10 DIY Gift Ideas That You’re Going To Enjoy Making


Christmas is just around the corner. Are you looking for some fun gift ideas that you can make?

There’s no better time to show your loved ones you care than with a special, handmade gift this holiday season.

DIY gifts don’t have to be complicated or time consuming.

Here are 10 easy and affordable DIY Christmas gift ideas that will be sure to make your loved ones smile.

Most, if not all, of these projects are doable for even a beginner seamstress and a lot of them have a video tutorial available for those who are visual learners.

10 Gift Ideas

gift iedeas diy ZIPPER POUCH

1- Zipper Pouches

Putting in a zipper can seem overwhelming and intimidating, but once you sew a zipper using the techniques in this video, you’ll realize how fun it really is and want to make more!

These zipper pouches can be made any size and are great for holding cosmetics, pencils and pens, and whatever you have that need a little pouch for.

Watch the video tutorial HERE. 


Get the pattern HERE. 


2- Cuffed Pillow Case

Making a pillowcase is a fun and simple beginner sewing project, and in this tutorial, I will show you how to add a contrasting cuff using the burrito method.

It only requires a yard of fabric and about 15 minutes to make.

I’ll show you how to make them using a sewing machine, and a serger, and how to sew a French seam if you choose.

You can also add a small strip of trim if you want and I’ll show you how easy it is to do that.

A cozy pillowcase is the perfect gift for your grand kids.

Video and Pattern links are in this blog post.

gift ideas diy utility apron

3- Utility Apron

These DIY Utility Aprons are not only cute to wear, but they are also so FUNCTIONAL!

In this sewing tutorial, I go over step-by-step instructions on how to make your own apron. These aprons are great to hold all kinds of items while going about your day in the home, garden, and office.

The multiple pockets are nice to hold pencil, pens, scissors, cell phones, garden gadgets, and whatever else you need to keep on hand.

I LOVE THIS APRON and wear one almost every day!

This is a fun sewing project and these aprons make great GIFTS!!!!

Get the free pillowcase sizing chart and video link HERE: 

4- Microwave Potato Bag

You know those times when you want to cook a baked potato, but you don’t have an hour or an hour and a half to spare?

No worries. I’ve got you covered.

In this DIY sewing tutorial, I show you how you can make a microwave baked potato bag. This is a super easy sewing project and these bags make the perfect baked potatoes. You can have a few baked potatoes cooked up in minutes.

We use ours ALL THE TIME!

Get all the details HERE: 



gift iideas gift card holder

5- Gift Card Holder

I you want to give a gift card as a gift, why not make a unique, homemade gift card holder to put it in?

They only take 10 minutes to make and it’s a project in that you can use up some of your fabric scraps.

Get all the details HERE:

6- Fingerless Gloves

These fleece fingerless gloves are the perfect thing when you want to keep your hands warm, but don’t want the bulk of a full-coverage mitten or glove.

Learn how easy it is to sew a pair in 10 minutes or less.

This sewing project only takes a minimal amount of fleece fabric, and can also be made from upcycled fleece clothing.

diy fleece neck warmerAdd a fleece neck warmer and you have a great Christmas gift.

Watch the video tutorial HERE.


Get the Pattern HERE

8- Pixie & Pilot Caps

Just in time for the cooler weather coming on, these cozy pixie & pilot caps are the perfect thing to keep your little ones ears nice and toasty!

These whimsical, but most importantly functional pixie and pilot caps were designed to fit snug around the face and tie comfortably under the chin.


gift ideas DIY DOG SWEATER

9- Dog Sweater

We can’t forget the dogs! Keep your pooch warm with style in an upcycled dog sweater.

My border collie actually likes wearing a sweater, even though with all that fluff, he really doesn’t need it.

However, there are some breeds of dogs that could use that extra layer in the cold winter months.

So if you have an old sweater kicking around, this is an easy sewing project that you can make in no time at all.

Even a beginner seamstress can make this.

I give instructions on how to make this with a regular sewing machine and a serger.


10- Foot Warmers

The weather is getting a little chilly.

Here is a fun little sewing project and gift idea for those wanting to keep their little tootsies warm.

My husband and I have been using these for years. I guess we have become wimps in our old age, because now we can’t go to bed without a heated corn bag in our bed.

We’ll heat one or two up and throw them under the covers a few minutes before we go to bed, then when we jump in, ohhhhhh nice and toasty.

These little bags are great for placing anywhere on your body that needs some soothing.

