I love wrapping gifts, but I’m so, so bad at it. The ends are always crumpled and there’s way more tape than there should be. I also hate all the trash that we throw away on Christmas morning. But, I love how reusable gift wrapping is getting more popular!
I thought I’d make a few gift bags for our family, and show you my process.
But first, a story. I have no idea if my parents know this, but my brother and I were expert gift-peekers. We would shake our presents, lift up the paper, do whatever we could to figure them out. There was one year that I remember, in particular. We would take a knife to slice the tape, carefully unwrap the gift, wrap it back up, then put a new piece of tape exactly over the sliced tape. I think we knew everything we were getting before Christmas was here. That was the year we got new ski pants. I know, it’s odd. Why did we want to ruin the surprise? Now, I would never do that. Why am I telling you this story? Well, because if you have someone like me in your house, these gift bags won’t do much good. You must make these bags with a healthy dose of trust, because they are easy to open, peek in, or completely unwrap. That’s the disclaimer for this tutorial.
Well… let’s get started, shall we?
For these gift bags, you don’t need a specific cut of fabric. You can really use any dimension, but in this tutorial I used a fat quarter. I like the size bag a fat quarter makes. Start by ironing down about a half inch on the top of the bag. You should note, at this point, that I don’t use actual measurements to make this bag. It’s all estimated and eyeballed. This is partly because the amount of material you use will determine how you construct your gift bag. Also, it doesn’t have to be perfect since it will be all scrunched up in the end. Fold down again, this time a few inches. You can see this in the below photo. If you look to the left of my hand, you’ll see the first fold, then how I folded again on top. Does that make sense? I hope so.
Also, in the below photo, you can see two blue marks on the right side of the fabric. These are the guidelines for where I’ll put the buttonhole. The reason I’m doing buttonholes is because it finishes the edges of the holes where we’ll put the ribbon. It adds to the finished look. Unfold the fabric, and put your buttonholes in. (My sewing machine manual had instructions on making a buttonhole, and I’m not sure if the directions would be similar for different machines, so if you don’t know how to make a buttonhole, you should search for your specific machine.) You want to make sure you just put the holes in the top layer of fabric, so be very sure that you unfold your fabric before you start sewing the holes.Refold your fabric and sew along the bottom edge, all along the top. Now, you’re going to finish the channel for the ribbon. Start above the buttonhole, and sew all the way across the top to make the channel. For me, I had a narrow ribbon, so I sewed my second line a couple inches above the bottom line. For these gift bags, I love making it as finished looking as possible, so I like to do a French seam on the inside. French seams are really fun, and I actually use them a lot when I make clothes, too.
Here’s how to do it. Fold your bag in half, wrong sides together. (the photo below is crooked, with the top of the bag on the left side of the photo.) You can see below how I sewed around the bottom and the side opposite the fold. I did about a 1/4 inch seam, but trimmed it to about 1/8 inch. Here you can see the trimmed seams. I also trimmed the corners, so when it’s turned inside out in the next step they weren’t too bulky.Turn your bag inside out, and sew around the seams you just sewed, again with a 1/4 inch seam. You’ll want to make sure the first seam is nestled inside this seam. Look how pretty and professional! No frayed edges! No sloppy lines! I love it! Now, all you have to do is string your ribbon. Cut your ribbon so it’s about 4 times as long as your bag is wide. I’ve ready about fancy ribbon threading tools, but I’ve always done just fine with the safety pin method. Attach a safety pin to one end, stick it in one of the holes, and work your way around until the pin comes out the other hole, pulling the ribbon with it.Magic! Now all you have to do is make a bunch of these! They are quick and easy, so get sewing and you’ll have a stash in no time! They are so fun and cheerful! Make them for hostess gifts (stick a bottle of wine in one as a bonus), birthday presents, or any other occasion.
Giveaway time! I’m giving away this festive gift bag. Five ways to enter to win this fun, handmade (read: not perfect) Christmas decoration. You’ll be getting to know the other two sponsors, Megan and Katrina, this week, so you can start following them today!
To enter to win the Gift Bag, do the following:
- Answer this question in the comment section of my blog: Were you on the naughty list or the nice list when you were a kid? Did you ever peek at your presents? Do you think my parents knew I was such a stealthy sneak?
- Follow me on Instagram (carolynfwilliams), then comment on this blog post telling me you’re following me on Instagram.
- Comment again telling me you’re following Megan’s shop on Instagram (alwayscreateco).
- Comment again telling me you’re following Katrina on Instagram (katrinalhenry).
- Subscribe to Megan’s channel on YouTube.
*** ENTER by SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd 9pm Pacific Time – All five winners (one for each day this week) will be announced on Andthenthey.com on Monday, the 23rd ***