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Fabric Giftbags

Lavender giftbag.

I've used fabric giftbags for our Christmas gifts for the last five or six years. I originally made the bags because the sight of all that wasted paper made my enviromentalist soul cringe.

Now I love the giftbags for themselves, and they add an important element of familiarity and constancy to our Christmas ritual.

Wrapped package.

I usually just tie the top of the bag together, but I do sometimes wrap the bag in a more "traditional" manner. I just fold the excess fabric over, and use ribbon to secure it.

I used two ribbons to firmly secure this package. I've also used tape to hold the excess fabric down.

Red giftbag.

I use a variety of ribbons and baubles to decorate the packages.

Organdy ribbon is really lovely. It holds a firm knot, maintains a crisp bow and the ends don't ravel.

I've tied clusters of bells and beads on string and I attach those to the gift instead of paper bows.

We made a set of permanent gift tags when I made the first bags several years ago. The tags are made from Sculpey, and the names were written with a paint pen.

Sewing the bag.

You won't find an easier sewing project than these giftbags.

Cut a rectangle of fabric. The width should be as wide as you need, plus 1 inch. The length should be twice what you need, plus 6 to 10 inches excess for tying, and 2 inches for the hem.

Fold the rectangle in half. Sew the two side seams closed.

Sewing the bag.

Take the bag to the ironing board.

Press down a 1/4" wide strip all the way around the top.

Fold the top over again in a wider strip, somewhere between 1 and 6 inches, depending on the size of your bag. Just do what looks good.

Iron the crease flat.

Sewing the bag.

Sew the loose edge of the hem all the way around.

Turn the bag right side out, and gently poke the corner into a square shape. I use the tips of my closed scissors for this.

Insert gift, tie a ribbon around the top, and you're finished.

Our bags are a variety of sizes, from small enough to just hold a mass market paperback, to bit enough to hold a 10" television in the box.

Before sewing a bag, make sure that the fabric is dark enough to conceal the item inside. Even some dark fabrics allow the print and pictures on a box underneath to show.

If the fabric is too light, you have a couple of options.

Celebrations and rituals in family life.

Christmas 2002
Our family's daily Christmas activities for 2002.

Christmas 2003
Our family's daily Christmas activities for 2003.

Giving presents is a talent; to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well. - Pamela Glenconner

©2000-2013 Barbara L.M. Handley
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