Sewing Gifts with a Sentimental Twist

One of the best things about being handy with a sewing machine is being able to sew gifts for family and friends. And if you can throw in a little sentimentality with it, so much the better. Here's a little idea from something I made a few years ago for my mom and my sisters.

Sewing GIfts piano cover

Our piano bench cover had a lot of
memories–but also showed a lot of wear.

Sewing Gifts piano cover notebook

Making notebook covers preserved the
good memories–and let us, literally,
hold onto my mom's handiwork.

Let me set the stage for you. Growing up, my three sisters and I all took piano lessons. My mom had made a wonderful cover for the piano bench back in the day when crewel embroidery was all the rage. And though none of us were prodigies, we spent quite a bit of time sitting on the bench plinking out scales and bits of Mozart and Bach.

At some point, the linen wore through and parts of the embroidery ceased to exist. My mom bought some lovely upholstery fabric and I recovered the bench for her. I took home the sad little cover and put it in a drawer.

Years later, it occurred to me that although I couldn't bear to toss this worn textile out, it also didn't have much purpose languishing in the drawer. So I carefully washed it, assessed how much was salvageable, and decided to make little notebook covers for my family for Christmas. Even though no one had seen the bench cover for years, and each notebook had a very different look, they immediately knew that these were little bits of our family history. What fun!

If you need a little inspiration for gifts to sew for your family and friends, check out Mollie Makes Feathered Friends or The Artful Bird.

Sewists tend to be very generous people. I would love to hear about some of the gifts you've made–and the stories behind them.  

Happy stitching!



Other sewing topics you may enjoy:



6 thoughts on “Sewing Gifts with a Sentimental Twist

  1. When my father-in-law died after a tragic fall 11 years ago, he left a large family and many young grandchildren. When we cleaned out his closet, i took several of his golf shirts and made stuffed teddy bears and pillow covers for the grandchildren. This gave them a piece of Grandpa that they could hold and remember him by. I used the shirt pockets on the pillows and the buttons from the shirts for the eyes on the bears. The kids loved them and even the grownup children (eight of them) wanted an item made from Dad’s golf shirts.

    Lindy Lou

  2. I have several embroidered pieces from my grandmother – pillowcases and tableclothes, etc. that have dry rotten in places but the embellishment is still good. I would love to use this is some special way for myself and my daughter/daughters-in-law as a special family heirloom. I would be interested in ideas from others on how I might use these. These are both edgings and embroidered flowers, etc. Thanks.

  3. Years ago, knowing that I sew, my husband’s cousin gave me a very old quilt top from her grandmother. Typically, this top had bits and pieces of children’s clothing and was entirely put together by hand. And since the family was very poor and in the rural part of Georgia, the quilt top also contained washed and carefully pressed tobacco sacks! Many areas of the quilt top were torn and in sad shape, and after sitting in my sewing room for quite some time, I decided to do something useful with it. Although I hated to, I cut apart the good sections and with each, made pillows for each of my husband’s aunts and cousins who were part of the extended family. One elderly aunt told me that every time she looked at that pillow (prominently displayed, too!), she got tears in her eyes for her mama. I still have a heart-shaped pillow that I made for myself to remind me of my husband’s grandmother that neither he or I ever met.

  4. I recently became Godmother to my niece’s baby girl, Ava Rose. For her baptism, I made Ava Rose a baby quilt, and on the back of the quilt I attached a pocket large enough to hold her birth announcement. The pocket had embroidery of a little duck that I had done on a pillowcase when I was 6 years old. My mother had held onto that pillowcase, and when she passed away, I held onto it for another seven years until Ava Rose was baptized. It was the perfect opportunity to use it!