Handmade Holidays Nov. 7: Gifts for Good (Charity Sewing)

on November 7 | in Handmade Holidays, Sewing Inspiration, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 141 Comments

Extend your circle and make the season brighter! You can make a donation to a local organization that works with people or animals in need of extra support. Deborah has a nice list of options for your consideration…


Today’s Guest Curator: Deborah Fisher of Fish Museum and Circus

Deborah Fisher of Fish Museum and Circus is the director and pattern designer for both the Bright Hopes Collaborative Quilt Project and for Bo Twal. Bright Hopes is a community based non profit based locally on Long Island, NY. Bo Twal (cloth kiss in Haitian Creole) is a non-profit international doll project.

For another way to make Gifts for Good this season, purchase a Bo Twal doll or animal pattern to sew. Bo Twal patterns are available in the Bo Twal shop. As always, 100% of the profits from pattern sales are used to provide soft, handmade cloth dolls to children in underdeveloped countries. Sewists within the children’s country are paid to sew dolls and distribute them to the boys and girls, providing comfort to the children as well as income to the sewists.

Deborah is the author of Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family (F+W/Interweave 2013). Her new book, Quilt Giving: 19 Simple Quilt Patterns to Make and Give (F+W/Interweave), will be released in February 2016 and is available to preorder now.

Make It


Fleece Mittens
Are you looking for a handmade project to add to a Mitten Giving Tree? Wee Folk Art has the perfect “sew simple” Fleece Mittens tutorial that your kids can help with.


Simple Heart Quilt
The Simple Heart Quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew is perfect for any charitable cause. Make one to give to a charity for their fundraising raffle.


Wheelchair Tote
Sew for your local veteran’s home with the Wheelchair or Walker Tote tutorial from Sew Excited. Add a few small, practical gifts tucked inside.


Easy Tote Bags
Food pantries are extra busy during the holidays. Sew up some Easy Tote Bags from Crazy Little Projects and fill them with non-perishable food items.


Fidget Quilt
With Heart and Hands has great ideas for Fidget Quilt. These are just right for Alzheimer patients at your local nursing home.


Pow-Ta Da Quilt
Make this quilt for anyone who needs some extra care this season. The Pow-Ta Da Quilt from She Can Quilt is simple and striking.


Easy Pet Bed
Pet shelters always need extra beds. This Easy Pet Bed from Bia of Ms.Elaineous is one of two options we have here at Sew Mama Sew. There’s also the easy Dreaming Away Pet Bed from Ali and Courtney of Wives of Whitewood.

Related tutorials you might enjoy: Sewing Softies + Dolls for Charity, How to Make a Sensory Therapy Roll, Reversible Cozy Hood for Kids, Toys + Softies

Mix It


Chocolate Bark
Oski and Fig have customizable Chocolate Bark that’s perfect for any occasion. Treat yourself after all of your hard work!

Print It


Gift Card Envelopes
Non-profits are always in need of gift cards to give to their clients this time of year. Print out these sweet Gift Card Envelopes from Love vs. Design to make your donation look extra special.


Kindness Cards
Kindness Cards from Skip to My Lou are perfect for sharing with everyone.


Bright Holiday Gift Tags
Also from Love vs. Design, these Bright Holiday Gift Tags. They are fun but also neutral, so they are just right for a charitable gift when you may not know the recipient.


Random Acts of Kindness Cards
Random Acts of Kindness Cards from Sugar Bee Crafts help make giving fun all year round.

Win It

Comment on today’s post for a chance to win one of these prizes!
Tip: If you’re hoping to win a prize that notes “US shipping only,” include your state in your name (i.e. Beth in WA) so we can confirm residence and avoid any disappointment on your end. Shipping range is determined by the generous companies that contribute prizes.

The Complete Book of Curtains Drapes & Blinds

(US shipping only.)

Author: Wendy Baker
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Whether you’re an interior designer or a home decorator and you need to create a beautiful home space with a window dressing to complement your lifestyle, look no further. The Complete Book of Curtains, Drapes, and Blinds is the one-stop reference.

No longer will you struggle with inspiration or measurements as you’ll find the essentials for creating a curtain design in this jam-packed volume. Learn the basics of window shapes, measuring, heading tapes, fabric characteristics, and fabric quantities. When you’re ready to design, the second chapter in the book provides an in-depth look into various types of accessories available for curtains and blinds. For designers, and decorators, the sketches can be scanned and reduced to put on sample board or e-mailed to curtain makers to eliminate costly mistakes. The book also includes a section for cozy bed treatments and plush cushions and throws.

