Machine embroidered graduation gifts

By on May 5th, 2022
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graduation gifts to make with your embroidery machine
free machine embroidery designs

Graduations are a perfect opportunity to get out your embroidery machine.  A young adult heading off to college, graduate school, or a job needs a lot of new gear: clothing, home goods, accessories, etc… So, there are tons of ideas to choose from. But, why not make the gift a little more special and personalized? If you own an embroidery machine, you can do exactly that. These are some of my favorite useful and personalized machine embroidered graduation gifts.

Huge props to my friend, Ellie of Gracefully Stitched STL who provided many of these SUPERB ideas as well as the pictures to go with them.

Why machine embroider graduation gifts?

Machine embroidery is the perfect way to add a personal touch to any gift. It’s also a great way to make something unique that the graduate will cherish for years to come.

Personalized machine embroidered graduation gifts are…

Sentimental – They show how much you care about the graduate and their future endeavors.

Thoughtful – You took the time to pick out or design a special gift just for them.

Useful – The graduate will actually use and appreciate the gift, rather than it collecting dust on a shelf.

Economical – You can find or make most of these gifts for less than $20 each.

Not cheap enough for you? Check out my list of gifts you can machine embroider for less that $10!

The best machine embroidered graduation gifts

Tote bag

tote bag with monogram

A tote bag is an essential for any college student. They can use it as a carry-on for plane rides, a beach bag, or even a grocery bag. Get a plain tote bag and add some machine embroidery to personalize it. You could embroider their name, initials, school mascot, or graduation year.

Embroidering on a tote bag is a pretty simple project to do on your embroidery machine. Just avoid super rigid bags with small openings.

I love these simple corduroy tote bags I found on Amazon. Since we have a lot of graduation gifts to give this year, I am buying them in on of the graduate’s college colors and monogramming them with the other color. The corduroy just looks very collegiate and corduroy is a great material for machine embroidery if you take the appropriate steps.

Luggage tag

Help the graduate travel in style with a personalized luggage tag. You can even make luggage tags entirely in-the-hoop on your embroidery machine. Just integrate a monogram or a name on the tag while you are stitching it out. You could even add their address card or a special message on the back.

Makeup bag

A makeup bag is perfect for any graduate who likes to travel. They can pack all their essentials in one place and have them easily accessible. Add a little machine embroidery and it’s an extra special gift.

There are tons of inexpensive little makeup bags you can buy. But you can also make these types of bags entirely in the hoop. Check out how I made my little personalized makeup bags (and download the in-the-hoop design for free!)

Beach towel

A beach towel is a must-have for any graduate heading to college in a warm climate. Personalize it with machine embroidery to make it extra special. And coordinate the beach towel and embroidery with the student’s college colors.

Personalized quilt

custom quilt from t-shirts

Ok – this one is a bit of a project – definitely not something you will crank out in an evening. But, one of the best gifts I’ve ever seen for a graduate is a quilt made from their old t-shirts.

If you’ve been holding on to your kids’ old clothing, consider stitching all the t-shirts together to make them into a memory-filled quilt. Then, top it off with an embroidered name, date and a few inspiring words.  When you send one of these quilts off to college with your baby, they will always have a great reminder of home.

My friend, Ellie, has made quite a few of these personalized quilts pieced together from old t-shirts – and not just for her own kids. She has been commissioned by a good number of people to make them for their kids too. In fact, she has so many requests, she can barely keep up with them.

When Ellie makes one of these personalized quilts, she also throws in a personalized quilt bag for storing this precious gift – another opportunity for personalization with your embroidery machine.

Personalized laundry bag

a personalized laundry bag is a great graduation gift you can make with your embroidery machine

Doing their own laundry may be a bit of a rude awakening for some kids. So why not help them take the leap? A personalized laundry bag in the recipient’s favorite (or even college) colors will be well used and appreciated.

There are tons of different styles of laundry bags that can be easily personalized on an embroidery machine.  If you are going for a specific color and prefer a more basic, inexpensive style, I would suggest this simple nylon bag. In fact – I’m going to order a couple of purple ones right now for our neighbor who is heading off to LSU in the fall.  I’ll stitch out his name in gold.

There are tons of other styles available, including ones that easily transform into a backpack and others that are designed to stand up on their own.  But whatever you chose, keep in mind that college kids have the reputation of doing laundry quite infrequently – I would go AS BIG AS POSSIBLE when picking out a laundry bag to embroider.

