Wrapping gifts in paper is one of my least favorite activities. Gift wrapping is tolerable when I use gift bags, but still not a favorite activity. I envy the people who wrap gifts as an art form and wish I had a friend who would take over that role for me.
Last year I had a whole bunch of stocking stuffers to wrap with very little time to do it. It was torture. I did it and my mom entertained me while I worked, but it was still torture.
Since I buy stocking stuffers all year long, I decided I would wrap them as I bought them. It is going ok.
I bought some socks as a gift earlier this year and I am finally making progress on wrapping these gifts. It took me forever, but I did it. I did the work at Sew Day with Gerre and it didn’t even seem like I was making gift bags. Gift bags can be tedious and these were a bit fiddly, but chatting while I sewed made it ok.
I finally finished all of the gift bags I started at Gerre’s house a few weeks ago. I know I showed one of them previously. Sometimes I just have to show progress in order to make it seem real. The gifts are in them and ready for Christmas.
Crazy, I know, but those gifts arrived late for Christmas 2018, so I’ll just save them.
I am not sure I will make more of these bags for gift bags as they take quite a bit of time. Still, I bought some twill tape so I wouldn’t have to suffer through making drawstrings and I want to use that up. We’ll have to see.
I started to sew some drawstring bags to use as gift bags on the day I sewed with Gerre. I am trying to get the small gifts I purchase throughout the year wrapped as I buy them. As you know, I don’t like wrapping gifts and wrapping 30+ small gifts right before I went to Portland was my own special kind of torture. These bags, using Jeni Baker’s Drawstring bag pattern, are a start.
They have been laying around since the Sew Day with Gerre while I worked on other projects. The other day, I stitched a bit and finally finished one!!!! It turns out that I didn’t have much left to sew and doing several in a row really helped the process.
The size I chose (pattern includes multiple sizes) is a tiny bit small for the gift on which I planned to use them, but it will be fine. I can’t remember what I did with the drawstrings on the Juggling Balls bag, but I need to figure that out as the strings on this bag are definitely not acting like drawstrings.
I had some Christmas fabrics laying around. They finally got on my nerves enough for me to cut them into the correct sizes for gift bags. I knew my MIL needed some larger ones, so the ones I made went to her. There are two shown above, but I made about 8.
The 6600 has some great decorative stitches. One I chose for the Hot Drinks gift bags were bells. They look festive,though I am not sure anyone will notice. *I know,* and that is what counts.
As I have said, gift bags are a great way to try out your decorative stitches and a great way to use up fabric. None of those reasons bring up not having to wrap gifts with paper and ribbon. You can find the tutorial for making gift bags on the tutorials page.
I still have the napkins I prepped at Sew Day to make and those are next on my list.
I went back and forth on what to bring to Sew Day. I thought for sure I would bring my machine. We are having a heat wave, which means record temperatures. I was hot and not really in the mood to be dragging a ton of stuff around, so in the end, I just brought projects to prep/cut out.
This focus was a good move. I was able to cut out or prepare 5.25 projects, which means it is time to sew again – HA! Not that it is ever time NOT to sew:
Finished trimming Dots & Stripes HSTs
Prepped En Provence HSTs
Cut out Napkin fronts
Cut out gift bags
Cut out 2 more Little Cell Phone Wallet bag parts
Started prepping more Sew Together Bags
I found another stash of HSTs that go with the Dots & Stripes HSTs I mentioned last week. They will make the piece larger, which is always good. I trimmed the last few I didn’t have time to trim at Craft Night and trimmed this new stash. Some progress.
I had cut the squares for the En Provence HSTs on Friday night, so I had sixteen less things (fabrics) to haul to sew day. I pinned the squares together and drew the lines in preparation for sewing using my Triangle Technique at home.
I grabbed the coffee fabric, which had been hanging around for awhile. I always intended it to be napkins, but I get tired of making them after a few. I had never gotten to cutting this fabric. I did on Saturday and yesterday I had an idea of what backing to use and who they will go to as a gift. I need to get to work.