From first-time homeowners to interior design students and studio professionals— when it comes to window dressings and coordinated accessories The Complete Book of Curtains, Drapes, and Blinds will help you through bewildering choices in a simple and easy way. Now that’s a curtain call!

Stylish Skirts: 23 Simple Designs to Flatter Every Figure

(US + Canada shipping only.)

Author: Sato Watanabe
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing

Sew chic and original skirts with this stylish sewing book.

Stylish Skirts is the English edition of a popular Japanese sew-it-yourself fashion book which allows you to create simple yet stylish skirts that look and feel great—at a fraction of the cost of store-bought fashion. With this Japanese Sewing book, there’s no end to the kinds of skirts you can create to match your body shape, your taste in fabrics and colors, and your mood (not to mention your favorite tops, shoes and accessories)! The instructions and diagrams are a snap to follow and provide a huge variety of styles—from ultra-feminine to artfully disheveled. All 23 skirt designs in this book look great in different fabrics, colors, prints and textures—so the options are truly endless. The enclosed DIY sewing instructions make cutting and sewing these skirts a breeze.

Author Sato Watanabe has written many of the most popular Japanese sewing books on the market. In this new book, she shows you how to make professional-quality skirts easily and inexpensively at home. She studied clothing and accessory design at Tokyo’s famous Bunka Fashion College before beginning a career as a magazine editor, eventually turning her writing skills to creating bestselling books!

The Spoonflower Handbook: A DIY Guide to Designing Fabric, Wallpaper & Gift Wrap with 30+ Projects

(US shipping only.)

Authors: Stephen Fraser, Judi Ketteler + Becka Rahn
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang

Designing fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap used to be the stuff of dreams. Only a few select creatives got to do it, and it required formal training and significant financial investment. But times have changed, and today anyone with a computer, Internet connection, and idea can upload a file and order their own fabric or paper, printed affordably one yard or more at a time. At the forefront of this revolutionary DIY movement is Spoonflower, a North Carolina startup that produces designs for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide—24 hours a day/seven days a week to keep up with demand.

With step-by-step tutorials and projects that span a wide spectrum of skills, The Spoonflower Handbook is written for both new and experienced users of this print-on-demand technology. Covering everything from equipment to software to working with photos, scans, repeats, vector files, and more, it is an essential guide to a booming new creative outlet.

Check out our 2014 Handmade Holidays list for more fun, creative ideas.

Here are 2015 gift ideas:

We respect the copyright of all crafters. All photos are used with permission from the artist.

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141 Responses to Handmade Holidays Nov. 7: Gifts for Good (Charity Sewing)

  1. Andi in California says:

    I love all of these ideas! The heart blanket has to be my favorite though.

  2. Aimee in IN says:

    I love the kindness cards. So sweet!

  3. Amanda in TX says:

    The wheelchair tote is such a good idea!

  4. Judy in Oregon says:

    Great ideas for gift giving to charities.

  5. sarah o says:

    the simple heart quilt is so great!!

  6. Beth in WA says:

    The mittens are really sweet. I have just finished a doll quilt for charity but that’s probably all I will get done this year. I would really love to do the fidget quilt for next year. Thank you for this great list of reminders of the many ways we can try to help!

  7. Lydia in WA says:

    The pet beds are awesome. And for some reason, I like to make totes. Sweet gift tags.

  8. kim t. says:

    love this post!

  9. Jenn in SD says:

    I can’t wait to make a pet bed for my new kitty, and a handful for our local shelter as well!

  10. Teri in CA says:

    Love Handmade Holidays!

  11. Laurie in CO says:

    Love the easy tote bag – that’s a good stash buster too.

  12. I love the simple hearts quilt. What a lovely gift for someone in need of some cheering up.

  13. Jamie says:

    That heart quilt is on my to do list!!! Our guild had a stocking challenge. We made them to donate to a homeless shelter in our community. I think we had 40 and next month we’ll donate toiletries and toys to stuff them with for kids.

  14. Donna in Tx says:

    What great ideas for to help others. And the tutorials were great. Thanks so much for more great ideas.