You can also place the bags in the freezer to use as a cold pack.


Of course, there are a lot of other Christmas gift ideas on my site and YouTube channel, but hopefully this will get you excited and inspire you to take some time now before the holiday crazies set in to make some fun, unique gifts.

Have fun sewing!





Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How To Make a Gift Card Holder // Simple Sewing Project

gift card holder

When you give a gift card as a gift, why not make a unique, homemade gift card holder to put it in? They only take 10 minutes to make and it’s a project in that you can use up some of your fabric scraps.

gift card holder

These gift card holders are so fun and simple to make and are great for “last minute” gift giving. This is a good beginner sewing project.

They only take a minimal amount of fabric (two 5 x 7-inch pieces) and a few snaps. You can make the gift cards a little more rigid by adding some lightweight interfacing, but this is optional.

fabric gift card holder items




1 – Using the free pattern, cut out 2. (1 lining/1 outer)

You can have them be different prints or the same.

2 – Cut out 1 interfacing (optional).


3 – Apply the interfacing to the WRONG SIDE of just one of the fabric pieces.

(bumpy side of interfacing down).

4 – Place the two pieces RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.


5 – If you are adding a tag or label, do that now.

Using the pattern, apply the tag where suggested. This is totally optional. It helps to baste the tag in place before sewing the outer seam.

*** If you want to learn how to make your own labels, check out my tutorial HERE.

6 – Using a ¼ inch SEAM ALLOWANCE, start sewing at the point indicated, and continue to sew around and stop LEAVING A 1 ½ – 2 INCH OPENING.

Back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

7 – Clip corners and notch the curved edge.


Push out the corners with a “turning stick” or something with a blunt end.

9 – Tuck in the seam allowance from the opening you left.

Press all the edges well.

10 – Fold the bottom edge up 1 3/4 inches, and press.

Fold the top edge down so the height of the envelope is 2 ¼ inches. Press to make a crease.

gift card holder

11- Pin or clip the bottom section of the gift card holder in place and sew along one side, over the top, and down the other side using a top-stitch 1/8 inch from the edge.

Clip threads.

gift card holder turning

Gift Card Holder Snap Application

12- Poke Holes

Using the awl that comes with the kit, poke a hole in the top flap where indicated and mark the hole with a pencil where the second snap needs to be applied.

gift card holder snap 1

13 – Top Snap

Take one of the thumbtack-looking components and stick it through the hole you made at the top of the holder. (push through from outer fabric to inner)

14- Apply a female component.

Hold in place while you squeeze the two pieces together using the snap pliers.

15 – Repeat for the other snap.

Do the same thing with the other snap but poke the thumbtack piece through the hole from the outer fabric to the inner. Use the male snap piece this time.

16 – Tad-ah, that’s it! 


17- Insert your gift card into the gift card holder and you are ready to roll.







Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How To Make Charming Heart Gift Tags With Upcycled Sweater Scraps

DIY VALENTINE'S heart gift tags

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and in this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make these charming heart gift tags using upcycled sweater scraps. I hope you’ve been saving these little fabric gems that you have leftover from your other upcycled sweater project.


DIY VALENTINE'S DAY heart gift tags paper bag

It goes to show you that even the smallest pieces of felted wool sweaters can be made into some pretty cute things! Add a string of jute or ribbon and you have a tag that is unique and something that you don’t see every day.

I’m going to show you how to easily cut out a small heart freehand, a few ways you can apply it to a card, and show you how to sew several hearts together to make a HEART GARLAND.

supplies green heart heart gift tags

Heart Gift Tags Items & Materials Needed

  • Paper scissors/paper cutter
  • Fabric scissors
  • Felted sweater scraps/felt pieces
  • Card stock paper
  • Glue stick
  • Paper punch
  • Lightweight jute
  • Sewing machine (optional) for heart garland
cutting out heart gift tags

Instructions for Cutting out Heart Gift Tags

If you want, you can create a small heart pattern with paper. However, I find just eyeballing and cutting is much easier due to the small size of the hearts.

Take a piece of sweater fabric and fold it in half. You’ll only be cutting out the shape of a half heart. Start at the bottom point of the heart. You can make these as wide and as tall as you want. You may want to practice on a folded piece of paper to get the hang of it. It really is quite easy.

