Easy-to-Sew Handmade Gifts for Most Ages and Occasions

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Do you remember a time when you unwrapped a gift and a warm fuzzy feeling spread through your heart and filled you with joy?

Have you ever opened up a gift that was perfect AND handmade by a friend or family member?

I bet that warm fuzzy feeling spread throughout your entire body and maybe even brought a tear to your eye.

There is nothing like receiving a gift that was made especially for you.

When an occasion comes up where you want to give a gift, your sewing abilities provide the perfect opportunity for you to make a personalized gift that will bring someone that unforgettable warm fuzzy feeling.

A little more than a year ago, I rediscovered how much fun it is to sew. Sewing became a way for me to practice self-care and be creative at the same time.

As a result, when I started thinking about Christmas gifts, I knew I wanted to sew gifts for my family.

Christmas 2019 has come and gone, but the gifts I made were a big hit with everyone and will be enjoyed for years.

The 9 different types of gifts I made aren’t just for Christmas but can be given for any occasion and are appropriate for most ages.

Most are simple to make and require only basic sewing skills.

NOTE: One reason these gifts were such a hit with my family members and friends was that the fabric I selected had a personal connection with each person. Using themed fabric is an easy way to personalize gifts. I had a lot of luck this year finding unique fabric at Spoonflower.com.

1. Pillowcases

Pillowcases in a themed fabric are an easy to sew handmade gift.
Top pillowcase for my youngest niece. She likes elephants, art, pink, and purple.
Middle pillowcase for my youngest nephew. He likes rhinos and his favorite color is blue.
Bottom pillowcase for my oldest nephew. He is really into The Office.
These three fabrics came from Spoonflower.
Dog lovers pillow case is an easy to sew handmade gift.
My son’s girlfriend is a dog lover. Their dog, Rosie, loves the pillowcase, too!

All the kids got super simple pillowcases for Christmas from the 5-year-old to the 26-year-old.

It was the fabric selection that made the pillowcases extra special for me and them. (In addition to the fabrics seen above, there was sushi, outdoor biking and hiking, and fabric from a quilt made by Grandma.)

After all, who wouldn’t want a pillowcase that displays something they love or enjoy?

2. Pennant Banners

Sports themed pennant banner is an easy to sew handmade gift.
My sister-in-law is a Patriot’s fan.
Christmas themed pennant banner is an easy to sew handmade gift.
My mom isn’t into sports so much, but she loves a silly flamingo.

I don’t know what it is about pennant banners but I love making them and giving them as gifts!

Maybe it’s because they are like a celebration on a string and can hang from almost anywhere for any occasion.

Sports themed pennant banners have been my most popular gift to give this year and not just for Christmas.

This is another gift that doesn’t take long to make and everyone who has gotten one, has loved it!

3. Pillow

A pillow doesn’t sound like a very exciting gift but what it’s made from makes it extra special.

My sister loves Walter, the little dog she and my niece have.

Searching for fabric in Spoonflower, I found this fun piece:

Unique fabrics are great to use in easy to sew handmade gifts.
Walter is a chihuahua mix and this looks just like him.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time and didn’t get the pillow made by Christmas. However, I wrapped the fabric up in a box so my sister had a gift from me to open.

Updated: January 20, 2020 – My sister finally got her Christmas gift!

I made her a square pillow with pom pom trim and a round pillow with fringe.

Walter loves the pillows, too!

4. Scrunchies

Scrunchies are an easy to sew handmade gift.

When I found out my youngest niece was interested in hair accessories, scrunchies were the first thing that came to mind.

Scrunchies are super easy to sew and don’t take long to make.

For that person in your life who wears a ponytail, scrunchies may be just what they need!

5. Recipe Kitchen Towels

Recipe tea towels are an easy to sew handmade gift.

This was one of my favorite gifts to give because it provides a connection between generations.

A great tutorial on Spoonflower explains how to turn handwritten recipes into tea towels.

You may have to work covertly to get the handwritten recipes, but any subterfuge is well worth the effort.

6. Lanyards

Lanyards are an easy to sew handmade gift.

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, I made lanyards for my work badge. The fabric for each lanyard represented something connected to that month.

When I made the decision to retire mid-year in December 2019, one of my teacher friends asked me what I was going to do with my lanyards.

The day before winter break, I gifted her will all the lanyards. She was thrilled and immediately put on the December one.

Lanyards make a great gift for anyone who has to wear a badge for work or school.

7. Drawstring Bags

Drawstring bags are an easy to sew handmade gift.

My husband asked me to make him a bag for his safety goggles that could be hung off his saw so he could find them when he needed them. This was back in August.

