Sewing Gifts for Celebrations

Spring isn't quite in the air here in New England. We've got some snow lingering on the ground, and the temperatures don't seem to be able to stay out of the twenties for very long. But I'm already thinking ahead to sewing gifts for a special spring birthday.

My niece and I, summer 2011.

My niece turns three in May, and I'd like to make her a handmade sewn gift. I have just under two months to go, so right now I'm in brainstorming mode. One requirement is that it be a quick project, and something a three-year-old would like.

For Christmas, I made her a fun doll—a project that took an afternoon to sew (mostly because I sewed the hair on wrong twice and had to redo it). I did have a lot of fun making my niece's doll, so I'm leaning toward making her toys, softies, or a small game.  I want to be the Fun Aunt, after all. 

I got ambitious before the holidays and planned to also make my niece some cute leggings. But time was not on my side, so that project never happened. I could charge ahead on that for her birthday. But I also want to think outside the box and deliver something potentially unexpected.

If you're also looking for inspiration for things to sew for a birthday, anniversary, or other occasion, check out Mandy Shaw's Celebrate With a Stitch in the Sew Daily Shop.

And, I'll take any more suggestions on projects to sew for a three-year-old. Have ideas? I can't wait to hear. 

 

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:

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Gifts
Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

27 thoughts on “Sewing Gifts for Celebrations

  1. As I was lying in bed this morning (trying to get up for work) I thought of a gift for my niece for Christmas or next year – a set of charm pack size blocks. One block for each letter of the alphabet – the letter on opposite sides of the block and the other four sides with different material or applique of things starting with that letter. For example, I would put the letter A on the first block, put the letter on the side opposite, then Apple, Ant, Airplane and something else I haven’t figured out yet. I have material with apples and airplanes and I’m sure I could applique an ant. Z would be tough but you could always put the letter on three sides.

    I had made her one block for the shower last year and my sister said she loved playing with it. I had stuffed that one with poiyfil but I have been saving batting scraps for the next ones so it would not be so light. I plan on putting a ‘handle’ on each block, too – just a piece of zig zag bric-a-brac in a loop so if her little hands cannot grab the whole block, she could grab the little handle.

    And, since time is of the essence, you could put multiple letters on each block.

    Just a thought – happy sewing!

  2. For my granddaughters 1st birthdays, I made (am making) a fabric photo book. Printed photos of the special people in their lives holding them on fabric and made it into a book. It’s still one of the 4 year olds favorite.
    At your nieces age, you could give her fabric squares to arrange and then sew them into a doll quilt for her. I did that with my granddaughter and about 6 months later she asked if we could make another.

  3. For my granddaughters 1st birthdays, I made (am making) a fabric photo book. Printed photos of the special people in their lives holding them on fabric and made it into a book. It’s still one of the 4 year olds favorite.
    At your nieces age, you could give her fabric squares to arrange and then sew them into a doll quilt for her. I did that with my granddaughter and about 6 months later she asked if we could make another.

  4. Of course there is always a Tutu and a little bag for her “special goodies”. Or
    maybe some finger puppets and then a tote to put them in. Just a couple things
    to think about. Have fun making a special memory. Mommabren

  5. As a mom, I saw my kids most likely to play with a play set. something like farm animals in a softee barn carrier, cute monsters in a house, or like the woodland creatures in a tree stump home on the cover of Present Perfect by Betz White (I saw it online in the Interweave store). If your niece has a play kitchem, or likes helping in the kitchen, a play food set could be fun and fast as well.

  6. I’ve just finished making a stuffed toy parrot for my ‘god’son. He’s only 1 but I’m hoping it’ll stay a favourite and I think it would work for a 3 yr old too. I used a vintage pattern from 1973 I found in a thrift store. (You can still find it online from vintage pattern sellers – Style patterns p/l #4271)
    I also made a bunch of stuffed bird toys (simple silhouette shape) and a little nest a few years ago which has been well used since by a friend’s daughter.
    Good luck with your project!
    -Genevieve

  7. Something that I’ve made over the years that kids love is an animal pillow cover. It’s super quick. Parents tell me they become the new blankie substitute where one little boy cried when it was in the wash, another handed his down to his nephew years later and a young girl sent it back to me for repairs when she was in grade school because she still liked to have it on her bed. I believe it was originally from a McCalls pattern of a cat, lion, bear & puppy. I adapted it to other animals such as a monkey (think curious George), elephant, lamb, etc. Good luck with your project. Can’t wait to see what you decide to make. (Wanted to send pix but can’t upload)

  8. When my son was about three I made him a “superhero cape”, just a plain, ankle length navy blue cape with a button at the neck. That cape was the basis for hours of imaginative play. Chris is thirty now, but still has the cape tucked away in a drawer. This week I got a request from his wife–their daughter would like a “princess cape”, like his but pink, of course!

