Gift Bags Again

It is in July that new Christmas fabrics are generally released. This is a good time to talk about gift bags again.

December Gift Bags
December Gift Bags

I have been thinking a lot about recycling, especially when we were home for -what seemed like- months during S-i-P. I heard a story on NPR last December a few days before Christmas. The announcer talked about how to tell whether gift wrap is recyclable and gave options for other materials to use. Also, ribbon, bows and glitter are generally not recyclable. He did not talk much about fabric gift bags. I heard this story and, as I had just been wrapping gifts in gift bags, I realized that I wanted to make another play to get people to use fabric.

Gift Bags stored and ready for use
Gift Bags stored and ready for use

It doesn’t matter what holidays you celebrate, there is fabric that can be used for every type of event. We use fabric gift bags for birthdays, housewarmings – everything. My SIL and I have made enough so that the extended family use them during Christmas as well.

As I have said before, this was not originally my idea. My SIL started it and I joined in, thinking it was an excellent opportunity to use some great fabric I wouldn’t normally buy or use. It was a lot easier to make bags for the whole family when two of us were sewing. My niece now makes bags which her Mom (not a sewist) uses to wrap her beautiful handmade cards.

One of the reasons I like gift bags is I can buy fun and novelty fabrics for which I usually wouldn’t have a use.


  • reusable
  • good way to use fabric you might not use for quilts
  • opportunity to buy holiday fabric without committing to making a holiday (or birthday) quilt
  • quick way to wrap
  • no need to rush out to buy gift wrap
  • no tape or scissors needed
  • small children can help wrap, or wrap their own gifts
  • Fabric costs can be amortized over the years of the gift bag use
  • bags are made quickly
  • good opportunity to try out decorative stitches
  • Can quickly make a gift bag for an oddly shaped gift. I once wrapped a weed whacker in a gift bag!
  • Odd sized bags can be up and used for different sized gifts
  • I reuse ribbon I get from other places for the ties
  • Easy to open and close the gift bag up again if the gift tag falls off
  • you can use fabric you already own, orphan blocks, vintage sheets
  • Embellishment possibilities are endless, if you want to take the time. Gift bags are a great way to try out different techniques, stitches and embellishments


  • takes time to develop a stockpile
  • reusable gift bags have to be stored
  • fabric costs are not insignificant
  • You don’t get beautiful mounds of boxed gifts under your tree

You have plenty of time to start stockpiling gift bags. You can use leaders and enders to make them, which means that your regular sewing isn’t interrupted much .