5 Gorgeous Sewing Gift Ideas for Women (Mom, Friend, Sister)

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This is part 2 of my “sewing gifts” series. Today I’m focusing on gifts for women that intermediate sewists can make (and beginners who want a challenge). Go to part 1 for beginner-friendly projects.

Like part 1, this post is about sewing gifts for your mom, girlfriends, and sisters.

I’m sharing professional-looking gift ideas that are highly-requested in forums and best sellers for department stores.

You can make these DIY’s for birthdays, mothers day, christmas, thanksgiving, or as spontaneous gifts.

A big source of inspiration for me was this Mumsnet forum, where nearly 100 women shared their gift wishlists. I also looked at what luxury department stores were selling, including Harrods, Net-a-Porter, and John Lewis.

I love the idea of recreating popular store items. We can make our versions more personal, use better quality materials, and in some cases save money DIY’ing rather than buying.

In this post, I include:

  • Links to sewing patterns and tutorials you can use.
  • Detailed materials lists.
  • Estimated time.

I also have tips on how to make these popular items more personal, so the receiver feels like you made it just for them.

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sewing gift ideas for women

Contents list:

  1. Silk sleep mask
  2. Silk pillowcase
  3. Oven mitts & potholders
  4. Comfy loungewear & pajamas
  5. Fanny packs for travel lovers
  6. More professional-looking ideas
  7. How to make your gifts more personal (4 tips)

I highly recommend going to part 1 for 8 more gift ideas for women. These projects are beginner-friendly, so they’ll be much quicker to sew. Perfect for that last-minute gift!

Related post: 41 sewing project ideas for linen.

Related post: Loungewear sewing project ideas (with 3 free patterns!)


**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Gift idea 1: silk sleep mask

2 silk sleep masks
Featured: Luxdeco & EllaBellaGift.

Sleep/eye masks are great for mid-day naps. I recently bought one in silk and the fabric feels SO soft on the skin. 

However, it’s a luxury item that many can’t justify buying for themselves (I needed one for a sewing tutorial, so “blog expense” was my excuse haha). 

The popular Slip sleep mask sells for £50 / $65! I think you can DIY this for less.

It’s perfect for those looking for small sewing projects only. This takes up very little fabric. The construction process is also straightforward.

The tricky part will be cutting and sewing silk. If you apply fusible interfacing to the fabric, it will be much easier to work with.

I would make a matching fabric gift bag to “wrap” the mask in. If you want to add something else, a small perfume or fancy chocolates would go well with this gift.

Replacing the silk with cotton is also an option. It will be much easier to sew.

Sewing pattern you can use:

I have a free sleep mask pattern and tutorial available. It’s an oversized style with great coverage.

Sewing tutorial:

This video shows how to make a cotton sleep mask. 

For silk, change the instructions for the elastic casing. You don’t want topstitching on this material (it might look puckered). 

  1. Fold the short ends of the fabric strip in half, “nice” sides facing each other. 
  2. Sew along the raw edge. 
  3. Use a safety pin or fabric turner to pull the tube inside out. 
  4. Press the tube flat with an iron. Done!

Here are helpful tips for sewing silk:

Estimated time:

If this is your first time making a sleep mask, expect to spend 1-2 hours cutting the fabric and sewing it. Add more time for silk. You’ll need to be more careful at each stage of the process. You’ll probably spend longer testing tension settings too.

Materials:

  • Silk fabric, specifically silk charmeuse and silk satin. These types have the glossy shine and liquid drape that we want. You can also get cheaper satin fabrics made from viscose, acetate, and polyester.
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing to support the silk fabric.
  • Batting/wadding or fleece is important to make the sleep mask soft.
  • Elastic; 1/2″ is a nice width.
  • (Optional) If you want, you can use a layer of black fabric on the inside to act as blackout fabric. Black absorbs light better than other colors.
  • A microtex needle in size 70/10. Manufacturer Schmetz recommends this for silk.
  • (Optional) Tissue paper. Place it above and underneath the silk when sewing to stop puckered stitching. Tear it off after you sew a seam.

