It’s that time again. I’ve pulled together a bunch of gift ideas to for Quilters – not only things you can buy, but also things to make that almost any quilter would love. Some of these are gifts I’ve received myself, so I speak from experience.
This is one of my favorite posts of the year to write. (Maybe because it makes me feel a little bit Oprah-esque.) I love thinking through the year what I want to add to this yearly post. So here are a variety of ideas for that special someone, or for a gaggle of your favorite quilting buddies. (Or for yourself, if you’re someone else’s favorite quilter – just send them the URL of this post.?) I’ve tried to include gifts in a wide variety of price ranges for that reason.
There are a few repeats from past years (because they’re always useful) but I’m excited that there are some new, unique and really fun gift ideas this year. (This post contains both affiliate links and recommendations of items that I have been given to sample by vendors. All opinions are my own, however, and only my genuine favorites make this list. Many of the items on this list are things I’ve purchased with my own cold, hard cash because I loved and wanted them or are items that were gifts I received from friends and loved!)
Let’s start with handmade gifts. Since many of you reading this post are makers yourself, you already love making something for friends. Top right is a mini version of Kelby Sew’s famous One Hour Basket pattern. The large version would make a great gift too.
A zippy pouch is always a useful gift – and you can make one in so many different sizes and styles. There are some great zippy pouch tutorials here, here, and video version here to give you a variety of options.
My friend Calli gave me this sweet Union Jack needle book she made using Nana Company’s Needle Book Tutorial.
I’m also a huge fan of pincushions. They’re so fun to make and can be made in so many different styles. And a quilter never gets tired of a fun, pincushion, right? The quilted pincushion in the center is made by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts based on this tutorial. She has some great pincushion inspiration here as well as some recent patterns.
These wool pincushions are super quick and fun to make and would be easy to mass-produce for friends.
This cute mini pincushion your can stick on the side of your sewing machine would also make for fun group gifts.
A personalized note book cover is a quick and inexpensive gift that is useful to lots of people. They’re typically made to cover the lined Composition books found in the office/school supplies section of most big box stores. But for an added quilty-touch, get a notebook with graph paper inside, perfect for sketching and plotting a new quilting project. Notebook Cover tutorial here.
One of my favorite recent gifts was this cute thread catcher. I love having it handy next to my sewing machine and cutting board as a cute, but useful receptacle for all those sewing scraps. This one was made by my friend Emily using the Thread Catcher tutorial by the Sewing Chick. So much room for creativity with this one, and a great way to use up scraps too.
Another useful gift for a quilting friend are these super handy mini design boards. Again, these were a gift and I’ve loved them! They’re perfect of laying out quilt blocks, auditioning fabric, or just keeping your pieces in place until you’re ready to sew. Lori Holt has a tutorial to make your own (mine don’t have the decorative border, which is fine with me) or this video tutorial if you like the extra visuals.
Here are some ideas for unique gifts for sewing lovers:
For a special quilting friend, check out these Tiny Tin Sewing rooms, hand crafted by Sachiko Aldous. They are so adorable and they are all unique. She has some stocked in her Etsy Shop right now, but they often sell out quickly. She does regularly restock, so keep checking back.
These ornaments are a fun way to personalize a gift for a quilting friend – or just to make some fun decorations for your own tree! These are laser-cut wood ornament handcrafted by Old Mountain Crafts in North Carolina. Michele reached out to me to see if I would like to make some of my own and sent me a set of 12 after I said how much I loved them. They come in this natural wood color.
They’re so fun to customize and the possibilities are endless. I spray-painted them white and personalized them with different red fabrics. I love the way they turned out! Order individual pieces for $10 each or a set of 12 for $75. You can mix your set of 12 with multiples of a certain design or even all one design.
Mom’s Stuff Salve. This stuff is one of my favorite discoveries this year. It’s a handmade concoction with 100% all-natural ingredients. It’s perfect for softening rough, calloused hands and feet, but it’s not greasy. We’ve also had success with it treating bug bites, skin issues and irritations. I use it topically for any rash or itch that’s bugging me and a little goes a long way. I’ve bought multiple jars and given them as gifts. If you’re looking for something different and useful, this is a great gift – especially for folks who are creative with their hands.
