Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

6 Last Minute Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s the weekend before Christmas and you’re in a panic. You have all your big gifts done (maybe…) but all those little gifts for friends, coworkers and holiday hostesses are yet to be done. You need some ideas and you need them fast. Well lucky for you, here are six new quick-stitching Christmas embroidery designs and six easy DIY projects that you can whip through in a weekend, no problem.


What’s cuter than a little stitched gift bag? A quick trip to your machine to add the design, and a few sewing tricks later, and you can fill this drawstring bag with all kinds of candies and goodies for any gift occasion.

Make it here.


Need something simple like a card, but still want to show you didn’t just run to the store? You can quickly stitch a card. No kidding! You just stitch it on some light fabric and then stitch it onto cardstock. It’s as unique and personal as you are. You could even make this as a matching card (with matching design) to another stitched gift, or just stitch it on its own. Try it in those sparkling metallics for an extra festive look.

Make it here.


Cookies! Everyone loves holiday cookies. Grab a jar and layer in the ingredients for some Christmas cookies. Then stitch this festive little bag cover and tie it all up with a cookie cutter. So cute and delicious!

Get the recipe and make it here…. (just skip past the ornaments part)


Want a big statement with a quick project? A pillow cover is much easier than you’d think to make. Grab a chic shiny silk or some soft fleece and stitch a merry design to warm up someone’s home. A quick-stitching design will get you through the project in no time!

Make it here with a zipper, or if that’s too scary, make an even easier fold over pillow cover here(jump to the end of each tutorial for pillow construction techniques)


Want an even easier gift, no tutorial required? Pick up a pretty scarf (something at least a bit sturdier than silk) and hoop it up with some tearaway stabilizer. Stitch your favorite light, festive design, and you’re done! Maybe you can even add your recipient’s initials to make it extra personal. Lots of machines have built-in alphabets, or you can use one of these. Simple and so chic!


Finally, want a little gift that’s perfect for everyone on your list, and easy to make a dozen in an afternoon? These adorable little pocket handwarmers are just simple stitched squares filled with rice and spices. They’re a gift that’s always appreciated on cold days and look just darling all tied up in a bow.

Make it here.

So there you have it. Six chic new embroideries designed to stitch quickly in time for Christmas, and six simple tutorials you can use to take care of those last few people on your list. You’ve got a whole weekend. Make yourself a mug of cocoa, and you’ll be done stitching in no time!

Psst… still not sure what to get someone? Everyone loves fluffy yetis.

Tutorial – Embroidered Pillow With Real Headphones


You know what’s cuter than an adorable embroidered headphone pillow? One with real headphones inside! Yup, that chic embroidery is hiding an even cooler secret… you can use this pillow to listen to music, podcasts and audio books while lying down. Want to know how? Get the tutorial on how to stitch the headphones into a pillow here, and then get the quick embroidered pillow cover tutorial here, all over on Look What I Made! 

Urban Entrepreneurs – Dahlia Soleil

Back again for another edition of Urban Entrepreneurs, where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. Today’s crafty seller is the lovely Paulette, a machine embroiderer working in New York City and owner of Etsy store Dahlia Soleil. Paulette has been working to expand the embroidery market for African American people so she can see more images and designs that reflect her and her daughter, a gap she found in the stitchy world that she intends to fill.

She’s constantly honing her digitizing skills creating her own embroidery designs as well as using Urban Threads in her work. As a rare mix of classic UT stitcher and self-made digitizer, we decided we had to share some of her work as well as the awesome things she’s made using Urban Threads. She joined us to share a little of what her journey has been like…


dahlia soleil black and white picture

What started you into embroidery? 

I started in machine embroidery because it seemed like a niche market. Not many people were doing it so it seemed like a great field to jump into and create some unique products.

dahlia soleil skull slouch hat

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

Back in 2009 I was searching for cool designs and Urban Threads was the only embroidery designs website that seemed cool and modern and creative!

urban threads jokers

What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

I was selling my creations at outdoor markets in New York City and a lot of tourists from overseas and other US states wanted another way to continue to buy from me. Selling online was the best way for me to offer them my work in a setting that was easy to view and buy and ship to them.

urban threads guitar tshirt

What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to? 

My customers are mostly women or men buying gifts for the women in their lives. I hope to fill the hole missing in the embroidery world of images of black/African/African-American people.

Custom design by dahlias soleil

Custom design by Dahlia Soleil

I want my daughter Dahlia to see an image that looks like her and myself in the embroidery world. My store is special because it combines crocheting and embroidery … two crafts that are timeless and beautiful. Passed on from generation to generation.

urban threads guitars

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

The biggest lessons I’ve learned since I began selling online is … great photographs matter!

Since the customer cannot reach out and touch my embroidered pieces, taking a great photograph is the next best thing. And I’ve learned that people really appreciate artists and want to support small businesses like mine.

urban threads typewriters

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

In one year I plan to buy another embroidery machine and I hope my shop has about 1000 items in it. I’m really excited to go back to college this year to get a bachelor’s degree in business management. It’s important for us artists to master the art of making things AND the art of running a business.

