Monday 9 December 2013

Easy Ideas for Gift Wrapping...

In case you missed it, here's the post I wrote for the Seasonal Sewing Series, over at So Sew Easy.

When Deby asked if I wanted to contribute to the So Sew Easy Seasonal Sewing Series, I immediately agreed. Not only did it sound like a fun series, but I could get a head start on planning and sewing for Christmas.

For the past couple of years, I've cut down on my use of Christmas paper, by sewing re-usable fabric bags. Today I'll show you how I make some of those bags...

Super easy, next to no sewing bag:
  • Cut a rectangle twice the width you need (mine is 15" x 8", suitable for a small gift such as a pack of cards).
  • Fold in half, with the right sides together.
  • Sew down one side and across the bottom.
  • Use pinking shears on the seams and across the top. Don't worry if you don't have pinking shears... just leave the edges raw.
  • Raid your fabric scraps and tie.

Minimal sewing bag:
  • Cut 2 pieces of fabric the same size (mine are 11" x 8", but you can make them whatever size suits).
  • Cut a piece of ribbon, long enough to tie a nice bow (mine is 36").
  • Fold the ribbon in half, right sides together.
  • Place the 2 pieces of fabric, right sides together.
  • Place the folded edge of the ribbon in between the 2 pieces of fabric, lining up the folded edge of the ribbon with the side seam and 3" from the top. (If making a larger bag, increase the distance from the top.)
  • Sew the side seam.
  • Sew the other side seam and across the bottom. Tuck the ribbon into the bag so it doesn't get caught in the other seams.
  • Neaten edges with a zig zag stitch or overlocker (serger).
  • Hem the top edge
  • Turn right side out and tie the bow.

Unlined Drawstring Bag:
This little, unlined bag is sewn with French seams to keep it neat and tidy on the inside. A pop of colour is added to the top of the inside, but stops at the casing. It's a very quick and easy make. Here's an overview as to how it's made...
  • cut front and back from main fabric and two smaller pieces for contrast
  • join contrast colour to main fabric
  • join front and back with French seams
  • attach casing
  • thread cords
The unlined Christmas drawstring bag is made using the Treasure Bag tutorial over on Threading My Way. Vary the measurements to make a larger bag. Last Christmas I made a set of robot finger puppets and popped them into a bag like this.

Lined Drawstring Bag:
Another small bag, but this time lined. It's the perfect size for gifting some pretty, homemade soap, or perhaps jewellery. It doesn't take long at all to make. Basically...
  • sew the lining leaving a gap
  • sew the exterior, leaving gaps in the side seams for the drawstring
  • join lining and exterior
  • turn and close the gap
  • sew stitching for the casing
  • thread cords
I have used the Small Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial several times now, as a means of wrapping some lovely, locally made soap.

Small Lined Tote Bag:
Another lined bag, this time for slightly larger presents. This is a simple tote bag, with a scrappy bow to jazz it up a little. Here's an overview...
  • sew the lining leaving a gap
  • sew the exterior and add handles
  • join lining and exterior
  • turn and close the gap
The Little Shopper Tote tutorial will show you how to make one. Obviously the scrappy bow would need to be taken off, if the bag is destined for a young child. Again, vary the measurements to make bags of different sizes. You'll find lots of tote bag tutorials online.

Medium Sized Lined Drawstring Bag:
And lastly another drawstring bag, but larger.

Use your imagination to embellish fabric bags and make them extra special. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Drawstring cords can be made from ribbon, wool, fabric... lots of things already in your stash.

Here on Threading My Way, we host an ongoing Gift Wrapping link party. I'll be looking through the collection of projects, for ideas on how to make cute, little gift tags to accompany the Christmas bags.

Not only do fabric bags save on wrapping paper, the bags themselves can become part of the gift. Make them up in Christmas fabric, or use Christmassy colours without actually using Christmas fabric. If you make the minimal sewing bags, collect them up and re-use them next year. It's a win win all round.

... Pam


  1. You know; that is a fantastic idea....why didn't I think of that?????
    Very nice!!

  2. Great tutorials - I need to make a few more bags before Christmas - no matter how many I have, I always seem to need a different size, LOL!

  3. I really should make some of these up for the Christmas presents that go under our tree. Especially those awkward shaped gifts that are so hard to wrap!

  4. I could definitely do with making some of these too.

  5. You know, I may never use a paper gift bag again! This could easily be calculated in as part of your gift! Great job! Pinning if I have not already. :)

    1. Especially if made in non Christmassy colours. Thanks for pinning, Gina.

  6. Thank you for the tutorials. Now you've given me inspiration to make my own gift bags. Love them all !!!!!
    Marisa from

  7. This is so sweet, the colors are wonderful.
    The skirt and bag are such cute gifts...I can see why they've become your go to gift for children.
    Thank you for the link on my site.
    Greatings Ute

  8. This is my favorite way to wrap gifts! I usually sew simple bags and tie them with a piece of ribbon because I don't have time for anything fancier, but I love it! Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty link Party. Pinned!


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