My name is Paula, and I am a terrible gift-giver. You know how some people know exactly what to get as a gift no matter who the gift recipient is? Well, that is the opposite of me. The best I can do is give a gift card and leave the job of selecting the gift to the person who will enjoy it.
I also have a terrible time figuring out what I want when asked to select a gift. I am beyond grateful that I don’t need anything—heck, I cannot think of anything I want because I have everything that matters to me. This list is inspired by both sides of me, the one who cannot find the right gift to give, and the one who cannot find a good gift to get.
A sewing machine can open up a whole new world. If you are gifting someone who is starting to sew, a great beginner option is the Brother CS7000x, the newest version of the wildly popular CS6000i (a machine that I owned for many years). Price: $219 on Amazon. If this is too steep, The Brother CS5055 is $159.99 on Amazon. If the sewist in your life needs an update, I highly recommend one of the Juki Exceed series. I have the HZL-F400, and I love it! Price: $688.00 with accessories on Amazon.
If the sewist in your life has been sewing for some time, a serger is a great gift to help with finishing seams and knits. The most popular serger is the Brother 1034DX (my first serger was a 1034D, now discontinued). Price: $289.99, on sale for $244.98 on Amazon. My current and beloved serger, the Juki MO654DE, is discontinued, but you can find it on Amazon for $366.71. The SINGER Professional 14T968DC Serger Overlock has great reviews. Price: $549.00 on Amazon.
If it looks like the sewist in your life has it all, carefully inquire about a coverstitch. This is a machine for sewists who work with lots of knits. The Brother 2340CV is one of the most affordable options at $489.00 on Amazon. I have (if you said Juki, you guessed it right!) a Juki MSC-1500 that I am still learning how to use. It is a bit more expensive at $649.00 on Amazon.
Every sewist needs a well-furnished sewing tool box. Here are the essential items, and a few that are just too good not to have.
A sharp pair of scissors is a must. My current favorite is the Guggenhein IX 9” shears ($44.98 but on perpetual sale for 50% off from the website). It handles nicely, and it is black—a plus if the sewist in your life is a goth like I am. Another great yet more affordable choice is the Fiskars 9″ Razor Edge Fabric Scissors Softgrip shears ($27.99, on sale for $18.85 on Wawak).
Other options for scissors are pinking shears (Wawak has the 8″ one for $29.41 on sale for $17.95). These are great to finish seams or reduce bulk on seams. A thread clipper is essential in preserving the fabric shears from having to cut threads. This pack of 12 mini black thread cutters can make for an adorable and super useful gift as clippers tend to disappear in the sewing room. On Amazon for $9.95.
Wanna score extra points? Go for a specialty pair like these Gingher 8” Serrated Knife Edge for slippery fabrics ($54.99 without a discount at Joann), these duckbill Gingher 6” scissors ($44.99 without a discount at Joann) for precise seam grading.
If you are looking for something that looks super fancy and is still very useful, embroidery scissors are the answer. They can get into very tight places, helping clip hard-to-reach corner and curves. They also make great thread cutters. This embroidery kit is available on Amazon for $48.99 on sale for $38.99. Etsy has many options of more ornate embroidery scissors like this goth option, $21.00.
This 6-piece set has all the measuring tapes one could ever need. It has two tapes created for self-measuring—hey, you can be let go of measuring duty! It is $6.99 on Amazon. Want something fun? Go Imagine has these really cute measuring tapes. The steampunk one is adorable ($9.95)!
Glass head pins and ball-point pins are must-haves in any sewing room. You can sew over glass pins, and ball-point pins make pinning knit fabrics much easier. There are so many pins with cute details—colorful heads, heart heads, flower heads—that you can customize them to the gift recipient’s taste. I found these on Etsy from Bubble Witch Cosmetics: bat pins, coffin pins, and solstice-inspired pins. You better believe it, they are already on my list!
The Clover Water Soluble marking pencils are my favorite. They come in a pack of three and last a while if you don’t sharpen them using an electric sharpener (like I did). Price: $7.75 on sale for $5.38 on Wawak. Clover also makes a disappearing fine-point white marker that works exactly as its title says. Price: $6.75 on sale for $3.99 on Wawak.