  9. A “quillow” is something that will last for many years. Zn item for the living room, bedroom, playroom, car, picnic or naps. Make it in her favorite colors or use themed material. I made 4 of them in an afternoon.

  10. How about clothes for the doll you made her for Christmas. She’s at that age where she is dressing herself, so having doll clothes to help her “practice” buttons, bows and zippers and such will help her with those skills. Also what girl doesn’t want a wardrobe for her doll. I always kept my daughter’s dolls in wardrobe instead of getting more dolls in different clothing.

  11. How about clothes for the doll you made her for Christmas. She’s at that age where she is dressing herself, so having doll clothes to help her “practice” buttons, bows and zippers and such will help her with those skills. Also what girl doesn’t want a wardrobe for her doll. I always kept my daughter’s dolls in wardrobe instead of getting more dolls in different clothing.

  12. How about clothes for the doll you made her for Christmas. She’s at that age where she is dressing herself, so having doll clothes to help her “practice” buttons, bows and zippers and such will help her with those skills. Also what girl doesn’t want a wardrobe for her doll. I always kept my daughter’s dolls in wardrobe instead of getting more dolls in different clothing.

  13. How about clothes for the doll you made her for Christmas. She’s at that age where she is dressing herself, so having doll clothes to help her “practice” buttons, bows and zippers and such will help her with those skills. Also what girl doesn’t want a wardrobe for her doll. I always kept my daughter’s dolls in wardrobe instead of getting more dolls in different clothing.

  14. How about clothes for the doll you made her for Christmas. She’s at that age where she is dressing herself, so having doll clothes to help her “practice” buttons, bows and zippers and such will help her with those skills. Also what girl doesn’t want a wardrobe for her doll. I always kept my daughter’s dolls in wardrobe instead of getting more dolls in different clothing.

  15. How about a wardrobe for the doll you made her at Christmas. Nothing fussy, but things that also teach her to work buttons, bows and zippers. And what girl doesn’t like clothes for herself and her doll.

  16. Hi
    I am working on a fabric book for my great niece. It has several pages with different animals on each one. Each animal is a different type of applique fabric like fur, satin, leather, snake like and each has a skill to teach: buttoning, zipping, tying, snapping. You could start out with a couple of pages and add more as her abilities grow.
    gail barnard

  17. When my daughter was 3, her aunt gave her a pair of overalls and a yellow shirt. The overalls had a mouse embroidered on it with the tail curving down the leg, an appliqued sun rise figure, a butterfly applique, and so forth.

    She also made her a doll with brown eyes and red hair (matched my daughter) and the doll was wearing a yellow shirt and coveralls with the same details.

    It was all incredibly cute and she truly appreciated “matching” her “baby.”

  18. When my kids were 3, they were really into cloth “busy books”. They wore out the one my mom made for my older kids so the younger ones had one from the non-sewing grandma that was commercially made (Lillian Vernon maybe?) . It had a page with a big button and a corresponding flap with a buttonhole, one with a zipper, one with a Velcro pocket that they could stash a small toy in, a page with eyelets and a shoelace that they could lace up and tie in a bow, and several other pages that can be tailored to the child (camping mirror, mitten to slip your hand into, plush kitty or bunny appliqué to pet, etc). You could also theme it by using a fabric collection or by making the button and zip on a little dress, a buckle and tie on shiny or glittery shoes, etc. Hmmm, may have to make one for my friend’s new grandson!

  19. Why not make her an apron? I made one for my not yet 2 year old grand daughter & she loves it. I have pictures of her & mommy in their aprons (both made by me) making Christmas cookies. You can really make it personal, add pockets, ruffles, ric-rac, etc.

  20. Why not make her an apron? I made one for my not yet 2 year old grand daughter. I have pictures of her & Mommy making Christmas cookies in their aprons (both made by me).
    You can embellish it with pockets, ric-rac, ruffles, as many or as little as you want.

  21. Have you considered that 3 year olds are very creative? They love to pretend. Consider crafting a tutu, fairy wings, a wand or a cape, or all of the above. They are very popular with my grandchildren.

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