Plastic is a habit – a very convenient habit, though a very bad one. Every day we use so many plastic things, from the time we wake up pressing down the alarm button of that plastic alarm clock to ending the day by brushing our teeth with that plastic brush – and there are close to 8 billion people in the world doing all these!
Among all the plastic we use, the most damaging is single-use plastic. All those plastic bags you mindlessly throw into the dumpster after one use are going to come back and haunt us and our future generations. Using cloth bags is a very positive alternative many are increasingly embracing.
In this article I will cover:
How to make your reusable fabric gift bags
METHOD 1. SIMPLE GIFT BAG
Step 1. Cut out the fabric piece for your bag – 20 inches by 10 inches.
Step 2. Stitch the handles to both ends.
You can use webbing, fabric straps or lace as I have done.
Turn under the edges enclosing the handle ends and stitch in place.
Step 3. Keep the fabric folded right sides out – this is done to make a neat french seam inside. Stitch the edges. Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching line.
Turn the bag right sides in.
Stitch along the edge ,enclosing the seam and the seam allowance.
Turn the bag right side out and use.
METHOD 2. Tall fabric gift bag
How to make a fabric gift bag – with fabric and minimum sewing
Take your fabric piece. It should be a tightly woven fabric .You also need handles for the bag and super glue.
I stiffened the fabric with fabric laundry stiffener and then adhered thin interfacing to the back to make my fabric stand stiff.
You can read more about using the fabric stiffener in this post – 9 easy to make homemade laundry stiffeners.
Cut out the fabric in the dimension 18 inch by 13 1/2 inch.
Stiffen the fabric. Apply the interfacing to the back.
Fold the top edge of the fabric to the inside.
Fold the fabric by the middle right sides to the inside and join the short edges (13 1/2 inch side) -the red line is the sewing line.
Press the seam allowance open. You may also want to glue the seam allowance to the fabric so that it doesn’t jut out.
Bring right side out and keep it in front of you – seam to the back – the picture below.
Mark 4 1/2 inch from the middle and fold the sides to the inside – if you know origami you would call it the water bomb fold – when you fold this way the front and the back base will be 4 1/2 inches – the rest is folded to the inside.
Press to keep the fold.
Now take up the bottom part – mark 2 inches up from the bottom edge.
Fold the bottom edge as in the picture below
Fold the other edge also same way so that it meets in the middle. Ensure that there is a slight overlap. Use super glue to fix the overlapping position.
You will have triangular projections on either side.
Fold that to the top of the glued portion and use super glue to fix this too. Be thorough with glue application – your bottle should be secure inside.
You can add a 4 inch square piece of cardboard as a base to rest your wine bottle.
Insert the cardboard
Now You need to attach handles. You can sew webbing to the top edge as you would do for any bag, or as I have done, simply insert lace or string. Cut 2 of these 11-14 inches in length.
I have made two holes (very small) on the top portion ( where the top edge is folded). Inserted the lace through these holes (used a needle with a very large eye for this- you do not want the hole to be big)
Tie the ends on the inside to prevent the handles from slipping out.That is it.
Disclaimer – This gift bag may not hold the weight of the wine if you carry it with the full bottle inside for a long time – depending on the hold of the glue you have used to secure the bottom. With a super glue used on the whole seam, this may not be an issue.
If you use a shorter fabric piece you can use the same tutorial for making small gift bags for other gifts too.
Method 3. Drawstring Gift Bag
This is a very small cloth gift bag which measures about 4.5 inches in height and 4 inches in width. Perfect for those small gifts like jewellery that you intend to give your loved ones.
You can change the dimensions and make it to suit the gift you have, ofcourse. Whatever it is that you are giving inside, this bag will surely be used again.
Step 1 Cut the pattern pieces
For the bag piece
For the drawstring & 2 little stoppers
Fold the side edges of the bag piece ( 6″ sides) inside 1/4 inches and stitch
Turn under the upper edge about 1/2 inch and stitch along the fabric edge. You have the casing for the drawstring here. If it is a selvedge you donot have to finish the edge here. But if it is not you may want to do a zigzag stitch on the fabric edges.
Fold the Bag fabric by half, with short edges together (right sides together) stitch the side seams. Stop just short of the upper casing. Donot forget to backstitch.
Stitch the bottom edge of the bag together.
Turn the bag inside out.
Step 6. Make drawstring
Cut a piece of fabric 14 inches long and 1 inch wide. Fold it lengthwise. Stitch along the fold, about 1/2 inch from the fold. Anchor a tapestry needle ( or a thick needle) with 4 strands of thread near one edge by making 2-3 back stitches. Insert the needle through the hole in one edge. Pull the cloth along with the needle so that when the tube is turned inside out it will look filled up and round . Checkout this tutorial to make a fabric tube for more details. You will get a string which is your drawstring.
Insert the drawstring through the casing in your bag using a safety pin
Step 7 Make a Drawstring stopper.
Cut out 2 squares of 3 inches. Cut the edges 1/4 inch from the corners. Fold the square diagonally first. Then by half. Hold the edges together. Stitch them together. trim the seam allowance close to the seam
Keep the string end inside the rectangle and stitch them together. Turn it inside out.
A similar but slightly different pouch can be made with ribbons as drawstring – check out this post on making drawstring pouches for more details.
If you can’t be bothered about sewing you can simply wrap your gifts with fabric – check out this post on fabric gift wraps for details.
Related post: Free Grocery bag pattern.