How to Make Fabric Gift Bags - April 10, 2017
Are you looking for something to wrap an Easter gift or perhaps a birthday gift? An easy solution is to make a fabric gift bag. You can make a gift bag from one or two rectangles. I prefer to use two rectangles and I will explain why at the end of these directions. If you are an avid sewer, I am sure you have lots of fabric in your stash you could use.
- Assemble your supplies. You will need fabric, thread, ribbon, and a bodkin or small safety pin to insert the ribbon.
- Cut two rectangles suitable for the size of your gift. You can judge the size needed by laying the gift on a cutting mat and adding several inches to the sides to allow for the thickness of the gift. Then add several inches at the bottom to allow for room to square the bottom. Also add 3 - 4 inches to the top to allow for the casing. Read through these directions before you begin.
- Clean finish all four edges of both rectangles with a serger or pinking shears. Right sides together, sew the bottom seam of the bag. Press the seam open.
- Right sides together, prepare to sew the side seams. Before you sew, use chalk to mark an opening on both sides for the ribbon you will use to close the bag. Place a chalk mark about 2 inches from the top edge of the bag and another about 5/8 inch below the first. Sew from the top to the first mark. Back tack and cut thread. Skip to the next mark and begin by back tacking. Then sew to the seam at the bottom of the bag. Do not sew through the seam allowance. Stop at the seam and back tack. This will make it easier to square the bottom of the bag in step 6. Clip the seam allowance just above the bottom seam. Be careful not to cut through your stitches. Sew the other side seam in the same manner and press seams open.
- Sew down about 2 1/2 inches on each side of both seams from the top of the bag. This will make it easier to get the ribbon through the casing because it keeps the seam flat.
- To make the casing, fold 1 1/2 inches down from the top of the bag and press to the inside. Stitch the fold down by sewing in the serged area around the bag or if you pinked the edges, sew just above the pinked edge. Now sew another line just above the two openings to complete the casing.
- Turn the bag wrong side out to square the bottom. To do this, align a side seam to the bottom seam to form a triangle. Stitch in place across the triangle, usually 1 - 1 1/2 inches from the point. You may choose to use a larger measurement. A larger measurement will make the bag shorter and the bottom wider. Sew the other side of the bag in the same manner, making sure to use the same measurement across the triangle.
- Cut two pieces of ribbon. The length of each should be two times the width of the bag plus 10 inches. Use a bodkin or safety pin to insert the ribbon into one of the openings in the casing. Go around the entire circumference and exit the same opening where you began. Tie the ends of the ribbon together. Use the other piece of ribbon and insert it into the opposite opening and go around the entire circumference of the bag. Exit the opening where you began with this ribbon.
Your bag is now completed! I usually put a sheet or two of tissue paper in my bags before I place the gift inside. This provides a little protection for the gift and gives shape to the bag.
I mentioned earlier I would explain why I prefer to use two rectangles instead of one. It will work if you use just one rectangle and fold it in half to create two sides instead of sewing two pieces together. However, if you use a one directional print, the print on one side of your bag will be upside down. Also, when you make the triangle using the one piece method, there will not be a bottom seam to align with the side seam when you make the triangles to square the bottom. Instead you will need to measure from the side seam to the edge of both sides of the fold of the triangle to determine when the seam is centered on the bottom of the bag. Therefore, I prefer to use two rectangles and then I do not worry about the direction of the print and it is quicker to square the bottom.
I hope you enjoy making fabric bags as much as I do. I buy holiday fabric right after a holiday when the fabric is usually on sale. I try to keep a supply on hand of different size bags made from holiday fabric. I also keep other nonspecific fabric bags on hand for birthday and other gifts. I use solid color and print fabric. I like to use 100% cotton because it is easy to sew, but I also use other fabrics as well. Satin makes an elegant bag to use for a wedding gift. Have fun making your gift bags!