Goodbye, Halloween, hello holiday season. The most wonderful time of the year may be gone, but that does not mean that I don’t care for end-of-year festivities. This is the time when makers start on their gift lists, planning how they will sew a multitude of projects and have them ready for whatever gift-exchange event they will be attending. If you are planning to give handmade gifts this year, how about doing so while reducing your pile of scraps in the process?
A big pile of scraps is one of the not-so-glamorous sides of sewing. But you can use a lot of these scraps in sewing projects that can also double as thoughtful handmade gifts. Here is a list of easy ideas that will make great holiday gifts—and help clear your sewing space of all those fabric scraps.
For the Humans:
Have a friend or family member who practices yoga? Give them their own yoga bolster. Make it really special with a fun fabric, and stuff it with all the scraps. This is one of the best scrap-busting gifts on this list. This is an easy project that can be done in an afternoon. The most time-consuming aspect is shredding all the fabric pieces to make the stuffing of the bolster. You can find the full tutorial here.
These cases are super easy to make. In a couple of hours, you can make cases for the whole family or office. I had some leftover fleece from sewing the two doggie coats, so I used it to line my cases, but you can use fabric and interfacing instead of fleece. Yes, you can use all those annoying pieces of interfacing here! You can also give an old sweater new life by using it as lining. The step-by-step instructions are here.
Reusable Makeup Rounds with Bag
Use those ultra-soft knit scraps to make reusable makeup rounds. Make a cute little bag with more fabric scraps, and this gift will do double-duty in reducing your scrap pile. Hello Sewing has a great You Tube tutorial and a free downloadable pattern. This project is so easy, you can even hand sew the rounds.
Help someone in your life enjoy a more pain-free life with this heating pad. As someone who suffers from all sorts of joint crankiness, I know how useful a heating pad can be in managing pain. Chasing the Look has a quick and easy You Tube tutorial that will get you going in five minutes.
Roll-up Pencil Case
This is a gift I am about to give myself. This pencil case from the Helen’s Closet blog is a great gift idea for the artist in your life, or maybe you just want the gift recipient to get their pencils and brushes organized already. No matter the underlying motivation, it is a thoughtful and useful gift.
For the Fur Babies:
Doggie (or Kitty, if you can ever get a cat into it!) Coat
I used this free pattern from the Wholefully blog to sew two doggie coats. Closet Core also has a free PDF pattern that you can download here. If you have an old sweater ready to be recycled, you can use this tutorial from DIY Network to turn it into a no-sew doggie coat.
Doggie or Kitty Bed
Much like the yoga bolster, this project is great to help you clear your fabric scrap bin. Sew Yeah has a great You Tube tutorial and a downloadable pattern that will guide you through the whole process. Sew and the City’s tutorial goes one step further and shows you how to use scraps for the bed and the stuffing.
For the House:
The simplest of all scrap-busting projects for the home. Make a set of fun napkins by matching your gift recipient’s personality to an unusual fabric. Not enough scraps for a whole set of napkins? Pick a color palette and create color-coordinated napkins. Throw in a kitchen towel, and see those scraps leave the bin at record speed. Sewing Report has a YouTube video with a great tutorial on mitered corners that will give your napkins a super professional finish even if you are a beginner sewist.
Another quintessential scrap-busting project, pillows are easy to make. You can use your scraps as stuffing, you can use them to create the pillows, and you can even use scraps as embellishments. You can check out my tutorial on making simple pillows here. If you want to try your hand at appliques using scraps, this tutorial on the Bernina blog shows you how.
Another scrap-busting powerhouse, this free floor pouf pattern from Closet Core will have you wondering why you are making this as a gift. The whole project was designed to make use of all of your fabric scraps. The nicer-looking scraps make up the pouf itself while the misshapen bits become stuffing. A smaller pouf makes a great footrest while a bigger one adds more seating to any room.
With so many options of gift ideas, this might be the year I stop giving my money to giant corporations (talking to you, Amazon!) and start working on a more sustainable gift-giving practice. Okay, so I just want to get rid of my scraps, but no one needs to know, right?
Do you like to give handmade gifts? What are you planning to make for the holiday season? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your gift ideas.