Heart Gift Tags Paper Prep

Decide how big you want the tag or card to be and cut out a piece of cardstock to that size. You can make the tag be a folded card or a single-layer tag.

heart gift tags glue

Heart Application

There are a few ways to apply the hearts to the paper. The first one is to just glue it on using a simple glue stick or craft glue.

heart gift tags red heartAnother way is to SEW IT ON. Yep, you can use your sewing machine to sew a simple line down the center of the heart. This gives the card a unique look and allows the sides of the heart to flop a bit, which I find to be really cute and different. TIP: to avoid thread nesting on the underside of the fabric, hold your thread for the first couple of stitches and then let go.

If you want to add a ribbon or tie to the heart gift tags, simply use a paper punch.

Fold the ribbon in half and insert the folded end into the hole. Stick the cut ends into the loop and pull to tighten. Tie the heart gift tag to your gift bag. SO CUTE!

heart gift tags heart garland

How to Make a Heart Garland

Another thing you can do is make a vertical heart garland by sewing several hearts together. You can do this by hand sewing, but using a sewing machine makes it a snap.

heart gift tags threadsStart by pulling out about 5 inches of thread from your machine.

heart gift tags sewing machineTake a fabric heart and start sewing at the upper notch of the heart down to the point of the heart. DO NOT CUT THE THREADS!

heart gift tags sewingTurn the handwheel of your sewing machine toward you to bring the needle in the uppermost position. Lift up the presser foot and pull the sewn heart back until you have the distance between hearts that you want.

heart gift tags garlandSew another heart in the same manner and continue with this process until you have a heart garland the length you desire.

heart gift tags doorknob

These heart garlands are adorable hanging from a doorknob or on the wall.

There you have it; another fun way to use up those small pieces of felted sweaters. These heart gift tags are not only for Valentine’s Day but make cute additions to baby gift wrappings and other gifts.

Be sure to check out my other Valentine crafts and gifts.

DIY Valentine Heart Branches / Love Grows on Trees / Easy Craft Tutorial

DIY Valentine Paint Chip Bookmark / Kid Friendly Craft

Paper Heart Garlands: Made From Recycled Magazines

Heart Lollipops: Made with Upcycled Sweaters & Felt





Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY Top Knot Headband | Easy Sewing Tutorial

top knot headband feature2

When you’re looking for a cute baby gift, this top knot headband is so quick and easy to make! They can be made with a minimal amount of knit fabric and OF COURSE, an UPCYCLED T-SHIRT! 

top knot headband tshirt

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up of solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up with solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Make sure you are checking out my SEWING PATTERN STORE, where you’ll find a big handful of other things you can make for babies.

top knot headband

These topknot headbands look adorable on babies, toddlers, and even adults. They can be made to fit ANY SIZE HEAD, just follow the head measuring instructions to get a perfect fit.

You can make these headbands using a regular sewing machine; serger or you can even sew them by hand. If you don’t have a sewing machine, be sure to check out my HANDSEWING tutorial where I show you how to sew a stretch stitch by hand.

Top Knot Headband Materials & Items Needed

  • Sewing machine/Serger (optional)
  • Scissors/Rotary Cutter-Mat
  • Pins/Fabric clips (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Turning stick
top knot headband measurement


The best way to get the correct size is to measure the head you are making the headband for. If that’s not possible, refer to the Average Head Circumference Chart. Knit fabric will stretch to fit a wide variety of heads sizes in that range so don’t be too stressed about it!

Using a measuring tape, measure the widest part of the head. Write that measurement down.

Cut a strip of knit fabric (6-8 inches/15.5 cm x HEAD MEASUREMENT)

Feel free to alter the thickness of the headband. You may want a thicker, bulkier, or even a thinner headband. It’s all your preference and you can cut them out accordingly.

Make sure you cut out the strips with the stretchiness of the fabric for the widest part.

topknot headband tshirtUpcycled t-shirts work really well





Use a lightning bolt stitch, a small narrow zigzag stitch, this is so the seams won’t pop and break when the fabric is stretched, or you can use a 3-4 thread serger.


Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise. Sew along the unfinished edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Turn right side facing out using a turning stick or the eraser end of a pencil.

Align the seam so it is in the center of the headband.

top knot headband topknot headband knot

Take the short ends and tie a very loose knot.

Place the shorts ends Right Sides Together and with the seams lined up. Using a regular straight stitch, sew along the unfinished edge using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. (Basically the edge of your presser foot). Trim seam allowance.


I love this method because there is NO SEAM on the back of the headband, therefore making it so much more comfortable to wear.