It is hard to know whether to count cutting out gift bags as one project or one per fabric. I counted using a hybrid method. There were three different fabrics and I will end up with probably 7 bags total.
I also found the fabrics for my last two cell phone wallets. Now all of the pieces out of all the fabrics are cut. I need to start sewing, because I really miss not having the matching bags when I wear my tunics and dresses.
Finally, I started three more Sew Together Bags. One will be for me. I will use it for embroidery. The other two will be gifts. I only got one step of pieces cut, but it is a start. After making three at a time last winter, I think it takes almost the same amount of time to make three at once as it does to make one at a time. As you know the cutting of the pieces is the worst part. The weird thing is that the fabrics I want to use for the exterior have disappeared. I can’t move on to sewing until I find those.
Anna and Nicole, who I had never met came and showed off their projects. Anna is making a table runner with a Lone Star block in the center. She is using nice soft colors. Nicole is hand quilting a beautiful log cabin quilt made from a lovely combination of blues and greens. The fabrics looked like batiks, but I didn’t look that closely.
Mary had surgery on her elbow so mostly chatted with me, but did a little bit of handstitching. She also met with the Retreat committee.
Bonnie was making nametags for the Retreat with help from Nancy.
Marti was making round mug rugs. I have been thinking of making a couple of mug rugs for the Puzzle Guys at work, so she inspired me.
Lynette was working on zipper pouches she will donate to a holiday boutique to raise money for the Belmont Senior Center.
Others were there as well. We tried to keep cool and had some fans to help. It was a fun day and I am glad I went. I feel like I accomplished stuff.
I am trying very hard to be process oriented rather than product oriented. The Morass feeling hasn’t helped. It turns out I am trying, simply, to get something finished.
I did feel a lot better on Monday night after what I completed over the weekend. Monday was a holiday and I actually spent some of it sewing. I hope I am over a hump, but you never know.
I bought some fabric at Wooden Gate when Mom and I met there earlier this month. One of the leaders and enders I was doing were Christmas gift bags from the fabric I bought there. I finished them on Sunday and was able to put 1.5 yards in the ‘used’ column.
The print is really fun and the fabric was 75% off. I am pleased that they are done.
I was at a NSGW event over the weekend in Sacramento. I took the opportunity to visit two shops: the Fabric Garden and Quilter’s Corner. The Fabric Garden had a wonderful Alexander Happy Birthday print I couldn’t resist. I bought a couple of yards to use as gift bags.
I was pleased to be able to use my star decorative stitch again. It looks a little wonky, but not enough to worry about.
This is a different kind of gift bag than the one I usually make. A few years ago I made a couple of bags for wine. I was thinking of those bags when I bought the olive oil** for the hostess gifts. I remembered the basics so I didn’t even look at the post until I was writing this post. Also, I had just finished the Heart Bag, so I was freshly well versed in handles and turning bags. I felt confident that I could make one of these bags easily.
The size is different from wine, but I just measured the bottles of olive oil and made one bag (about 15″ around) for both bottles and the pour spout. The size was generous, though not so much that the bottles clinked around against each other. I used some leftover pieces of batting to beef up the sturdiness of the bag. I used something different last time, but didn’t note what I used. It was pretty stiff. The batting worked fine this time.
I made two handles this time and think I prefer just one handle. It isn’t as fussy around the top. All in all, I am pretty pleased with how this bag came out and especially pleased that it was a quick project. I will definitely make more.
**Nota bene: there is a fancy olive oil store near my old office and we find that giving fancy olive oil is different than giving wine. Most people bring wine as a hostess gift and fancy olive oil is usable and well received.
There was a bit of a shortage of gift bags at Christmas. Not critical, but when you don’t always get them back, it happens. I also haven’t made any in a few years. Thus, it was time to get back on the bandwagon.