Personalized robe

monogrammed robe
Photo provided by Ellie Yuska of Gracefully Stitched STL and used with her permission

Remember the fun of walking down the hall in your flip flops and robe schlepping your shampoo to the community shower? Ah… dorm life!  If all of your hall mates are going to be frequently seeing you in a robe, you should probably make sure it is cute and provides good coverage.

For these reasons, a personalized (monogrammed) robe in the kid’s collegiate colors makes a perfect machine embroidered graduation gift. 

You can buy terry cloth robes in just about any color, so it should be pretty easy to match the school’s colors. Here’s an inexpensive terry cloth robe for women in tons of different colors, and one designed for men in a lot of colors as well.

If your graduate will be living in a warmer environment, you may want to get a lighter robe. I like the spa style waffle texture robe.  It’s unisex styled so it will work for men or women.

Personalized towels

If you are going to coordinate your robe to your college, then why not have the towels match as well? In many households, the existing towels are chosen to match the bathroom, so most kids aren’t sent off to college with the towels from their bathroom.

Again – if you are debating about what type of towels to get – think coverage.  The whole showering experience in the dorms is not super private, so a larger towel will likely be appreciated.

And don’t bother with the hand towels and wash cloth.  There is no place to hang them in a shared shower.

Personalized slippers

monogrammed slippers

Take the whole shower ensemble to the next level with coordinating slides as well.  You have to wear shoes while you are schlepping down to the shower – so why not coordinate the whole look?  I like these adjustable slides because they open up completely, making it easier to float and embroider.

Personalized throw pillows

A dorm room is often a young adult’s first home decor project.  And one of the first lessons they will learn is that a throw pillow can add a spot of color and some character a room.  Send them down the right path with some cute throw pillows that will liven up their dorm room look.

What to embroider? What about getting some simple pillow shams and monogramming them with the recipient’s initials? You can either coordinate the colors to go with the college or match the colors to the student’s decor.

I’m a big fan of the velvet pillow shams with the pom pom trim.  They come in a bunch of different colors, so you should have no trouble finding the shade you need.  Just don’t forget the pillow inserts.

Personalized throw

A personalized throw in a student’s school colors is another great way to spice up the dorm room decor. Plus, it will likely be super useful. I remember spending hours on my dorm room bed doing homework. It would have been a lot more cozy had I owned a plush throw.

Get a plush throw in one of the student’s college’s colors and stitch out a name or monogram in the other one.  Learn how to embroider on a throw.

In-the-hoop key chains, key fobs and hand sanitizer holders

If you are trying to make a bunch of graduation gifts and don’t want to spend a lot of money, consider whipping up some in-the-hoop key chains and hand sanitizer holders. While this may not sound like much, they are super adorable when presented all together in a set.

These little accessories could be the topper to a larger gift. Or, if you have a group of graduates you want to gift, make each kid a unique key fob / hand sanitizer holder in each of their college colors.

If you like this idea, check out these useful in-the-hoop patterns: in-the-hoop key fob in a variety of shapes and sizes and an ITH hand sanitizer holder.  Buy them once, whip out a bunch!

Oh – and if you are looking for a very basic in-the-hoop key fob design – check out my previous post where I share my free in-the-hoop key fob design.

personalized graduation gifts
Coordinate a bunch of accessories with the student’s college logo and colors using your embroidery machine. Pack it all up together and you have the perfect graduation gift. Photo provided by Shundra Henderson and used with her permission.

Bulletin board with monogrammed fabric cover

Another way to spice up a graduates dorm room decor is to make them a monogrammed fabric covered bulletin board.

There are several tutorials online that provide instructions on how to make a fabric covered bulletin board.

But, to make it special for a graduate, choose themed colors and add a name, design or monogram on the fabric before wrapping it around the board.  Not only will it be a functional bulletin board, it will also be a statement piece in any room.

Duffel bag / cosmetic bag

personalized travel gear

A graduation often means impending new adventures and travel! Hook up the graduate with some personalized travel gear. You can add a name or a monogram to duffel bags, cosmetic bags, purses, etc…  Check out this cute little travel set perfect for personalization on your embroidery machine.

Don’t like these? You can make the duffel bag from remnants in your sewing room. and kill two birds with one store: make a graduation present while tidying up your sewing room.

If you are looking for something a bit smaller – there are tons of inexpensive little makeup bags you can buy and embroider.

Or – you can also make these types of bags entirely in the hoop. Check out how I made my little personalized makeup bags (and download the in-the-hoop design for free!)

in the hoop pouch

Ready to embroider some graduation gifts?

Well – then start ordering your products and fire up that embroidery machine! Graduation parties are right around the corner, and machine embroidered graduation gifts are sure to please!



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graduation gifts to make on your embroidery machine
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