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More than 40 Simple Handmade Gift Ideas

If you’re like me, time can be short but ambitions can be large. I always want to make gifts for my family and friends but many times run out of time.

I’ve been blogging since 2008 and in that time have accumulated quite the library of projects. I spent the weekend sorting through the hundreds of tutorials on this site to find over 40 projects that I think are great handmade gift ideas. All of them are “afternoon” projects, none will take more than a day, and all use a minimum amount of materials. Most are free, and a few are paid patterns.

More than 40 ideas for cute handmade gifts. Perfect for Christmas or any other time of the year. Lots of gifts to sew or to craft!

We are down to just a few short weeks until Christmas. About this time each year I feel like I’ve run out of ideas for gifts. I just spent yesterday brainstorming with friends as to what to buy for my 15 year old son (suggestions welcomed, he has nothing on his list).

I’ve broken down the list into parts for you… Gifts you can sew, including gift ideas to sew for your friends, kids and the guys in your life. I’ve also included another list of non sewn gifts that you can easily craft in an afternoon.

Sewing Projects that Make Great Gifts For Friends

The Derby Tote Bag Sewing Pattern; great simple and versatile tote bag pattern that features 3 different front pocket styles. Great project for a beginning sewist.

2. Derby Tote – makes a great tote for school, work or church.

"Never Full" Fabric Basket Sewing Tutorial and free sewing pattern by Melissa of polkadotchair.com

15. Fabric Bucket

Sewing Pattern for DIY Padded storage bins, you can make them in 3 different sizes - love the outside pocket!

16. Padded Storage Bins

How to Make Bow Tie Bracelets .. a free sewing pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com

17. Bow Tie Bracelets

Super cute Lilly Pulitzer inspired pom pom clutch sewing pattern. Cute fashion DIY project on polkadotchair.com

18. Pom Pom Clutch

DIY Embellished Dish Towel tutorial by Melissa of polkadotchair.com

19. Embellished Dish Towel

Free Sewing Pattern for an embellished stand up zippered pouch - fun little sewing tutorial

20. Embellished Zip Pouch

Free Sewing Pattern for a curved top cosmetic bag. Love the bow detail on the front

21. Cosmetic Bag

Things to Sew for Kids as Gifts

Learn how to take one simple zip pouch sewing pattern and make a few changes to create 3 different variations! So cute!!

22. Bunny Zip Cases

Learn a quick and easy way to sew a pillowcase on polkadotchair.com

23. Custom Pillowcase

How to sew a personalized reading pillow with a pocket and handle - free sewing pattern and tutorial on polkadotchair.com

24. Reading Pillow

Self Binding Baby Doll Blanket Tutorial on polkadotchair.com

25. Baby Doll Receiving Blanket

Sewing Pattern for Padded Storage Bins in 3 sizes. Make great and really cute storage for a nursery, kids room or craft room.

26. Padded Storage Bins (make it out of children’s novelty fabric to create cute storage for legos or hot wheels)

Kids Crayon Folder Tutorial

27. Crayon Folder

Sewing Pattern for Ruby Lou Bag, a cute tote bag pattern for little girls. Love the front pocket!

28. Ruby Lou Bag


29. Personalized Canvas Tote Bags


30. Easy Peasy Fleece Blanket

DIY Gift Ideas for Guys

DIY Necktie Zip Pouch Sewing Tutorial & Pattern -great gift idea! Something to make for men for Christmas or Father's Day.

31. Necktie Zip Pouch

Wool iPad Case Sewing pattern, a great pattern for an ipad case for guys!

32. Wool iPad Case

Dad's Travel Bag, a free tutorial on polkadotchair.com

33. Travel Dopp Bag

No-Sew Handmade Gift Ideas

Cute idea for friend and neighbor Christmas gifts! A snow globe gingerbread house made with a simple mold. Post includes a link to the free printable tag.

34. Snow Globe Gingerbread Houses

Cute Angel Christmas Mason Jar Gift Ideas and printable Christmas tags and angel wings on polkadotchair.com

35. Christmas Mason Jars

Cookies in a Jar, Mason Jar gift idea

36. Cookies in a Jar


37. Cooking Mason Jar

DIY Mason Jar Sewing Kit (with free printable)

38. Sewing Mason Jar

DIY Monster Gift Card Holder, a cute way to give a gift card to a kid for Christmas. Make it yourself at home with only paper.

39. Monster Gift Card Holders

DIY Gingerbread Men Garland Craft Kit, makes a great neighbor gift for Christmas!

40. Gingerbread Man Craft Kit

DIY Gold Polka Dot Hat Boxes on polkadotchair.com

41. Polka Dot Hat Boxes

DIY Harry Potter Hogwarts Notebooks; with free printable covers for each house on polkadotchair.com

42. DIY Hogwarts House Notebooks

Cute ideas for summer journals for kids. Would be great for road trips!

43. Kids Journals


44. Silver Chalkboard Platter

How to add a Disney Monogram to your Yeti (or other stainless steel) Tumbler. Includes lots of tips and instructions!

45. Monogrammed Yeti

DIY Sewing and Quilting Decals for Quilt Rulers or to use as wall decor in a sewing room {includes link to free svg cut files}; cute sewing room decorating ideas

46. Decorated Quilt Rulers

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  1. Hi Melissa! First, I love your Alice in Wonderland fabrics!
    My son is 18 and I have no wish list either. One really cool thing that my son bought for himself is a virtual reality controller for his phone. He got a Samsung gear VR ( its on Amazon). It was so amazing that my husband bought one for his google phone. They make 180 and 360 photos feel like you are right there. You can get games for them too. My husband got a Google daydream. The Samsung focuses and the daydream records sound. Both are cool.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! It’s funny we were just talking about those VR headsets last night! I’ll have to look into it.

  2. Hello Melissa! You had me with the pillow case tutorial this past week! I ordered enough fabric for all the inlaws. The little Santas fabric is in the pile as well…it was impossible to resist! My favorite source for special prints is Hawthorne Threads. The orders have always arrived complete, and the fabric was clean and the cuts were precise. This is helpful as I ordered different prints for each family member, and I won’t even have to cut the pieces. They are ready to sew! Thank you for sharing the idea!

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