Slide the knot down so it covers the seam you just made. Adjust the knot how you want it and you’re finished!

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple!

I hope you have fun making these top knot headbands as much as I do. 


Play Video




DIY Felt Flowers Flowers – No Sew Craft Project

There are so many cute flowers you can make from felt and in this DIY tutorial I am going to show you how easy it is to make some felt flowers. This is a NO SEW craft project and something you can make in no time at all.

There are so many possibilities when working with felt. You can also use FLEECE to make these flowers. Of course, you can use whatever colors you want to make these darling little mums, I LOVE YELLOW!

I am going to show you how to make two varieties of felt flowers, a tight short blossom and a spider mum, or dandilion (longer floppy petals).

You can add a stem and leaves to the flowers, or attach a broach pin and apply it your clothing, handbag, hat or even a headband.


1-  Plug in your hot glue gun.

2-  Using a water bottle lid or the circle pattern from PDF, trace around it and cut out one for every flower you are making onto the green felt. I like to use a disappearing ink sewing marker or you can just use a pencil or chalk pen. Cut out circles and set aside.

3-  Cut out leaves out of green felt (optional)

4-  Get the felt you are using for the flower petals and cut a strip of felt 1 x 10 inches.

5-  You are going to be folding this strip in half lengthwise and gluing it together.

Apply a string of glue along the long edge of felt. Fold felt in half with the glue in the middle and edges lined up. Press in place.

Take your scissors and cut little snips 1/8 inches apart. LEAVE ¼ INCH UNCUT along the edge. Do this the whole length of the strip.

6-  Apply a little dab of glue to the uncut edge.

Start rolling the felt strip onto itself, cinnamon roll style. Apply a little dab of glue, then roll, following this process until you’ve rolled the whole strip. (Keep edge even and be careful not to burn yourself with the hot glue).

7-  Now you need to fill the hollow underside of blossom with either a wad of stuffing or I just use little felt scraps from the green felt circles that you just cut.

Apply hot glue to the hollow and stuff the wad of felt into it to fill. (No worries, you will be covering this up with the felt circle).

8-  Take the floral wire and cut it to the desired length.

9-  Using the needle nose pliers, wrap the end of the wire around the tip of the pliers to form a little spiral circle. Bend the circle over to make it flat.

10- Apply a dab of hot glue to the wad of felt on the underside of the blossom. (In the center)

Stick the end of the stem onto the dab of glue and hold until it adheres.

11- Take the green circle you cut out and fold it in half.

Clip a tiny slit into the center. Feed the end of the floral wire into the circle and pull it up the stem halfway.

Apply some hot glue onto the top of the circle and slide it up to the underside of the flower. Center the circle over the wad of felt and secure in place. Add more glue along the edge if needed.

12- If you want to add a leaf or two, cut out the desired leaf style.

(Leaf tutorial will be available soon). If you want the leaf to have more structure and bendable, apply paddle wire or stem wire to the underside of leaf using the hot glue.

13- Decide where you want the leaf to be on the stem. Using the floral wire, start to wrap around the stems of leaf and flower to hold them together. Wrap down a ways and add another leaf if you want, or just wrap floral tape the whole length of stem and rip off when at the end.

Place the flowers in a cute tall skinny jar. I like these recycled olive jars.


1- Cut out a strip of felt 1 ¼ inch x 18 inches. (To make smaller flowers, just roll until you get the blossom the size you want and cut it there)

Instead of folding the strip lengthwise, fold it in half crosswise. Cut little slits leaving ¼ inch UNCUT. Slits can be cut bigger if you want the flower petals to be wider. Cut the whole length of strip.

Unfold, and you should have long petals instead of looped petals.

Roll and glue just as described above, until you’ve rolled the size of blossom you want. Cut if you want it smaller than the whole length.

2-  Apply the stem as described above.


1-  Using the glue gun, simply glue a broach pin to the underside of blossom instead of a stem.

These felt mums make cute additions to any floral arrangements. Look how cute this mum is looks in the wristlet corsage we made for my sons prom date.

You can get the whole FELT FLOWER SET pattern here.


Play Video

Like I said, the possibilities are endless. Have fun using your creative bones to make some felt or fleece flowers.

I would love for you to share what you make. Post your photos on Instagram and tag them #fibersandtwigs

Have fun creating.




