5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a quilted table runner with this free tutorial. suzyquilts.com #quiltedtablerunner #ChristmasDIY

Welcome to your one-stop holiday shop for sewing Christmas gift ideas! Are you ready? Grab your red and green fabric and let's sew!

With the change of seasons and holidays quickly approaching, most of us are running a bit low – low on time, low on energy, and maybe even a little bit low on joyous holiday spirit. Even though I can’t magically wrap all of your presents or find that elusive gift for your friend who seems to already have everything, I can give you a few tips on squeezing in some sewing, even if the spirit isn’t flowing. (The holiday elf in me needed to rhyme right there.)

Make Something, Just Make It Small.

While thinking about writing this post, I kept going back to that scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice is desperately trying to fit through a teeny tiny door and the only solution is to drink a shrinking potion labeled “Drink Me.”

Do you remember this scene? Well it occurred to me that when I’m busy and have just a small window of time, or shall we say, a small door of time, there’s absolutely no point in trying to cram my normal-sized self through it! I’ve gotta drink first...the shrinking potion that is. haha! 😉

You still following? Reading this might feel a bit like you’re the one chasing a white rabbit. Let me say it more clearly – if energy or time or Christmas spirit is small, just make small things! Not only do small handmade items make the sweetest gifts, they can also serve as a wonderful catalyst to get you sitting at your sewing machine without a huge commitment.

Trending patterns!

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And what kind of a holiday elf would I be if I didn’t leave you with some practical ideas? Below are five sewing Christmas gift ideas to make this year of giving your best one yet!

The Reflections Wall Hanging and Pillow extension pattern is a beginner-friendly modern design. These two projects are perfect for a fat quarter bundle or using up scraps!

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#1. The Perfect Small Sewing Christmas Gift: A Quilted Pillow

Remember that friend who already has a bunch of candles, a monthly subscription to every magazine, and a standing weekly manicure appointment at her local salon? Well, you know what she absolutely does not have? A handmade pillow by you! (What was that? You made her one last year? Not making this easy on me, I see... OK OK, skip to the next idea…)

The SQ pattern shop is flush with fabulous pillow patterns, including: 

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a quilted pillow with red and green fabric. suzyquilts.com #Christmaspillow #pillowpattern

These patterns work in tandem with this FREE zipper pillow tutorial. Below is a photo of my very pregnant belly from 2018. Oh gosh did I hate being pregnant...

Be sure to check out my hand quilting tutorial to add personally stitched touches like this!

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a quilted pillow with red and green fabric. suzyquilts.com #Christmaspillow #pillowpattern

#2. The Perfect Fast Sewing Gift: A Table Runner

The amazing thing about table runners is there really is no “standard size.” You can pretty much just sew until you run out of steam and then call it a table runner. They can be square-ish, rectangle-ish, long, short, wide, skinny – it’s up to you! You can scrap together some improv piecing, or make a handful of blocks from your favorite quilt pattern.

When making table runners, I actually like to take an added shortcut and avoid binding by sewing the three quilt layers facing each other and the flipping it right-side out like a pillow. If those instructions confused you, you can find a very clear step-by-step tutorial on how to make a table runner here. There are lots of pictures, so you don’t even have to read the instructions. Hooray!

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a quilted table runner with this free tutorial. suzyquilts.com #quiltedtablerunner #ChristmasDIY
5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a quilted table runner with this free tutorial. suzyquilts.com #quiltedtablerunner #ChristmasDIY

#3. The Perfect Time-Saving Gift: Appliqué Placemats

This sewing DIY is so fast and easy I almost feel guilty whenever I give them away. Inevitably the recipient assumes that I must have labored for hours, when really I whipped this project up in a couple afternoons. The key to making these placemats lickety split is to (wait for it...) start with pre-made placemats.

Don't think of it as "cheating." It's more like buying a box of cake mix to make that really impressive spice cake everyone loves to eat on Christmas Eve. Nobody needs to know PLUS you don't look harried and worn out for holiday photos. Total win!

For the full tutorial on how to make these placemats, check out A Festive & FREE Christmas Placemats Tutorial.

A FREE DIY Christmas placemats tutorial! This raw-edge applique sewing tutorial includes supplies, steps and a video tutorial PLUS free modern holiday applique templates! suzyquilts.com #ChristmasDIY #appliquetutorial

#4. The Perfect Inexpensive DIY: A Rope Bowl

I have seen tutorials for these floating around social media for a couple years and it still remains on my To-Make list. Let this year be the year! From what I can rope together (yes, pun very much intended), it looks like you only need a basic cotton clothesline from your hardware store and cotton thread for your machine.

All you do is slowly zig-zag stitch the rope to itself while coiling it around in a bowl shape. I will need to watch a video on this since after writing that it seems to me you’d end up with a rug rather than a bowl. Maybe it’s a choose your own adventure kind of thing! Rug or bowl – we may not know until it’s finished! 

If you feel the holiday spirit seeping back in, you can even add scraps of your favorite fabrics wrapped over parts of the rope. This gives the rope fun little pops of color. AND if you’re particularly invested in this gift, you could make a couple nesting bowls of different sizes. I’d say that would cover a holiday and a birthday, easy.

