Planning for Holiday Sewing Success

The holidays are filled with joy: decorating, baking, singing, and visiting with family and friends– it’s a time for celebration. But we all know that many times the season can also end up very overwhelming, especially when it comes to holiday gift-giving. Sewing can sometimes become more of a chore than a fun hobby as we stress about getting all our project plans done in time. When we move from quilting for fun to quilting with a purpose, it becomes extremely helpful to create a plan in order to meet all of our holiday sewing project goals!

Check out our holiday project planning tips below and feel prepared for your best homemade gift giving yet!

  1. Make a list of all the family and friends you plan to make something for. 
    • Here are some things to think about outside of your regular gift-giving list: Do you have a gift exchange at your quilt guild or at work? Do you sew for holiday charity events? Were you asked to make gifts for Community Bazaars, craft fairs, or fundraisers?
    • Once you know who you’re making for, choose a project for each person. Use our Quilts for Gifting or our Easy Gift guides for inspiration.

  2. Create a plan for gift giving.
    1. Take inventory. Look around your sewing room just like you would look into your pantry before creating your grocery list. Do you have all the supplies you’ll need to get started? Double check things that need stocked: thread, needles, rotary blades, etc.
    2. Once you know what you have, make a list of the supplies still you’ll need to get and start shopping! (To add something extra special, explore our Finishing Touches and Trims & Embellishments!)
    3. While you’re waiting on your supplies, work out a schedule to help you follow through with all your sewing plans. Choose a day or two of the week to dedicate to working on these projects. Use our August Quilt Planner to help you plan it all out. (We’ll have a new one ready for you each month!)
    4. Pro-tip: Begin with bigger quilt projects first to give yourself plenty of time to get them done! Also, if you’re planning on making gifts for your friends who also sew, start on their projects last. That way if you find yourself running out of time, you can always give them notions, fabric, or Missouri Star gift cards! (Psst! We’ll have a Quilter’s Gift Guide in October for you to explore so be sure to check back in!)

  3. Next, make a YOU list. This will be all the other holiday projects you wish to complete outside of making for others, like all of the holiday decor projects you wish to complete for your home.
    • Think about what you need (or want!): Do you need something new to hang from your door this year? Have you added new furniture to your home that may need a runner or stocking to be hung from? Will you need a tree skirt?
    • Then, take our holiday style quiz to help you get started on choosing your fabrics and patterns!
    • Pro-tip: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to complete all these projects by this Christmas. There’s always next year to decorate too!

  4. Create a plan for your own holiday projects. 
    • Before shopping for some fresh sewing supplies – take a look at your stash. Do you have projects you started last year that you never finished? Do you have holiday patterns or fabrics on hand that you haven’t used yet? See if you can utilize any of your inventory for the holidays to come. Then create a list of the things you still need and start shopping!
    • Plan these projects around your gifting projects. For example: After you spend an hour working on a gift, take 30 minutes to “reward” yourself on your own holiday home pieces.
    • Tip: Where we start big with gift projects, start small on things for yourself! Giving handmade is a lot of work – so, the things you create for yourself should be a fun break! Avoid projects that could be overwhelming and definitely don’t stress about perfection.

  5. Lastly, stay inspired!
    • Clean and organize your sewing space! 
      • It sounds like a chore at first, but when it comes time to create next, you’ll feel prepared and motivated!
      • Explore our organizational tools for storage ideas!
    • Create a playlist.
      • Use a music app to create a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to while you sew. See if you can match the ‘mood’ of a project to the ‘mood’ of a favorite song. This will help motivate you as you go! (Pst, Jenny’s playlist is filled with musical soundtracks like Fiddler on the Roof, Wicked, and The Greatest Showman! She also likes John Denver, James Taylor, and Jack Johnson. Let her know what you’re listening to in the comments below!)
    • Over the coming months, check into our holiday page for fresh ideas and inspiration.
    • Pro-tip: Just Breathe!
      • Holiday sewing can mean a lot of time spent slouching over our sewing machines which can make our muscles feel tight and scrunched up. Breathing can make all the difference! Luckily, Jenny and Kelly Sheets put together this mini tutorial on how to breathe better and improve our health in order to expand our creativity!

Do you have your one helpful tips on planning for holiday sewing projects? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to tell us what’s on your playlist! 🙂

Framed Pinwheels Quilt

The Framed Pinwheels Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Watch the free quilt tutorial today.

The Framed Pinwheels quilt is a master of disguise. 

It looks like a tricky maze of itty bitty pieces, but don’t be deceived! This block is simply a disappearing nine patch! 

The Framed Pinwheels Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Watch the free quilt tutorial today.

Here’s how it works:  Whip up a nine patch of charms and lil’ pinwheels. Slice up that block. Shuffle the pieces. Stitch ‘em back together. That’s it! 

This pattern was inspired by the creative genius of V and Co, and we’re so excited to share it with you!

The Framed Pinwheels Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Co. Watch the free quilt tutorial today.
Watch the Latest Tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Co!

What’s Your Story? – My Sister’s Unfinished Quilt by Barb R.

BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. Quilting isn’t just a hobby for some. For many it’s a way to cope, stay inspired, or even honor others.

Thank you, Barb, for sharing your story.

“Prior to my sister, Susan’s, untimely death from ovarian cancer at age 49, we had the opportunity to go through some of her “stuff.” There were a lot of boxes to go through and at the bottom of one of her boxes, I found several unfinished projects including multiple finished Christmas tree blocks and already cut fabric ready to piece into more blocks for a quilt. 

At the time, I had never quilted but I had an older sister who was an devoted quilter and I asked Pat if she would like the squares from Susan. She agreed to take them and although there weren’t enough squares or fabric to make a quilt, there were blocks that could be used for some other form of remembrance. 

The first Christmas tree square Pat used was on the back of a quilt that she made for me as a way of thanking me for helping Susan. Pat came up with the idea of using the squares to make pillows for the four living sisters. Unfortunately, every time Pat opened the squares to work on them she became emotional and tearful and couldn’t really start. Now I’m new to quilting but I’m up to the challenge of making pillows for my 3 remaining sisters.

Susan died before she ever became a grandmother, but loved babies and knew at some point her two girls would have children of their own. Because she knew she was going to pass before seeing her grandchildren, she wanted them to have something special from her. Crocheting was easy for her to do when she was ill and something she could do without having to sit at a sewing machine. In the year before she died she crocheted six baby Afghans all in different colors. I was the keeper of those gifts until such time she had grandchildren. Twenty years have passed and she has six grandchildren. Each baby was taken home from the hospital wrapped in one of the afghans made by their grandma. It is comforting to know all of her grandchildren have a piece of Susan’s work.

Susan was a remarkable woman and we both learned to sew early. We were only 13 months apart in age. Our first project when we were about eight was a green and white skirt that we made with our maternal grandmother. She made Alaskan parkas for my kids, she made Mukluks, and there wasn’t much she couldn’t do when it came to sewing.

Sometimes our projects get ahead of us and sometimes a little mistake in one project makes it difficult to continue and so it goes to the bottom of the box. Now as I take these squares and make pillows for my sisters I will finish the “unfinished” quilt in a different form. My sisters will have a remembrance of Susan knowing she is wrapping us all in her love with a piece of her quilt.”

Barb R.