Tracing paper is very helpful when transferring darts from a pattern to fabric. Sarah Wax-Free Transfer Paper comes in a variety of colors, so get a couple and impress the sewist in your life. To round up your gift, add a tracing wheel and some drafting paper. This double tracing wheel ($8.25 on Amazon) helps mark different seam allowances. I use medical paper—the stuff used to cover examination tables—to draft patterns. Price: $19.99 on sale for $18.12 for two rolls on Amazon.
Sewing Machine Needles
To make life easy for you, there are combo packs that include all the needles a sewist might need. Schmetz sells a combo pack with universal, stretch, and jeans needles and a double needle to hem knits. For less than $10 (on Amazon), you can even get a couple of packs.
Pin Cushions and Pin Dishes
Here, you can shine. Show that you know the sewist in your life with a pin cushion that reflects their personality. You can go with the traditional tomato ($5.49 with no discount at Joann) or look for something more goth like this coffin ($25 on Etsy) or this ring ($10.95 on Etsy) pin cushion.
After enough spill-the-pins accidents, I purchased a magnetic pin dish—and I highly recommend something like this. They are so helpful in catching and keeping pins. They come in a variety of colors and are about $13 (on Amazon). Another cool option is a magnetic pin bracelet ($12.99 on Amazon). I got mine as a gift from my brother-in-law, and I love it.
Chances are if you are gifting someone who already sews, they have a straight ruler. One can never have enough rulers, though. You can expand their collection with bigger straight rulers (like the Omnigrip Neon Rectangle Ruler, 6″ x 24, $29.99 with no discount at Joann) and a French curve (like the Dritz Styling Design Ruler, $21.99 with no discount at Joann)—a game-changing tool when it comes to modifying or drafting patterns. You can also buy drafting kits like this one from Amazon for $15.99.
Cutting Mat and Rotary Cutters
In my humble opinion, once you go mat and cutter, you never go back. Cutting knit or finicky fabrics is so much easier with a mat and a rotary cutter. They come in a variety of sizes and colors (black and green; pink and light blue; white and dark blue; navy blue; gray) and range from $65 to $95.
My rotary cutters and the blades—45mm and 60mm blades—are made by Fiskars ($14.97 and $28.99 on sale for $18.78 respectively on Amazon). If you are gifting rotary cutters, look like a hero by adding an extra pack of blades per size, but make sure to buy the name brand ones (2-black/pack, $18.99 on sale for $9.48 and $14.49 respectively on Amazon). I did not have any luck with the generic ones I bought from Amazon. Oh, and add some cut-resistant gloves ($11.99/pair on Amazon) to avoid a trip to the Emergency room!
Have you noticed these oddly-shaped, pillow-like tools that the sewist in your life uses to iron her garments? If not, you can give them the gift of professionally pressed clothing with a tailor’s ham ($14.99 with no discount at Joann) and a tailor’s sausage ($12.99 with no discount at Joann). These deliciously named tools help shape clothing, giving handmade garments a professional finish.
Magnifying Desk Lamp
This is an amazing gift—it combines a magnifying glass with a powerful light. It has helped me so many times when I had to unpick black fabric with black thread at night. I use the one I bought all the time. ($47.99 on Amazon).
This gadget allows the sewist to press the hem while measuring it. It saves time as it combines for two time-consuming steps into one. Price: $14.43 on Amazon.
Thread Spool Holder
Are you tired of finding thread everywhere around the house? I bet the sewist in your life is too. These spool huggers are brilliant! They keep all the thread spools neat and tight, and they look cute! You can get 100 of them for $31.99 on sale for $20.99 on Amazon.
This is a warning: Once a person gets into fabric, there is no turning back. There will never be enough fabric to satisfy a sewist. This is a sure-thing gift: A card to a fabric store. You can go with a big-box store like Joann, a specialty retailer like Mood, or—and even better and more meaningful—you can find a local fabric store and buy a gift card there. Look at you, supporting local business! Your gift recipient can also buy thread, zippers, buttons, and any other notions like this.
