Drawstring Fabric Gift Bag Tutorial - Quick & EASY Scrap Buster
How to Sew a Cloth Gift Bag
Cloth gift bags are easy to make and last longer than paper gift bags.
The recipient will not only be flattered by the effort you put into it, but they'll also have a bag they can reuse, either for gift-giving or for storage or carrying.
With a sewing machine that can sew straight seams and make buttonholes, and your choice of fabric, you can start making these thoughtful bags whenever you want.
Decide what size bag you want to make.You can do this two ways.
- The easy way is to wrap the cloth around the object you want to wrap and mark its dimensions on the back of the fabric you want to use.
- A more complex way is to measure your object's dimensions (length, width, height) and add an inch or two in each direction for seam allowances. Bear in mind that these instructions are for two dimensional, rectangular bags, and that you will have to allow for all three dimensions of your gift to fit. In this example, the width of the rectangle equals the circumference of the object plus two inches (diameter times pi plus two) and the height of the rectangle is equal to diameter plus height plus two (you could add 3 or more inches instead of two for a roomier fit).
Cut the fabric.You can do this all in one piece or in two pieces, just remember to double the seam allowance if using two rectangles instead of one. The following pictures are for a small gift bag made from a single rectangle. If your gift is larger, it may require that you cut two rectangles and sew an additional side seam to make a bag large enough. Otherwise, the same principles apply.
Press a fold about 0.5" (1cm) of fabric along the top edge.
Fold and press again, this time a 1" flap (twice the previous fold).This will be the casing for the tie closure.
Press a vertical fold halfway across the fabric; this will be the side without a seam.
Unfold and mark the placement of buttonholes on the wrong side of the fabric as shown, positioned below the lower horizontal fold.These are to run the drawstrings through.
Open the buttonholes with a seam ripper.
Sew the side seam(s) and bottom seam of the bag.It's a good idea to clip the corner before sewing to prevent it from bunching up later. Zigzag the seam edges to prevent fraying. You can also pink the edges or sew a French seam to obtain the same effect.
Turn the bag right side out and turn the casing to the inside.
Stitch down the casing to the inside of the bag.Allow for clearance of the buttonholes.
Cut two pieces of ribbon, or cordage to use as drawstrings.
Tie your ribbon to a small safety pin for ease of threading through the casing.
Note:The photo shows only one ribbon, but if four button holes were made, you should use two ribbons as shown in the drawing... one "U" shape from each direction so that you're pulling two ribbon ends from each side of the bag to snug down the opening.
Drop your gift in the bag.
Snug up the drawstring.
Tie a bow and add a tag if you like.
- Suggested (finished) dimensions:
- 15" x 24" will hold a typical shirt box or game
- 13" x 18.5" will hold a large book or medium-size game or toy
- 7" x 12" will hold single DVD or a paperback book
- 4.5" x 8.5" will hold small items such as hot chocolate pouches or jewelry
- An extra large bag makes a great laundry bag to send to camp with kids.
- Gift bags are great for using up scraps of fabric and recycled fabric from other sources. A thrift-store shirt with too bright or busy a pattern to wear can make several good gift bags if you cut it up.
- To use up or recycle fabric, you may wish to make a variety of gift bags based on the size of your fabric and keep them with your gift wrap. Use the right size when the right gift comes along.
- You could even leave the patch pocket from a shirt front on one side of a gift bag and tuck in the tag or another small item.
- To prevent fraying, you can use pinking shears, a serged seam, or a French seam.
- You could use metal eyelets instead of buttonholes. You might need to reinforce your fabric with interfacing in the eyelet area.
- Scraps can be used to test your buttonholes.
- Instead of a ribbon you can also use a shoelace in matching color. A shoelace may be easier to insert into the button hole than a ribbon.
Things You'll Need
Lightweight fabric to suit the gift-giving occasion.
Video: DIY Gift Bags, How to make gift bags in 4 SIZES fast & easy
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