Present Perfect: A Joyful Guide to Holiday Sewing by Betz White

Editor's Note: Betz White is the author of Present Perfect, a fabulous book for making gifts year-round, and especially helpful as we get into the last-minute days of gift-giving. You can download the book from the SewDaily Shop to get in those last few gifts today. And her tips for handmade holidays are good to keep in mind as we get in the holiday action:

For those of us that love to sew, the holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to make things for those we love. Here are a few ideas to help you create handmade holidays for your family without getting overwhelmed in the process.

The Make and Bake apron makes a
wonderful gift for the cookie baker on your list.

These holiday coasters are a variation on the
Falling Leaves Coasters, appliquéd with circles
and "tree" triangles. I used the scraps
leftover from the apron project.


1) Have a great resource for ideas. Perhaps you've been pinning craft tutorials on Pinterest all year long. Now is the time to go through your list of "make someday" projects and your list of recipients. Do any of them align? If you're short on ideas, take a look at my new book, Present Perfect. I designed this book as a go-to resource for gift giving for all ages and occasions!

2) Plan ahead. Take a look at your calendar and decide how much time you'll realistically have to sew. Schedule all of your other holiday obligations (cookie baking for the school, your spouse's company party, etc) then block out your sewing time. Buy your materials and notions, pre-wash and press your fabrics and organize a master list. If you're making anything seasonal, such as a Christmas apron, it's a good idea to make it first. I like to give gifts like this before Christmas so they can be enjoyed during the whole season.

3) Batch sew. Plan to make projects that you can give to more than one person on your list. Do all of the cutting at once, the sewing at once, the finishing at once. By changing out color and fabrics, each gift will feel personal yet be more interesting for you to make more than once.

4) Enlist elves. Is there anyone that can help you? Kids over 6 or 7 are great at sorting scraps, pressing fabric (with supervision), winding bobbins, sewing straight seams, etc. It's true, that sometimes enlisting your kids can actually take more time, so you'll need to judge this on a case-by-case basis. The best part about having helpers is that they will take pride in the gift making! Seeing projects come together is exciting and sewing itself is a wonderful gift to pass on to your kids.

5) Have a back-up. The holiday season can be a fast and fun time! Sometimes our best sewing intentions don't work out. In this case it's good to have a back up plan. For the sewist on your list, I'd like to suggest giving them their own copy of Present Perfect along with a special selection of pretty fabrics that suit their style.

I hope these tips will help make your holiday sewing go smoothly and give you a sense of joy this season!




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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.