My Easy 3 seam Drawstring Gift Bag sewing tutorial is a perfect way to go green this Christmas!
About 6 or 7 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 to tear open a package. 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 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.
Side note: I used to think I still needed to use fancy wrapping paper for anyone we needed to “impress” or who might not be into my crunchy environmental wrapping, but then we got one of Aa’s coworkers a new baby gift that was large and oddly sized (the best ever travel high chair) and didn’t have wrapping paper that fit.
So I whipped up a giant version of the easy 3 seam drawstring gift bag and she LOVED it. She ended up using it as a laundry hamper bag. She was honestly more excited about the bag than the high chair!
That’s the beauty of this pattern, it may be FAST, but it has nice neat seams inside so it looks very professional.
Anyway, about five years ago 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 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 things 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 yearly gift wrapping time and effort 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 one of these out in 10 minutes or less! So anyway, enough wordiness, on to the tutorial!
Easy 3 Seam Drawstring Gift Bag Supply List
Fabric (cotton quilting fabric works great but you could branch and out and try burlap or velvet or whatever you want!)
Satin or grosgrain Christmas ribbon (between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inches wide will work)
Easy 3 Seam Drawstring Gift Bag Instructions
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 book. The height of your rectangle should be twice the height of the item + about 5 – 6 inches.
width = width of item + about 3 inches, this is referred to as the top of the bag
height = (height of item x 2) + about 5-6 inches, this is referred to as the side of the bag
2. The key to these drawstring gift bags is a little prep. Lay your fabric right side down and start by folding over one long side by 1/4 inch and pressing with your iron. Then fold that same side over again another 1/4 inch and press again so the raw edge is hidden. Repeat with the other long side. These long edges will be the sides of the bag.
3. Next fold over one top edge by 1/4 inch and press.
4. Then fold over that same top edge again by another 1 1/2 inches, press, and pin. This will form the casing for the drawstring ribbon. Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the other top edge.5. Using your sewing machine sew all the way along one of the top edges about 1 1/4 inches from the top of the bag to form the casing as shown below. Trim your threads and repeat with the other top edge.
6. Fold your bag, right sides together, matching up your top edge casings, and pin.
7. With a 1/4 inch seam, start just below one casing, sew down the side of the bag, across the bottom and back up the other side, stopping at the stitching just below the bottom of the casing on the other side as shown in the photo below.
Note: Obviously, because it’s folded over, stitching across the bottom of the bag is not really necessary but I find that not starting and stopping and backstitching and trimming to do each side separately saves just a little bit of extra time that adds up when you’re making a whole bunch of bags. It’s worth it!
8. Turn your bag right side out. Cut a ribbon that is 2x the width of the finished bag + 6 inches. Dab a little fray check sewing glue on the ends of your ribbons so they don’t unravel. (If you don’t have that, regular craft glue would work too)
9. 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 next side of the casing and continue around the bag until you’re back where you started. Remove the safety pin.
10. Add a present, a gift tag, and tie up your bag and you’re all done!
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