Fabric Gift Bags

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3 fabric gift bags

Every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember among all the excitement and happiness of opening gifts,  I’ve felt terrible about the big trash bag of wrapping paper and ribbon that we tossed out. 

About 12 years ago I started making cloth gift bags to use during the holidays.  They’re VERY easy to make (I don’t do complicated) and can be reused for years.  It makes me smile when my sister-in-law sends gifts to my children in the same fabric bags I’d sent to their family in the past.  It’s a small link between our families that’s fun (AND earth-friendly) since we aren’t able to spend Christmas together.

You can use any fabric you like or having laying around.  There’s no particular amount of fabric you need, just enough to make a usable sized bag.  I often hit the remnant section of the fabric stores to find fabric when I make new gift bags.

red and green fabric and a hand next to a red ribbon

You can use 2 pieces of fabric and sew them on 3 sides, but I usually fold the fabric so that I only sew the two sides (like above) or one side and the bottom.  Before I start sewing I use pinking shears to cut the top of the bag.  I have done seams on the top (I’ll show you a picture below), but it’s not really worth the extra time, plus, I prefer the way the bow looks on this style. 

Cut a piece of ribbon so that when it’s folded in half it stretches about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way across the top of your bag.  You want enough ribbon to tie a bow, but not so much that it’s droopy and trailing everywhere.  Leave the folded side of the ribbon sticking out of the side of your bag about 1/4 to 1/2 inch so that it is sewn securely in the seam.

showing how to use a sewing maching to sew the fabric to make a gift bag
Sew a quick seam up each side of the bag, making sure the ribbon fold remains about 1/4 inch out of the side of the bag.
fabric with a blue circle on it highlighting the ribbon fold
Turn your bag inside out and voila!
a Christmas fabric gift bag with a green ribbon on it
On this cute gingerbread man bag, I made a casing and threaded the ribbon through to make a drawstring closure.  It’s cute, but I prefer the quicker top made with the pinking shears.
a gingerbread man fabric gift bag with a red ribbon on it
 
The great thing about these bags is that you can make them any size you want, and in any fabric.  You can choose themed fabric for children, designer fabric to match your decor or whatever grabs your eye.
Christmas fabric gift bags
 
I really liked this retro looking Christmas fabric.  I made 2 bags for my nephews with green ribbons and a matching bag for my niece with pink ribbon.
Christmas fabric gift bags with green and pink ribbons on them
The bags are also perfect for wrapping oddly shaped gifts.
Christmas fabric gift bags on wooden stairs outside in a yard

Have any gifts you need to wrap? Before you run out and buy more wrapping paper, grab a coupon from your newspaper and run to the fabric store for some cute fabric.  It’s super quick and easy.  I promise.

Update:
See a Reader’s twist on gift bags {here}.

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18 Comments

  1. This is so darn smart. I reuse the gift bags that are store bought, but this takes it to whole new level! Very clever, and a nice tradition too. Thank you Susan…it was so nice of you to link up to our Christmas party 🙂 Merry Christmas and I don’t think I will look at that big bag of wrapping paper the same ever again on Christmas morning! XO ~ Julie

    1. Julie, I’m with you about never looking at wrapping paper the same way. When Christmas paper goes on sale at the end of December, the money saving me battles with the tree hugging me. The older I get, the more I hate wasting anything. At least pretty options make it more enjoyable to practice earth-friendly living.

  2. I found you from Titus Tuesday/Cornerstone Confessions. I love how simple this is. I can see that you can use your fabric stash to make these. I love the way they can be reused also, instead of wrapping that is torn and thrown away. I pinned this idea to my Pinterest Christmas board.

    1. Ana, thanks for the pin! I just got back from visiting your blog and am so encouraged by your mom support and your great sewing ideas. You’ve found yourself a new fan.

  3. These are lovely. Here in Australia these types of sacks are a tradition. We call them Santa sacks. I’m not sure how it started but everyone uses them. Paper is usually reserved for people outside the home/family.

  4. These are cute and I love how they are so easy to make. Thanks for sharing today.
    Donna @onceuponasewingmachine.com

  5. YEA I’m so glad you linked up! Thanks for sharing on the homemade holiday party.

    Marilyn
    4you-withlove.blogspot.com

  6. Well, this is a clever way to use some fabric. It’s nice because it can be reusable which is so great in today’s world because it can save money and especially the environment. Thanks for the ideas!

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