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make pretty little rope bowls! suzyquilts.com #christmassewing

#5. The Perfect Scrap-Busting Christmas Gift: A Pouch

A universally loved and easily interchangeable pouch! Depending on who the gift is for, you can say that it’s a pencil pouch, a makeup bag, a going out clutch, a coin purse, a doggie treat case, a pills pocket, a toiletries bag, a lego container or even a scented sachet (just leave out the zipper and sew up all sides).

You could even make five of the same bag and call them different things on the labels! Just make sure the recipients don’t know each other, otherwise the personalized (or non personalized) effort will be lost.

There are tons of different pouch patterns on Etsy. A few that I really like include:

5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts! Make a simple pouch! suzyquilts.com #christmassewing

I could go on and on. There are LOTS of bag patterns out there! One thing to note, however, is if you’re opting for the doggie treat case, just know that zippers can be tricky when the recipient has no thumbs. (Scrappy made sure I added that reminder.)


What are your favorite holiday DIY gifts? Share your ideas in the comments! And even though the picture below has nothing to do with holiday sewing...after finding that Sugar POP pillow photo with my pregnant belly I searched my phone for other photos of what life was like during my holiday season last year (2018).

Oh yikes...let me tell you, it ain't pretty. I was SO sick all the time. In this photo I'm wearing my favorite sweatshirt and sipping ice cold ginger ale. Through it all my best friend, Scrap, never left my side.

16 thoughts on “5 Small and Inexpensive DIY Sewing Christmas Gifts

  1. June says:

    Love your emails and ideas. It’s awesome and wonderful your husband was will to try a mask on with you: ) I do love your ideas and find them so refreshing. I’m in a bit of a holiday slump…Trying to find something to make for my coworkers as I do every year. Thanks for the jump start.

  2. Suzanne Shepherd says:

    Oh, Suz, I love the bottle of Tums lying on its side on the nightstand. LOL I also love all these cool holiday ideas. I am low on energy and enthusiasm this year and this post made me feel inspired to get out of my cozy chair and DO something. The ornament post from a couple days ago is also terrific…looks easy, fun and attractive. Thanks for the holiday boost! Other Suz

  3. Maggie Drafts says:

    Thanks,Suzy. (I can’t believe how big your baby is already! He is beautiful!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and talent! And, thanks for reminding me to use my Babylock sashiko machine for giving my sewing gifts that handmade look! Since I can’t do handsome now, it really does look as though I have done it by hand!

  4. Maggie Drafts says:

    Thanks,Suzy. (I can’t believe how big your baby is already! He is beautiful!) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and talent! And, thanks for reminding me to use my Babylock sashiko machine for giving my sewing gifts that handmade look! Since I can’t do handwork now, it really does look as though I have done it by hand!

  5. Janet G says:

    Love all of these! I’m adding the pillow and rope bowl to my project list but might not end up gifting them… to anyone other than ME!

    I’ve gifted a fun/pretty coffee cup with a matching quilted “mug rug” before with great results… you can start with the cup and make something to match, or start with the quilted piece and find a coordinating cup… homegoods is a GREAT place to find unique cups! They’re great scrap-busters or use an orphaned block… and the time commitment is less than other projects too!

  6. Elle Irby says:

    I love these ideas! I made quilted key fobs last year and quilted pouches the year before. This year, I think i’m going to do a mix of clear vinyl and fabric pouches and some quilted improved journal covers ala Christina Cameli’s Quilted Gifts class on Bluprint (and maybe some Market Totes, too)!. Pillowcases are also super fast and easy (and fun). And mug rugs! Perhaps with homemade cookies, if I can’t afford to buy a beautiful artist-made mug for every recipient! I guess I better get my butt in gear and start making stuff. I’ve been sick for a week and a half with no end in sight…which makes it tough! But the show must go on!

  7. Sylvie says:

    I don’t know how you do it, but you’re always soo funny. Very inspiring and informative to, but so so funny. I’m afraid we will lose you to book writing. Not only quilting books but stories und stuff. Thank you 🙏 for being you 😉.

  8. Jules says:

    You are so clever with all your good ideas! Thankfully, the in-law side quit doing gifts several years ago! My extended side never did once we all left the house. Makes the season less expensive and easier. And I’m free to buy my own gifts with the sales! ☺️

    Your Christmas this year will help cancel our last year’s memories. What a doll!! 💙

  9. dianne says:

    I love that Sugar Pop pillow! The pattern is so creative and the colors you chose are just beautiful. I’m wondering what fabrics you chose for the pillow? I see a few Robert Kaufman bundles that look close but would love to approximate your colors. Thanks!!

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I believe most of these fabrics are Michael Miller Cotton Couture. That’s my favorite line of solids, and since this was made from scraps, I can only assume those are the scraps I’d have around. My best guess is Cotton Couture Teal, Jade, Fresh, Mint, Cranberry, Pumpkin, Toffee, a Moda homespun stripe I got years ago and Essex linen in Natural as the background.

  10. Peggy Campbell says:

    I made a mistake when I purchased three patterns on Black Friday. I didn’t make an account so can’t access the patterns. I sent an email on Friday but I have not received a response.

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