I know, I know—you bought (or extorted) all the necessary equipment, but you forgot all the creative ideas you had before you bought it. Now what?
Fret not, since this article will be focused entirely on fresh and creative ideas for all levels of sewers: beginners, advanced seamsters and seamstresses, and those in-betweens. My aim here is to make you think about interesting designs and ideas that can turn into alluring and beautiful DIY end products for home or outside. Or, in short: charming things you sew to sell, use, or gift to your friends and family.
I’ll cover some easy-peasy undertakings such as cloth napkins & headbands; more advanced projects like seat cushions and laundry baskets; and make-em-and-sell-em-strong things such as sleeping bags, kimonos, baby carriers, and lots more.
Let’s get to it!
Beginner Sewing Projects
Having astonishing cloth napkins at your next dinner party without breaking the bank? Definitely possible. Making a dozen or two of these will surely take some time, but making them is pretty easy. You’ll also have the added benefit of a unique napkin for every table, or for every person, even! Just buy the right fabric and off you go.
Remember those generic towels that sit around your kitchen, getting damp and smelly (which for sure does not improve their appearance)?
Well, you can now make your own. The idea here is to pick the particular towel material so that the towel will have absorbent properties. You can find this fabric in many, many different textures as well as strength and flexibility levels. Choose the ones that are both pleasing to the eyes and durable—and start sewing.
Wanna make your bed a lot more classy or jazzy? Making your own pillow cases will definitely help. It is an easy way to import some energy into your bedroom and break the bland look. Or, you can aim for cool and calm to help you unwind with turquoise-colored material. It’s your choice.
Pillow cases are typically made of two separate pieces of cloth sewn together, but you can also opt for a single, more robust piece that’ll cover the whole pillow. Aim for material that is hypoallergenic, as you or your family will be putting your heads on these every night.
Headbands are a great little project that will bring some joy to you and those around you. The neat thing is that, instead of hunting for the perfect pre-made headband, you can make it yourself. Nowadays, you can even order just the right type and texture cloth from Amazon, and just start sewing.
OK, it’s not that easy to create when compared to pillow cases, but it’s still very feasible. You can do it single- or double-sided.
A bonus tip: the leftover material from your other sewing projects can be used to make headbands for grown ups & kids. Imagine having the same headband design as your cloth napkins! 🙂
Medium-Level Sewing Projects
Alright, so here we approach the slightly more advanced undertakings. These require that you already have some skill, and that you are already used to using your sewing machine to create stuff. If you’re not, attempt to create some of the previously mentioned pieces before trying these out.
Whether you attach them to your fab hair with a clamp or bow, or put ‘em in the plate besides the DIY cloth napkins, fabric flowers are the perfect decoration for every day and almost every occasion.
Basically, what you need to do here is create a pattern that can be sewn in a circle and look like a flower. You can use lively colors for spring and summer, mustard yellow for fall, and some white or cold-blue for the winter. Then, you can put these beautiful hand-sewn flowers wherever you feel like it: on your purse, your head, your dress, and maybe even on your shoes.
Alright, so you might be asking yourself: what’s the difference between creating pillow cases and seat cushions, and why are the latter more difficult? The main issue here is the tight fit. Whereas with pillow cases you don’t have to be very strict with size (but you don’t want ‘em to look too baggy either), seat cushions look terrible when too saggy.
The best approach here would be to measure your seat, mark up all dimensions on your fabric, and start cutting & sewing. Make sure that you don’t leave more than ½” of leeway – any more than that and nobody would want to sit there.
Off with those bland plasticky sorry excuses for a laundry basket. It’s time for something chic to put dirty socks into!
You might be wondering: how on Earth can a cloth basket stand straight, waiting to receive some used-up laundry? Well, you won’t be using just cloth, which is why this is a medium-level sewing project.
The idea is to get something sturdy that will hold the structure upright. For that, a strong canvas, and even a carton will do, which you’ll wrap around in a cylinder shape. Then, you sew the printed cloth on top of this structure. The result is beautiful, practical, and innovative.
Advanced Sewing Projects
Now we’re coming to the really interesting & practical—but also tough—DIY things to sew. If you complete these projects, it’ll save you a real fortune, while also giving you a truly unique add-on for your home or for sports & outdoor activities.
Making a sleeping bag is not easy, but it sure is a rewarding journey. We’re talking here about a process similar to making a duvet cover.
What you’ll need to do is obtain a mattress-like material, zipper, the cloth, and of course, your sewing kit / machine. Then, after measuring the mattress, you mark up the cloth and start cutting the right size to fit.
Next step is, naturally, sewing the cloth around the mattress. Here, you need to make a double layer on both sides, so that you have a mattress and insulation from the cold from all sides. Adding a double layer on the exit side for a pillow might also be a good idea. The exit side can be simply at the end of the tube, or at the side. Whichever way it is, add a zipper track there so you can zip it tight when sleeping outdoors.
A homemade kimono—what a great idea. Whether you are into martial arts or just love this traditional Japanese garment, making your own kimono at home truly is an ennobling experience.
Of course, if you’ve tried to make your own shirt or hoodie, you know that it is not an easy task. Luckily, there are millions of pattern and sewing designs online. Finding one for your DIY kimono shouldn’t be too hard.
You should also pay some attention to the material. Hard, towel-like material will make it durable (great for those energetic martial arts classes), and you might also use it as a bathrobe. Light & silky is great for winding down in bed or on your day off, though light materials also work great for scalding hot days in the summer. Pick the right one for your use case.
Your curtains don’t have to be too difficult to create, generally speaking. There’s no complex know-how here. The main issue lies in the many little things that you need to do in order to make your curtain complete.
I’m talking here mostly about the ring carriers that are attached to the curtain tracks. Embedding lining and grommets can also be a challenging task to get right.
As with all of the above, the end result is what matters. And the end result here would be populating your home with curtains that no one can find anywhere else on the planet!
Finally, we come to making a baby carrier. Again, the complexity of this DIY sewing project comes not from a single point, but from the combo of many different parts you need to get right to end up with a good end product.
For example, the exact shape and pattern is very important so that you can actually use the carrier to carry your baby. The material chosen is also very important. You need sturdy and durable material that will hold your baby up to some 22 lbs (around 10 kgs). You’ll also need rivets, and sewing them precisely on the designated spot is sometimes a difficult endeavor.
There are designs online to show you how to make your own baby carrier. Once you do, you’ll be basking in the fact that your baby is safe and close to you thanks to your own skill.
A Few Words Before You Leave…
There are millions of ideas for things to sew to make your life more colorful and rich. I can’t go over all of them here, but I got you covered if you are really stuck and cannot figure out a good project to develop those sewing skills and equipment of yours.
I know you can do it, and I believe you’ll find many of the above compelling—just like I did. Onto sewing, then!