Getting gifts for the sewist in your life can be hard – for both you and them! Sewing items are such personal pieces that its hard to know if they’ll want certain things or if they even use them. So the first thing I’ll suggest is to watch them to see what they use: do they use scissors or a rotary blade and self healing mat, pins or clips? What types of things do they sew: quilts, bags, clothing – if clothing is it stretch or non stretch fabric? Figuring out these things will help give you some ideas for small things they might go through often. Needles are fabric specific, so if they make stretch clothes you will want to get stretch needles, if they make leather bags you will want to get them leather or heavy duty needles. Knowing what type of machine they use is important, too. If they use an industrial machine, the needles are different! If they quilt, you could get them quilter packs of fabric that comes in coordinating shades and designs, but those wouldn’t be useful for a garment sewist.
Can I just buy them a sewing machine?
Yeah, maybe. But a sewing machine is super specific and a really personal choice. I wouldn’t recommend to upgrade someone’s sewing machine unless they have told you which brand/model they’re looking at. Getting a new type of machine for them could be good, but again if they’ve talked about it and mentioned options. There are two types of machines that you could look at, and each is sort of the next step for garment sewists.
Serger: a serger is a seaming machine, it will cut off the excess seam allowance and uses 4 threads to “wrap” the seam and prevent fraying. It is used mainly for knits, but can be used to finish non-stretch fabrics as well. It is a favorite among knit garment sewists as it allows the fabric to still stretch and makes pieces look more professional. Most will also allow you to take off a piece and create a finish called a rolled hem.
Coverstitch: this machine is very much a specialty machine. It is used for hemming and again creates a professional look. It will use 1-3 needles and a lower thread to create different looks. Some machines also offer a feature called top or reverse coverstitch that adds another thread on top that will zig zag back and forth to create an activewear look.
These are machines that a lot of sewists end up wanting and there’s a few favorites you can look at if you know they want the new machine type. The options I’m showing are mostly entry level, non dealer options. If you’re in the budget to go with a dealer option (and all the features they may offer) I would recommend setting a budget and having your gift be a trip to pick out the machine with your sewist.
There’s a few other big ticket things you can buy for your sewist. If they use or are wanting to use a cutting mat (and rotary blade) you could get them a large one. You do have to know what size table they have because it needs a hard surface to lay on. But there’s lots of sizes available out there! You can get smaller ones from Joann or Amazon, or if a really big one is in your mind look for Rhino: they have options measured in feet like 4*6, 5*10, 6*12 and even custom cut options. I personally have a 36*48 (that I got as a Christmas gift) and it fits most items I need to cut. Most pant legs can fit on it, but if I tried to cut a jumpsuit that didn’t have a waist seam or a maxi circle skirt I have to shift things around and cut in a few steps. I also use my dining room table to cut on, so I have the space for that size mat.
Think About Sewing-Adjacent Options
Something a lot of sewing people have in common is doing other crafts that can something relate to sewing or be done along with sewing. One of those is using a vinyl cutting machine to add designs to shirts. There’s two major brands of cutting machines with lots of options between them: Cricut and Silhouette. Both do similar things and come out with new models and features each year. Katy over at Wild and Wanderful did a great comparsion of the two a couple years ago (there’s new machines out since then, but this gives a great base idea of which software would work best).
You can also take that a step further and get them the stuff they need to use those machines! I’ll focus on using heat transfer vinyl, but if they’re into other crafty stuff you could also get paper and markers/pens, regular vinyl for adding to windows, mugs and more or even cut fabric and wood on some of them. The most recommended brand for HTV is Siser Easyweed, you can find it at Michaels stores (wait for a sale or coupon), on Amazon, or at Expressions Vinyl in all different sizes.
You could also get a heat press to make applying HTV even easier (this is on my list this year!). Cricut has an option that matches their line of products, or you can get one that hinges and offers a more secure sublimation.
GIFT CARD IDEAS
All sewists love fabric, so get them a gift card to their favorite store so they can grab the pieces they’ve been eyeing! Plus, if you don’t sew it’s hard to know what is the right type of fabric or the right amount for what they make.
You can go with the basics like Joann’s or Hobby Lobby… but a lot of people are looking towards online independently owned shops, who offer a great selection and many are offering gift cards now. Fabric gets expensive, so gift cards to get the things we won’t always buy ourselves are always appreciated.
*Keep in mind if you go for one of the custom choices that they are much more expensive. It is fabric that has been created by an artist (sometimes the owner is the artist, sometimes it is licensed from an artist) and printed on different fabric bases. Scroll through some of the preorders to see the gorgeous designs they offer.*
Here’s a few of my favorites:
Stocking Stuffers They’ll Love
Wrap Up Something Useful
CRAFT ROOM DECOR
Sewing Mends the Soul | Beautiful Things | Watercolor Sewing Machine
Watercolor Buttons | Clear Word Art
Measure Twice Cut Once | Thread Spool | Custom Watercolor Print
3 Piece Art Print | Makes You Happy | Nothing to Wear
Get Naked | Fashion Print
I’m loving a few things I found on here, and might have my eye on some for when we move and I’m looking to decorate a sewing space. What are your favorites? What are you hoping will show up in your gifts this year?