I bought a few pieces of Christmas fabric on sale to make up for the loss. I also snuck in a couple of pieces of birthday fabric into my cart that were just too cute to pass up.
I am a fiend for leaders and enders, but when you aren’t using a quarter inch foot it is hard to keep up the pace. This is where gift bags come in. They are a very forgiving project and I used them as leaders and enders as I made the Sew Together Bags.
Thus I got a few gift bags done without trying very hard. The ones shown here are just a few examples of the 8 or so I have made.
I have about 6 yards of fabric left to make more Christmas bags and I want to get to it, so I can offset some of the fabric I have bought and also get at least one stack off the floor.
I didn’t intend to make more gift bags. However, I cleared off my cutting/work table and found some cuffs waiting to become Christmas pillowcases. I stared at them and finally decided to make them into gift bags instead. I am done with pillowcases for this year, I think.
They are long skinny bags, but what the heck?
The one on the right will fit a gift I have to give on Saturday at the BAMQG gift exchange, which is great. I am sure I will find a use for the other one. Pretty soon I am going to have to do a gift inventory and see what I still have to make or buy. at that time, I will wrap gifts with bags I have handy.
Thinking about gift bags, this reminds me that I have a huge gift to wrap. I don’t think I want to make a gift bag that big that will only be used once, or very occasionally. I might drape some Christmas fabric over it and tie a ribbon around it and call it done. Did I mention I found another stash of Christmas fabric when I was looking for beads for the ATCs?
I also made a few bags from the leftover lights fabrics. These are so cheerful.
The other day I talked about making some pillowcases. I had enough fabric left to make one gift bag. I am glad, because I like the fabric. I am happy to have at least a bit of it around the house. I don’t really need more gift bags, but I also don’t want to waste fabric. Gift bags are a good use of smallish pieces of fabric.
I have put a tutorial up, as long time readers will know, that tells you how to make gift bags. Save a tree: make a gift bag.
What the heck? I know you are wondering. Christmas is exploding all over and I am making birthday and Mother’s Day bags? Huh?
A week or so ago, I did some cleaning and clearing. Nothing crazy, just a bit. I found these fabrics and was about to get rid of them when we had to wrap gifts for the Young Man’s birthday. I used the same gift bags I always use. I don’t know what happens to them all, but they disappear except for the few that I snatch out of people’s hands as soon as they remove the gift, so they don’t walk off. I also love them and am not giving them up.
I thought that these fabrics would make nice additional gift bags, so I sewed for about 20 minutes and have 3 new gift bags. I had four, but one piece of fabric disappeared. I am sure it will turn up, but I didn’t take the time to look for it.
Need to make gift bags to save trees and save wrapping time. I have a tutorial. Now go make some gift bags!
In cleaning up the fabric avalanche, I found a piece of marginally Christmas fabric. It is a little pale to be a gift bag, because eager eyes can see through it, but I made a gift bag anyway.
This made me think about my Christmas fabric and after looking through all that I had, I decided I needed to make bags out of it. My ribbon can is also overflowing. I don’t need anymore gift bags and the family is pretty well set, so I decided to try and encourage YOU to start using gift bags for your holidays. To encourage you, I will offer a prize of a variety of gift bags in November for anyone who participates. Most of them will be Christmas bags, because that is the fabric I have.
In order to participate you must:
sew gift bags. No tape, staples or glue. Any fabric works
post a photo to your blog or Flickr (or other easily accessible web space) of the gift bags you made
put a comment with a link to the photo of your bag or bags in this post or a post related to the gift bag challenge. Each gift bag challenge post will say something like gift bag challenge
keep track of participants
post a tutorial and ideas for making gift bags
on or around November 15, I will draw a name or names (depending on the number of gift bags I have to give away) of the winners
enter more than once, but the limit is 10 times, which is about the number of months until November
embellish, embroider to your heart’s content
use any pattern you want including my tutorial
Rules subject to change without notice and my discretion.