5 quick last-minute gifts to sew

With just a few days until Christmas, I thought some of you might appreciate having a few last-minute ideas for gifts to sew. So I’ve put together a little roundup of patterns and tutorials from my blog for you ALONG WITH A NICE PINTEREST-WORTHY IMAGE* just in case you’re still scrambling for ideas!

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1 // Lickety Split Bag: This pattern takes the win for quickest gift that also is sure to impress. If you have a couple of yards of coordinating fabric and a couple of minutes to tape this pattern (it’s only five pages I think?) together, you’ll have a gift in no time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this one as a gift; it’s useful as a shopping bag, diaper bag, gym bag, weekend bag…need I go on?

2 // Showoff Bag: This pattern of mine is one deserves some love because it’s an easy project that comes together quite quickly, making it a great gift. A yoga mat nestles nicely between the straps, by the way.

3 // Buttercup Bag: Probably deserves credit as the pattern that launched my business, the smaller sized handbag is free, and the larger size comes with the purchased pattern. Quick and easy and cute!

4 // Chevron Wristlet: This free pattern and tutorial is another great gift — if you don’t have time to piece together the strips, just use the main template for the outside and you have a super-quick gift.

5 // Pom-Pom Scarf: This is another free tutorial on my blog. I still wear this scarf more than any other I’ve made.

Sewing for kids? Check out my quick gifts to sew for kids post!

For more gift ideas, you can visit my pattern shop and click on “children’s patterns” to find more sewing patterns and free ideas, or check out my tutorials page on the blog!

*I am not above producing Pinbait. And this image took for-freaking-ever to make, so I’m also not above pointing out how much work went into it. haha!!

Last minute gifts to sew for kids!

With just a few days until Christmas, I thought some of you might appreciate having a few last-minute ideas for gifts to sew. This blog has a bunch of tutorials and patterns that tend to get lost in the archives, but lately I’ve noticed (on the sidebar, where the most viewed pages show up), that two of my older fleece tutorials have been getting a bunch of love. That gave me the idea to put together a few ideas for you ALONG WITH A NICE PINTEREST-WORTHY IMAGE* just in case you’re still scrambling for ideas!

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1 // Snowblossom Hat: This super adorable made-to-measure fleece hat is usually sewn for girls, but if you leave the flowers off, it also makes a great gift for your favorite boy (bonus: it’s a free tutorial on my blog!).

2 // Handmade Pajamas: I made these cosy sets for Clementine and Elliot last year (and they still wear them, by the way!) by pairing the Charlie Tunic with the Parsley Pants; both patterns are incredibly versatile on their own, but put them together and you have a recipe for instant cute.

3 // Dragon Slippers: I think the ric-rac down the center and buttons are a great addition to these fleece slippers, but if you wanted to make them more big-kid-friendly, you could just make them without the embellishments. This tutorial is made-to-measure as well, so it’s great for kids of all ages!

4 // Backpack: My little backpack pattern comes in a small toddler size and is really easy to enlarge for a bigger kid — clear instructions for that are included in the pattern, as well as how to line it — so if you’re looking to make something that will both impress everyone and be practical, look no further. (FYI — this one is not a *quick* sew!)

5 // Big Butt Baby Pants: These pants are quick and easy and they make great gifts for babies and toddlers still in diapers. Give a whole set in fun colorful fabrics. For notes on gathering the cuffs as shown here, visit this post.

For more gift ideas for bigger people, check out my 5 Quick Gifts to Sew post!

Or visit my pattern shop and click on “children’s patterns” to find more sewing patterns and free ideas, or check out my tutorials page on the blog!

*I am not above producing Pinbait. And this image took for-freaking-ever to make, so I’m also not above pointing out how much work went into it!!

Christmas Prezzie: Tree Skirt for Elli

Watching the last of January creep up on us I knew I had to sneak in just one more Christmas gift before I lost my chance. At least my Christmas tree is down. Of course, my outside lights are still going on automatically every night because it’s SO COLD I can’t even bring myself to go out and unplug them.

This is the tree skirt I made for seester Elli. It’s a shameless spinoff of one she had her eye on at Mahar Drygoods. She was covering up the bottom of her tree with towels or somesuch and I knew that had to stop.