He forgot he had asked me to make them and was super excited when he opened his gift on Christmas and saw not one but three different bags (one for each of his saws).

Drawstring bags are easy to make and can be used as gift bags for any gift or occasion.

8. Zip Ornaments

Zip ornaments are an easy to sew handmade gift.

Two of my nieces are 18 and 20 years old. They wanted money.

Both of them did receive a pillowcase, but I wanted to give them a little cash, too. Instead of putting the cash in an envelope or card, I found a pattern for Zip Ornaments.

There are three sizes of ornaments. I made both girls the medium size pouch and put a swivel D-hook at the top so they could attach it to their backpack, purse, or keys.

The zip ornaments can be used to hold not just money, but driver’s license, lip gloss, headphones, and other small items.

Like the drawstring bag, the Zip Ornaments can serve as the gift bag, too.

9. Welder’s Cap

handmade welder's cap
I included a layer of batting to keep his head warmer and quilted the brim.

The welder’s cap was a request from my brother. He wanted something to keep his head warm during the cold Massachusetts winter.

After a brief search, I found a free pattern and tutorial on Instructables. It was necessary to create a login in order to get access to the free pattern.

My plan was to make him three welder’s caps in themed fabric, but I wasn’t 100% sure about the size. I made a practice cap and sent that to my brother. ( I live in Texas.)

The practice welder’s cap is what you see in the pictures above. It fits a little snug so I will make the next size up when I use the themed fabric.

The welder’s cap was the most difficult to sew out of all the gifts. There are multiple seams as well as a lining that must be sewn together.

Update: April 10, 2020

The sewing process was easier on the second cap which was made from themed fabric. The fit was perfect.

sports themed welder's cap

The third welder’s cap was the fastest because I figured out I could do some chain sewing.

The fabric was from a flannel shirt of my dad’s (he passed away Dec. 2013) and is my favorite. (I wanted to keep it for myself.)

flannel plaid welder's cap

9 Handmade Gifts for Most Ages and Occasions

When you’re searching for easy-to-sew gifts, look no further. Any of the following gift ideas are appropriate for most ages and occasions.

Let’s Connect

My goal at The Ruffled Purse is to support, empower, and inspire you to sew and make wonderful things for yourself, your home, and others.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at nicki@theruffledpurse.com and we can work together to get it figured out!

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  1. The pennants are so cheerful, and you’re right, they just add a little bit of festive to any occasion. The recipe tea towels are such a wonderful way to remember those family recipes too!

  2. Hi again Nicki, Each Christmas I have tried to make a gift for the staff and residents of our Retirement Center. It has to be used by both male/females. One year I made Christmas trees out of fabric, put a cord for hanging on a tree and also a pin on the back so it could be put on their tops. Then last year I made the jar openers plastic shelf material on one side and pretty material on the other, something useful and discovered they also were great in the kitchen sink for my dishes. I am trying to think of something for this year that I can make up fast, meaningful & etc. Thought about the package of wooden stars I have, paint gold, hang from xmas material and maybe even a bell on there some way that could be pined on their tops. It would be a treat for making it thru quarantine for months in our apts. They would get a gold star right? It has to make up fast, not cost too much but bring a smile to all I give them to. At least 50 or so, can not make the over 200 really. Any suggestions?? Love reading your web site and blog. You make my day. Marge

    1. Thank you, Marge! You’re so thoughtful and it’s great that you’re thinking ahead. The symbolism of “earning” a gold star made me smile. I think that’s a great idea. Something else I thought about is fabric drink coasters. They fit all of your requirements. Consider making one (or two) per person. One side of the coaster could be Christmas fabric and the other side could be a fabric that doesn’t have a holiday focus. https://theruffledpurse.com/how-to-make-fabric-drink-coasters/ If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know. ❤ Nicki

  3. Thanks for the insight into your craft world. I too have made cushion covers and pillowslips with the fabrics matched to the recipient. Another use for tea towels is to sew two together to make a “bag” for a kitchen themed gift. I have been in a slump sewing wise this week as my mind is focusing too much on Spring CLEARING my craft and sewing resources. My sewing and embroidery machines are calling but I can’t concentrate.
    Hoping to try out some of your suggestions soon.

    1. Great idea for the tea towels, Jess. Thanks so much for sharing! One of my readers recently told me, “Sew a little every day and if you can’t, just sit by your sewing machine.” Good luck with your spring clearing!

  4. Those caps are the Bee’s Knees!!!!!! After the neck tie quilt, this will be in the queque! And the ret of the ideas! Thanks so much

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