DIY FELT CHERRIES Easy Sewing Tutorial

Summer has arrived and it will soon be cherry season. This DIY felt cherries easy sewing tutorial is a fun little project that you can make in no time at all. There are so many fun ways to use these bright colored red gems. Add a key chain and hang them on your purse or backpack. Glue a magnet on the back and display them on your fridge, or embellish your gift wrapping.

These cherries can be made using, of course, an upcycled red sweater, red fleece, red knit fabric, regular woven fabric, or felt scraps. Felted wool sweater fabric really adds a unique charm to a set of cherries. So get into your upcycled wool sweater stash and see if you can find a piece of red felted wool.



Cut Out

  • 2 cherries from red fabric
  • One dark green rectangle and one leaf from light green felt
  • Cut a strip of cord to 7 inches.

Apply cord to ring, knotting in the center of cord. Set aside.

Single thread the needle and knot the end.

Using a running stitch, sew around the perimeter of cherry piece ¼ from the edge of the fabric with the knot on the inside of the fabric.

End by poking the needle to the outside, and leave it unknotted. Pull the thread to gather fabric and form a cup.

Insert stuffing into the formed cup. It doesn’t take a lot of stuffing.

Continue stitching around and around using the same seam allowance and pulling to cinch. This will eventually stay cinched.

Push the seam allowance into the inside and pull thread tight.

When the gathering stays cinched you can insert the end of one of the stems into to hole.

Push in about a ½. Sew around the stem and then insert the needle into and through the stem to secure it in place. (These may be a little challenging and will take a little force to poke it through).

Take some more stitches around until the stem is secured in place.

To knot, simply take a tiny stitch at the base of the thread leaving a little loop.

Wrap the needle around the loop and pull to form a knot.

Poke the needle back into the cherry and out the bottom. Cut the thread close to the fabric.

Repeat this process with the other cherry.


There are several different ways to finish the leaf. You can just glue the two pieces together with a small leaf centered on top of the bigger leaf, or you can sew them together using a blanket stitch or embroidery the leaf veins using green embroidery floss.

● Center the small leaf on top of the dark green rectangle. Edge the small leaf using a blanket stitch on the sewing machine or sew by hand.
● Embroider the veins (optional).
● Cut out the leaf backing about a ¼ inch from the inner leaf edge.

Leaf Application

Using the hot glue gun, apply a small dab of glue onto the stem knot. Wrap the tip of the leaf around the stem knot and around the key ring. Pinch in place.



Apply a dab of glue onto the back of a small round magnet and stick it to the back of the leaf.

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple?

Have fun creating and let me know if you have any questions.




Fleece Coneflower: Free Pattern and Tutorial

I do love flowers, and coneflowers are one of my favorites. I have had this magazine page pinned to my bulletin board for some time now, and this was my inspiration for this new fleece coneflower pattern.

Who would have thought that FLEECE would be a great medium for making flowers?  Well, it is!
This fleece coneflower is so quick and easy to make you can have a bouquet made up in no time at all.

Materials & Items Needed

fleece coneflower instructions

  • First, plug in your glue gun so it will be ready when you need it.
  • Cut out 8 pedals. *Make sure to lay the pattern out on the stretch of the fabric, as indicated on the pattern. You can use a couple of different shades if you like.
  • Stretch the petals.  This will make them curl up slightly
  • Do this to all 8 petals. (The top of the petal will be curled up edge)
  • Double thread your needle with a knot at the end.  With the curled edges up, fold the petal in half lengthwise, and stitch to secure in place.
  • Join two petals together, with the tops facing up (curled edge).  Alternate colors if you are using more than one color.  Stitch back and forth a few times to secure.
  • Continue stitching petals together until you have joined all eight.
  • Turn flower over and join the first petal to the last.  Stitch around one more time catching the back of each petal.  Pull tight and knot.  Cut your thread.


Coneflower Center

  • Using the flower center pattern piece, cut out one center using the color of your choice.  You can use felt or fleece.
  • Using a simple basting stitch, sew around the outer edge, about 3/8 inch inside the outer edge.
  • Poke the needle to the outside and pull slightly to gather in edges.  Fill with stuffing, or I just like to use little pieces of scrap felt.  It works great.
  • Pull the thread tight to gather in the edges.  Use a pencil or some other device to poke the raw edges to the inside of the ball.  Pull the thread and tuck, keep doing this until you have worked all the edges inside.


  • Stitch back and forth to secure in place.  Don’t worry too much what your stitches look like, as they will not be seen.  Knot and cut thread.