Maker Valley has been making quilting-themed t-shirts for a couple of years now. They regularly have new sewing/quilting/knitting designs. Here are some from years past. I’ve bought multiple Maker Valley t-shirts and I think they just get better all the time.
Sewing or quilting-themed jewelry is a fun personalized gift idea. There are lots of beautiful sewing-themed jewelry options on Etsy.
These Binding Babies are a fun new product from Shari of Doohikey Designs. They keep your prepared binding neat and ready to go before you add it to your quilt and they come in a variety of styles and colors.
Finally, you can never go wrong with traditional quilting notions. A few of my favorites include
- Wonderclips (that come in a wide variety of options)
- Clover Fine Glasshead pins (I LOVE these)
- Little House Glass Head pins are luxurious and come in a cute tin
- black Elan dressmaker scissors (very affordable and stay sharp. I LOVE mine)
- Olfa rotary cutter (I have 4 different kinds). My favorite is the Olfa Splash, but I also love the 60 mm extra large size for cutting lots of fabric layers at once as well as the 28 mm version for cutting applique pieces and around templates
- Flatter Smoothing Spray is a nice alternative to starch (and smells a lot better too!)
- Rotary Cutter replacement blades are always in demand (just make sure you buy the right size for the rotary cutter you’re using.)
- Seam-fix seam rippers are a recent favorite. They’re fatter and easier to grip and the rubber gripper at the end grabs and removes excess thread quickly. They also come in mini versions (pictured) in sets of three, making them a great gift to buy in bulk for multiple friends.
A new pair of scissors is always a super handy gift. (Can you have too many pairs of scissors – I’m not sure I’m the right one to ask, because for me, the answer is no. 😉 ) Here are some of my favorite recomendations (L to R):
- Heirloom Embroidery scissors are always a pretty gift. You can find all kind of shapes and sizes.
- Omnigrid mini needlecraft scissors. These scissors are super sharp for their size. I keep mine with my english paper piecing projects because they’re not only good thread snippers, but they’re sharp enough to cut fabric when needed and they’re small enough I can take them on an airplane.
- thread snips – always handy to have these near by your sewing machine.
- Olfa Precision Scissors – these are hands down, some of my favorite scissors. The blades are small and sharp – cutting fabric easily, perfect for cutting intricate work – but the handles are large and comfortable enough for real fingers to get a good grip. I use these constantly.
- These red polka dot scissors just too dang cute. They’re not super sharp for cutting fabric, but I love keeping them handy for paper and cutting in my sewing room. And because I just love their decorative nature. 😉 Available here and here.
Other useful tools (that would make great stocking stuffers)include:
- Aurifil Thread – my favorite is the 50 wt for piecing
- A Hera marker– used for making a crease on fabric – perfect for marking quilting lines without having to use writing instruments
- Another favorite seam ripper by Clover (can one really have too many seam rippers?)
- and a new fun favorite – Lori Holt’s colorful cutting mats. This mini version would be a fun gift to give, or receive
Speaking of thread, I recently purchased the thread holder/organizer made by Art Bin. I love keeping all of my thread neat and tidy, where I can quickly find what I’m looking for, and that keeps my thread pretty, but dust/lint free.
Other handy gadgets and gizmos include good lighting and irons. A couple of options for portable lighting include powerful and popular Ott Lights (left). They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and provide beautiful clear, white light. I got mine from Costco – they’re one of those things that makes an occasional appearance. The light on the right is from Ikea, which has LOTS of great portable light options for really reasonable prices.
Another popular addition to give more light to sewing machines is a Sewing Machine LED Lighting Kit. This includes a customizable strip of LED lights that fit under the arm of any sewing machine, bringing a whole lot more light to your sewing. I have multiple friends who have bought and installed them themselves and swear by them.