Gift idea 2: silk pillowcase

beige and brown silk pillowcases
Featured: Slip & EllaBellaGift.

Silk pillowcases are all the rage at the moment. They’re widely believed to be kinder to skin and hair, and they apparently prevent wrinkles (I haven’t fact-checked this claim). Ultimately, they feel amazing to sleep on.

If you make this, I recommend picking a color that matches your recipient’s home decor (if they’re strict about their color scheme).

Washing instructions:

Let them know how they should wash and dry the pillowcase. If you have pre-washed your fabric, this makes the pillow machine-washable. 

Sewing pattern company, Oliver + S, recommends hand washing and line-drying silk to pre-wash it. 

A silk wholesaler, Biddle Sawyer Silks, says “While most silks nowadays are generally fine to stick in the washing machine, always make sure you double check first. Ask for advice from the salesperson and if they recommend dry cleaning only, definitely avoid putting it anywhere near your washing machine. Take it to a dry cleaners, or simply soak it by hand in warm water if you have any concerns.” 

If you don’t pre-wash, let them know it’s dry clean only.

Pillowcase measurements you can use:

Note: these are final measurements and don’t include seam allowances.

Lilysilk, a shop that sells silk pillowcases, uses these measurements for their pillows:

  • Standard: 19” x 29” / 50cm x 75cm
  • King: 19” x 35” / 50cm x 90cm
  • Square: 25” x 25” / 65cm x 65cm
  • Toddler: 13” x 17” / 35cm x 45cm
  • Travel: 11” x 5” / 30cm x 40cm

Slip, another shop that sells silk pillowcases, uses these measurements:

  • King size: 20” x 36” / 51cm x 91cm
  • Queen size: 20” x 30” / 51cm x 76cm
  • “Euro” square size: 25” x 25” / 65cm x 65cm

Sewing tutorials:

There are 2 popular ways to make a silk pillowcase: the envelope style or the invisible zipper style. The zipper stops the pillow insert from being seen, so it looks nicer. I highly recommend using an invisible zipper foot for this.

Here’s the envelope style with french seams:

Here are helpful tips for sewing silk:

Estimated time:

If this is your first time sewing a pillow or working with silk, I would set aside 2-3 hours to cut the silk, test machine settings, watch a tutorial, and sew it. Don’t forget to pre-wash and dry your fabric  before.

Materials:

  • Silk fabric, specifically silk charmeuse and silk satin. These types have the glossy shine and liquid drape that we want. You can also get cheaper satin fabrics made from viscose, acetate, and polyester.
  • A microtex needle in size 70/10. Manufacturer Schmetz recommends this for silk.
  • (Optional) Tissue paper. Place it above and underneath the silk when sewing to stop puckered stitching. Tear it off after you sew a seam.

**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**


Gift idea 3: oven gloves, mitts, & potholders

quilted oven mitts
Featured: Magic Linen & Food 54.

This is one of those items that every household needs. Oven mitts are vital when you’re reaching deep into an oven. Potholders are great for handling hot dishes and pans.

These items get grubby and burned quickly, but aren’t replaced often. This makes them a great gift idea.

Solid colors will look lovely, but this is also a chance to use fun novelty fabric. 

There are lots of oven glove and potholder designs to choose from:

  • Square potholders with or without a hand pocket.
  • Oven mitts with a thumb.
  • Rounded oven mitts with no visible thumb (it’s hidden underneath).
  • A long double-oven glove.

Sewing patterns & tutorials you can use:

Professor Pincushion has a pattern for the oven mitt design.

Estimated time:

If this is your first time, block out a full day to cut and sew an oven glove/potholder. The quilting is the part that takes a while.

Materials:

  • Medium to thick cotton fabric. For example, cotton canvas.
  • Cotton batting.
  • A heat resistant layer. I use and recommend Insul-bright.
  • A universal sewing machine needle in size 90/14. This size is designed for thicker fabrics.
  • Cotton thread.

