Give thanks: 11 sewing projects to make Thanksgiving special

Halloween is here! We wish you a happy and safe one.

After all the little ghosts and goblins have gobbled up their goodies, it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday on the way—Thanksgiving! Are people coming to your home, or are you going to theirs? Sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes? Pumpkin pie or apple pie? Green beans or brussels sprouts? And where is that recipe for grandma’s stuffing?

There’s a lot of Thanksgiving prep ahead, and the food we prepare makes the annual gathering special. Memories are baked right in! Things we sew for the gathering can turn into traditions too. Below we’ve rounded up a few ideas for the kitchen, the table, and more—for your home or for your host’s!


“Give Thanks” is the theme of the holiday—so much so that three different Martingale authors designed projects to share the sentiment! Whether you love embroidery, wool appliqué, or a little of both, you can choose to make one or all of these wall-worthy pieces:

Give Thanks framed embroidery
Give Thanks framed embroidery by Kathy Schmitz, from
Stitches from the Harvest

Greet family and friends with warmth and welcome by staging this framed stitchery near your home’s entrance. The simple message will inspire fellowship, while the beautiful scene will inspire oohs and aahs.

Give Thanks wool wall hanging
Give Thanks wool wall hanging by Maggie Bonanomi, from
Pure & Simple

This Give Thanks wall hanging can be part of your decor all through the fall. And Maggie’s wool-appliqué letters are so fun to stitch! Learn her easy technique in this video.

Give Thanks Penny Rug
Give Thanks Penny Rug by Bonnie Sullivan, from
All for Fall

A cornucopia that’s overflowing with autumn’s bounty will remind everyone of all they have to be thankful for—and fusible appliqué makes the scene quite simple to sew.

Gathered Blessings Quilted Basket
Gathered Blessings Quilted Basket by Kim Diehl,
from Simple Harvest

Fill this pretty basket to the brim with autumn goodies of your choice and display it on any flat surface you’ve got! Another idea: provide pen and paper and ask each guest to write what they’re thankful for; then toss the papers into the basket. During dinner, pass the basket around and have each person read a message.

Thanksgiving table runners
Table runners from
All in a Row Again (clockwise from top left: Tricolor Stars by Lisa Bongean, Stars and Geese by Betsy Chutchian, and Autumn Wind by Kathy Schmitz)

Elevate your Thanksgiving table with color, texture, and pop! Any of these runners will easily steal center stage (no offense to aunt Della’s green-bean casserole, of course).

Basket Liner
Basket Liner by Natalie Barnes, from
Kitchen Stitches

You worked hard to bake that homemade bread—make sure it stays toasty warm! Keep it covered with this clever bread-basket liner that you can use for Thanksgiving and all year long.


Great Rewards Kitchen Towels
Great Rewards Kitchen Towels by Kathy Schmitz, from
Stitches from the Harvest

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Arrive at your destination with a gift for the host and hostess—won’t they be pleasantly surprised! Purchased tea towels are the key to these quick projects. Simply embroider the squirrel and bird motifs in brownwork, wrap, and you’ll be ready to give as well as receive.

Sassy, Happy Pot Holders
Sassy, Happy Pot Holders by Kim Niedzwiecki, from
Kitchen Stitches

Pot holders are a perfectly-timed Thanksgiving hostess gift. They can be put to use right away! Stitch up a pair of these cute and scrappy pot holders, which include a built-in safety feature—Insul-Bright batting, which protects busy hands from high heat.

Wine Glass Charms
Wine Glass Charms by Jackie White, from
Kitchen Stitches

These rickrack charms make it easy to serve your guests their drinks without worrying about a mix-up. Sew a set in no time and give your host a long-lasting gift—you’re guaranteed another invite!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Thanksgiving sewing roundup—and that you’ll find a little time for sewing fun as you count down to the big feast this year!

What kinds of sewn items have become a part of your Thanksgiving traditions? Tell us in the comments!

22 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I made embroidered fall pot holders one year and they come out every Thanksgiving & Christmas. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it kicks off Christmas Season. We celebrate the whole season. My daughter makes it special for all of us.

    —Phyllis on October 31, 2018
  • love that bread bowl liner!

    Karen on October 31, 2018
  • Very thoughtful and beautiful projects. Thank you for sharing. I give thanks every day that I live in this great land.

    —Stephanie Woodward on October 31, 2018
  • I have a ceramic set of many pieces – a Thanksgiving feast on a table, male and female Puritans and male and female Indians sitting at the table. There is also a dog with a dish of food as well as a cat with a dish of food. I made a leaf quilt to set this set on. Everyone always looks forward to seeing this every Thanksgiving.

    —Ann West on October 31, 2018
  • Embroidered and framed “Give Thanks “ hostess gifts. Potholders, placemats and napkins. Mostly given away because I’ve not hosted thanksgiving in years!

    —Susan on October 31, 2018
  • Napkins and placemats!

    —Mary Kastner on October 31, 2018
  • These are very thankful projects for the home. I am thankful and need to make a Thanksgiving grateful project.

    —carol on October 31, 2018
  • A table cloth that my daughter embroidered with everyone’s name. (We have had several new additions). Each signed his name on the cloth and my daughter stitched it for a Christmas gift for me. It’s very special!

    —Mary on October 31, 2018
  • Table runners and table toppers

    —Geri Alper on October 31, 2018
  • My soft harvest Pilgrim dolls are displayed in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday.

    —SandyMay on October 31, 2018
  • Our placemats

    —Theresa J on October 31, 2018
  • I like making Thanksgiving placemats and zippered bags made on my embroidery machine.

    —Fran Claassens on October 31, 2018
  • Tablerunners, but I love Kim Diehl’s basket

    —Linda Ahn on November 1, 2018
  • I’m pretty new at this, so I haven’t sewn many things. I did make a table runner that we use daily; after all, Thanksgiving isn’t about one day…it’s about every day!

    —Teri D. Gailey on November 1, 2018
  • I have several table toppers in various sizes that I bring out for fall. They immediately warm up the house with their fall colors.

    —Renée Welton on November 2, 2018
  • I have made table runners to celebrate the season (fall). The bread basket liner is a pattern I could use!

    —Cheri Bergeron on November 2, 2018
  • I like to make potholders. Everyone can use them and I can use up my scraps.

    —Lillian K on November 2, 2018
  • I haven’t made anything especially for thanksgiving for a few years but seeing these projects has made me want to get the books for next year.

    —Barbara on November 2, 2018
  • I love to decorate whether i celebrate or not. So out will come the decorations I have lovingly collected over the years along with the quilts and runners etc I made out in to play according to the occasion. But I love Christmas and fall the most.
    Now I plan to make fall related quilts more as this year I saw fall in its full glory and it truly lived up to its praise I heard from my family, American friends all these years.

    —wilma on November 2, 2018
  • I pull out a couple table runners that I have made in past.

    —Donna F on November 2, 2018
  • I have made a tablecloth and napkins for most holidays. For Thanksgiving I turn my Jack-o-lanterns around and they become fall pumpkins.

    —Linda Towers on November 3, 2018
  • Table runners and hanging dish towels. Based on others’ responses, I think I need to make some Thanksgiving potholders.

    —Pearl on November 3, 2018

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