Last Minute Gifts

By now we’re all down to the wire for those last minute Christmas gifts.  I have a few suggestions that I hope will help you finish up.

Time is short and the list is long.  I’m down to the postmistress, a sad and stressed neighbor, some neighborhood children and a few others outside the family.  So now I’m really scurrying and relying on these tried and true projects.


Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

Orange marmalade recipe design from Embroidery Library with oranges added at the top..

My personal favorite for a last minute gift is a dishtowel.  Blank towels can be purchased and embroidered with a personal design.  Or one can be personalized with a turn tube/burrito hem and 1/4 yd. of novelty fabric that reflects and interest of the recipient.

I love making recipe towels, like this one featuring orange marmalade.  It is made with a turn tube hem.  I pick up jars of homemade jams all summer in anticipation of making these gifts.  Of course, I only buy goodies for which I have recipes.  Embroidery Library has a nice variety of berry jams, as well as root beer floats, and others.  This year they have added blackberry preserves, orange marmalade, blueberry jam, peach and more.

A towel like this with an added print hem would be received by our friends with an olive grove if only I could find olive fabric.  But that has proven to be hard to find so that one may require embroidery.









Another of my all-time favorite last minute gifts is the washaway gift bag towel.  You begin with a towel and  add a little embroidery–or not.


just a towel with some embroidery

just a towel with some embroidery


With right sides together, fold up the lower 1/3 and seam the side with washaway thread.    Turn it right side out, use big safety pins as ribbon runners.  Drop in a disposable aluminum loaf pan and fill with cookies.  Run ribbon through the pins and tie the bag up.




Once the cookies have been removed, a quick spritz of water will release the seam and leave a nice holiday gift towel.


For children you can’t go wrong with keychains, the dingle dangles they hang off their book bags.






Whether you choose favorite characters or sports items or whatever, you can make them easily with Brother’s Quattro or Dream Machine.  A tutorial for these machines is posted at Brother Sews.

Without those specific machines, you can simply embroider the chosen design/motif on stiffy felt.  I prefer to hoop stabilizer and then secure the felt with spray adhesive.  Before you embroider, tuck the ends of  a ribbon loop 2″ under the felt.   Embroider your design.

Import one of the frames on your machine–square, oval, circle, shield, whichever most closely fits the shape.  Resize it to surround your design.

Next, remove the hoop from the machine but DO NOT remove the felt from the frame.  Cut another piece of felt which will generously cover the existing embroidery.

Apply glue stick to the felt.  Place that on the underside of the embroidered motif and stitch the selected frame.

After the two pieces of felt are joined together with the embroidered frame, carefully cut approximately 1/8-1/4″ outside the embroidered frame.


Pencil toppers are another kid pleaser.



There is a complete tutorial on these smiley face toppers, along with the design which will be sent free upon request.  You can easily change out the smiley face for any other small design in your embroidery library that might have greater appeal to a particular child.

I’m off to finish up a few of my last minute gifts.  How is your Christmas sewing coming along?  What have you made?  I’d love to hear about it.


3 responses to “Last Minute Gifts

  1. Shirley Boyken

    Too many projects, too little time is my ongoing cry at this time of year. Would you have any suggestions for good quality waffle type weave towels that one can purchase as blanks? I had several that were available at Penneys and now I can no longer find them. Love your idea about the small jars of jam and jellys to accompany the towel. You are always an inspiration!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  2. At this time of year, I cry that same lament, Shirley. There are so many fun and unique projects out there that I would love to try if only I had the time. Thanks for your kind words and for liking the inclusion of the jam jars. I wish I knew of a source for waffle weave dishtowel blanks. I bought the one shown and 3 others at Tuesday morning about 3 years ago. You know, you never know what they will have so I doubt the towels will still be there.

  3. Shirley Boyken

    I hadn’t thought about Tuesday Morning for awhile. I, too, have found some amazing things in there. One of my very favorites is a Silk Blanket…..YES…!!! It is my absolute favorite!! It is plush almost like wool but yet it is very soft and it is very warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. Also, it’s in my favorite color, pink so that doesn’t hurt anything either. That was my most unusual find in Tuesday Morning!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.