  15. Deidre in Canada! says:

    The Handmade christmas is my favourite thing about November! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  16. auschick in va says:

    Those gift cards look great! Would love to win the Tuttle book!

  17. Lori says:

    Great ideas thank you for inspiring me to sew for charity.

  18. Still dying to try the simple hearts quilt!

  19. Michelle Smith in Michigan says:

    I’m loving the fidget quilt!

    Michelle in Michigan

  20. Morgan in NY says:

    What lovely ideas for sharing the spirit of the season.

  21. Julie from TN says:

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful ideas so we can share what we love to do by giving to others!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  22. Christine in CA says:

    Great ideas…The pet beds are on my to-make list!

  23. Angie in LA says:

    These are fantastic ideas

  24. Amy in IL says:

    Love the quilts and the wheelchair tote.

  25. L in NJ says:

    The wheelchair tote is such a good idea. I need to make one of those for a chronically ill friend. (And I’d love to try the skirt book!)

  26. Sarah in NC says:

    Love Deborah’s list for Handmade Holidays. Thanks for the chance to win!

  27. Ginger in NJ says:

    The fidget quilt is such a cute idea! And it would be fun to collect fabrics for!

  28. Such a great post about something I try to keep in mind every holiday season. I’m adding the fidget quilt to my list as my grandmother was recently diagnosed with dementia. Thanks for the resources!

  29. Amanda at APO says:

    So many great ideas! Going in the service folder for the family! Thank you.

  30. Kristie in WA says:

    Great gift ideas. The wheelchair tote would be perfect for great grandma. Thanks!

  31. Rebecca Kuck says:

    Great patterns….been looking for a walker bag pattern!

  32. Shannon in TX says:

    Thank you, I’ve been wanting to make fidget quilts.

  33. Julie says:

    I love the pet bed! My kitties might get one each from Santa!

  34. Cindi in GA says:

    My cats would love that pet bed..they’d fight over it.

  35. Alexis in UT says:

    Love the idea of a wheelchair carry along. This would be great to make for my own grandfather. Thank you for sharing.

  36. bookboxer in ny says:

    What fabulous ideas – that we should employ ALL YEAR long, but especially at holidays. Thank you for your generous giveaway.

  37. Beth in MI says:

    Such great ideas for helping others at the holidays and even all year long.

  38. Eleanor in NC says:

    So glad to see a post with charitable giving!

  39. Lots of nice ideas!

  40. Sarah in CO says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  41. Karrie in MI says:

    Love the projects today. THanks for the chance to win 😉

  42. Judi B in VA says:

    What great printables today!!!

  43. Cassandra says:

    What great ideas! I had never thought about food pantries needing reusable totes. Cassandra in Ohio

  44. Whitner says:

    I love those wheelchair bags. It would be a great (and simple) thing to whip up a few for the nursing home down the street. Might have to find some denim and make some for the gentlemen too!

  45. Brenda in NE says:

    That fidget quilt is such a clever idea for those with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. I can also picture variations that would be perfect for little ones to “fidget” with in church, in the car, while parents are visiting with other adults, and so on. Thank goodness you didn’t have a stupendous recipe today. I was gaining weight just reading them! Thanks also for all you do in organizing these giveaways and all the rest that you do.

  46. Judith Martinez says:

    Quilts make such lovely gifts!! I love making denim quilts for charity as they are so sturdy.

  47. Julie From Utah says:

    I’m in love with those little gift tags!

  48. Anya says:

    I love that Pow-Ta-Da quilt!

  49. Whitney in ME says:

    My kids will love the mitten idea!

  50. Sandy in Ohio says:

    The fidget quilt is a wonderful idea!

  51. Hilary says:

    The fidget is a wonderful gift.

  52. Allison C says:

    The heart quilt is simple, but very sweet. I will keep it in mind when I plan the next charity quilt.

  53. Amber in CA says:

    Great idea for gift giving. My grandmother would have loved a walker bag!

  54. SacheeninMN says:

    I have so much extra fleece that I was wondering what to do with it all. Maybe some donation mittens.

  55. Kate says:

    I make pet beds by sewing simple rectangular beds out of old fabric or cut up jeans and fill them up with scrap fabric, cut ends, salvage edges, etc., and then I sew shut and donate. It takes a little while to fill up, but I’ve made probably a dozen hard wearing, 100% recycled pet beds since a sewer friend told me about the idea a few years ago. It makes me feel better about sewing waste and I feel great donating the beds! It’s a win-win.

