It has been wedding and baby shower season here! I am a bit of a rebel when it comes to shower presents. I like to go “off-registry.” To me, there is excitement in giving a gift that the recipient doesn’t know she is going to receive. Plus, I love to make things.  Love. To. Make. Period.


I started with a bucket bag. There are all kinds of free patterns to make these. I looked at them but figured I could do the math myself to get the size I wanted.  Once I determined the diameter of the circle I wanted, I could calculate the circumference by pi * d. The only thing that no one talks about and that I had to think through, was that the diameter is the diameter before the seam allowance is added.  So, to have a 9″ diameter in the finished bag, I had to have a (pi*d) 28.25″ circumference.  I added a seam allowance to each measurement, so I cut a 10″ circle and a 12″ x 29.25″ rectangle for the sides.

Enough about all that math. I had some cute stash fabric and constructed the bag using some fusible fleece interfacing. I added a contrast panel and stitched it down at various points to create pockets.


And then the fun began! I wanted to start with some good, basic reference books. My niece will be establishing a new home, so I wanted to get some books that would have home dec projects. Even though there is everything you might need on the internet, I find that I still prefer books when working on basic projects. I love the Singer collection that I got at a closeout store twenty years ago. I started at Half-Priced Books and found a Nancy Zieman book as well as this Home Decor book. Later, I found one of the Singer books I love.


And then, I asked some of my sewing friends (thanks Stacy!) what notions they would recommend that are a bit out of the ordinary.



I made a list of notions that I didn’t have when I just started out sewing but that I love now!

08-IMG_9180These include:

  • Wonder Clips
  • Permanent Marking Pen
  • Point Turner
  • Awl
  • Loop turner
  • Bodkin
  • Iron cleaner
  • Clear Design Ruler
  • Pins
  • Silk Organza Press Cloth
  • Custom Labels

I stashed these items into the side pockets and on the inside with the books. This gift bag isn’t limited to a shower present. It can be a gift for the sewist for any occasion! Check out this post I had put together previously for gift ideas for people who sew. I also have a Pinterest Board for sewing gift ideas. Please share with me your favorite notion, book, or gift ideas to give to people who sew.