Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Bags!

I had good intentions. A month before Christmas I took all the novelty Christmas prints from my Christmas fabric bin to make gift bags. I didn't get them done. While I was cleaning up my sewing room I found the little pile and thought to myself 'Ann, you are not going to leave these until December of next year so do them right now!'
Well I listened to myself and I am ready for next Christmas!

I thought I would share with you how I make my Christmas gift bags.
They are fast, easy and they look great!

This is a great way to use up those leftover Christmas prints or other fabrics you know you'll never use for something else.

I don't worry much about size. As long as you can take your rectangle of fabric, fold it in half and it looks like it will do, then I use it. It just so happens that most of my fabrics were fat quarter sized.

This is also a great way to use up bits of red, green and blue threads.

So let's get started! The first thing to do is to finish all the raw edges.

I serged mine but a zigzag stitch would work just as well.

The next thing to do is to fold over the long edge to make the cuff at the top of the bag.

A great tool is a hem guide but if you don't have one it is easy to make one . All you need is thin cardboard (like a cereal box), a quilting ruler and a fine sharpie.

I like a 2-1/2 inch cuff so from a straight edge of the cardboard measure 2-1/2" and draw a marking line. You can make whatever width of cuff you like for these bags. If you have small pieces you may want the cuff smaller...for bigger bags maybe you want the cuff bigger (not too much bigger though or it will end up being floppy). Just mark multiple lines on your cardboard.

Fold over the cuff, wrong sides together and use your hem guide to press the cuff down. You get a nice even cuff making it much easier to sew later.

Fold the bag in half with the cuff along the top.
Mark the edge where the cuff ends and then unfold the cuff.

Now you mark the area to leave open for putting your cording in. Measure 1/4" up and 3/4" up from the chalk mark and put in pins. You'll be leaving this area un-sewn. Pin here and there around the rest of the bag to keep it together while you sew.

To sew around the bag use about a 3/8" to a 1/2" seam allowance. It doesn't have to be perfect! Make sure you back stitch every time you start and stop sewing. Starting at the top, sew down to the first pin used for marking and back stitch. Leave that space between the marking pins open and start sewing again making sure to back stitch. Continue to sew down the side and along the bottom of the bag.

Press the seam open from the top edge to about 6" down and refold the cuff. The seams inside the cuff should be open and matched. Pin the cuff down, just to keep it in place for sewing.

Now to sew the channel where the cording will go...

If you are wanting to match thread, make sure the thread that matches your fabric is in the bobbin.

Also this is where your open arm on your sewing machine comes in handy!

Sew along the bottom edge of the cuff. I sewed right in the middle of the serged area. This will make sure that the small opening in the seam line is left open for the cording. Double check to make sure you won't be sewing over it. For the second row of sewing I used my seam guide and lined up my fabric at the 1-1/2" marking. If you used a different cuff size than I did make sure you adjust this to fit your cuff. The channel should be about 5/8" to 3/4" wide.

You are now done the sewing! Turn your bag right side out and using a point turner, gently push the corners out and lightly press your gift bag.

Now all that is left is the cording. Thread your cording or ribbon through the channel. I try to leave about 6" tails. If you use a thicker cording or ribbon then leave a slightly longer tail. 

And all done and ready to be filled!

And here it is all tied up!

Now I am off to put the finishing touches on the rest them!

Happy Stitching!


  1. These are so cute Ann, I need to do this with my left-over Christmas fabric. I still use the shopping one you made for me many years ago!

  2. Good for you getting these done now! Dec is just never long enough!!!! I was given some Christmas fabs and they are of the older variety...I should see if any would be pretty enough as giftbags...