Fabric Christmas Bags

I’ve been meaning to write these up for a couple of months…but, you know. Anyway:

About 5 years I looked at the enormous trash bag of wrapping paper my family of four adults generated Christmas morning and was literally sick to my stomach. Plus, I hate wrapping packages. So, I decided to start using some of that cute Christmas fabric to make fabric gift bags. I’ve gotten so I can make a new bag, in the unlikely event that I need a new one, in about the same time it takes to wrap a package in paper and ribbon. My brother loves them, because he’s never been a big fan of wrapping either.

My standard bag is a simple drawstring bag. A fat quarter makes a good bag for books, DVDs or CDs. Half a yard makes a good generic bag. I’ve also made a few bags from 2 yards for bigger things (the chainsaw for my mother, for instance.) When I started, I carefully measured the item to be wrapped and tried to calculate the perfect bag size. I don’t any more, for a couple of reasons. First, I was always miscalculating — forgetting a seam allowance or to allow room for the depth of the item. Second, I want these to be reusable, so generic sizing is better.

First, I turn down a 3 inch header on one long edge of the fabric and sew a 1/2 inch casing for the drawstring. Then I sew the side seam, leaving a hole at the drawstring casing. Third, I fold the bag so the side seam is centered on one side and sew the bottom seam (I find that the bow looks better when the drawstring opening is centered rather than at the edge.)

christmasbags04_web.jpg

Finally, I press everything, thread in a ribbon, and I’m good to go!

christmasbags03_web.jpg

For one of my really big bags, I faced the top about 6 inches, skipped the drawstring, and just tie with a big ribbon:

christmasbags02_web.jpg

I experimented with other styles, like this velcroed envelope, but they’re not as versatile and lots fussier to make:

christmasbags05_web.jpg

The first couple of years were a lot of work.  The first year I sewed bags for all my gifts.   I was expecting the second year to be easier, but my brother snaffled all my bags so I had to make a second set. <grin>  I considered that to be a sign of success!  This last couple of years I’ve only needed to sew one or two bags.  And cleaning up on Christmas morning is a snap — as people unwrap their gifts, they toss the bags onto a pile on the coffee table, I scoop them up and put them in a plastic tub, and it’s time for breakfast!

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6 Responses to “Fabric Christmas Bags”

  1. Leah Says:

    Great job! I too have a selection of Christmas gift bags, but need to buy some more fabric to make some bigger ones….

  2. Betty Says:

    You inspired me to do the same this year. My grandkids and even their parents kept the bags so the day after I went to the fabric store and found Christmas fabric at 70% off. I bought a bunch. Since I have a machine that does automatic buttonholes I put two centered button holes in before sewing the top hem down.

  3. Chris Says:

    Have you ever thought about making these and selling them?

  4. jjlangel Says:

    I don’t think I’d make any money, by the time I bought fabric and ribbon and accounted for my sewing and selling time. Anyway, I’m in it for the fun!

  5. kathryn orindgreff Says:

    i make and sell these on etsy if anyone is looking to buy!

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=31554827

  6. Amanda Says:

    Thanks for the tute! I can hardly wait to try these out. For once, maybe I’ll be early for Christmas….not. 🙂

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