  • Dab a little bit of hot glue to the back of your flower center and press firmly onto the front center of your flower.

Making the Stem

  • To make a cute stem, simply paint a bamboo skewer green and cut out a felt leaf.  Using the glue gun, add a dab of glue to the bottom 2 inches of the leaf.  Place the stem on top.


  • Add just a little more glue and fold the edges over.

Tadah!  Wasn’t that easy and fun.

Send me a note if you have any questions or concerns while sewing these up.

felt flower wrist corsage
Learn how to make a wrist corsage here.
I have designed a fun pattern with 5 other types of flowers using felt and fleece. 






Heart Lollipops: Made with Upcycled Sweaters & Felt

Here it is almost Valentine’s Day, and that means craft time to me. I am always looking for new things to make using my favorite felted wool sweater scraps, and these heart lollipops are the cutest!

It’s a quick little project that you can whip up in no time at all. Trust me, you won’t be able to make just one. 

Of course, you can make these hearts with regular felt, but a felted wool sweater just adds so much character and texture. (I hope you’ve been saving all your felted wool sweater scraps)! They really do come in handy for a lot of things. 

What do you do with heart lollipops?

You can’t eat them, but you can:

  • Stick them in a potted plant to decorate your home
  • Embellish a valentine gift wrapping
  • Place one in a plant that you are giving as a gift
  • Put a bundle of them in a small vase and give as a gift.
  • Leave the stick off, and add a loop to hang the heart on a doorknob or wall.

What you’ll need:

The pattern downloaded, printed and cut out. GET THE PATTERN HERE.

  • fabric scissors
  • embroidery needle and embroidery floss ( about a yard and a half for one heart)
  • felt or felted wool sweater (one that won’t fray)
  • Bamboo skewers, or sucker sticks
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • fiber fill stuffing


Watch the VIDEO TUTORIAL at the end of the post

Cut out 2 hearts.

Thread the needle with 3 strands of embroidery floss. (Embroidery floss usually comes in a skein of 6 strands) I like to split it into half, making it not so bulky.

Knot the end of the thread and take a stitch right at the point, with the knot sandwiched in middle so it doesn’t’ show.

Sew around the heart using a BLANKET STITCH.  If you are not familiar with this stitch, you can watch a tutorial here.

Stop about an inch from where you started. 

Add a little stuffing to puff it up a bit, but not too much!

Add a little dollop of hot glue to one end of the stick and poke it inside the heart, and inside of the stuffing.

Continue sewing until you come to the bottom point of the heart. Wrap the needle around the stick and take another small stitch to knot the end. 

Insert the needle back into the fabric right on top of a previous stitch and pull the needle out in the middle of the heart. 

Clip the thread.

You can place it in a small cellophane bag and tie a bow around it, or leave unwrapped.

Another way to make the heart is to leave the stick out and add a loop for hanging. 

If you choose to sew them up this way, start sewing at the top notch of the heart instead of the bottom of the heart.

Make a loop with a piece of jute or ribbon and make a knot at the end. Insert that into the heart before you stitch the opening up.

Be sure to check these posts for some other Valentine’s ideas.




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY Sweater Upcycling – All You Need To Know

Making something out of a felted wool sweater is the BEST!  Most of you know that sweater upcycling is something I get excited about and love to do.

Since my last post about it, I have made one of my upcyling sweater classes available through YouTube.  Although this class is a free class on Skillshare, you still have to go through the hassle of joining and all that jazz.

It is now available through my TEACHABLE platform as well. Here you DO NOT  have to sign up for anything. I am excited about that! I wanted to make it accessible to more people and make it easier to access.

In this sweater upcycling class tutorial, I will show you how to:

  • ONE: How to choose the right sweaters for your project
  • TWO: How to felt/shrink wool sweaters
  • THREE: How to disassemble and store your sweaters
  • FOUR: Project ideas and how use different parts of the sweater

So, here it is.

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This is a great time of the year to find an old sweater and make some fun Christmas gifts. There are so many fun things you can make. In this post you can get the written version of all the details.

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Sewing patterns can be accessed in my Etsy shop, Craftsy shop and some are available here in my shop. (If you don’t want to go through Etsy or Craftsy and you don’t see the pattern you want in my store, send me a note and I will list it for you).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Have fun sewing!




