Handmade Holidays Nov. 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays by Nancy Zieman

on November 8 | in Handmade Holidays, Sewing Inspiration, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 130 Comments

 Welcome back for the eighth day of our 10th Annual Handmade Holidays series! Short on time this Holiday season? Nancy Zieman put together a list of Holiday projects that are super quick to sew! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end too!

Nancy has also contributed Wall Pocket Organizers, Fabric Bins, and a tutorial on sewing French seams.

Today’s Guest Curator:
Nancy Zieman

From Nancy:
Nancy Zieman—author, designer, businesswomen, TV producer, blogger and national sewing authority—is the host of the popular show Sewing With Nancy®, which appears exclusively on public television stations across the United States and Canada.

Nancy has written numerous how-to sewing and quilting books, and released her autobiography, Seams Unlikely, in 2013. Nancy is the National Spokesperson for Baby Lock sewing machines and Nancy’s Notions®. She designs patterns for the New York-based McCall Pattern Company, designs sewing and quilting products for Clover Needlecraft, Inc., designs fabric collections with Riley Blake Designs, and also writes an interactive blog.

Nancy lives in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, with her husband, Richard. The couple has two children and two grandchildren.

You can watch Sewing With Nancy® online at nancyzieman.com and visit Nancy at nancyzieman.com/blog.

In as little as one or two evenings, you can stitch a Christmas project that will compliment your festive decor or be the perfect heartfelt gift for someone special. Gather fabrics from your stash, grab a new collection of fat quarter cuts, or start with readymade linen napkins! The sewing is fast; the end results are WOW!

Make It


Festive Tree Skirt
With a small investment of time, you can create a Christmas Tree Skirt that will showcase the center of your holiday decorations. Choose fat quarter cuts or use fabric from your stash to create the wedge shapes. The sewing is streamlined; the end result a boutique-style decoration.


Festive Napkins
I love to set a special dinner table with cloth napkins. Adding a simple, and I stress the word simple, design makes it even more festive. That’s when the idea dawned on me to use the Circles Sew Simple Tool to add the traditional ornament shape to napkins.


Pot Holders
Make these pot holders for your big holiday meal or as a unique hostess gift. The project can be created in minutes using a few simple tricks.


Christmas Tree Napkins
With two coordinating fabric prints and a little serging savvy, you’re on your way to creating functional as well as festive napkins. Give a set as a gift, or make a set for your holiday entertaining. It’s a fun project. Here’s a preview of the serging process.


Lumberjack Pillow
I call this recycled-garment project my Lumberjack Pillow, although you could make this from a loved ones’ shirt and sew a memory pillow as well. The technique used to fit the shirt around the pillow form allows for many shirts and pillow sizes to be created easily.


Wrapped Pillows for All Seasons
You can easily change your home décor with a little fabric and a great embroidery design with this pillow wrap project. Embroider a seasonal motif on fabric or choose an elegant fabric design to complement your décor.

Related tutorials you might enjoy: Christmas Tree Towel and a Reindeer, Gift Bag and Stocking set.

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.

Crochet Therapy: The Soothing Art of Savoring Each Stitch

Author: Betsan Corkhill
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Crochet Therapy will inspire you to pick up a hook and take some time out of your hectic day to dive into colorful whorls of yarn. Focus, relax, and become more mindful by making more than 20 simple and colorful projects comprised of crocheted mandalas, soothing circles, and other beautiful motifs. Each repetitive pattern helps you engage with your materials, increase your well-being, and unlock your creativity. Mindfulness exercises accompany the patterns and complement the therapeutic effect of crocheting for achieving calm, stress relief, and becoming “effortlessly present” in your craft. Clear instructions and a host of finishing techniques round out the pretty projects and crocheted bounty.

Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way (Guided Sketchbook): Sketch, Paint, and Doodle Through One Creative Year

Author: Jennifer Orkin Lewis
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

To conquer the intimidating prospect of filling 365 blank pages, Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way is divided into monthly themes, with undated daily prompts that suggest what to draw each day. You can work through the journal from front to back, or jump around and draw whatever appeals to you at the time. Monthly themes include: a month of nature, a month of your favorite things, a month of characters, a month of print and patterns.

