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8 Professional Sewing Gift Ideas for Mom, Friends & Sisters

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This is part 1 of my “sewing gifts” series. Today I’m focusing on easy sewing projects to gift to women. Specifically your mom, girlfriends, and sisters.

Everything here is simple enough for beginners to make. Go to part 2 for more advanced projects.

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.

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

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 and cost.

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

Pin this image to bookmark the post for later 🙂

easy sewing gift ideas for women roundup

Contents list:

  1. Premium quality scrunchies
  2. Aprons
  3. Spare face masks
  4. Makeup bags
  5. Yoga & exercise headbands
  6. Reusable makeup removers
  7. Fabric bins for storage
  8. Tote bags for groceries & errands
  9. How to make your gifts more personal (4 tips)

There are another 5 ideas in part 2 that are perfect for DIY women’s gifts.

Related post: 41 sewing project ideas for linen.

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


Gift idea 1: premium quality scrunchies

4 scrunchies in different colors and materials
Featured scrunchies: Lilysilk & Anthropologie.

Scrunchies are a great alternative to hair ties. They’re gentler on the hair and cause fewer snags.

They’re also a quick and small sewing project.

A pack of 5 silk scrunchies from Slip cost £45 / $60! You could definitely DIY this for less using real silk. 

Sure, you can also buy cheaper scrunchies from budget stores like H&M, but the quality is horrible. The stitching is all over the place on 2 out of 4 H&M scrunchies I own. 

By making them yourself, you can seriously up the quality and neatness, while keeping the costs down.

From what I’ve seen in stores, popular colors are black, beige, white, blush pink, and leopard print.

You can make multiple sizes: skinny, medium, and really large.

Sewing patterns you can use:

Sweet Red Poppy has a big range of scrunchie sewing patterns, with and without bows. Here’s the matching video tutorial:

Estimated time:

To cut and sew 1 scrunchie for the first time, give yourself 1 hour.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated cost:
Light weight fabric
Popular materials are cotton, silk, polyester, and velvet. Woven (non-stretch) fabrics are common. Velvet with a little stretch is also used often.
$2-12 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£2-15 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Elastic.
2/8” braided elastic is commonly used. ⅜” is OK too, but I wouldn’t pick anything wider.
$4 for 10 yards at fabric.com

20p for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Sewing machine needles.
I recommend universal needles in size 80/12 for light-medium weight cotton and polyester. Microtex needles in size 70/10 are great for silk and other thin fabrics.
$3 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£2 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com
General purpose hand sewing needles.$7 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£1.5 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com


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

Gift idea 2: aprons

2 linen aprons in denim and cream
Featured aprons: June Home Supply & Magic Linen

Aprons are another item that every household needs. 

Plain and gingham fabrics are stylish options. This is also a great chance to get the novelty fabric out. If you know they love Star Wars, they’ll love a Star Wars apron.

If they’re a gardener or love woodworking, make a workshop apron using tougher fabric. Think cotton canvas. Waxed cotton canvas is great if you want water resistance. Add lots of pockets for holding tools.

Sewing tutorials you can use:

Back Road Bloom has a tutorial on making a classic apron.

Purl Soho has a tutorial on how to make a cross-back apron.

Estimated time:

If this is your first time, block out a full day to cut and sew an apron.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated cost:
Medium to heavy weight cotton or linen fabric.$4-12 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£4-15 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
A universal sewing machine needle in size 90/14. This size is designed for thicker fabrics.$5 at fabric.com

£2-3 at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com

Gift idea 3: spare face masks

3 face masks in floral and navy fabric
Featured: Craft Passion masks (left) and rectangle mask with gathers (right).

If you live somewhere where face masks are widely used or compulsory, gifting some spare masks will be really useful in 2020.

Sewing patterns you can use:

The fitted mask by Craft Passion is very popular (11+ hospitals have recommended it!), and it looks pretty stylish.

Deaconess Health has a popular pleated mask pattern.

A simple rectangle mask with gathers and side channels is my favorite “super easy” design. It looks just like the pleated ones, but it’s much faster to sew.

Top tip: I highly recommend making adjustable ear loops or ties. This way your relative/friend can adjust it for the most comfortable fit, and you don’t have to worry too much about getting the “correct” measurement!