Free Fabric Ball Pattern – Make it with an upcycled sweater

fabric ball

As you know, I love making something new with an old sweater. It’s been a while since I have posted a sewing tutorial, so today I am going to share with you how to make a simple fabric ball. This little ball is so fun to make using a variety of upcycled sweaters. It can also be made using woven, knit, and wool fabrics.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

This fabric ball makes the best baby gift! They are quick to sew up and add a quaint, unique addition to any gift.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

Babies are not the only ones to fall in love with these soft squishy toys. My border collie, Ben, loves these balls. Actually, he likes anything made with a wool sweater.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

I  have made several fabric balls for friends with cats. I add a little dried catnip, and they go crazy!!!!!

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

Lets get on with the fabric ball instructions.

Here is what you will need

For more information on how to work with felted wool sweaters, you can check out the posts here.

1.  Decide which size fabric ball you want and cut out paper pattern

There are two sizes available.

2. Cut out 8 wedges

Feel free to mix colors and patterns. A whimsy, fun-colored ball, is a fun ball.

Decide what order and what colors you want where. Pin them together in two’s with right sides together.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

3. Sew along the right side of each pair

Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. You will now have four pieces.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

4. Place two of the pairs right sides together and match up points

Pin in place.

Sew just one side from point to point. Cut threads and open up. You should have 4 pieces sewn together. Now do this with the remaining pieces.

Now you will have two separate pieces.

5. Sew the two sections together

With right sides together, place the two pieces together matching top and bottom points. Pin in place.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

6. Starting in the middle of one side, sew all the way around

Leave about a 2 ½ inch opening to stuff the ball.

*****It is a little bulky at the top so go slow and make sure the points are lined up. Don’t worry, it will smooth out nicely when stuffed. After sewing, clip the bulk at the top and bottom of the ball.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

7. Turn inside out and stuff the fabric ball firmly

Add jingle bells now if you want the ball to make a sound. I like to add 4-5 bells per ball. Make sure they are secured in the middle of the stuffing and not on the outside edges.

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

8. Sew opening closed

Double thread a needle and knot the end. Slip stitch opening closed. Knot and poke the needle out anywhere in the ball and cut the thread.

Here is a tutorial video that shows how to do a slip stitch.

Ta dah! Now wasn’t that fun!

Free Fabric Ball Pattern

You can get the full pattern set that includes an octagons ball and a cube pattern.

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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY: Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

spiral beanie

The contoured curvy panels give your head a comfy, head hugging fit, that is so comfortable to wear.

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie
Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

Pattern includes six different sizes. (6-12 month, Toddler, Child 3-10, Youth, Adult Large, Adult X Large).

Mix it up by using different sweaters and colors or use all the same color. The variations are endless and it is even REVERSIBLE!

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

You can expose the seams on the outside for a more distinct pattern design or flip the seams to the inside for a smooth flat look.

Fleece works great too.

Material and Items Needed:

• Sewing machine
• Fleece or upcycled sweaters
• Scissors
• Pins
• Fleece strip for binding

This really is a fun and easy sewing project.

The pattern is available right here in my shop, on Craftsy or Etsy.

With the holidays are coming up, now is a great time to get your sewing machine out and whip up a few of these for Christmas gifts.

I do offer pattern bundle deals in my Etsy shop. Any 5, Any 4, Any 3, Any 2.

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

Find some wool sweaters and fleece and give this sewing project a WHIRL!



Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY – Mitered Corners Baby Blanket

mitered corner baby blanket sewing tutorial

Are you looking for an easy to make baby gift? This diy mitered corners baby blanket is a fun sewing project that only takes a little over 30 minutes to whip up. The contrasting binding and the crisp mitered corners really add charm to this cozy flannel receiving blanket.

Don’t let the mitered corners intimidate you. This baby blanket really is a snap to sew up. I love mixing and matching different flannel colors and prints. Once you sew one up, you will want to make more.


If you are a visual learner and would enjoy a video tutorial, I have filmed the process and offer it for FREE on my youtube station.

To make a 34” square blanket you will need:

  • 1- Prepare Fabric

    • The question I always come to when making up a baby blanket is: Do I pre-wash the fabric or not?
    • Here is a good article that states the pros and cons of pre-washing fabric.
    • What do you do? If I am making it for a gift, I usually don’t pre-wash. It just looks like it has been used when it has been pre-washed.
    • It doesn’t have that crispness and sharp color. However, you take a risk of the two fabrics not shrinking equally and causing the blanket to distort a little after washing. There usually isn’t a problem with good quality flannels, but I have had it happen.
    • Remove the selvage edge of your fabric pieces. (Finished edge, that sometimes has print on it)
    • Mark the selvage edges with a safety pin.

