A Gift a Day TPH


I’ve made my lists (of which there are several) and I’ve been going through my fabric. This year, I plan to fulfill requests that my children have given me, and use up the fabric I already have to do so.

I’ve had several requests for clothing this year, including a few very specific things. Some items won’t be surprises, but the fabric I choose to make them in may be a surprise.

I get several of the same questions about this series each year that I would like to answer in this post.

1. Are these the only gifts you give your children?

No, they are not. I buy gifts, often used (and sometimes new) at garage sales and thrift stores. I redeem Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards to buy gifts, and use Amazon credit I receive from sales made through my site (thank you for purchasing through my affiliate links!) and I redeem surveys from Pinecone Research to purchase items on Etsy (some of which I use to make gifts, such as jewelry supplies and patterns).  This year I have already bought some items for my eldest son on clearance at Old Navy, some vintage style dresses for my eldest daughter from Amazon, and a few gifts for other children. 

2. Do your children like the presents they get?

Well, they still get excited for Christmas, so I think I’m doing something right! I keep a running list going during the year of items they mention that they want, and then I ask questions again this time of year to make sure they still want those things. Usually, they add a few new wants to the list too!

My eldest son has loved ties for years; one year I made him a purple tie because he really wanted one. He still wears it. Many gifts are still well-loved and often passed down (in the case of clothing) to younger siblings as they are outgrown.

What works for my children may not work for yours. Ask questions! Find out what they really want and need. Their answers may surprise you!

3. You make a lot of gifts for girls. Do you have any ideas for men?

I have 5 daughters, and my eldest has a birthday right before Christmas, so I do a lot of sewing for my girls this time of year. I do some sewing for my boys, but rarely for my husband. I can usually find the items they want cheaper than making them. My husband happens to love chocolate chip cookies (in fact, it’s the only kind of cookie he likes), so I have made him his own batch of cookies more than once as a gift, and it’s always well-received.

4. Do you have any more ideas for gifts?

I have several boards for gift ideas on my Pinterest boards. You can find me on Pinterest here. You can find my past gifts in my Gift a Day series here. And I’ve got an upcoming post planned to share some inexpensive gift ideas that you can purchase (no sewing required!)

5. What sewing machine are you using?

This is the sewing machine that I have, but it is no longer being made. Janome has several similar machines that are currently available. I like my machine a lot. I used to own an 1949 Singer 401A (which was like carrying around an anvil when you wanted to move it) but many years ago both mine, my mom’s, and my grandmother’s refused to keep tension, and after having them repaired multiple times, I decided it was time to part ways and get a newer, lighter machine that wouldn’t have a tension problem after every 3 stitches.

Sewing Room Table The Prudent Homemaker

6. Where do you sew?

I am very grateful to have a sewing room with a door that locks. However, if you need to sew somewhere where your children cannot see, I would suggest a small table set up in your bedroom while you work on gifts so that you can keep them a surprise.

7. What are you planning to make this year? 

I have been asked for dresses, skirts, blouses, and more. I’ll finish whatever I can do in the time I have.

Now I have a little secret. I make more gifts after this series is over. Gifts that take too long to finish in a day are the ones I make (or finish)  in December. Often they’re started in November during this series, but I can’t finish them in one day. I don’t usually show those as December is so busy, and yet, some of those are the really amazing gifts. I don’t want to sew presents in December, as I’d rather do other things in the afternoon, but I haven’t managed to not sew in December yet. This year, I really want to finish sewing for the children in November and spend December doing other fun things together (I’ve got a whole board pinned for that).

I’ll do my best to complete a project each day before it’s too dark to take a photo. Daylight savings time is this Saturday, which means next week will be even more challenging. I sew each afternoon during quiet time, and sometimes a little before and after. I can sew a little bit at night, but I find it more challenging to sew at night (I find that I make more mistakes at night).

I look forward to sharing my first project with you tomorrow!



Similar Posts


  1. Yay! Can’t wait to see all of your projects! I’m working on embroidering tea towels myself, and have sent the first one to South America for the mother in laws Christmas package already (shipping takes a long time). I’ve got lots of fabric to use up (and about 3 quilts that I’m working on), so lots of sewing to be done! I do love getting inspiration from other sewers!

  2. Exciting! I always love your gift a day series. Very inspiring! I too make a lot of handmade gifts each year. We do the 3 gift thing something you’d like, something handmade and something to read. Of course, all three ‘categories’ are pretty much synonymous for my children so they are thrilled. Usually, about every other year I make handmade for all the extended family gifts as well (with two large families- this number is substantial!) Then, the next year I get burnt out and they get something storebought-ish like hot cocoa ‘kits’ or ice cream sundae night ‘kits’ or pasta night kits with home canned pasta sauce, dry noodles and homemade cheese. This was *supposed* to be an all handmade year but I haven’t even made the LIST yet (which already puts me WAY behind schedule!) the extended family will probably get home canned food and fresh baked bread or something. My husbands’ family wouldn’t find that to be sufficient so I will have to come up with something else in addition to that for them.

