WILD Festive DIY: Sew as You Go

In the second instalment of our WILD Festive DIY’s, Zara Osako takes us through a variety of sewing crafts, from bookmarks to scrunchies, that make for cheap, cheerful and gorgeous Christmas gifts.

Image Credit: Zara Osako

Christmas: the season of joy, consumerism and waste. The season that we have all been waiting for has rolled around once again, yet this time things are slightly different. Many of us have found that our bank accounts have taken an unexpected hit this year, making Christmas gifting more difficult. Many of us also seem to have found ourselves with a lot of spare time on our hands this year. I spent the first lockdown teaching myself to sew, a skill I became very grateful for when I checked my bank account to realise my only option may be to do a Nessa this year and hand out singular chocolates form a celebration box as Christmas presents…

This season, I decided to make most of my Christmas gifts, not only to save money (and the undoubtable waste that comes with a lot of gifts), but because handmade gifts give a personal and sentimental feeling, that you simply cannot get on Amazon. I’ve also made some Christmas decorations to add some festivity in the meantime, which also work really well as early Christmas presents (I can confirm my Grandma approves)! Here are some of the ways that I’ve made my own gifts this Christmas!

For these crafts, you will need a basic sewing kit – a needle, thread and pins. Cotton works well as a fabric for most of these crafts, but if you’ve got spare scraps of any material, why not repurpose them here? Where you need any extras, I’ve listed them under each guide.

Embroidered Tree Decorations

Embroidery is another hobby I ventured into this year, and whilst my work is far from perfect, I have been really enjoying making decorations. They make a great addition to the tree or as a way to inject some festivity into the house, since we’ll be spending a lot of time here!

You will need:

  • Embroidery hoops
  • Embroidery needles and thread
  • Ribbon
  1. Print out a design from the internet; I searched for ‘Christmas embroidery patterns’ on google images and chose a couple I thought I would be able to manage!
  2. Trace the outline of the design onto tracing paper, and then transfer onto the fabric.
  3. Attach your fabric to the hoop and get embroidering! There are plenty of handy YouTube tutorials to help teach you basic stitches, or you can get a beginner’s set like this one from Etsy, complete with paper instructions.
  4. Finally, once you’re done, attach a piece of string or ribbon to the top of the hoop.
Image Credit: Zara Osako


Bookmarks are a perfect gift; whether you’re making it for your massive bookworm friend, a fellow student, or just your neighbour, we all find ourselves at a loss for a bookmark! Plus, they’re really quick and simple to make.

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric, 9”x3”, and two pieces of interfacing, 8.5”x2.5”.
  2. Iron the interfacing onto the insides of both pieces of fabric and place them right side together, so the interfacing is facing outwards.
  3. Straight stitch around the edges, leaving one of the short sides open.
  4. Turn the bookmark inside out, pushing the corners out. You may want to trim the corners before turning it inside out to avoid it being too bulky.
  5.  Fold over the open seam, stitching it up and then following the stitch around the rest of the edges of the bookmark- you could use a contrasting coloured thread!

Tip: Why not use your embroidery skills to add some detailing to the bookmark? This is best done before you stitch the fabric pieces together.

Image Credit: Zara Osako

Lavender Bags

Personally, lavender is one of my all-time favourite scents, and these little lavender pouches make great gifts for friends or family of any age. You can decorate them or use a patterned fabric to make them into little decorations. Alternatively they can be used in drawers to keep clothes smelling beautifully fresh.  You can buy dried lavender from many places online, but PonyBeads on Etsy are an independent retailer who hand-pick all their lavender in the UK.

  1. Cut two squares of fabric, I made mine 5”x5” but you can make them as big or small as you like, or you could try different shapes!
  2. Placing the squares right sides together, sew around the edges of the square, leaving a gap at the top.
  3. Turn the pouch inside out (or outside in?)- again, you may want to trim the corners beforehand.
  4. Using a funnel (I just rolled a piece of card up), pour your dried lavender into the pouch. Again, you can choose how full to make them, just make sure not to overfill it!
  5. Fold over the open seam and stitch it up- if you want to add a piece of ribbon in to make it into a decoration, slot that inside the opening before sewing up.


The 90s have made a comeback and whether you like it or not, scrunchies always come in handy.  You can choose what size to make yours, and these are an excellent way to use up any scrap fabric!

You will need:

  • Elastic
  • A safety pin
  1. Cut a 3.5”x20” piece of fabric.
  2. Fold the top of one side down about 1 inch and then fold it in half lengthways, correct sides inwards and stitch together.
  3. Turn the tube inside out so the correct side is facing outwards.
  4. Cut a piece of elastic 9” and attach a safety pin to one end.
  5. Thread the elastic through the tube using the safety pin.
  6. Tie the elastic together where the ends meet.
  7. Push the non-folded over end of the fabric through the other and stitch up!

Zip pouches:

These little pouches are so versatile and again, you can make them whatever size you wish! Whether they choose to use it as a makeup bag, a pencil case, or a purse, they make a great gift and can be personalised to the recipients preferences so easily!

You will need:

  • A zipper
  • A zipper foot
  1. Cut 4 rectangles of fabric 8.5”x7”- 2 pieces for the outside fabric, and 2 for the lining.
  2. Pin one piece of outer and one piece of lining fabric to one side of the zip and use a zipper foot to sew it together.
  3. Repeat this on the other side of the zip.
  4. Turn the pouch inside out, so the zip is facing inwards and the lining fabric is facing outwards.
  5. Stitch around the edges of the pouch and then trim any excess fabric around the edges, as well as the corners.
  6. Turn the pouch inside out, push the corners out, and zip up!

About the author: Zara Osako is in her second year of studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of York.

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