Last Gift Bags?

Gfit Bags - finished February 2022
Gfit Bags – finished February 2022

I finished a few more gift bags from the fabric I received for Christmas from Friend Julie.

As I think I mentioned, we needed small bags, so I have been concentrating on those. They take a long time just because there are more of them. These have been in process for a week or more, but I finally finished them over the weekend. Yay!

More Gift Bags for 2022

Holly Gift Bags
Holly Gift Bags

I cut out a lot of gift bags from the fabric in which Friend Julie wrapped my Christmas gifts. I was happy about it initially, but then suddenly I had a whole lot of projects on my cutting a sewing tables that were unsewn. I was starting to get cranky and irritable and feel bad about my sewing.

AGF Red Gift Bag
AGF Red Gift Bag

After finishing the A Place for Everything Bag, I was able to free up some time to finish some things laying around my sewing room. Over the weekend I blew through several small projects including some gift bags and really felt good about myself.

Christmas Gift Bags

Christmas Tree Bag
Christmas Tree Bag

Julie wrapped my Christmas gifts in Christmas fabric. I decided to make some bags for Christmas 2022 with the fabric. I did that yesterday.

I made 2 of these. I am working on making smaller bags, because we were kind of short of them when we wrapped gifts during Christmas.

I have started some others, but am not near finishing them.

New Gift Bags

Candy cane heart gift bag
Candy cane heart gift bag

Even during the holidays, when it is busy, I make gift bags. The other day I went hunting in a ‘gift bag fabric drawer’ I have and pulled out some fabric I have saved for gift bags. There was a lot of birthday gift bag fabric in the drawer, but also a couple of pieces of Christmas fabric I could use.

I keep my gift bag fabric separate because I don’t wash it. The sizing helps keep the gift bags looking crisp and reminds me to wear a mask when I iron them during the construction process

This candy cane heart fabric has been around for a long time. It is cute so I don’t know why I didn’t use it sooner. I had a yard, so I made two bags.

I had some old Debbie Mumm fabric. The fact that I have this fabric at all is a testament to 1) how long I have had it and 2) how little fabric there used to be to buy. Since it is unlikely I will use this for anything else, the fabric has become more gift bags.

In between sewing other projects, I have been making gift bags.

Reminder: Gift Bags

Once again, I am posting a gift bag tutorial to encourage you to forego paper wrapping and wrap your gifts in reusable gift bags. As a reminder, if you do not celebrate Christmas or another gift giving winter holiday, you can still make gift bags for birthdays, graduations, weddings and for giving quilts to people. You can make them using the tutorial below. You can make them using your own tutorial. You can use the In Color Order drawstring bag pattern or you can buy reusable fabric gift bags.

Supplies:

  • Fabric – I use either a half yard, a yard or a fat quarter. If you use a yard you can make 4 smallish bags, two medium bags or one large bag. You can make bags with any size piece of fabric and you can use the directions to make a specially sized bag for a special gift. Also, check out FabMo, if you are local, and get some super special fabric that makes up gorgeous gift bags.
  • thread
  • ribbon or cord or  use your imagination (braided yarn?)
  • Sewing machine
  • basic sewing kit

For this tutorial, we will use a fat quarter of fabric

1. If your fat quarter does not have a selvedge, create a hem using two folds so there are no raw edges. If your fat quarter has a selvedge, use the selvedge for the top. It won’t unravel. If you are using the selvedge and not making a hem, skip to step 4.

2. (If you need a hem) Press hem in place.

3. Sew hem with a decorative stitch, if you have it, a zigzag or straight stitch work fine as well.

Optional: If you have stitch letters on your sewing machine, stitch your name and the year so you know when you made the bag.

4. Fold hemmed bag in half WRONG SIDES TOGETHER so that half of the hem is underneath itself towards the top and the fold is on the left. You will be making a French seam.

Sew first seam on gift bag
Sew first seam on gift bag

5. Fold a piece of ribbon about 1.5 feet long in half. You can adjust the size of ribbon you use depending on how much ribbon you need to tie.

6. Place the folded ribbon in the open side of the bag about 4 inches from the top edge/hem.

7. Pin ribbon in place.

8. Pin rest of the right side and bottom closed. NOTE: If you are folding your fabric in half, you will be sewing two sides rather than the side and bottom. Basically, sew the sides or bottom closed depending on where your open edges are.

Use an 1/8 inch seam allowance or as small as you can.

9. Starting from the top, sew down the right side, backstitching at the beginning and over the ribbon 2-3 times. Backstitch at all stress points to keep the bag from ripping apart.

10. Turn at the corner and continue across the bottom, backstitching at the end.

11. Turn the bag inside out, so the right sides are together and the ribbon is out of the way of the seam (It will be inside the bag, but I put mine as straight as possible towards the opposite side of the bag).

12. Press seams, taking care to push them as far out as possible so there is no extra fabric near the seams.

NOTE: If you ribbon is synthetic or delicate, keep it out of the way of the iron.

Use a 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Finish French Seam
Finish French Seam

13. You are now sewing on the wrong side. Starting at the top, sew down the side and across the bottom again to finish the seam.

The raw edges will now be hidden inside the seams.

14. Open bag to make sure the raw edge is hidden inside the seam.

15. Turn bag inside out and press.

Candy cane heart gift bag
Candy cane heart gift bag

Voila! Your bag is really to use!

Pink Flower gift bag
Pink Flower gift bag

Benefits:

  • reusable
  • good way to use fabric you might not use for quilts
    • Novelty fabrics
    • fabric you don’t love anymore
    • Use fabric you already own
    • orphan blocks
    • vintage sheets
  • 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 cut up later 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
  •  
  • Embellishment possibilities are endless, if you want to take the time. Gift bags are a great way to try out different techniques, stitches, embroidery and embellishments
Blue Flower gift bag
Blue Flower gift bag

Drawbacks:

  • 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

Any gift bags you make will add to your stockpile. You can use leaders and enders to make them, which means that your regular sewing isn’t interrupted much .

Resources:

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.

Benefits:

  • 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

Drawbacks:

  • 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 .

Resources:

 

Gift Bags

I have been working on gifts for almost all of November. That makes it hard to have anything about which to post. The people for whom I am making gifts read my posts. I have almost finished the major gifts for the upcoming holidays, which is a relief. However, I have some gift bags to show you.

Julie Gift Bags
Julie Gift Bags

I talked about gift bags and making them as I go along earlier this year. It hasn’t worked out completely as planned. I had plenty of leaders and enders projects in the donation quilts I have been making. Also, because bags are good mind sorbet, but boring if you don’t need mind sorbet. Also, I have a lot of small gifts to wrap and small bags are quicker, but also fiddly-er. I will have to buckle down and find some small bags in my stash of bags or make some. The only other alternative is to wrap with actual paper and tape. Bleah.

I wanted to make gift bags in which to wrap the gifts. I have had some fabrics waiting to be made into gift bags. There happened to be some purple that was perfect for some of the gifts I have made.

Two Gift Bags

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.

Two Green Gift Bags
Two Green Gift Bags

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.

Drawstring Gift Bags

Finished Jeni Baker Drawstring Gift Bags - Snack sized
Finished Jeni Baker Drawstring Gift Bags – Snack sized

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.

As mentioned previously, Jeni Baker sells the pattern, which includes multiple sizes including a laundry bag size which is good for those of you sending kids off to college.

Gift Bag Done

Gift bag, drawstring style
Gift bag, drawstring style

The other week I went and had a sew day with Gerre.

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.

Gift Bags

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.

Decorative Stitches
Decorative Stitches

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.