Jennifer Orkin Lewis (aka @augustwren) encourages experimentation with a one-page tutorial at the beginning of each month that outlines accessible ways to draw with different materials, such as ballpoint pens, colored pencils, paint, and collage. Coupled with sections of varying paper types, there is an unlimited canvas available to flourish artistically; brown craft paper pairs well with black ink and white pencil, black paper is great for white and metallic gel pens, and heavy white paper is included for painting.

The journal is not only useful as a stress-reliever and as a mode of personal exploration, but also as a way of changing visual thinking. And when completed, it will serve as a reflection of its owner.

With prompts, tutorials, and unique packaging, Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way is a must-have for those looking to sketch and doodle their way out of an inspirational rut.

Check out our 2015 Handmade Holidays list for more fun, creative ideas.

Here are our 2016 themes:

November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents
November 6: Gifts for Geeks
November 5: Stitched and Sewn Stocking Stuffers
November 4: Gifts for Playtime
November 3: Gifts for Four-Legged Friends
November 2: Gifts for Travelers
November 1: Gifts for Students

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

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130 Responses to Handmade Holidays Nov. 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays by Nancy Zieman

  1. angela in KS says:

    What wonderful ideas!

  2. Rose in MN says:

    I would love to make that tree skirt next year!

  3. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  4. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  5. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  6. Angela Brady says:

    Angela in Louisiana

  7. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  8. Mary Beth says:

    Lumberjack pillow is great.

    –Mary Beth in MO

  9. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  10. Barb K in NE says:

    Some great fabric gift ideas!

  11. Silvia says:

    Love the pillow ideas!

  12. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  13. Paula in NV says:

    Crochet Therapy is just the book for me! I need things to do with my hands at night and this looks really fun.

  14. Judi B in VA says:

    I like the napkins. K.I.S.S!!!

  15. […] November 11: Quick and Easy Gifts November 10: Gifts for Book Lovers November 9: Heirloom Gifts November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and […]

  16. calypso says:

    Love the wrapped pillow.

  17. Cyrus says:

    I love the tree skirt! May have to make that one for my mom!

  18. Kate in MO says:

    Thanks for the ideas!

  19. Kimberly says:

    That lumberjack pillow is fun!

  20. Patricia Coppage says:

    Great Christmas gift ideas! Thanks!
    Patricia from Texas

  21. […] Fast Holiday Projects […]

  22. Sam in FL says:

    Love these projects. Quick but very impressive finish.

  23. sumac in VT says:

    I’m amazed at all the creative ideas!

  24. Mandi in MD says:

    The pillow wrap is genius!

  25. Charlotte in GA says:

    Great ideas!

  26. Kerry in HI says:

    These are perfect ideas!

  27. The lumberjack pillow looks so squishy!

  28. Paula in Texas says:

    My daughter has been wanting me to make a Christmas tree skirt for her. I think I could manage this one.

  29. BSackrey says:

    Those potholders would come in handy for thanksgiving and christmas dinners.

  30. caroline rohrer in NV says:

    Pillows aregood.

  31. Shannon in WA says:

    Thanks Nancy! I can see whipping out some pot holders for my SILs

  32. Rena says:

    Love the draw every day book!

  33. Michelle in CO says:

    really loving all the gift ideas!!

  34. Southern Gal says:

    Great ideas. I made memory pillows from my brother-in-law’s work shirts for his daughter and widow last year.

  35. Rose In the UK says:

    Love quick projects

    • Patricia Coppage says:

      Great Christmas gift ideas! Thanks!
      Patricia in Texas

  36. Barb B in BC says:

    thanks for the wonderful ideas1

  37. usairdoll in CA says:

    Great tree skirt! Maybe this year I can get one made ;-D

    usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  38. Deidre says:

    Pot holders are always “sew” appreciated!

  39. fenna says:

    those books look like fun 🙂

  40. Stephanie says:

    Love these ideas. Going to add them to the to make pile, especially the napkins and tree skirt

  41. Stephanie says:

    These are great!! They are going on the list

  42. Ari in NJ says:

    The potholders look very useful.

