One way we have reduced shopping costs in our home is to make gifts for Christmas, birthday's, baby showers, etc. The kids have come up with some pretty neat gifts all on their own. Not only do we save money, but we learn new skills, perfect our skills, and we care more about giving than receiving.
When we make our gifts, we care more about if the person likes it or not. We put something of ourselves into the gift, it becomes personal.
With that said, here are some resources for free pattern for sewing some gifts. Most are for beginner skill levels. I've learned that my sewing machine is a gold mine when it comes to making projects for the house (curtains for $10) and even clothing (formal dresses for $45).
Free Pattern Resources
Fabric.com - Sewing and crocheting patterns for clothes, purses, hats, etc.
McCalls - Sign-up for emails and receive free craft and clothing patterns. We've used several from this site.
Simplicty - Free patterns for jewelry, clothes, purses, and other crafts.
Butterick - Sign-up for emails and receive free craft and clothing patterns.
Free Needle - A collection of links to projects, including recycling or altering existing clothing...repurposing...clothing for new cute styles. There are several links to no-sew projects and some inventive gift ideas.