Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fabric Christmas Gift Bags

Last year I started making fabric Christmas gift bags instead of wrapping presents in reams of paper every year. I think the eco-guilt finally got to me one Christmas when I saw all of the ripped paper lying around the floor. Here is an insanely simple drawstring bag that you can use for wrapping Christmas gifts. I make them in all sorts of sizes for stocking stuffers or gifts but the basic principle is the same.

(made for wedding scrapbook gifts)

(made from leftover pant legs - what can't you do with leftover pant fabric?)

(made from leftover tablecloth fabric from my pillow covers)

For this project, I used 1 piece of fabric (size will vary but it should be cut into a large rectangle), scissors, matching thread, matching ribbon (thin, not too wide), a taped safe and a sewing machine.

First, I cut out the fabric. In this example, I was wrapping a scrapbook so I used it to measure how big of a rectangle I needed.

I cut out the fabric based on the amount needed to cover the item with a little room on the sides and about 2 inches extra on each side (for the drawstring top). If you aren't good at eyeballing fabric and then cutting a straight line, you could use a measuring tape and dressmaker's pen then cut.

(Sorry that the picture is so dark, it's November after all)

After the piece is cut out, it's quite simple. Fold one edge under about 1/2 inch (less or more depending on the type of fabric that you have. You want enough space to run a ribbon through the gap though. Pin this edge down and sew it. I just did a zigzag stitch on mine (sew and stop fraying at the same time = awesome).

Then, pin down the cut edge and the bottom (which is now the edge that was not rolled under and sewed before. Sew this down then serge (or zigzag) the edges to prevent fraying.  Turn the bag inside out so that the good side is facing and all of the seams are on the inside. Poke the corners out with your finger.

Using a small knife, cut two holes close to the side seam then pass a ribbon through attached to a taped safety pin. Cut the ribbon and tie both ends to create a knot. Done!

Estimated time for this project: about 20 minutes for the sewing and 20 for the ribbon. This is seriously fast: cut, zip, zip. Sometimes, I do all of the sewing and then thread the ribbon into a pile of these bags another evening. 

  • Try to make these out of a machine-washable fabric, just in case you wrap something that spills. Almost all of my bags are made out of leftover upholstry fabric. 
  • A serger is excellent for sewing up the edges.
  • I have tons of these to use for wrapping stocking stuffers and presents. They are all sorts of shapes and sizes. I even have tall long ones for magazines and small ones for gum and cough drops. 
  • I've reused fabric for making these: old dress shirts, pant legs, tablecloths, curtains, etc.
  • I've made my bags in a color scheme that matches my Christmas decor (red, cream, brown). That is totally possible! You could use a red fabric with red ribbon (or yarn).

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