My Easy 3 seam Drawstring Gift Bag is a perfect way to go green this Christmas!
About 3 or 4 years ago, I was at my parents house for Christmas as usual, we had just had a fun Christmas morning opening all our gifts and I looked over to where my dad was sitting. It’s usually his job to hold the trash bag and collect wrapping paper etc. I really do try my best to be green and eco friendly in life, and I felt a little sick when I saw how much wrapping paper we’d gone through as a whole family. And, I mean, if you think about it, wrapping paper is kind of a weird concept anyway. You spend lots of money on something beautiful that you just rip and up and throw away? Don’t get me wrong, yes, it’s fun. But I decided then and there that I was going to try and minimize the amount of wrapping paper I used personally in the future. I’ve always been a saver of gift bags and wrapping paper anyway so this was just another step in that direction. (And really, don’t get me started on gift bags and tissue paper. For one thing, why do they cost so much?! )
I certainly haven’t eliminated ALL wrapping paper. For example, every year we sponsor a foster child for Christmas and buy them presents. I wrap those in regular wrapping paper because I feel like in that situation, the wrapping paper is part of the fun. Or if I was giving a gift to a boss or one of O’s teachers (i.e. someone I want to impress) I would probably use wrapping paper. I also haven’t managed to make a stash of birthday bags either so I usually end up using wrapping paper or a gift bag then as well. But I figure, for me, the holidays were the major offender and every little bit helps!
Anyway, the following year near Christmas I ordered some cute holiday fabric, invested a little time and energy up front and wrapped as many of my presents as possible in reusable wrapping. But before I get to how I make them, you might be wondering, Cassie, do you really spend hours and hours sewing gift bags before every Christmas? Are you nuts?? Isn’t it kind of crazy to invest that much time and add ANOTHER thing to your holiday to-do list?? Why should I make reusable gift bags?
Well, in a surprising turn of events, these fabric gift bags have turned out not to be extra work at all, in fact, they usually SAVE me tons of time! At the start of the Christmas morning un-wrapping frenzy I just say to my loved ones, “If you think you will reuse them, please feel free to keep your fabric gift bags, otherwise, just hand them over to me and I’ll use them again next year!” And guess what! 99% of the time they get handed back to me! So at this point I have a big stash in a variety of sizes that I can reuse year after year! And the best part is, when it’s time to wrap presents I just pop them in a bag, add a tag, tie the ribbon in a bow and I’m done! No scissors, no scotch tape, no unruly wrapping paper. I think it’s cut my wrapping time by 75%!
And if I end up with a gift for someone that doesn’t fit in one of the sizes that I already have, I have gotten it down to a super easy 3 seam drawstring gift bag science! I can whip these out in 15 minutes or less! So anyway, enough wordiness, on to the tutorial!
Easy 3 Seam Drawstring Gift Bag
fabric (cotton quilting fabric works great but you could branch and out and try burlap or velvet or whatever you want!)
iron and ironing board
1. First cut a rectangle of fabric for your gift bag. To figure out what size your rectangle should be, measure the item you’re putting in it. The width of the rectangle should be the width of the item + about 3 inches. Less if it’s something thin like a cd and more if it’s something thick like a long book. The height of your rectangle should be twice the height of the item + about 5 – 6 inches.
2. Lay your rectangle right side down and start by folding over one long side 1/4 inch and pressing with your iron. Then fold over again another 1/4 inch and press again so the raw edge is hidden. Repeat with the other long side.
3. Next fold over one top edge 1/4 inch and press.
Then fold over that same top edge again 1 1/2 inches and press and pin. This will form the casing for the drawstring ribbon. Repeat with the other top edge.
4. Using your sewing machine sew a seam along one top edge about 1 1/4 inches from the top of the bag to form the casing. Trim your threads and repeat with the other top edge.
5. Fold your bag, right sides together, matching up your top edge casings and pin.
6. With a 1/4 inch seam, sew down from the bottom of one casing, across the bottom and back up the other side, stopping at the stitching at the bottom of the casing on the other side.
Obviously, because it’s folded over, stitching across the bottom of the bag is not really necessary but I find it saves just a little bit of extra time that adds up when you’re making a whole bunch of bags. Plus! Fewer thread ends to trim!
7. Turn your bag right side out. Cut a ribbon that is 2x the width of the bag + 6 inches.
8. Put a safety pin through one end of the ribbon and use it to thread your ribbon through the ribbon casing of the bag.
When you get to the other side from where you started, just reinsert the ribbon into the casing and continue around the bag until you’re back where you started.
9. Add a present, a gift tag, and tie up your bag and you’re all done!
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