite print and some pretty trimming, you'll have a one-of-a-kind blanket whipped up and gift wrapped in under an hour. And you'll still make it to the party on time if you can do your makeup in the car on the way.
If you're looking to make a blanket with a bit more pizazz, a quilt is what you really need. I've made several of these modern wonky tree blocks and can attest to how quickly come together! Though I haven't made enough for a quilt size (yet), I've made a pillow and have a few orphan blocks that are waiting to be made into something more. Make as many as you want to make a quilt in any size you'd like. Add sashing or borders in solids or scrappy colors. And if you want a little extra inspiration, check out more than 1,200 images on Instagram at #holidaypatchworkforest. I love seeing all of the traditional and colorful variations out there!
For The Kitchen
Coffee & donuts, tea & biscuits, hot cocoa & ..whatever you eat while drinking hot cocoa - enjoy them all on this sweet quilted mug rug. Did you think I forgot to mention milk and cookies? No way! Santa is going to put you on the permanent good list if his midnight snack is left resting on this awesome little mat. (And don't forget to leave a carrot too, for the reindeer).
I love how these holiday coasters are tiny quilts! Unlike many other coaster tutorials which are sewn right-sides together and flipped right-side-out, these are sewn like a mini (or maybe even a micro?) quilt, each having their own binding! Fancies it up a bit. And coasters are a great neutral gift: good for people you love or people you don't much care for but have to give a gift to - like your secret Santa, Bert from accounting.
Is too many hot pads even a thing? I can't say that it is. This patchwork hotpad is easily personalized by choosing prints or colors to suit your recipient. And besides, it's like a little mini quilt! Make it fancy, make it simple, quilt it however you'd like, and bind it in minutes (not hours). A fast finish is a win in my book, and a beautiful & functional one is even better.
Nothing beats a warm cookie fresh from the oven, so gifting cookies is even better when you provide the mix instead! You're saving time (not baking) and you're saving the recipient from letting those tasty treats potentially get stale (because even milk can't save a stale cookie). They get an awesome reusable ticking sack and you're freed up to get back to whatever it is you'd rather be doing - like sewing more adorable holiday crafts!
For Gift Cards
Sometimes the best gift is the one you can buy yourself. But gift cards needn't be bland and thoughtless - dress them up with this stash-busting gift card holder! This one is easy to put together and the recipient can regift it, use it as a gift tag, or even as an ornament! That's way better than a tiny paper envelop.
Okay, so this will hold more than gift cards, but isn't it a great size for packaging cash or gift certificate into something a little more useful and functional? Handmade bags like this also make great reusable gift wrap! No additional paper or bows required.
For more easy holiday sewing ideas from around the web, check out my Handmade Holiday Gifts board on Pinterest. If you have a great holiday craft idea you don't see here, please share it in the comments!