Gift idea 4: cute & comfy loungewear

brown sweatpants and grey pajama set
Featured: Net-a-Porter.
grey leggings and cardigan, and black cami top
check print pajamas and silk robe

During my forum research, clothes were the most highly requested gift idea. 

This is a tricky one, however. 

Most of us are pretty specific about what clothes we like and dislike, and what suits our shape. 

Comfy, plain loungewear clothes are much easier to gift. This is stuff that won’t be worn outside, so I think people will be less picky.

Ideas include:

  • Pajamas (a great chance to use fun fabrics like Star Wars prints, if that’s something the recipient loves).
  • Cami tops (silk and cotton are ideal).
  • Matching hoodie/jumper and sweatpants.
  • Dressing gowns.
  • Cosy cardigans.

Pick the softest fabric you can find.

Sizing:

If you’re unsure about sizing, err on the side of caution and go slightly larger so you know it will fit. Choose designs that are adjustable. For example, cami tops with adjustable straps, and pajama bottoms with drawstrings. 

If you have access to their clothes, have a sneak peak and see what sizing they wear. 

Choosing stretchy fabric will also help with fit, because it gives you leeway.

Sewing patterns you can use:

Most of these patterns come with sewing instructions, but some of the free ones don’t.

Estimated time:

I recommend giving yourself a day or 2.

Related post: 41 sewing project ideas for linen.

Related post: Loungewear sewing project ideas (with 3 free patterns!)

**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**


Gift idea 5: fanny packs for travel lovers

3 fanny packs
Featured: Herschel, Sarah Kirsten & Urban Outfitters.

You might know these as bum bags. They’re perfect for holding your phone and money, while keeping your hands free. Perfect for travel lovers who don’t want to carry big bags everywhere.

Sewing patterns & tutorials you can use:

Spoonflower has a free sewing pattern for a half-moon shape fanny pack. Read their sewing tutorial here.

Here’s a sewing pattern for a box shape fanny pack ($12). It comes with instructions after purchase.

Estimated time:

I would set aside 2-3 hours for this.

Materials:

  • Thick fabric, like cotton canvas.
  • Quilting cotton for the lining.
  • Medium weight interfacing.
  • Zipper. 7” and 12” zips for the box design. 12” zip for the half-moon design.
  • 1” webbing.
  • 1 buckle for 1” webbing.
  • 1 slide adjuster for 1” webbing.
  • 60” of double fold bias binding (for the spoonflower bag).
  • A universal sewing machine needle in size 90/14. This size is designed for thicker fabrics.

More DIY gift ideas:

Head to part 1 for 8 more ideas. The list includes:

  • Aprons
  • Scrunchies
  • Makeup bags
  • Resuable makeup removers
  • Headbands
  • Fabric bins for storage
  • Tote bags
  • Spare face masks

How to make your gifts more personal

  1. Embroider your relative/friends name or initials onto the gift. You can do this by hand, or use a sewing machine that can do embroidered letters.
  1. Use a fabric that relates to their hobbies and interests

For example, if you know someone LOVES Harry Potter or Star Wars, you can use the official fabric to make something for them. 

Fabric.com has a HUGE range of licenced fabric, from Mickey Mouse to the New York Yankees. For UK buyers, MyFabrics.co.uk has some options.

Top tip: if you’re struggling to find official fabric, go to the kids bedding section at a large department store. They often have famous characters printed on bed sheets. Buy the biggest size you can and re-use the fabric.

  1. If you often see your relative/friend wearing a certain color, or if their home has a color scheme, keep that in mind when choosing fabric colors.
  1. If you see that they already use a certain item, and need a replacement or more of them, that’s a good item to make. You know it will get used a lot. 

Scrunchies are a great example. It’s something many people just need more of. They always seem to go missing!


Related post: Part 1 – easy sewing gift ideas for women.

Related post: 41 sewing project ideas for linen.

Related post: Loungewear sewing project ideas (with 3 free patterns!)