    2- Cutting Out

    • Decide which fabric you want to be the back and border piece. Cut it to be 40″ square.
    • Cut the front piece to be 30″ square.

3- Align and Pin

  • Fold the ends of each side together and mark center point with a pin.


  • Locate the selvage edges on both pieces. (the side with the safety pin)
  • Place selvage edges Right Sides Together (RST)
  • Line up center points and pin together. (ya, ya I know you are thinking…How is this going to come together?) Trust me, it will.
  • Make sure that the excess fabric has the same measurement on each side.

3- Create Stop Points

  • Take the top piece and measure 1/4 inch from each edge at the corners and mark with a pencil or pin. Do this for all four corners of the front piece.
  • Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew from stop point to stop point. Do not sew past that point. It is real important to sew right up to this point but not any further.
  • Do the same thing on the other side, directly across. (remember that there is going to be excess fabric) Line up center points.
  • Pin in place and sew from stop point to stop point.

4- Sewing Seams

  • Flip the blanket and align the remaining edges together, matching center points. Yep, the corners will seem weird at this point, no worries.
  • Leave a space about 6 inches open on one of the side seams. (This is where you will turn the blanket inside out)
  • This is what the corners will look like at this point.

5- Miter Corners

  • Holding the corner, fold the blanket so the two seam edges meet.
  • Mark a 90° angle from the FABRIC FOLD to the stop point. You can use a simple piece of paper to get the right angle. Just make sure the bottom of the paper edge is along the folded edge, not the seam edge.
  • Mark a line with a pencil.
  • The photo below is the WRONG way to mark the corners. The right angle needs to be lined up with the fabric fold.
  • Sew along the pencil line, back stitching at the beginning and end of seams.
  • Trim seam allowance to 1/4 inch.
  • Repeat these steps for all four corners.

Press and Turn

  • Lay the blanket out flat with the small piece on top. (notice that the back panel folds over the front) Isn’t this the coolest thing ever!
  • Before you turn the blanket inside out, press the seams toward the outside.
  • Turn the blanket inside out through the gap you left in the seam.
  • Poke the corners out using a point turner or pen with a lid on.


  • Lay the baby blanket flat so the border is equal width on all sides.
  • Press in place, making sure the seam allowance is folded toward to blanket edge.
  • Pin around the blanket especially where you left the hole.
  • Top stitch around the blanket close to the seam edge.

You can use all kinds of different decorative stitches if you want to dress it up a little.

This baby blanket makes wonderful baby shower gifts. Throw in a upcycled jingle ball and you have a baby gift that is easily handmade and from the heart.

Get the pattern here in my shop, or my Etsy shop.

Have fun sewing!





Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Homemade Valentine Gifts From The Heart

valentine gifts

Valentine’s day is one of my most favorite holidays! I enjoy it more than Christmas. One day I contemplated why that is so, and I came to a conclusion. All the other holidays seem to have so many expectations and stress around them. Then in February there isn’t much going on, you are doing all you can to get through the cold dreary winter, and bright cheery valentine gifts just seem to brighten it up a bit. Gives you a little hope.

When Valentine’s day rolls around I know spring is just around the corner. But the real reason I think is that when I was a little girl, this was the only time I ever got a note from my mother. She would buy us all (six kids) a little Valentine treat and place it on our pillows. So when we went to bed on Valentine’s day, there would be a small box of chocolates, or some fun treat and most importantly a heartfelt note from our mother. This meant the world to me! I have done the same for my children, but they get notes from me all year long. 🙂

I do love my mother!!!  Homemade Valentine gifts from the heart mean the world to me and I am sure they will to those you love as well.

Valentine Gift Ideas

Here are a few ideas of some fun things you can make up for Valentine gifts using upcycled materials and fabric you have kicking around the house. There are a few printable items as well that you can download and print.

If you don’t sew or have a lot of time to make something, a heartfelt note, handmade card, a yummy homemade treat or meal is fabulous. The gift of YOUR TIME can be just as meaningful, or even more.

Just let your gift be from the heart. If you are giving from obligation or expecting something in return, the recipient can feel it energetically. Who wants to feel like an obligation or burden? Something to think about. So when you give, make sure it IS from the HEART.

There are still a few weeks left to gather up your ideas, your felted wool sweaters, or your paper and glue and let your creative juices flow!

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More