    You poor thing- you think you get all caught up with the questions and here you get asked another one! I know your children are extremely talented at sewing and craftiness themselves (as we’ve seen by the gorgeous civil war dress). Do they all exchange handmade gifts with one another? Mine always want to but the littler ones need much more help and I find myself spending time helping them make gifts when I should be doing MY handmade stuff. But I hate to stifle that creativity and, more importantly, the generosity so I work with them during the day and then work my tail off during some all-nighters toward the end! 😉 I was just curious how you went about doing the sibling gifts or if they weren’t really interested in it at all. I have offered to do a draw-a-name sort of thing (we do this with cousins) but my kids will have none of it and want EVERY sibling to get a gift FROM THEM. So even when my husband and I give only three gifts each- gift giving lasts all morning because of the four older childrens’ gifts to everyone. 🙂

    Boy- aren’t I chatty this morning?!?! 😀

  3. I have a lot of fabric too. I purchased it on sale and clearance a couple of years ago right after it got my seeing machine. I have not used up much since then. I am on a mission to sew a few small things (skirts mostly) for my nieces before I see them end of November.

  4. Yes, they’ve asked that, and until they can actually make it themselves, that does make it too difficult, timewise. I did try many years back. I heard something wonderful last week that I shared with them: gifts of service for siblings, such as playing whatever their sibling wants with them for an hour. I think that’s a great one. You could do it as a coupon or coupon book, such as a gift to do someone else’s chore or to make that person’s bed.

  5. This will be my first time making handmade gifts. I don’t know why I never thought to do it before, but something finally clicked in my head lol. I am making my three littlest stuffed dogs from a free pattern I found, and the baby will get additional stuffed animals and teethers. My 9 year old daughter has been disappointed that she has outgrown many of my sewing patterns, so this past weekend I purchased a new pattern with a discount to make her a few dresses. Can’t wait to see some of your ideas and hopefully be inspired to make even more handmade gifts.

  6. Would you mind sharing some of the the larger projects at some point? I would love to see them.

    I also had to chuckle when I read your comment about finally replacing your Singer with a Janome sewing machine. About a year ago I replaced my ancient Kenmore, the one I learned to sew basic aprons on as a child, because of chronic tension problems. I purchased a Janome as well and it was money well spent.

  7. I hadn’t heard the 3 gift thing, just the4.
    Something you want,
    Something you need,
    Something to wear,
    And Something to read.

  8. Brandy, I love seeing all of the gifts you make, even the ones that are not finished in one day. They are such an inspiration for me and give me great ideas of things to make for my daughter. I don’t mind spending more time making something for her. Do you think you could do a post of some of those gift completed after the gift-a-day series is over as an add-on later? I know you are busy during the holidays, and I really do appreciate all the time you take to write this blog. But I’d really love to see all the gifts we missed. Perhaps you could snap a quick photo when they are completed and do a post later when you get a chance as a follow up? (Sorry, I know, it’s asking a lot)

  9. I can’t imagine getting any past projects up from past years, but my hope (once again! We’ll see how that goes) is to get everything done in November, even if it means doing a quick project one day and working on a longer project over a couple of days after the quick projects are done. If I can do that, I can share all of my projects this year. I have too many other fun things and projects I’d really like to work on and share in December

  10. Can’t wait to see what you come up with this year. You are so talented! Everything always looks so high quality.

  11. If it’s alright with you, I would love to have some links to the vintage style dresses you and Winter chose. I thought about buying off of amazon but I wasn’t sure about the quality.

  12. You are so disciplined about sewing. I have been sewing for years and I have to be in the right mood when I’m doing it, or everything goes wrong and I backtrack without making much forward progress. This year I have been WANTING to make more homemade things but so far I have not achieved that. It’s so much easier when you are younger–I am so slow compared to former years that the ordinary things take much longer than they used to. Also, we didn’t have computers then to distract us from our primary task. Life is too interesting and time is too short!! You probably know this better than most people, especially with smaller children to care for. Thank you for spending the time you do on this blog.

  13. They have arrived and they look nice. The ones I ordererd (that she chose) are from China and their sizing tends to run small; we went with the company’s size charts, so I hope they fit well. She wears a small normally and we chose the large on these.

    These are the ones I bought from the ones she told me she liked:




    I don’t know how they are going to fit her yet, of course, but they were nice looking fabrics when I opened the packages.

    There are some other vintage-style inexpensive dresses on Amazon that look really nice; search for Lindy Bop.

  14. I love this series! We make a lot of gifts in our house as well. In fact, our extended family looks forward to our homemade gifts each year (we are the only ones who give home made gifts and that is just the way we roll). Ours often have a “joke” angle to them. Examples include the homemade “Guess Who” game we made using a yard sale game and we replaced all the photos with the worst photos of family members we could find (our family was killing themselves laughing over the photos — but maybe that’s just our family’s sick sense of humor). Everyone fought over keeping that game and it keeps reappearing at different family gatherings. We also re-did a Monopoly game with the place where we vacation with extended family each year with inside jokes on the Chance cards. We’ve made t-shirts (with freezer stencils), jewelry, homemade dolls (with iron on faces of family members), wooden peg dolls commemorating special events (bride & groom, etc.) and other items. We don’t always make joke stuff — I’ve made a Hermione outfit for an American Girl doll, knitted hats and baby booties, and made homemade liqueurs. I’ve embroidered dish towels with the GPS coordinates of everyone’s home or favorite vacation spot. We’ve made decorative pillows and hand painted signs. Within our home, for our family, gift giving is about creativity and love and silliness and inspiration, not shopping. My kids do not get heaps of expensive presents but we buy them a few things they want or need and then go crazy with the creativity. I’ve been making them your subway bookmarks for years for their stockings and changing the words each year to whatever is pertinent to their lives. Now my kids are 18, 16 & 13 and they look forward to what this year’s bookmark will say. Keep on inspiring!

Leave a Reply

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