  43. Cinnamom says:

    Cool stuff.

  44. Claudia K says:

    My quilt guild is exchanging pot holders to one another as gifts. Like the one on this blog.

  45. brie says:

    I love that tree skirt!

  46. Terri in NJ says:

    lovely ideas

  47. Monica in TX says:

    Wonderful.l suggestions for Hokiday gifts !! Thanks for sharing

  48. Lisa in MA says:

    I have some great Christmas fabric I’ve been holding onto for a few years – the tree skirt and the pot holders will be a great use for it!

  49. Carole says:

    Everything that Nancy does is terrific!

  50. Chris says:

    Nancy is the best. Love the napkins.

  51. Brenda in Washington says:

    would love to try the Christmas Tree skirt; always wanted to make one and love this design.

  52. Sue W says:

    Will be watching the video on using rectangles and squares to make boxes and organizers.

  53. Gina Ia says:

    The wrapped pillow is great! I could change it all year long. And the lumber jack pillow, a great guy gift!

  54. Beth in MI says:

    I want to make a tree skirt for my newly married daughter, this one looks perfect!

  55. Mandi in CO says:

    Good ideas. Thanks!

  56. April in KS says:

    I’ve been looking for a nice tree skirt pattern – thank you for that!

  57. Bekki says:

    The lumberjack cushion is a lot of fun.

  58. Paige in SC says:

    Festive projects!

  59. Lisa McGriff says:

    Lumber Jack Pillow is just to cute!

  60. Kathleen in WA says:

    My Mom is always trying to get me to make tree napkins, maybe I will this year!

  61. Sandy in Ohio says:

    I need to make the pot holders!

  62. Judy In OR says:

    Great quick ideas for gifts or holiday decor.

  63. Karen says:

    Lovely ideas as always! I really enjoy your annual HandMade for the Holidays content.

  64. Barb in NE says:

    I like the Christmas Tree napkins–also the dresden table topper!

  65. Emily in WA says:

    The lumberjack pillow is cracking me up! I might need to add a beard to it – lol

  66. Margo in WA says:

    I love that lumberjack pillow! Cute idea.

  67. Luciana says:

    Love the pot holders!

  68. kiri says:

    so many good idea.

  69. Susan says:

    Pot holders! I need to make myself a whole drawer of those things.

  70. Kathy Slaughter Cummings says:

    Great projects!
    Thank you.
    Kathy in Kentucky!

  71. […] November 8: Fast Projects for the Holidays November 7: Gifts for Babies and New Parents November 6: Gifts for Geeks November 5: Stitched and Sewn Stocking Stuffers November 4: Gifts for Playtime November 3: Gifts for Four-Legged Friends November 2: Gifts for Travelers November 1: Gifts for Students […]

  72. Sandy in WA says:

    Would love to win the crochet book.

  73. AmyDe says:

    I love the Lumberjack pillow – perfect for my SIL. Thank you for the opportunity

  74. Julie says:

    I’m loving the lumberjack pillow! It looks just too comfy for words.

  75. Marilyn says:

    Would love to win a copy of draw everyday.
    Like the wrapped pillow for all seasons!

  76. Emma in FL says:

    These are so pretty! I have been wanting to make a christmas tree skirt, and I love this one. We usually get a real tree, so the base is pretty big. I hope it will work with this, otherwise, alterations will be in store 🙂

  77. Jayne -TN says:

    I’ve wanted to make a new tree skirt for so long…maybe this year!!

  78. Tracy Thompson says:

    Some great ideas here. I could use some new pot holders

  79. Emily in Alabama says:

    Love these ideas!!

  80. Patty says:

    Love that pillow idea!

  81. Joanna NY says:

    I love the Christmas tree napkin. It is on my to do list.

  82. Kathy L in VA says:

    I loved the wrapped pillow! You could change out the band with your seasonal décor!

  83. Tammy in SC says:

    Looks like some great simple projects!

  84. Alesha Klein says:

    Love the tutorial on making Pot holders.

  85. Jolyn in FL says:

    Cute projects!

