Monday 5 October 2009

Scrap Busters - reusable Christmas bags

Another scrap busting project, this one I will enter into the Sew Mama Sew contest.
As much as I love gift wrap, it does produce a ridiculous amount of waste and it costs a small fortune too! Last year I was trying to figure out how to do this but with furoshoki then I decided bags would be so much easier! I thought it would be lovely not just to use recycled bags but to have the gift tag attached to the bag, then over the years you can see who the bag has been gifted to, I am thinking of doing the same with birthday bags too. Of course you could leave this element out and just make plain bags,

What you will need:
  • two pieces of fabric, the same size for the bag
  • some scraps to decorate the bag with
  • a piece of white fabric, the same height as the bag fabric but only 1/3 as wide
  • ribbon for ties
  • fabric pen or stamp
You can make this any size as long as the front and back pieces are the same. First, decorate the front of your bag, or if you are using Christmas fabric you can leave it plain. I cut out a circle the raw edge appliqued it to the front.

Next, take your white piece of fabric and use a fabric pen to stamp to and from for the bag label. I decided to make a pile of these bags so I carved myself a rubber stamp, the first one I made I used a fabric pen and wrote the year on too. Then sew the label strip to the back piece of the bag.
Overlock the edges on both pieces, I don't have a proper overlocker, you could use a zig-zag stitch too.
Put the two pieces, right sides together, you need to sew the two pieces together but leave 2" unstitched at the top on both sides, marked in yellow, these will be folded over to make casing for the ribbon.
Press the seams open.
This is a little tricky at first, stitch down one side, across the bottom and up the other, you can see the stitching just inside the yellow lines. Repeat for both sides of the bag.
Fold the top over and press, stitch 1/4" from the overlocked edge so you end up with tube or casing to thread the ribbon through. Turn right side out and press.
Take a long piece of ribbon, starting on the right, thread it through the front piece of casing, when you get to the lefthand side loop it round and thread it through the back, both ends of the ribbon should be on the right.
Take another piece of ribbon and thread it from the left.
Write who your gift it for and who it is from on the back, pop your gift inside, pull the ribbons and tie.
I haven't even bought any Christmas gifts yet so this bag remains blank for now!
I have made a pile of these in different sizes and shapes.
and I have a few more awaiting ribbon...


  1. Great idea Jo! I have so many scraps lying around. Time to turn them into something useful. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. :)

    Happy monday!

  2. This is so cute. I didn't want to give up the pretty paper, but I could with this.

  3. Love it! I bought Christmas fabric on sale after Christmas 2 years ago to do the same's still in the bottom of my fabric bag in the back of the closet. I'd like to think I'll finally make my reusable Christmas bags this year, but I doubt it :)

  4. This looks like a fun idea! I love the to: from: because you can really see where it travels! Thanks for sharing!

  5. These are such a great idea. Thanks!

  6. i have seen this idea before and think it is a great idea. I just don't so unfortunately, i want to learn though... Love the things you make!

  7. I have the fabric all ready to go and was just trying to work out how to do this! You saved me so much time! Thanks so much.

  8. some of this fabric I bought 2 or 3 years ago with the intention...I am glad I finally got round to it, I have some nice fabric which would be good for birthday bags too.

  9. Very cute. I hadn't thought to include the to/from as part of the bag... we may add that to our Xmas bags this year. Thanks!

  10. I really like the idea of the "to and from" on the back. It adds another fun element to gift giving!

  11. Thanks for sharing this. It's another great fun

  12. Thanks for sharing this. It's another great fun


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