True Confession: I hate wrapping presents.
I hate spending money on wrapping paper, finding boxes, trying to wrap awkward-sized packages…and don’t get me started on the ribbons, bows, and foofy decorations. Gack.
And then there’s the giant mess in your living room after all the presents are opened. Some of the wrapping paper can be recycled, some can’t, and you end up with a ton of paper in your trash can.
A couple of years ago, I decided to sew drawstring gift bags of all sizes to use for Christmas presents. A little bit of work up front and I’d never have to buy wrapping paper again.
It was too good to be true!
Yes, yes it was. I realized at the end of the day that nobody had returned the bags their gifts were in. So here I am, sewing up another set of reusable gift bags. This time I took some pictures so you can make them too. 🙂
You do NOT need any kind of fancy sewing skills to make these bags. You can even sew them by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine.
Sew an Easy Drawstring Gift Bag
Fabric of your choice. I used 100% cotton with a holiday print, but you could use Star Wars fabric for the sci-fi fan in your house, or maybe Paw Patrol or Disney princesses for the younger crowd.
1/4″ satin or grosgrain ribbon for the drawstring
Sharp scissors and safety pins
Measure the size of your gift. (This seems obvious, but if you saw the first batch of too-small-for-anything bags I made you’d understand.)
Give yourself at least an inch of space all the way around, and cut out the desired shape.
1. Start with the Quick-Fold Trick
Turn the fabric over so you’re looking at the wrong side. Fold the top two inches over so the fold runs off the side of the fabric.
Iron or pin it so the fold will stay. Stitch the fold so it stays in place by running a straight stitch through the folded part and right off the edge of the fabric. Repeat on all four corners.
2. Sew up Sides and Top
Run a straight stitch up from the bottom to close up the sides, stopping when you get to the folded part. Fold over about 1/4 inch of each top flap, iron it so it stays, and stitch across.
3. Finish Drawstring Tunnel
Fold down each of the top flaps, and sew all the way across to make the drawstring tunnel. Don’t sew the bag shut (ask me how I know). Repeat on the other side.
4. Add the Ribbon
Measure how much ribbon you’ll need, and then put a safety pin on the end to make it easier to thread the ribbon through the fabric tunnel.
Thread the ribbon through one side of the tunnel, across the “jump,” and out the other side. Knot the ends. Repeat, starting the ribbon on the opposite side, so you can pull the knots to close the bag.
And you’re done! How awesome is that? You now have gift bags that are resuable, washable, and can fit presents of just about any size or shape.
Drawstring bags have tons of uses beyond Christmas presents. Use a light muslin and make produce bags to take to the farmer’s market–pick out a fun print and make a bag for the kids’ blocks–or whip up birthday party goodie bags.