Irons are always a great gift. I have loved my Oliso iron I received a few years ago and use it regularly, but they’re definitely on the pricier side.
If you are or know someone who sews at a lot of retreats or guild events, a travel iron is very handy. I bought this little Rowenta Travel Iron after seeing a bunch of others using it at a sewing retreat and I’ve loved it. In addition to being lightweight and portable, it’s sturdy and has held up well. Plus it has the steam option if you prefer sewing with steam.
A book is always a great gift, and as always, there were bunch of new great ones in 2016. At the same time, books can be tricky because everyone’s style and taste is different. So I’ve chosen a few that would have broad appeal because they are both versatile and have a variety of styles and options included. They include:
- The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson. Not only is this hardcover book beautiful to look at, but it has patterns and ideas for a variety of different quilt blocks in multiple sizes. It’s kind of a choose your own adventure quilt book.
- Scraps Made Simple by the Moda All-Stars and friends. This book has such a great variety of styles and types of quilts, all designed for using up your scraps. The concept and execution are great. (I contributed a quilt to this book – you can see my quilt and more pictures of other projects in the book here.)
- The Big Book of Fat Quarter Quilts – new from Martingale. This book has 66 projects in it. Huge value for the price. I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone this one.
Some books new books this year that are a little more specialized:
- First Blush by It’s Sew Emma for the Fat Quarter Shop. The FQS sent me a copy of this book and I can’t wait to try some of the blocks. I’m always excited by a book that teaches me a totally new concept and technique – and this one does. All of the blocks are variations on a starburst block and require a 30 Degree Starburst Ruler.
- Modern Heritage Quilts by Amy Ellis has a variety of modern quilt designs inspired by traditional quilting motifs.
- Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend. This book is for more advanced quilters. The concept is based around fussy-cutting fabric for intricate designs. Great instructions for paper-piecing as well.
Also popular again this year is the gift that keeps on giving: Subscription fabric clubs or gift boxes. There are few different companies that offer subscription gift boxes such as Sew Sampler from Fat Quarter Shop (pictured above)
Other membership boxes are available from Cotton Cuts. Each company is slightly different – check them out to find the right fit for the person you’re giving too. It really is fun to look forward to a monthly surprise box full of goodies in your mailbox.
Lots of online fabric shops also offer monthly fabric subscriptions. These are a great way to slowly build a stash or collect a variety of new fabrics. Some subscriptions include:.
If you’re looking for a great big-ticket item such as a sewing machine, I highly recommend Baby Lock as I have loved using mine. (I have a Crescendo which I LOVE. It is a fantastic machine with a lot great features like the laser light that makes piecing half-square triangles a breeze, great lighting, throat space, adjustable speed, multitudes of stitches, etc. If you’re looking for a good beginner sewing machine I highly recommend the Jubilant.)
This post walks through how to choose the right sewing machine. Whatever model you get, I definitely suggest visiting your nearest local sewing machine dealers, rather buying one from a big box store. The local dealer will have a variety of levels of machines – from beginner to super-deluxe. They also usually offer free classes with a machine purchase so that you can learn how to use all the features on the machine. And if the machine you buy isn’t right, they are more likely to let you exchange. They’ll also take your machine later as a trade in when you’re ready for an upgrade.. They will also be much more helpful should you need any technical support or long-term maintenance.
For more ideas of handmade gifts for friends who sew go here.
Gift Certificates: If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the number of choices, or just running out of time, get a gift certificate! (I have to admit, gift certificates are my favorite because I love the process of getting to use it just as much as receiving it in the first place. It’s like getting a present twice!) You can get a gift certificate from your favorite local quilt shop or any of the shops listed on my sidebar. –>
A gift certificate could also be used to take a class at a local shop or an online video class on sites such as Craftsy.
I hope that gives you some fresh ideas for all the quilter’s on your list, during the holidays, or throughout the year! If you have any other great suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments.
** This post was originally published in 2016. I’ve tried to update old or broken links. For a more updated gift idea list, go here.