Make it Yourself: Reusable Gift Bags

One thing I vowed to do this Christmas is to try to reduce the prodigious amount of waste this holiday generates by using only reusable gift wrap. It gives me the shivers to see so much paper, ripped off in a second, then tossed in the trash.

If you can sew a straight line (and I barely can), you can make your own reusable fabric gift bags. I don’t even measure. I mean, you can, if you like to be precise, but I’m kind of an on-the-fly girl. :)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric — I’ve used plain cotton as well as fleece and they both work well. If you’re just starting, you can get a yard or half a yard to try it out.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • a sewing machine

First, you need a square or rectangle of fabric. Fold it over so that it’s double thickness. I like to make a variety of sizes to fit a variety of different gifts. Notice, mine isn’t even very square. I just either cut it straighter or sew the seams straighter.

Then, finish the top edge of the bag. Again, I don’t measure, I just pin it down about 1/2″ and then sew it with a straight stitch so that the opening edge is finished.

It should look like this:

Then, fold the fabric back into a square, with the wrong side out.

Sew up two sides of the bag (the third side is folded), leaving the finished top open. The just turn the bag inside out:

You have a finished bag, but you need something to hold it closed with. Stitch about 12-18″ of ribbon to the side seam (again, I don’t measure, just eyeball it), starting 2″ from the top. Use a zigzag stitch for extra reinforcement:

Voila! You have a quick, easy, and cute gift bag that you can use year after year.

Need to remember what’s in the bag? Just punch a hole in a cardstock tag and thread it on the ribbon to make your gift tag.

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