Crafty ($8.99/month or $89.99/year; check for deals), Domestika ($6.99/month or $83.99/year; check for deals), Skillshare ($32/month or $168/year; check for deals), Creativebug ($9.95/month or $71.40/year; current deal is 50% off on the monthly plan, making it $4.95/month for life), and Sew It! ($11.97 – 19.97/month, depending on the plan; one payment of $39.99 for the Kids program) offer memberships that allow the user to watch as many classes as they can/need/want. Domestika is a great option for those who speak languages other than English. This is a good option because it gives the gift recipient autonomy to choose what they want to learn.
If you know of a particular struggle your sewist is currently facing, a class might be the perfect gift. Crafty and Domestika offer stand-alone classes. Prices change often as they both run numerous sales throughout the year. Almost every major indie pattern designer offers classes that go with their patterns. These are great if you give them as a combo—the pattern and the class. You can also once again score double points if you find a local fabric store or crafts center that offers sewing classes.
A few ideas:
Hours standing up, hovering over a cutting table, pressing a machine pedal, curling the fingers to hand sew—sewing takes a toll on the body. Why not give the gift of self-care? A massage at a neighborhood spa can go a long way to soothe a tweaked neck or back. Or how about one of the gadgets below? (Please read the instructions for each of these very carefully. I only suggest the ones I have already used, and even then, you are responsible for using them safely).
Hand Massager ($129.97 on Amazon)
Heated Neck and Shoulder Relaxer ($33.99 on Amazon)
Massage Gun (the one I have is no longer available on Amazon; this is very similar; $59.99 on Amazon)
Paraffin Bath ($89.99 on Amazon)
Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat Deep Kneading Massage (the one I have is no longer available on Amazon; this is very similar; $59.00 on Amazon)
You may not know this, but I am obsessed with cats. I lose speech and most of my logical thinking when I see a cat. My cat Pota is the single, most amazing creature on the face of the Earth. I can talk about cats for days. Instead, let me suggest a few cat-related sewing gift ideas for the cat-loving sewist in your life.
- Kitty Buttons, Etsy. $12.06
- Tuxedo Cat Pincushion, Etsy. $25.00
- Plush Cat Pattern, Etsy. $9 on sale for $6.30
- Point Protectors, Etsy. $7.99
- Cat Stickers, Etsy. $4.00
- Cat Sewing Pins, Etsy. $9.00
- Black Cat Rayon, Mood. $16.99/yard.
- Meow Quilting Cotton, Micheals. $6.99/yard.
- Silly Cat Faces Cotton Linen, Etsy. $18/yard.
Every sewist needs to stop sewing some time. A book about sewing can be a great way to give the hands some deserved rest while still keeping sewing in your mind (click on the image to learn more about each title).
- The Dressmaker’s Gift, Nancy Valpy
- A House of Tailors, Patricia Reilly Giff
- Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, Kathy Cano-Murillo
- Sew Deadly, Elizabeth Lynn Casey (first book of the A Southern Sewing Circle)
- The Sewing Machine, Natalie Fergie
- Silk for Feed Dogs, Jackie Mallon
- The Conscious Closet, Elizabeth L. Cline
- Creative Mending, Hikaru Noguchi
- Joyful Mending, Noriko Misumi
- Make, Sew and Mend, Bernadette Banner
- Radical Sewing, Kate Weiss
- Zero Waste Fashion Design, Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillan
Clothing and Other Fun Things
Help the sewist in your life communicate their love of sewing with T-shirts, totes, and other fun everyday items.
- Sewciopath T-shirt, Etsy. $16.98 on sale for $8.49.
- It’s Not Hoarding T-shirt, Etsy. $12.93 on sale for $10.99.
- I’m Sew Into You T-shirt, Etsy. $12.99 on sale for $9.99.
- It’s All Fun Tote, Red Bubble. $25.37 on sale for $19.03.
- It’s Not Hoarding Tote, Teepublic. $20 on sale for $14.
- Fabric Scissors Tote, Red Bubble. $25.37 on sale for $19.03.
- Sewing Not Murder Poster, Amazon. $13.98.
- Cats and Sewing Mug, Amazon. $15.99.
- Keep Calm Mug, Amazon. $12.96.
Happy Holiday Shopping
With so many options, now the difficult part is selection which ones to buy. I hope you can find something on this list that will make the sewist in your life happy. I know I found lots of ideas and will be showering myself with gifts.