  56. Carrie says:

    The chocolate bark looks amazing.

  57. Jessie Hansen says:

    I was so hoping there would be a Gifts for Good day! I’m so happy. My son makes “cage comforters” for the local humane society. I found the tutorial here, I’m surprised it didn’t make the list under the “easy pet bed” part. They are like mini-quilts. Oh, that would be a good idea for minis… never thought of that before!
    (ps, if I win this day I would love some new skirts. I’m surprised there weren’t some books full of things you could donate, though.)

  58. Robin E. in AZ says:

    Love the heart quilt!

  59. Elizabeth says:

    Great ideas! I love the heart quilt.

  60. Love the simple heart quilt…pinned for my do. Good Stitches circle!

  61. Lovi in MI says:

    Love the heart quilt! Would make a great charity gift.

  62. Rebecca says:

    I just love the plus sign quilt. So pretty.

  63. Cary in VA says:

    I love the fidget quilt idea!

  64. Monique says:

    So glad to see this topic! The holidays should be about giving, especially charity.

  65. Kate says:

    So many great choices — thanks for sharing these charitable ideas!

  66. KL in VA says:

    We try to do a charitable project every holiday season. Thanks for the great ideas!

  67. Sue in VA says:

    I love the new ideas for fidget blankets.

  68. Bobby Powell says:

    I think I want to make those easy tote bags.

  69. Mandi in Mo says:

    The fidget quilt is such a great idea!

  70. Jayne TN says:

    Gorgeous and fun projects!

  71. Cindy S. Michigan says:

    Great ideas for paying blessings forward with charity sewing. Thank you for hosting the giveaway. All these books look great and any one of them would be a great resource for my sewing room.

  72. Renea at Iowa says:

    Lots of cute projects. Thanks for the giveaway.

  73. Nikkee in wa says:

    Wish I had the patience to quilt, that heart quilt is lovely!

  74. Lee in MI says:

    I love the patterns for the fidget quilt and pet beds! More ideas for the sewing charity group. Thank you!

  75. The wheelchair tote is an excellent idea.

  76. Laura in Oh says:

    I have been wanting to make quilts to donate to charity how or where to donate. I do now. Thank you. 🙂

  77. Becky says:

    I’d especially love a chance to look at the Spoonflower book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  78. Joan says:

    Since my grandkids have become teenagers, all they want for birthdays and Christmas are cash and gift cards so those gift card envelopes will come in handy.

  79. judi d says:

    perfect timing, I was just thinking about what I could do for charity before the holidays

  80. The heart quilt is amazing!

  81. Garilyn in Ohio says:

    Love the heart quilt! Thanks for the chance to win!

  82. Natalie in Ohio says:

    Love the fidget quilt. What a sweet idea <3

  83. Susanne in Mi says:

    I love the ideas for a nursing home or assisted living….the wheelchair tote, bibs, and alzheimers small quilts. Thinking of others…love it.

  84. kathyh in OR says:

    Giving to others in need has a special place in my heart.

  85. beth p says:

    The fidget quilt is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  86. Charlotte in Ga says:

    Love the ideas for giving! Thanks!

  87. Deb H. in PA says:

    I love the simple heart quilt!

  88. Carrie Darling says:

    I have to try everything in this post but my very favorite thing was learning about Bo Twal. What an incredible organization! I will be visiting the shop for patterns. Thank you!!

  89. Kathy h in Pa. says:

    Great ideas. I really think the mittens would be a great project to do with the kids.

  90. Theresa says:

    What neat ideas.

  91. Heidi in SD says:

    Great idea to make totes for the food pantry!

  92. Kristin says:

    I love the idea of sewing wheelchair bags and that chocolate bark looks delicious!

  93. Pat Upton says:

    I am gonna try the easy tote bag! Looks great!

  94. Janelle Thietje-Dunn says:

    I love these suggestions. I sew so much for gifts for people through the year, it’s nice to remember that gifts of comfort for those I don’t know need to be on the list a little more often.

  95. Katie in GA says:

    I love today’s roundup’s focus!

  96. Anna (64ColorBox) in FL says:

    I may have to make the wheelchair bag for my Gramma. Also, I really want that skirt book.