Sewing tutorials:

How to make a rectangle mask with gathers. This is the easiest and fastest design I have seen:

How to make a pleated mask:

How to make the Craft Passion mask:

Estimated time:

If you’re a beginner, 1 to 1 ½ hours should be enough time to cut and sew a face mask. It gets much faster with practise.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated cost:
Tightly woven cotton.
It’s useful to use a different color for the lining and outer fabric, so the wearer doesn’t get them confused.
$2-12 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£2-15 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Elastic.
Skinny elastic goes around the ears easier. Don’t go wider than ⅜”.
$4 for 10 yards at fabric.com

20p for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Ties are an alternative to elastic.
Make your own using fabric strips, 1” t-shirt strips, bias binding, etc.
Matching thread.
Cotton or polyester are ok. I use 100% polyester threads by Gutermann. They’re designed to withstand 95 degrees and hot irons (source).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com
Universal sewing machine needles in size 80/12 for light-medium weight cotton.$3 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£2 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com

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

Gift idea 4: Makeup bags

5 plain and floral makeup bags
Featured bags: Marimekko, Madewell, & Stof & Stil

Many of us carry makeup, tissues, and sanitary supplies in our everyday bags. 

A small makeup bag is a great way to organize these things, so they’re not loose at the bottom of our bags.

You can fill your DIY makeup bag with sample-size fancy makeup. Expensive makeup was a popular request in the forum I studied.

If you’re up for a challenge, I recommend making a see-through one. I own one and it’s SO helpful knowing what’s inside my bag without having to open it.

Sewing patterns & tutorials you can use:

Sewing patterns by Masin has a free curved makeup pouch in 2 sizes.

Here’s how to make a boxy zipper pouch with no raw edges inside:

Estimated time:

If you’re a beginner, give yourself 2-3 hours to make this. You’ll be quilting fabric (optional) and installing zippers.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated cost:
Medium weight woven fabric (in other words, non-stretchy). Eg. cotton and linen.$2-12 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£2-15 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Fusible fleece (for the boxy design).$8 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£9 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Or heavy weight fusible interfacing (for the curved design).$4 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£3-9 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Zipper: the boxy design requires a 14” zip. The large curved design needs 16.5”. The small curved design needs 10”.$2+ at fabric.com

£1+ at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com
Universal sewing machine needles.
For medium weight fabric, a size 80/12 is fine. For thick fabric, choose size 90/14.
$3 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£2 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com

Gift idea 5: Yoga & exercise headbands

2 exercise headbands
Featured: Lululemon & Alo.

Non-slip headbands are good for keeping hair back during workouts. This is a nice gift for any fitness lovers you know. 

It’s also a great scrap-busting idea; it uses very little fabric.

Sewing patterns & tutorials you can use:

Free Time Frolics shows you how to make a wide workout headband. It’s a really simple design, which I love. There’s no printable pattern. It’s just a rectangle that measures 4” x 18”.

Estimated time:

This is a quick 1 hour project.

Materials and estimated costs:

Pick a fabric with 4-way stretch, and ideally, some sweat-wicking powers. The activewear section of fabric websites is a good place to find them.

Material:Estimated cost:
Stretchy fabric, like jersey, ITY, and interlock.$5-15 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£3-12 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com
Ballpoint needle for sewing stretch fabrics.
PS. “Jersey” and “super stretch” branded needles are ballpoint types.
$3 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£2 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com

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

Gift idea 6: Reusable makeup removers

fluffy white diy makeup removers
Featured: Face Halo & Ecosophist.

These are a great alternative to one-use cotton rounds and makeup wipes. Perfect for any makeup lovers you know.

You can make 2 types:

  • Ones that remove makeup with cleansers.
  • Ones that remove makeup with just water, which includes mascara! 

For the second type, you’ll need microfibre towelling fabric. 

Definitely order samples because some materials work better than others. In my experience, the densely woven microfibre towel fabric by Zorb worked best. It removed makeup much better than regular terry towel fabric. 

This idea for water-only makeup removers was inspired by the popular Face Halo’s that sell for $22 for a pack of 3. They use microfibre towelling fabric.

Let your relative/friend know these need to be hand-washed after each use, or the makeup will stain the fabric.

Sewing tutorials you can use:

Construction is really simple. Just cut 2+ circles out, place them on top of each other, and sew a zig zag or overlock stitch around the edge. Done!

You can use a cup as your circular template, or draw a 3 ½” (9cm) circle.

