Make-in-a-Day Gifts to Sew for Christmas

Kitchen Garden PincushionsWhen your sewing machine is Santa’s workshop, stitching quick and easy patterns makes the elf work run smoothly—and with elf-appropriate cheer. So in this post we’re sharing 12 ideas for gifts you can sew in just one day or less. Whether you’ve got time to spare or next to no time at all, you’ll find plenty of inspiring patterns just perfect for when you want to make a gift by hand but make it quickly.

The patterns below are not only speedy to sew, they’re also quick and easy to get. You’ll find them at for only $4.99 or less. Simply download, print, and start stitching your way to a completed Christmas gift list.

Twelve Days of Quick Handmade-Gift Ideas

1. Stitched-in-a-Flash Quilt

small quiltsWith any of these three quilt gifts, you could easily start in the morning and have your quilt finished and bound by the end of the day. The quilted wall hangings shown above left and center are supersized blocks. Simply choose a giant-sized block, sew one, and you’re done! Just as easy is Tammy Kelly’s "Wings of a Dragonfly" pattern, shown above right, which combines two simple blocks to make a stunning but quick-to-assemble quilt.
Once you’ve got your quilt top finished, look here for quick ways to quilt it. Or consider skipping the quilting and/or binding altogether. Instead, try framing a few quilt blocks Gerri Robinson–style. Search your UFO pile for any unused blocks or half-finished rows. Wouldn’t they be pretty in a frame?

2. Secret-Recipe Apron

ApronsGrab a few scraps, start stitching after lunch, and you’ll have a finished apron in time for celebratory afternoon tea. For an especially meaningful gift, consider matching your apron fabrics to a favorite family recipe. Then tuck the recipe into the apron’s pocket. Pair ’30s prints with Great-Grandma’s famous cinnamon-bread recipe, or find a funky ’70s print to go with Aunt Georgene’s Jell-O salad instructions. If your recipient is a crafter rather than a cook, consider sliding a few art supplies into the pockets of your handmade apron, as shown above right.

3. Dinner Party Grocery Bag

Dinner Party Grocery Bag

For a gift that’s quick to make and sure to be welcomed by the recipient, sew a reusable tote bag perfect for groceries, beach gear, picnics, and more.

4. Evening Essentials Wristlet

Evening Essentials Wristlet

When a big bag is too much to carry—and too time-consuming to sew—the wristlet comes to the rescue. It’s perfect for fancy evenings out or anytime you want to travel light.

5. Knit-Not Scarf

Knit-Not Scarf

This year, give style for Christmas by sewing a fast and easy fabric scarf. Try cotton for crispness, flannel for warmth, or velvet for shine. You can even experiment with fancy trim on the ends for a bit of jaunty swing.

6. Lovely Lavender Sachets

Lovely Lavender Sachets

Super easy and perfect for using up small scraps, extra buttons, and odd bits of lace, sachets make lovely gifts. Just fill them with dried lavender and let the recipient enjoy the fragrance of summer flowers year ’round.

7. Cheery Potholder and Oven Mitt

Cheery potholder and oven mitt

Show your favorite cook how much you appreciate her efforts by presenting her with festive potholders. Do Grandma and the grandchildren enjoy baking together? Matching potholders and oven mitts might make their kitchen adventures that much more fun.

8. Colorful Pocketed Place Mats

Colorful pocketed place mats

Brighten the table of someone on your gift list by sewing easy pocketed place mats. For bonus points, whip up matching napkins!

9. Scene-Stealing Pincushions

Scene-stealing pincushions 1
Scene-stealing pincushions 2

For a sewing friend, elevate pin storage beyond the practical. Who knew pincushions could be so lovely (and so quick to make)?

10. Zippered Travel Pouch

Zippered Kit Bag

Speedy for the sewist and invaluable for the traveler, small zippered bags can hold makeup, toiletries, or jewelry. Pump up the fun by choosing contrasting but complementary prints for the exterior and lining.

11. Ruffled Needle Case

Sticks of the Trade Needle Case

No idea what kind of yarn to buy the knitter in your life? Give her a place to store her needles instead by stitching a quick storage case, complete with textural ruffled edge.

12. Quick-Sew Table Runner

Table runners

The workhorses of quick-change decor, table runners stitch up just as swiftly as they transform a room. Stick with simple piecing, as in the striking blue and brown runner at right, or add a splash of quick fusible appliqué, as in the runners at left. Either way, you’d have any of these stunners finished in a jiffy.

Do you have a go-to pattern for speedy sewn gifts? If so, share your secret in the comments!

7 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Ganz tolle Seite!!! Merry Christmas

    —Frauke on December 10, 2013
  • any quick idea I have especially modern quilting is a must. I watched tula pink showing off some techniques she has for quilt making and it is no measure slicing and dicing and then square up multiple blocks and sew those few together for a large size.. I was impressed so this idea is my new go to quickie!

    —diane on December 10, 2013
  • Table runners! I particulaly link alternating left/right tree tops with paired trunks down the center. These can be customized with fabrics to suit the season. Right now, I am working on an "year round" set of Asian tree prints for my MIL for Christmas.

    —Lynne on December 10, 2013
  • Colorful Christmas Trees or autumn colored leaves fabric for napkins. One side is colorful, when opened, using the attached tree trunk, another usually plain fabric is shown. Tablerunners and Single Irish Chain quilt tablecloths for quickie gifts.

    Merry Christmas to all or however you celebrate the Holidays.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on December 11, 2013
  • Love the dinner party tote bag and the ruffled needle case! I make one block table centerpiece mats as my "need it fast" gifts!

    —Kathy Aho in Minnesota on December 12, 2013
  • I use free-motion quilting practice blocks, cut a rectangle (long & wide enough to wrap a Nook, Kindle, or other electronic storage device + seam allowances), machine bind the edges, fold each end toward the other to make a pocket & flap, sew the pocket’s three sides, attach velcro to the pocket & flap, sew a decorative button on the flap, & voila! beautiful useful gift & I promise nobody has ever criticized my quilting skills! I’ve also pieced together smaller block pieces and covered the joining seams with rickrack or other sturdy trim. This project may sound complicated but it’s all done by machine except for the button which can be omitted. I am not the originator of this idea, got it from a magazine or internet, then used as inspiration. Happy holiday sewing & quilting to All!

    —Gail on December 14, 2013
  • laundry savers for garments large or small- a small bag for bras, or socks, or smalls or whatever your washing in the general laundry- great for teenagers, simply place item/s in bag zip it up and throw in washing machine, or wash in shower and hang on line or dry in dryer. Make them as small or as large as you like, woolens can also be protected in these from fluff off other clothes. I make them with zips for ease of use.

    —ruth on December 9, 2014

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