  97. Tina L says:

    Love some of these ideas.

  98. Marian from Georgia says:

    I have so many windows in my house that need drapes, would love to win

  99. Dawn from Indiana says:

    I love the pet bed.

  100. Laura in MD says:

    I love that heart quilt!

  101. Crystal Rose in MN says:

    There are a lot of good ideas here.

  102. Mary Ann in SC says:

    Awesome ideas for giving to others!

  103. Paige says:

    So many great ideas, especially the quilts, I have always admired the work of Allison and Leanne

  104. christina in vt says:

    The Pow-Ta Da is indeed a striking quilt.

  105. Rachel B says:

    It was sweet to include the cat bed.

  106. Angela in Kentucky says:

    What wonderful ideas to help others by doing something fun! I like fiddle quilts for Alzheimer’s patients!

  107. Melissa P. says:

    I love that pow Ta-da quilt!

  108. Miranda says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  109. jmj in IN says:

    Great you included charity in you gift groups!!!!

  110. Kim says:

    Can’t wait to make several pairs of the mittens!

  111. Terri says:

    Love this group of gifts for charity!!! Just lovely!!!
    What a wonderful idea. Thank you.

  112. Elise in GA says:

    Great ideas!

  113. Jennifer in CA says:

    This is one of my favorite subjects – crafting for Charity. My Girl Scout daughter is planning a service project that will be sewing skirts for those who need, probably a foster care closet or a women/children’s shelter. I really like the idea of sewing tote bags for the Food Bank as well. I love the Japanese Skirt book being offered a prize this year. As always, thanks for sharing.

  114. Marilyn in WA says:

    Great ideas!!

  115. Delia in VA says:

    There are so many great ways to sew for charity. It is fun to see a few more. My girls and I sew for Operation Christmas Child. We like to make something homemade in the box. They are beginning sewers, so a simple pencil bag is as complicated as it gets for them.

  116. Tina in NJ says:

    Thank you for including a chapter on sewing for charity. Those fleece mittens might get made.

  117. Ginger in MD says:

    I’d never thought of donating tote bags to a food pantry–what a great idea! And totes are some of my favorite things to sew.

  118. Nancy Hilderbrand says:

    Like all the giveaways and I am from IL

  119. Erin says:

    Those fidget blankets are a great idea!

  120. Anne says:

    Such great projects – love the simple heart quilt.

  121. Nicole says:

    The easy tote bag and easy pet bed look like good projects for some of my students. They look like a great way to gift others around our school.

  122. Kristin says:

    The chocolate bark looks delicious!

  123. fenna says:

    what a great idea! those quilts are lovely!

  124. Jennifer W in SC says:

    The trouble with this post is that I like all the crafts! But the tote bags and the pet bed are my favorite 🙂

  125. FRe2bfree says:

    Love the heart quilt! My dog could use a fresh new pet bed too!

  126. jessicac says:

    I have been meaning to make a new pet bed! And I think everyone needs to carry kindness cards with them!

  127. What a nice idea to include crafts for charity in this roundup. It’s an inspirational idea & truly shares the Christmas spirit!

  128. Sandy Ross says:

    Never heard of the fidget quilts before, interesting idea.

  129. SS in NH says:

    Donating food in a tote bag is a great idea!

  130. Mandi says:

    I like the idea of making tote bags to donate with non-perishable food.

  131. cecile says:

    Thank you. It’s good to remember those who need gifts more.

  132. Kathy says:

    These are all nice ideas.

  133. What a thoughtful curation! I especially love the mittens tutorial.

  134. Heather in VA says:

    The kindness printable cards are perfect for slipping into my daughters’ backpacks. Thank you.

  135. Barb B in Canada says:

    Some fleece mittens for our library’s mitten tree would be perfect. Thanks for sharing

  136. Patty in MN says:

    Practical, yet stylish ideas. Where to start?

  137. Jess says:

    Nice list. I keep meaning to do some charity sewing. I like the heart quilt.

    I’m from Seattle (ish), WA

  138. amber says:

    these are such great ideas. everyone likes a gift that thought was put into.

  139. Michelle in OH says:

    Ooooo…love the quilts.

  140. Shannon in WA says:

    Love the idea of getting my kids involved in seeing charity mittens 🙂

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