Organizing Your Handmade Holiday Gift List

The holiday season is such an exciting time to sew – and also the busiest! Between sewing special garments for children and grandchildren, making home decor projects and creating one-of-a-kind gifts for our loved ones, our to-do lists can quickly become overwhelming. Many of us have great gift-making intentions, then those plans fall behind and we’re left rushing to get everything done at the last minute. These ideas from Marlene Blessing for planning out your Christmas gift process were first shared in Stitch Craft Create Gifts, and they are worth revisiting at the start of every holiday season. The secret to success is a series of four lists that will help you sort your gift ideas, decide who will be on your list of “giftees,” determine the amount of time you need to create each gift and make an inventory of your stash to prep for projects:


Machine-embroidered layettes make a great gift for that special baby.

List 1: Giftees & Gift Options
1. Start by deciding how many of your favorite people you want to include as gift recipients. The easiest way to do this is to first make a noholds-barred list; then, go back through the list several times to cook it down to the people you think will most appreciate your handmade gifts. Next, prioritize your list in order of importance to ensure that you take care of your closest friends and family first.

2. Once you’ve honed your giftee list, write one gift option (or more) next to each name. When you’ve completed this step, review all the ideas so you can see if there are any “maybes” you need to rethink (whether gift ideas or giftees).

3. Next, go back through the list another time and add an S, M or L next to each project as you size up the materials needed. This designation helps you get the whole picture of the required material resources.

4. Finally, upon one more quick run-through, add a “+” after the S, M or L labels to designate projects that are more complex and will take more time to make. Again, you may want to reconsider some of your choices once you see at a glance the number of particularly time-consuming projects.

List 2: Timing & Schedule
1. After your gift ideas for each person have been selected, make a projects-only list. Next to each item, record your best guesstimates of the time each one will require. Here’s where you want to be especially realistic, because time will be your most critical resource. It’s the one thing you can’t make up for once it has slipped away.

2. Next, total the hours you’ve guesstimated and increase that number by 10 percent. Now, you can see the whole pie, and it’s time to start slicing.

3. Let’s say you’re going to make gifts every weekend from now until the holidays. Estimate how many hours you’ll really be able to devote each week (taking into account other engagements). See if that jibes with your total hours guesstimate. If not, you can cut projects and/or simplify them. On your calendar, note your specific craft-time appointments, then write them in next to each project (date/hours).


Holiday pajamas are the perfect Christmas Eve present!

List 3: Inventory of Your Supply Stash
1. List top picks from your stash and indicate approximate size, amount or yardage.

2. Once this list is complete, see how many of your projects on List 2 can be made from what you have (remember, you can combine like-materials to make larger amounts, such as making simple patchwork fabric with scraps and remnants) and write in your choices.

3. Use your inventory list to create a shopping list of additional supplies you need to purchase to supplement your stash. Now that you’re super-organized, challenge yourself to a one-time shopping expedition.


Frame an embroidery design for a quick and special gift for a friend.

List 4: Upcycle Options
1. Gather and list items you could potentially upcycle; for instance, if you’re sewing, gather clothing, blankets, curtains, scarves, belts (for bag handles), pillows, and any other fabric item you no longer use and are willing to upcycle. Then review the list to pick the best options (good condition, stylish, just right for a certain person) for the materials you need. It’s a great feeling to convert waste to a beautiful new handmade gift.

2. Now that you’re organized and have a plan, enjoy the process of making gifts!

Shop our online store for all the resources you need to create your special gifts and decorations this holiday season – from fabric to embroidery designs and more.

We pray for the men and women serving our nation in harm’s way, and for their families. We also pray for each of you. Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,
Kathy McMakin


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