Take it easy: When you are whittling down your list of what you can accomplish in a DIY weekend, remember that less is more. While you want to make an impression, you definitely don't want to stress yourself out doing it. Now is not the time to take on that couture cardigan jacket you've been itching to make for your sister. Think accessories and simple projects, rather than full-fledged garments.
Supplies: One of the more anxiety-provoking aspects of making gifts with holidays looming is gathering supplies. Not to worry. Check out your own inventory first. Many quick holiday gift projects can be made with swatches of fabric you have in your own stash. If not, you can usually count on one-stop shopping at your local fabric store. That sure beats going all over town in search of the perfect present for your BFF.
Tote-ally cool: Now that you know what you can't do, it's time to figure out what you can. One of the easiest gifts you can pull together quickly is a tote, and who doesn't love a pretty, reversible tote? Because you don't have to spend much time sewing, you can devote yourself to buying the perfect fabric. Head to your local fabric store and make a beeline for the quilting section to find the biggest selection of cute prints. Go for contrast and make the inside as gorgeous as the outside. Or for a sturdy, waterproof twist on the usual tote, try an oilcloth bag.
Not your grandmother's apron: Take this former homebody out of the kitchen and out on the town. A chic apron can dress up a blouse and skirt or top and pants, and this is another project that you can whip up quickly with a few pieces of cute textiles. Again, quilting fabrics are your go-to supplies, and don't be shy with the rickrack, appliqué and other kitschy embellishments.
Sleeping beauties: Are they ever gonna go nuts when they rip open the gift wrap to reveal a sleeping set composed of a bathrobe, pajamas and ballet-style slippers. These are super-easy presents that look like they took a lot more time that you actually have to spend. Cozy fabrics work best, like flannel and fleece, and you can add personal touches like a hand-embroidered monogram.These are just a few ideas to get you inspired. Take a gander online and you'll find scores of free and easy project patterns. They're gonna love you, baby.
For more "DIY Design" columns, click here. Next week, way-last-minute holiday gifts you can make.