I have a very strained relationship with my sewing machine. It’s confusing for me, and I always seem to mess up the simplest of projects. To help inspire my will to keep trying to use it, here are 15 useful sewing projects! Some of these could be done by hand, of course, but for the sake of forcing myself to do better on a machine, we’re just going to pretend they’re not. 😉
1. A simple quilt. While elaborate quilts can be tempting to take on, starting out with a simple design can get you used to how they’re made and offer a great way to use up cotton scraps. Whether you choose to make a block quilt or a simple pattern, finding a tutorial that suits your needs is the first step to success. YouTube is a great place to check for video tutorials like this series by Melanie Ham. If you prefer photos and text, try Pinterest, where you can find pictorials like this one by Diary of a Quilter. How lovely would it be to wrap yourself up in a quilt you made yourself? I can imagine misty mornings made better by such a nice blanket made by hand.
2. Makeup removing cotton rounds. I’ve made a few of these by hand, and while they’re awesome, I feel like it would make more sense to just bust out a few dozen on a sewing machine. Here’s a tutorial by Sustainably Savvy with multiple layers of cotton, which is what I prefer when I make them. I will note that some people make their DIY cotton rounds with old towels, but these can be exfoliators; if you already use an exfoliator, whether that be chemical or physical, be careful with adding in another. I would use 100% cotton for your rounds! I’ve also seen bamboo used as well, but I’m not sure how they fare as exfoliators!
3. Reusable cotton balls. I stumbled on this DIY by Southern Mom Loves and I think it’s a really useful idea! She uses polyfil as a stuffing, but I’d think yarn ends, clean wool, and even scrap cotton fabric could all work similarly if you have it lying around! Be mindful of washing these well before re-using, of course! They look awesome, and just like the disposables, should be kept in a sealed container… like a cute apothecary jar!
4. Drawstring bags. I use these to sort my odds and ends. You can also use them for gifts, bulk grocery shopping, and just to carry around small things! I love how simple they are to make. Check out this tutorial by Free Tutorial. They include labels in their tutorial and how to make fabric ribbons!
5. A potholder or hot pad. Okay but I swear we had a ton of these at one point, and now we have one. Being able to whip them up real quick would be such a useful skill! Here’s a tutorial by Melanie Ham, the same creator who made a video series on quilts!
6. Reusable sandwich wraps. Using a bulky Tupperware container for a small sandwich just ain’t it. Opt to house your sandwich in a wrap instead! I found this tutorial by A Rose Tinted World that looks fairly easy to replicate!
7. Elastic fabric bowl covers. These bowl covers are awesome for picnics, outdoor gatherings, and even indoor ones where the kiddos won’t stop opening the backdoor. This tutorial by Hearth and Vine does a great job in showing us how to make our own! I’m actually curious as to how I could create a drawstring cover instead of using elastic. Maybe I’ll give that a go in the near future!
8. An apron. One of the things we made in my senior FACS class as an apron. This tutorial by A Box of Twine is for a crossback apron
which I think I prefer over the typical kind because I’m simply a mess. I really need to make myself one of these with wide pockets for carrying plants and gardening tools!
9. Sweatshirt gardening gloves. You can upcycle an old sweatshirt into custom gardening gloves. I love the idea of taking a favourite sweatshirt that’s torn and old and giving it new life in your gardening routine. This tutorial by Lately Reconstructed does a wonderful job illustrating just that.
10. A reusable Swiffer duster cloth. I do love making reusable things, but I have to say it… we don’t dust our house until it gets really bad. With 8 kids, my parents, and two puppers, it is always neglected. Maybe by making a few fun duster cloths I could get my siblings to want to help out? This tutorial by Sew Much Ado is a great one, and I think I’ll give it a try!