If you’re new to sewing, you most likely have high aspirations of making something very nice—an item of clothing, maybe, or perhaps a quilt. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, you’ll want to start out with a few projects that are easier initially—just to get used to using your machine and get the hang of sewing. You can work your way up to the bigger items gradually. However, that doesn’t mean that your simpler projects can’t be fun and super cute. There are lots of projects that you can make easily and fairly quickly that you will be proud of—in fact, once you master them and move on to more complicated stuff, you may find yourself coming back to make more of these as gifts!
Simple Tote Bag
Whether it’s for shopping at Costco or the farmer’s market, back to school, travel, or to take to the office, a tote bag always comes in handy. Sometimes the simplest tote bags are the best—all you need is a large opening and a handle. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be cute! Pick a favorite fabric (or the recipient/s of the bag can pick one out for themselves!) or two/three that complement each other and have a go at it.
The simple tote bag only needs a few supplies. You can make the bag as large or as small as you’d like, and the strap as long as you’d like as well. Test out the first one for yourself and tailor it to your needs. You can take it with you next time you buy sewing supplies! Attach a strip or two of Velcro at the top to close—or leave it open, if you’d rather. Another option is to add ties on each side to close it loosely. Have fun with it—and before you know it, you’ll have a fabulous bag that you can show off!
Cloth Napkins and Placemats
Sure, cloth napkins are a pretty simple project. But think about how fancy they’ll look when you have company for the holidays and you set the table with them and their matching or complementary placemats—and your guests will be impressed that you made them yourself! (Or, you can tell them you got them at Sears and they may not know the difference.) Better yet, you can pick coordinating fabrics for each side of the napkin or placemat and choose which side to display! Or you can display alternate sides for a varied look. You can also pick different fabrics for each individual piece with a coordinating theme or color scheme. The possibilities are endless! Dress up your table with a bit of your own creative handiwork.
While you may not want to start out with a full-size apron, a half apron is a great beginning project. And did you know that you can make an apron using a dish towel? There are certainly some cute dish towels out there, and they may be more absorbent than regular fabric. Dish towel aprons are simple and adorable, and you can dress them up on the edges with ribbons, rickrack, buttons, sequins, trim, or even just a simple fabric that goes well with it. Get creative! You’ll end up with a cute apron that you’ll be proud to wear or give as a gift.
A tablecloth is another quick way to dress up your table and impress your guests. Or you can make a special tablecloth for parties or certain holidays. You can even get a fun-patterned oilcloth that makes for a water- and stain-resistant tablecloth that still looks cute. Whatever you fancy, pick your fabric and sew a thick rickrack on the edges to seal it. Not only will it look great, but you can customize it for a specific table size. This is another item you just might find yourself making more of to give as gifts!
Potholders are always useful, and when you make your own, you can make them as fun and cute as you like. Pick a couple (natural) fabrics you like and grab some thermal batting and quilt batting, and you’re pretty much set. (Don’t use synthetic fabrics, as they won’t hold up to the heat. Cotton or linen is best.) You’ll have to make your own bias tape as well, but hey…it’s easy! You’ll end up with a bias tape that’s better quality than what you can buy at the store, and you can pick the color and design. And you’ll be all the more proud of this potholder when you’re done. Before you know it, you’ll be cranking them out so fast you’ll have a stack!
Okay, okay; I know I said five projects, but this one was just too cute to pass up. Bonus! Have you ever seen homemade shoelaces? Talk about a fun project! Pick a favorite pair of shoes and snazz them up with a complementary, fun fabric. Not only will this get rid of old, dirty shoelaces (or at least give you a chance to wash them!), it will transform your shoes into a whole new pair. They are quick and easy to sew and won’t take up a whole lot of supplies. In fact, this may be a good use for any extra fabric strips lying around that you need to find a use for! Make them as tame or as wild as you dare.
So there you have it—six (well, actually seven!) sewing projects that are easy and fun to make and use. Post pics online to show off your end result, and if you have some other simple projects, leave a comment below!
The Inspired Sewist offers sewing supplies, classes, machines, and repair. We can help you learn new techniques or inspire you to get started sewing, guiding you through any project you’d like to complete. We also offer assistance with any sewing machine purchases or repairs. Contact us for all your quilting and sewing needs.