It’s always nice to get a present, but opening up that gift to find something handmade is just a little extra special. Knowing that someone took the time and effort adds a connection you just don’t get with store-bought gifts. At the same time, though, it can get expensive to make all your gifts by hand, especially over the holiday season when your budget is already being pulled in many directions at once.
So we compiled a list of inexpensive, handmade projects that make perfect gifts and can be created by even novice sewists. Check out these 15 easy projects that can all be made for under $9.
1. Quick and Easy Placemats
These are an excellent all-occasion gift. They’re quick and simple to sew (check out this tutorial for guidance) and require no special equipment. Remember to clip your corners before you turn the mat right-side-out for nice sharp finished corners.
2. Sleep Mask
For city-dwellers especially, extra light at night can make it hard to get your beauty sleep! Thankfully, these adorable little sleep masks are quick and inexpensive to make. You could probably knock out several in an afternoon! These make great gifts for friends and family, of course, but matching masks would also be a nice gift for your bridesmaids if you happen to be a bride-to-be who likes to sew.
3. Luggage Tags
Make it easy for your friends to spot their luggage at the airport baggage claim with these one-of-a-kind luggage tags. Depending on what’s in your scrap fabric pile, you may not need to buy anything at all to make these snazzy tags. The primary components are regular quilting cotton and bias tape, and to make your own bias tape, all you need is a rotary cutter (or scissors) and an iron. Here’s a tutorial on how.
4. Tablet Stand
Creating a tablet case with a built-in kickstand may not be a sewing project, but there’s a fun alternative that is. Have you ever heard of a tablet beanbag chair? It’s a handy stand that props up your tablet at just the right angle for reading or watching videos. It’s a quick and easy gift that’s a little bit quirky and completely unique. Check out this tutorial for tips on creating your own!
5. Makeup Brush Kit
Know any beauty queens? They’ll love a kit like this to keep their makeup brushes neat and tidy, especially while on the go. This is another project you can make using scrap fabric you already have on hand, or you can pick up quilters’ fat quarters at your local fabric shop very inexpensively.
6. Pocket Warmers
These microwaveable little packs of uncooked rice make great kids’ gifts. They’re so simple to sew, the kids can even help make them! Use felt or flannel for a warm, snuggly feel. These hand warmers were made from upcycled flannel shirts!
7. Dinner Napkins
Paper napkins are fine for everyday meals, but who doesn’t want to pull out some fancy cloth napkins to impress the dinner party guests? These napkins are also a great way to practice mitered corners, which you can use when making everything from tablecloths to pocket squares.
8. Drawstring Bag
These little drawstring backpacks have become super popular as promotional items. Bags plastered with the logos of sports teams and shoe companies are a dime a dozen. This handmade version is not only sturdier, it’s a whole lot cuter as well! Use a sturdy, washable fabric to stand up to the wear and tear of regular use.
9. Reusable Lunch Bags
Brown paper lunch bags? Not anymore! These adorable bags are made of denim, but any sturdy fabric will do. Tuck some tasty treats inside for a gift that’s doubly fun!
10. Custom Tea Towels
Create custom tea towels for a housewarming gift or wedding present! Make sure you get a little extra fabric–These are so simple to make, you’ll probably end wanting a few for yourself!
11. Upcycled Apron
It’s so popular these days to “upcycle” old materials into whole new projects, and it’s thrifty too! This clever tutorial shows how to turn a pair of pillowcases into an apron that would make an adorable hostess or housewarming gift.
For the fashionista on your gift list, these vintage-inspired headbands are a quick and easy last minute gift. Use a knit fabric (you can even upcycle a t-shirt) for a soft texture and stretch that makes the headband comfortable to wear.
13. Upcycled Sweater Slippers
Who doesn’t love a pair of fuzzy slippers? If you’ve got an old sweater lying around, give it new life as a pair of handmade slippers. You can ensure a perfect fit by borrowing a shoe to trace around when you’re creating the soles of your slippers.
14. Bow Ties
It’s easy to find lots of handmade gift ideas for your girlfriends, but guys can be harder to sew for. This can be especially tricky if you want to surprise them and taking measurements is out of the question. Luckily, handmade bow ties make a very dapper gift. You can make them in a wide variety of colors, textures, and shapes. Best of all, if you make them adjustable, you won’t even need a single measurement.
15. Cell Phone Wallet
For those friends and family members who can’t go anywhere without their phone, a cute wristlet that combines a wallet and a phone case keeps everything in easy reach without the hassle of lugging around a bag. This tutorial walks you through creating a phone/wallet combo, with a pattern that can be resized to fit any kind of phone.
With even basic sewing skills, your options for handmade gifts are virtually limitless. Customizing colors, fabrics, and even decorations lends such a personal touch–and it’s fun! What inexpensive handmade gifts do you like to sew? Share them in the comments below!