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Tatsy | Posted in General Discussion on

We had a busy and fun weekend that left me wishing I’d sewn a few items up ahead of time and stashed them in a drawer in the sewing room for unexpected occasions, things like wine bags, sachets, and baby outfits. What sewn gifts do you give that you do, or wish you did, make up before you know you’ll need them?


  1. Palady | | #1

    SIGH!   At this juncture in my life doings, there are more things I need to do, which means the like to do are on a very far back burner.


  2. sewfar | | #2

    Lately my little stash has tended towards the quick to make. I usually have zippered pencil cases with markers on hand for kids. Boy or girl fabrics The markers are out of their boxes so they do not have to be expensive. I have made "pencil rolls" but this is faster. Also visiting kids seemed to like cloth bags to take home whatever goody they left my house with and I am always pleasantly surprised to see the bags used at their homes for their treasures. Rather than wine bags I have made shopping bags based on a plastic grocery bag we get so many of. I think they are more likely to be reused by my friends and a bunch of colorful tissue along with the wine bottle makes it "fit"Finger pot holders, or a very simple casserole a carrier like the flat one on Nancy's notions may become a staple for when I bring a dish and want to treat the hostess The usual simple hooded baby towel or burp cloths

    1. Tatsy | | #3

      That plastic grocery bag idea is great, and it came just in time. A club I'm a member of is having a silent auction and everyone has to provide their own basket. I'm planning on making lots of different size bags to clean out my scrap bag. A few beads, a little embroidery, and it should go pretty quickly.

  3. Teaf5 | | #4

    You have very lucky friends! I once sewed some interesting gift bags and shopping bags to have on hand, but then forgot that I'd stashed them and never used them! I'm much better at the last-minute, whip-it-up kind of sewing that is inspired greatly by panic and forces me to use up my stash. My most recent token gifts have been bookmarks, chef's aprons, and narrow-hemmed squares to use as table toppers. If I'm out of time, I make sprays or wands of fresh lavender and wrap them in tulle circles saved from wedding favors. I just received a package of loose tea in an interesting, re-usable cloth double-drawstring outer bag and thought it would be good for coffee, hot cocoa, or candies as a gift idea. Looking forward to hearing all the others' suggestions!

    1. Tatsy | | #5

      I get so busy with what I'm doing that I forget what I'm supposed to do next. This weekend I forgot to get my DIL a Mother's Day gift. Luckily, I had also forgotten to send my sister one of the pairs of earrings I'd made for her. Thank goodness they both wear the same colors.After ll months of retirement, I'm finally letting go of all the grief of the last five years and relaxing. You cannot imagine how much I enjoy the life of the craftsman.

    2. Cityoflostsouls | | #6

      I found a package of the tulle circles at the local dollar store and have them stashed away.  I had no idea you could buy them.

      1. Teaf5 | | #7

        Tulle circles are also great for making quick sachets, dressing up a tiny nosegay of fresh flowers, or adding pizzazz to a gift bow.  If you pinch a few of them at the center and secure with a rubber band, you have an instant flower for a pin or hair decoration.  Running a line of stitching around the outside makes a quick, tiny drawstring bag for earrings or trinkets.  They work as tea bags and strainers in the kitchen, too.

        I didn't know dollar stores carry them; now I'll go have to buy some!

        1. Cityoflostsouls | | #8

          Thanks for the ideas for tulle circles.  I'll have to buy more!

    3. MaryinColorado | | #9

      Do you have a good source for the Lavender?  It's getting harder to find locally.  I am thinking of ordering from Norfolk Lavender's USonline site.  I'd love suggestions! 

      I bought a friend some pink longjohns, just like the old Union Suits and embroidered dragonflys on them then made little lavender sachets to match.  It was so fun to do and she loved it.  I want to make lavender pillows so need to buy quite a bit.

      1. Sancin | | #10

        To find lavender take a walk around your neighbourhood or someplace with extensive gardens looking for lavender (or other) plants! I bet a gardener would love to give you some. Remember with flowers, the more you pick, the more you get. The size and extensiveness of lavender plants depends on your climate.Another smelly project is hot pads. Hot pads with cinnamon in them are a big seller at our fairs. I would think if they are to be 'on hand gifts' they would best be kept in plastic bags so they scent doesn't dispear.