  86. Susan says:

    Everyone needs a little help during the holidays. Books, blogs, and my sewist family

  87. Kay in Tx says:

    Love the gifts.

  88. lucia says:

    I love fast projects! So many presents to make!

  89. Barbara says:

    Love the festive napkins! Thanks for sharing.

  90. Gwen in NJ says:

    Great timing for holiday napkins. I found perfect remnant piece and recently purchased winged needle, and now I have the perfect pattern.

  91. Susan in MI says:

    I really like the tree skirt and the pot holders. I had heard of Insul-Bright, but the Quilted Iron Quick Fabric is new to me.

  92. jessicac says:

    I love the Lumberjack pillow! Must raid fathers stash of shirts pronto!

  93. Delia in VA says:

    I love these fast projects. Napkins & pillows were already on my list.

  94. Christina in MS says:

    I love the lumberjack pillow!

  95. That joy . joy pillow matches my Christmas decor perfectly! The word joy is my theme, and my colors are red and white. Thank you!

  96. Renea says:

    I have watched Nancy Zeiman for years. Love her show. Thanks for the giveaway.

  97. --Anu says:

    I so love the Handmade Holidays! Every year I get some ideas, this year it might be a pokeball pillow for my daughter. And today remind me that I need a new Christmas tree skirt too 🙂

  98. Nancy McKenzie says:

    Nancy is THE source of great ideas that work! Love these ideas!

  99. Wrapped pillows! What a great idea.

  100. Toni says:

    Wrapped pillows! What a great idea.

  101. Laura says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  102. Chelsea says:

    I made a pillow just like the lumberjack pillow years ago – and it’s still my favorite. Upcycling for the win!

  103. Gloria Breault says:

    That napkin project is just SO clever! Why didn’t I think of that?

    I have an idea for a day for your Handmade holidays special–How about handmade gifts for Guys. I feel like guys are tough and I could use some great ideas,

  104. SS in NH says:

    I’ve been meaning to make a tree skirt

  105. Cindy in VA says:

    I so need some crochet therapy today! Love the handmade holidays series every year!

  106. Rebecca Kuck says:

    Nice projects from Nancy today!

  107. Mama Squirrel says:

    The shirt pillow is a great recycling project!

  108. Lee in MI says:

    I love the dresden tree skirt!!

  109. Janelle says:

    Great ideas and really super prize books! I think I’ll be trying out the potholders soon.

  110. Jenni in WA says:

    This is perfect, I need to make a Christmas tree skirt. I like that it can be completed quickly.

  111. Eleanor says:

    Great ideas!

  112. Wendy in MI says:

    I love the tree skirt

  113. Gweneth says:

    Love the lumberjack pillow how fun!

  114. Jamie says:

    Okay, that tree skirt is on my list of must-makes this year! Thanks, Nancy!

  115. Anne Marie says:

    I really love that tree skirt.

  116. Eliz Mancini says:

    I really like the festive and Christmas tree napkins. I like to use linen napkins every day so I will be making them for Christmas.

  117. Jessie in NM says:

    Yup, more fun things to get done before Christmas.

  118. Kay in Tx says:

    Thanks for the giveaway

    Kay in Tx

  119. Andrea in WV says:

    Such great ideas!

  120. Anne in tx says:

    Love the pot holders. Nancy is an inspiration. Thanks for having her.

  121. I’ve never heard of pillow wraps! What a fun idea!

  122. Heidi says:

    The tree napkins are so fun! I made some as a gift last year and they were a hit!

  123. Alexa says:

    I’ve been really eager to try Draw Everyday…hope I win. Great projects today as always!

  124. Patty in MN says:

    Some simple, but festive ideas here! Thanks, Nancy.

  125. ParisGrrl says:

    Love these ideas, especially the potholders

  126. Teresa says:

    The Christmas Tree Napkins look simply wonderful!

  127. Ramona in MI says:

    I love this collection! I especially love the wrap pillow! How fun and quick to make for any occasion.
    Thank you!

  128. Jennifer N. in CA says:

    Fun, quick ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  129. cecile in MN says:

    Nice ideas. thank you !

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