Estimated time:

This is a quick 1 hour project.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated cost:
Scraps of cotton, flannel, or towelling fabric. 
For a makeup remover that works with just water, use microfibre towelling that’s densely woven.
$2-12 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£2-15 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com

$10/£10+ for 1 yard/metre of microfibre towelling by Zorb (I have tested these and recommend them).
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com
Universal sewing machine needles.
Size 80/12 should be fine, but if your layers are really thick go for size 90/14.
$3 for 1 pack at fabric.com

£2 for 1 pack at MinervaCrafts.com

Gift idea 7: Fabric bins/baskets for storage

3 fabric storage baskets in green and floral
Featured: H&M and List Living EU.

We all have random items around the house that need storing. Fabric bins are ideal. Unlike plastic ones, they can be squashed into tight spots.

Sewing tutorials you can use:

The measurements from the video are:

chart showing cutting measurements for tote bag
The corners measurement is what you cut out from the main square.

Estimated time:

I would set aside 1-2 hours for this.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated costs:
Medium to heavy weight cotton.
Eg. cotton canvas or upholstery fabric.
$7 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£7 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Quilting cotton for the lining.$6 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£8 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
Heavy fusible interfacing.
If making a large basket, use extra heavy fusible interfacing.
$4 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£3-9 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
A universal sewing machine needle in size 90/14. This size is designed for thicker fabrics.$5 at fabric.com

£2-3 at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com

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

Gift idea 8: Tote bags for groceries & errands

3 tote bags in khaki green, sand, and check print
Featured: Linen Fox, Zara, Kris Works Co.

These are great for running errands, going to the grocery store, and storing random things.

Sewing tutorials you can use:

This design includes a lining and french seams for a neat finish. The “pattern” is just 1 rectangle that measures 18” x 36” / 46cm x 91cm. 

Estimated time:

I would set aside 1-2 hours for this.

Materials and estimated costs:

Material:Estimated costs:
½ yard/metre medium to heavy weight cotton.
Eg. cotton canvas.
$7 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£7 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
½ yard/metre quilting cotton for the lining.$6 for 1 yard at fabric.com

£8 for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
(Optional) 1.5 yard (1.4 metre) webbing for the handles.$4 for 60” at fabric.com

60p for 1 metre at MinervaCrafts.com
A universal sewing machine needle in size 90/14. This size is designed for thicker fabrics.$5 at fabric.com

£2-3 at MinervaCrafts.com
Matching thread.
I use and recommend ‘sew-all’ polyester thread by Gutermann (it’s strong and lint-free).
$3-7 for 250 yards at fabric.com

£1-4 for 250 metres at MinervaCrafts.com

How to make your gifts more personal

  1. Embroider your relative/friend’s name or initials onto the gift.

You can do this by hand, or use a sewing machine that can do embroidered letters. Here’s a hand embroidery tutorial:

  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!



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Sources:

Mumsnet.com (2019). ‘What do YOU want for Christmas?’. [online] Available at: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/Christmas/3708002-What-do-YOU-want-for-Christmas.

Net-A-Porter. ‘Gifts’. [online] Available at: https://www.net-a-porter.com/en-gb/shop/gifts [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

Harrods. ‘Gifts for her’. [online] Available at: https://www.harrods.com/en-gb/sets/gifts-for-her [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

John Lewis. ‘Gift ideas for all ocassions’. [online] Available at: https://www.johnlewis.com/gifts/c500009 [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

Schmetz. ‘Turn your hobby into a profession with SCHMETZ household needles’. [online] Available at: https://www.schmetz.com/en/household-needles/needle-portfolio/single-needles/ [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

Slip. ‘Pillowcases’. [online] Available at: https://www.slipsilkpillowcase.co.uk/collections/pillowcases [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

Lily Silk. ‘19 Momme Housewife Envelope Silk Pillowcase’. [online] Available at: https://www.lilysilk.com/uk/19-momme-housewife-silk-pillowcase.html [accessed: 19 Sep. 2020]

Biddle Sawyer Silks (2019).‘HOW TO SEW SILK: 10 TOP TIPS’. [online] Available at: https://www.biddlesawyersilks.com/how-to-sew-silk-10-top-tips/

L. Gibson (2017). ‘How to pre-wash your fabric before sewing’. [online] Available at: https://oliverands.com/community/blog/2017/10/how-to-pre-wash-your-fabric-before-sewing.html