23 April 2012

Easy peasy presents to make for kids

Here's a few tried and true handmade gifts we give.  Most of these gifts work equally well for boys or girls and can be adapted for various ages and all require only the most basic sewing skills.

Simple Pencil Case

As easy as it gets - calico draw string bags personalised with a stamp and filled with pencils. Add a plain journal or sketch pad for older kids, a colouring or drawing book for younger kids.


Pillowcases are simple to sew, especially if you have an overlocker to give it a more finished looks, but zig zag stitch would be fine. Personalising them makes them a bit special. We often give these with a bag of worry dolls or a good book. We gave this pillowcase with a book of bed-time poetry.

Little Skirts

I've made a billion of these little skirts for my girls and their friends. Super easy. It's all about the cute ribbon you use. There is a tutorial here. Probably works best for the 3 and under crowd.


Kids aprons, teamed with a rolling pin and cookie cutter are winners with the under-5 set. A larger size, with more 'grown up' fabric for the pocket, and a cook book would work for older kids.I simply traced an existing apron to get the pattern.

(Not a great photo of) a sweet little bag Ruby and I made for her best friend. This is very easy - two larger rectangles of fabric (one lining, one outer) and two smaller rectangles (one lining, one outer), a simple strap and a button and loop closure. We added two favourite books but a purse, or a magnifying glass, or a torch would be good too.

Satchels and Envelopes

The basic fabric envelope is as easy as can be. The pattern comes from here. This one we customised by adding a fold over top and a strap to turn it into a satchel and included art supplies.It was sewn by my (then) six year old so the stitching is a bit wonky, but it proves what an easy sew this is.

This is the same pattern, but with an envelope top and letter-writing supplies. The original pattern calls for the name to be embroidered on, but stamping looks great and is far less time-consuming.  Nina just made one of these for Ruby's birthday.


Nearly every one-year-old I know got one of these for their first birthday.  They are so easy, and fabric choices are endless.  I used an existing pinafore as the pattern and snap closures, but there is a free pattern (using buttonholes for a more professional look) and tutorial here.

I've been doing lots of small sewing lately.  I tend to go in cycles - after lots of small things I like to get my teeth stuck into a major project like a quilt, after a quilt I need a lot of small projects.  Our school has its annual harvest festival coming up, so I've been making bags, knitting hats and creating little things for that.  I'm almost ready for the next big project which will be a quilt for Lily, who will move into her own bed this year (I hope).


  1. lucky little receivers of gifts! Great ideas and fabrics used, and I love Nina's letter to Granny.

  2. these are brilliant Julie. So creative and I bet the kids love them. Seems better than lots of other things that get handed around for children's birthdays. So thoughtful and clever!