The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter—fall is here! Celebrate with some quick and easy sewing projects. Here are 14 ideas to get you started.
1. Easy Felt Leaf Garland
This project is so simple even the kids can help! Cut leaf shapes from felt in bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Use a template if you want particular types of leaves, or cut your shapes freehand if you prefer. Add extra color and a handmade look by using embroidery floss to edge the leaves with blanket stitch. To assemble your garland, stitch the leaves onto a length of ribbon, or overlap them slightly and use a line of machine stitching to join them all together.
2. Fall Biscornu
Ever heard of a biscornu? The word is French for “curiously shaped” or “quirky” but the name doesn’t quite do it justice. This fun little sewing project is usually done using aida cloth or linen. Two embroidered or cross-stitched squares are stitched together, corners to middles, to form a quirky eight-sided little cushion perfect as a pincushion or an ornament. A pattern of leaves, acorns, pumpkins, or other fall staples makes for a festive design.
3. Autumn Table Runner
Get ready for Thanksgiving with a colorful table runner. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice your favorite piecing techniques, or perhaps a few of those quilt blocks you’ve been meaning to try out. If you’re not really a fan of piecing, try applique instead! It can be as simple as bright leaf shapes stitched to a dark background—jewel tones like emerald green or deep blue look particularly stunning. Try using metallic thread for your applique for a modern take on a handmade classic.
4. All-Purpose Costume Cape
Still wondering what to make for the kids’ Halloween costumes? From superheroes to princesses, vampires to pirates, a dress-up cape goes a very long way. Cut a half circle of fabric with a radius as long as you want the cape to fall. Cut a slight arc in the center of the straight edge to form a neckline, and finish your edges using hems or bias tape. Now add the appropriate type of closure for the costume you’re creating: delicate ribbons for a princess, practical snaps hidden a felt badge for a superhero, fancy frog fasteners for swashbuckling pirates or musketeers. Embellish to your heart’s content, and make sure to get the kids involved.
5. Leaf Collecting Book
For those walks in the park, give the kids (or yourself) the perfect place to store the leaves you find. This project is deceptively easy. Stitch together pages of felt, either by hand or by machine, and add a contrasting color of felt for the cover. A magnetic closure, ribbon tie, button, or snap, will keep your collecting book closed on your walk, and you can transfer your finds into a heavy book to press once you return home.
6. Trick or Treat Candy Sack
What Halloween ensemble is complete without a bag for candy? A simple drawstring bag is easy to whip up in just a few minutes. The real fun is in the decorating! For a witch costume, make a spooky black bag with “Potion Ingredients” stitched into it. A pirate’s bag could be “Treasure,” while a trick-or-treater dressed as a black cat would definitely be trick or treating for catnip. Get creative and have fun with it!
7. Lightweight Fall Curtains
Typically, we think of heavier, darker colors and fabrics for the fall, but with the daylight waning, you may want to take advantage of it. Behind rich, heavy winter drapes to keep out the drafts, add a set of sheer curtains for the daylight hours. These provide privacy and a bit of protection from cold air while still taking full advantage of whatever sunlight you can catch. A good ratio for full curtains is twice the width of your window. For wide windows, you’ll have to decide whether you want to add a seam in the middle of a panel or simple add an extra set of panels instead. With sheer fabrics, seams tend to be particularly noticeable, so another panel may be preferable. See what looks best with your preferred fabric.
8. Cool Weather Wrap
Stylish and cozy, a wool flannel poncho or wrap is a practical fall accessory—and no one would ever guess you’d made it yourself! Prepare your fabric by cutting away the selvedges. You’ll want a nice raw edge for this project. Fold the length of wool flannel in half, and, with the fold at the top, slit the top layer up the center front. Run a line of stitching around the edges of the wrap, and the slit you’ve just created, about ½ inch from the edge. This will allow the fabric to fray slightly, providing a fringed look, without coming completely unraveled. It’s that simple! Use a brooch or belt to keep the wrap closed.
9. Pudgy Pumpkins
This adorable project is a great scrap-buster! Search through your leftover fabrics for a color palette that matches your fall decor, whether it’s a traditional orange pumpkin or something a bit more unique. Stitch these together in vertical strips to form a rectangle, then join the ends to form a loop. Gather the bottom edge, then stuff your pumpkin with batting or fabric scraps. Gather the top edge and stitch closed. Form the ridges of your pumpkin by tying lengths of ribbon, twine, or embroidery floss around your pumkin—hide the knots underneath a glued-on stem, which can be found in the floral section of your craft store, or make your own with twisted kraft paper glued to hold its shape.
10. Flannel Throw Blankets
The night air is brisk! If you’re heading out to a bonfire or hayride, or just want to cuddle up with a mug of cider and a good book, a warm throw blanket is always welcome. Heavy woollen flannel is a great option for this project. Simply hem a length of flannel and you’re good to go. Of course, embellishments are always fun. Add a bit of trim or rick-rack along the edges for a homey look.
11. Stylish Circle Skirt
Full skirts are great for fall, and a circle skirt is a great way to get that volume without having to deal with pleats, gathers, or lots of extra bulk at the waist. They’re also incredibly easy to make to your own measurements. Use a circle skirt calculator to determine the measurements you’ll need to cut out your skirt. Remember to pay attention to whether or not your calculator automatically adds wearing ease and seam allowance. Both of these will require adding a bit to your measurements, or your finished skirt will be unwearable.
12. Felt Drink Cozies
Felt is the perfect fall fabric. Warm, soft, sturdy, and a great insulator, it’s great for practical items , like this drink cozy, as well as fun decor. To make a drink cozy, measure around your favorite mug or cup. Keep in mind your cup may taper. If that’s the case, it may be easiest to wrap a strip of felt around the mug and mark where you need to cut. Stitch into a circle and trim the edges with blanket stitch or add other embellishment.
13. Fleece Pocket Scarf
Polar fleece can be a tad tricky to work with because beneath the soft, fuzzy pile, the fabric is slightly stretchy. This is a great project for beginners working with fleece, however, because it actually requires very little stitching! When you cut fleece, you’ll notice it has a tendency to roll along the cut edges. This allows you to create finished-looking edge without sewing so much as a stitch! To create this scarf, cut a strip long enough to wrap around your neck and still hang to the middle of your thighs. Check the grain of your fabric before you cut to make sure that the long edges of your scarf roll under as you cut. Wrap the scarf as you would when wearing it, and mark the locations of your pockets. Stitch them in place. Add a line or two of stay-stitching below the pockets, four or five inches above the bottom edge of the scarf, then cut the fleece below the stitching to form a fringe.
14. Easy Lace Boot Cuffs
With the arrival of fall comes boot season! Add soft feminine touch to your ensemble with delicate lace boot cuffs. All you’ll need is a length of wide elastic lace trim. The width you choose will depend a bit on your personal preference, but it’s better to go too wide than too narrow. After all, the excess can easily be tucked into you boot. Measure around your calf while wearing a pair of pants you might want to accessorize with these cuffs to get a good idea of the measurement. Cut your trim and stitch. Voila! One-seam boot cuffs. For extra reinforcement, use a serger or zigzag stitch to finish the raw edges of your seam allowance. This will help prevent fraying as the lace rubs against your pants.