Thursday, November 21

Hold the Wrapping Paper! Easy-Peasy Gift Bags

One of my biggest hang-ups about the holidays is the sheer amount of trash generated!  We began using reusable gift bags several years ago, and have seen the trash cut down considerably...  

They're very simple to make, don't cost very much, and I encourage you to give it a shot!  You're not limited to holidays, but can use these for birthdays and other occasions.  You're only limited by your imagination....

To keep costs down, we visit the local craft store and pick up remnants.  These are the bits of cloth leftover, each less than a yard long, from the bolts of cloth in the store.  You can find just about any type of cloth - from fleece to sheer - and any print!  Below, we have one for holidays and one for birthdays.
Unroll the fabric and run it through the washer and dryer.  This will prevent it from shrinking later.  Then fold it in half.  Determine how large you want your bags to be, and cut out rectangles that are 1" larger and 1" wider (this is room for your seams) than your desired size.
Fold the fabric 'wrong sides to wrong sides' (meaning that the pretty side of the fabric is inside), and run a straight stitch about 1/2" from the edge all the way down three sides of the rectangle.  Your fold might be one of those sides...leaving you only two sides to sew.  Make sure to leave the fourth side open so that you can put your hand inside!
Keeping your fabric wrong-side-out, let's work on that fourth side...the one you left open.  Fold down the top of the fabric 1/2", then fold it again 1/2" so that the raw seam is tucked inside against the 'wrong side' of the cloth (you'll have three layers of fabric here).  Do this all the way around that fourth side, being sure to pin it down every few inches.  
Run a straight stitch around the bottom of that fold (careful not to run over the pins!), leaving a 'pocket' in the fold to run a ribbon or string through.    Leave a 1" opening, where you do not sew it shut, for your ribbon.  (Alternately, you can sew it completely shut, and then make a small hole later at the top of this pocket.)
Turn your rectangles right-side-out.  Some people choose to iron these flat for a neater appearance.  Since they were going straight to a kids' birthday party, we opted against it.  Select your ribbon or string for closure.  A pretty ribbon classes up the bag.  A hemp string gives it a rustic look.  In a pinch, some yarn from the craft box will suffice, too!
Run the string through the opening you left in your pocket at the top of the bag.  This is very important....tie it to a paper clip or safety pin!  (You want to keep a hold of the string to get it all the way around the opening.)  Tie the string, and slide it around so that the knot is hidden - or make it a beautiful, showy tie that you want seen.
Here are the two bags that we made in less than fifteen minutes, ready to roll for a party!  They are simple and quick.  Above are bags that our family keeps and reuses year after year.  The ones made out of old jean legs have been painted and decorated for extra flair.  You're only limited by your imagination!!


  1. quick and easy bags that i've made too! :)

  2. Always looking for cute way to wrap gifts. Thank you


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