        Edited 5/26/2009 5:42 pm ET by Sancin

        1. MaryinColorado | | #11

          Thanks for the great ideas, I love the idea of scented hotpads!  My son bought me alot of lavender plants for Mother's Day last year, they didn't make it through the winter unfortunately.  This clay soil and climate is not the best for lavender, even with lots of soil amenities.  boohoo! 

      2. Teaf5 | | #12

        Lavender is a common landscaping plant around here; it's planted in the medians on most streets, along our green belts, and it self-seeds everywhere, including my own yard. I have to shear it down twice a year to keep it from taking over! I would gladly send you bundles of it, but mailing plant materials from one state to another is risky business because of the potential for spreading insects and plant diseases.

        1. MaryinColorado | | #13

          You lucky gal!  What I would do to have it grow like that out here, woohoo!  I'm seagreen with envy!  and now I can't get the lettering back to black, ha ha...Thanks for thinking of me anyway, I hadn't thought about the risks of shipping and wouldn't want anyone to get into trouble.  I thought that would be more with invasive plants.  Mary

          1. Teaf5 | | #15

            Maybe the rules for exporting plant material from California are not as tough as importing; we can't bring anything--leaves, seedlings, snack fruits-- across the borders because of the insects that might come along. I'll ask around and see what's possible for sending out; who knows, maybe it's o.k., and we can solve two problems at once!

          2. MaryinColorado | | #16

            Thanks, that would be great.  I have ordered plants online from out of state and brought them here from up North but not from other places.  I know it is illegal to remove state flowers, cactus, wildflowers, and anything invasive but that's all I had experience with.  (I got scolded in Nevada in the 70's and the officer took away the wildflowers I picked for my VW Van, tee hee).

  4. GailAnn | | #14

    What a GREAT IDEA!!!

    I'll enjoy reading the answers to this question.

    It could even make a magazine artical.


    1. Tatsy | | #17

      It's probably just a pipe dream. Today I'm further behind than ever.

  5. charley_katona | | #18

    Two things that I have found handy to have made ahead is burpcloths and microwavable heating pads.  Both are very quick and easy to make. Little bags made in girl or boy fabric with individual crayon pockets on the front and a coloring book inside are also quick and make great gifts.

  6. MomJen | | #19

    I'm a cross stitcher as well as a seamster, and two staples I make up in advance are birth announcements and wedding samplers.  (Part of that is my "grandma-clock" tick tocking waiting for grandchildren to come along!)

    1. Tatsy | | #20

      Those sound like very nice gifts.While I was waiting for grandchildren, I started sewing for one of my sisters' grandkids while both my sister and her daughter were going through some tough times. My sister says her grandkids pray for me for two weeks after a box comes. (I think that's cute. You can't expect little kids to remember absent adults for very long.) Today I finished a pair of dinosaur jammies for the boy and pulled out some ends of suiting I picked up for $1/yd. They're good quality wool but way too short for most people's uses. Apparently he's got a little girlfriend who likes the fact that he's a whole lot more dressed up than the other boys. My niece loves the fact that I'm making her daughter stylish clothes that are much more modest than what's commonly available. It is so much fun!

  7. User avater
    Deana | | #21

    Thanks for posing this great question, Tatsy. It's fun to hear about what projects everyone likes to have on hand for gift giving, etc.

  8. sewelegant | | #22

    One thing I like to have on hand is a cloth paper back book cover with a book I especially liked tucked inside to pass along.  They do not take long to make and if you have the time it is fun to get creative with them, but even the plain ones are always welcomed by my reading friends.  I've gotten my quilting urges satisfied making these because it's kind of like making a doll bed quilt top only even smaller.  Lately I've had fun using an old pin on the cover that complements the fabric I use.  Old buttons are fun too.  I made an ultra suede one for my husband and found a golfing motif to glue to the cover and he's just about worn that out.  These covers make holding the paperback much more comfortable and you never misplace your bookmark.  (And, no one knows for sure what you are reading!)

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