Custom design by Dahlias Soleil

Custom design by Dahlia Soleil

It’s inspiring to see a crafter spot a gap in the market and work hard to try and fill it. It’s exactly how Urban Threads got started! With Paulette’s determination and crafty skill I know Dahlia Soleil will continue to craft up great things, and find a whole new market for the world of machine embroidery.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

UT Tutorial – No Sew Script Scarf

Don't feel like sewing something inside out and backwards today? Skip the sewing and make this chic no-sew scarf that lets you use your own handwriting and personalized embroidery to beautiful effect!

Don’t feel like sewing something inside out and backwards today? Skip the sewing and make this chic no-sew scarf that lets you use your own handwriting and personalized embroidery to beautiful effect. Yup, that’s not a fabric pattern, that cool effect is made with just a simple gel bleach pen!

Don't feel like sewing something inside out and backwards today? Skip the sewing and make this chic no-sew scarf that lets you use your own handwriting and personalized embroidery to beautiful effect!

It’s the the perfect thing to take you from winter into spring, and this project is also great for crafty beginners with no sewing required. Customize your scarf with a favorite poem, love letter, or mantra, and stitch a matching embroidery design to suit your theme. Easy and quick gift!

Want to make your own? Get the tutorial here.

UT Valentine’s Tutorials

Valentines Day is fast approaching (less than a week now!) and now is the moment all us crafty folk go into a bit of a panic trying to think of something sweet and quick to whip up for that special someone, or to make our night out a little more magical. Fear not, we have some quick tutorials you can create in an afternoon that are sure to do the trick!


Short on supplies? All you need to make this cute pillow is to dig into your fabric stash and pull out all your favorite scraps. Patch it all together and add some one color embroidery for a stunning lace effect. Get the tutorial here.


This week’s new tutorial is great if you’re looking for a crafty way to glam up your evening. Dress up a plain headband with this gorgeous piece of machined lace and a few crystals and you have an accessory to suit any look. Get the tutorial here.

Want more ways to cuddle up? Craft up this romantic Parisian postcard-inspired pillow! Layer up light stitching designs for a look that’s rustic and divine. See how here.

Want to know if your sweetheart digs you? Rock it grade school style with this retro “do you like me” card. Give it to your honey and let them stitch back their answer for a super sweet handmade memento you can keep! Learn to make it here.


Finally, for those not into Valentine’s Day this year, you can always go to the dark side and make this adorable yet slightly disgruntled vampire bunny plush. He’ll keep you company on Valentines Day! Get a free template and learn how to make your furry friend here.

Happy Valentines (or Un-valentines) Day! There’s no better time to make something by hand :)

Tutorial – Embroidered Paper Tea Cup


Looking for something sweet to hold a gift on Valentines, or maybe just give on its own? Next to Nicx has a template and easy tutorial on how to make this great little gift. Fill it with chocolates and you have the perfect embroidered valentines surprise!

Get the tutorial here

Urban Entrepreneurs – Bleu Roo

We have a lovely new hand stitching Urban Entrepreneur for you today, only our second hand embroiderer of the group! Today we’re featuring the styling stitches of Bleu Roo, who has taken her love of embroidery one step further by turning her creations into adorable wall hangings, pillows and re-usable snack bags so you can bring your favorite embroidery everywhere.  I love seeing cute stitches in a hoop, but I also really love to see them adorning things you can use every day!

Amanda joins us today to share with us a little of what it’s like to be a hand stitcher in the Etsy world…

What started you into embroidery?

I really don’t remember the very first time I picked up a needle and thread, but I’ve always loved the aesthetic of embroidery ever since I was a kid.  I love how just a few stitches can transform a piece of clothing or a bag, or that it can be used as an art form all its own.  And it’s something that’s been done for literally thousands and thousands of years.  Embroidery has a rich history in almost every culture from all over the world.  It can be just a very simple running stitch, or an elaborate design incorporating several different stitches; I love them all the same!

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I was just searching around for unique, hip designs to embroider.  It’s so hard to find really modern, fun embroidery designs, they are mostly images that your grandmother would have used decades ago (no duckies or teddy bears, please!).  So it was on one of these internet searches that I stumbled across Urban Threads.  A very happy day, indeed!  Plus, since I can’t draw a straight line to save my life it was important to find designs that I would be free to use on items that I sell.  So UT has been the perfect place of inspiration ever since.

What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

I discovered Etsy back in ’06, I suppose not very long after it launched.  I urged my friend to start selling her pinback buttons.  Then after I had my son in ’07 I was looking for a way to possibly stay home with him while still bringing in a little income.  I didn’t go straight from A to B, but over the course of the years I have in fact turned my tiny little shop into something that does indeed help me live my dream of being a stay at home mom while still contributing financially.

What kinds of folks are your customers?

My customer base is primarily moms, buying snack bags for their little tykes to take to school.  I didn’t really set out with a target customer in mind, I mainly make things that I enjoy and hope that others do to!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Over estimate everything!  Over estimate the time it will take you to finish a project, or the amount of supplies you’ll need.  Too many late nights and too many emergency runs to the fabric shop!  I think I’ve got it down now. ;)

Also, don’t jump in with opening a shop before you do your research.  It will save you many headaches down the line.

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

Honestly, I think I’ve landed in a good place with my shop.  I’d like to still be busy yet sane!
My newest venture for my shop are embroidered pendants.  I’m in love with them and wish I had started them sooner!  And I’m constantly adding new UT designs. :)


Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your darling creations! I can’t imagine what little tyke wouldn’t like to bring their snacks to school in such cute embroidered creations. All the best in doing what you love!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!