So last week I promised I would share how I made cloth gift bags with my mother-in-law literally hours before we wrapped & then opened presents for our early Christmas celebration with that side of his family. I figure since this is coming a couple weeks (at least!) late for anyone looking to wrap Christmas presents, and since I don't want to wait to blog about it until a month before next Christmas, I should point out that these would work great in other fabrics for Birthday or Anniversary gift-wrapping too! The best part is that they are reusable, but hey, they can also be really adorable and a gift just in themselves too!
My process was as follows:
First, convince my mother-in-law to bring some of her stash of Christmas-y fabric, pull out her old sewing machine, and get some thread ready to go. I'm not always very good at filling bobbins up with thread, so I convinced her to do that step for me, each and every time the bobbin ran out or I changed thread & fabric colors :) She's great like that!!
My next step was to pick one of the fabrics, fold it roughly in half with the good sides facing each other, and cut a roughly rectangular piece of doubled over fabric. Since we were using fabrics that had missing bits and pieces as they were left overs from other projects, there was a fair bit of creative folding so that we had the largest possible rectangular doubled over area, if that makes any sense to you at all :)
Next I double-checked that I had the good sides facing each other (except for one time when I forgot and sewed it inside out - OOPS! - luckily my MIL came to the rescue and unstitched that one for me!), and I sewed around 2 sides, leaving one side just folded, and one side open to be the top.
Then I folded the top over and sewed it, to end up with a finished looking top. I turned the bag right side out, and tada, a bag!
The next step was making a spot for a drawstring to close the bag once the present was inside. We did this a couple of different ways. The first one, the bag where I actually had 2 fabrics, one as the inside layer and one as the outside, since they weren't thick enough fabrics on their own to not let the present be seen through the bag, this first one I put the drawstring right in the folded over and sewed off top, where there should be a narrow gap that runs around the entire top. The downside to this though was that I had to cut a hole in the side of the top for the drawstrings to come out, and that hole looks a little ragged. The second way was by using little fabric tape sections, which we sewed on top of the bag around the top section. Some of these we sewed two pieces of fabric on, so we could have 2 cords in, one coming out on either side, which really made closing easy. The others we used one piece of fabric and just had one cord to pull on to close the bag. I think a lot of this closure stuff will come down to your personal preference on how you want your bag to look, all of the ones we made each work just fine!
We used ours that night for early Christmas, and took some of the bags home with us and used them for our small family Christmas. Little M also put them to good use to hold her Lizzy doll and sippy cup, not to mention trying them on for size herself :)