I love presents. Don’t you? And I’m still just childish enough to admit that I prefer receiving presents to giving them. Not that I don’t like to give presents- I do!- but there’s such a thrill in the discovery of unwrapping the package to see what’s inside.
Except. As I’ve become more environmentally and economically aware over the past few years, I’ve also become aware that I’m spending money on something that is going to be useful for about two minutes before being ripped to shreds and thrown away. Thus a new (holiday) resolution: This year I’m going to be making as many reusable gift bags as possible.
Gift bags are fairly easy to make, they are nothing more than a fabric pouch. They are a perfect project for beginner sewers, as all you need to do is sew five straight lines. Choose a colorful sturdy fabric, one hundred percent cotton is best. If you are making bags for a specific holiday you might want to choose themed fabric, or you could choose a more child-pleasing print for your kids’ gifts. Make sure to pre-wash your fabric!
Then, cut out different sized pieces of fabric for your different sized bags. I’m going to be making lots of DVD sized bags this year as well as some larger bags for kid toys. You want the bag to be at least 4 inches wider and 6 inches longer than the object which it is going to hold, to account for seam allowance and the width of the object as well as to give enough room to tie a ribbon on. A bag large enough to hold a DVD for example, would require two pieces of fabric, each sized 9.5 inches by 13.5 inches.
Stitch a top hem for the opening of the bag: fold the fabric on one of the narrow sides over 1/2 inch, and then over again 1/2 inch, so that the cut end is completely contained. Pin the hem into place, then stitch a straight or zig-zag seam. Repeat for the second piece of fabric.
Then place the right sides of the fabric together, (don’t forget to put the opening, hemmed ends at the same end). Pin together and then stitch around the 3 unhemmed sides to make a bag. Turn inside out. Et voila! A cloth bag for wrapping presents!
You can either sew a ribbon on or leave it off. I prefer not to sew the ribbon on, as it then gives me a bit more leeway in the size of the present to be wrapped. I plan on making some for our family’s gifts this year, in a variety of plain colors like black, red, green and blue. While it might take more effort to stitch up a few of these than simply wrapping paper around a present, this project is good both for the environment and my pocketbook.
I have not included pictures of the different steps in this project because (ahem) I haven’t made any of these bags yet. The picture above is of my cloth diaper wet bags, which I made using the exact same process. Yes, I am a procrastinator, on the other hand, we’re in the middle of midterms at school right now! If you have made gift bags, I’d love to see a picture of them!
Have you ever made a reusable fabric gift bag? How did your family like them?
This project is part of Holidays *by hand* a six part handcrafted holiday fair.