Materials: red felt, colored ric-rac, gingham bias tape (I know you can purchase this ready-made some places, but I made it with my bias tape maker), cotton scraps.


: : Under the tree at mom and dad’s for Christmas : :


So that’ll be it for the Christmas posts this year. Coming up soon here on MBR, something I’ve alluded to in the past but never officially produced: KNITTING!!! Also, for those of you who have been begging for the return of the Itty Bitty Baby Dress, I can tell you with confidence that it will be back up very, very soon.

Christmas Prezzie for Kricket

Warning: There’s alot of randomness in this post but I’m just going to go with it because it’s late…

That person in the picture above is my baby seester Kricket. Isn’t she beautiful? She is wearing the shirt I made for her for Christmas. When Krick was little her favorite color used to be orange. Don’t you hate it when people remember one thing about you from a really long time ago and keep giving you things like that even though you’ve stopped liking it? She liked it anyway, even if her favorite color is currently green. I think?

After making this top I wanted to keep it for myself but I didn’t. Just thought I’d throw that in too.


In this horrid bathroom-mirror shot you can see the puffiness in the sleeves and a wee bit of our toilet and that I’m wearing red pants. Which actually looked pretty awesome. But maybe not for going out in public.

Pattern: A combination of McCalls 5388 (View D) and the basic t-shirt from Built-By-Wendy’s SEW U Home Stretch. The bottom half and sleeves were the from the McCalls, the top half was the BBW. I just laid the two pattern pieces on the table with the underarm corners overlapping and traced them onto the fabric.

Modifications: I added pleats in the front and in the back, added a piece of bias tape to the inside for the elastic casing all the way around, added a folded piece of rectangular fabric to the neckline to create that cowl-y look. I think that may have been 8″ wide (to make a 4″ neck folded).

And since it was all knit I didn’t have to do any hems — I just let the fabric roll up on it’s own. I found this fabric in the sale section at JoAnn. It’s a nice heathered orange that reminds me of Tang.

Birding Bag for Dad

Happy New Year everyone!

As promised, here’s another one of my handmade Christmas gifts, this one for dad who needed something to carry his binoculars and birding book in whilst birding.


I used the back sides of an old pair of cargo shorts that Mr Rae had spilled bleach on. I was especially pleased with this recycle because it meant I didn’t have to make the outside pockets.

I thought Alexander Henry goldfinch fabric (which is, oddly, available at JoAnn as well as many other nicer places) would be appropriate for the inside.

The front and back are stenciled with fabric paint. I used the freezer-paper technique oft referenced on this blog. MSH are dad’s initials, by the way.


The orange trim around the outside is prepackaged extra-wide double fold bias tape. I basted all of the outside pieces to the lining pieces before beginning, and then just sewed everything together using the bias tape to cover the raw edges. I don’t really recommend this to beginners, since even the wide bias tape has a tendency to fall off the edge really fast. I have to admit there was a fair amount of seam-ripping and re-sewing on my part, but that sort of rip-it-out and redo-it kind of sewing is par for the course around here.

I kindof wish I could do things more carefully; certainly if I thought about things more before I started and proceeded in a very organized fashion I might spend less time undoing projects. What kind of sewist are YOU?

Christmas Prezzies!

The last few weeks have been a crazy sewing frenzy around here — my side of the family decided to do a handmade Christmas and I had so many projects going I had no time to blog. We’re feeling alot better too, so that’s helped alot.

So now that the Twelve Days of Christmas are here (we’re on Day 3 for those of you keeping track), I’m going to show off a few of the presents I made. These were for mom:


Pattern: Heather Ross UPDATED (11/10): This pattern is no longer available from the original link I provided here; it can now be found in Heather’s fabulous book, Weekend Sewing

Fabric: Heather Ross Mendocino (outer), purple fleece inner
Modifications: The first time I made this pattern I found that the heel was too short (they slipped off the back of my feet), so I added 1″ to the inside edge of the slipper top. I also used the “trick” from last time of sewing both inner and outer soles on and then turning the slipper inside out at the end instead of hand-stitching the outer sole on.

Also I made the pattern longer. It runs small not to mention Dutch women have the largest feet in the known universe.


Merry Christmas Mom!

Next time: MORE PREZZIES!