There’s something special about homemade gifts, and I enjoy both giving and receiving them. I was recently given such a gift, and I was immediately motivated to do a copy-cat of it . . . thus this post.
Honestly, I’m not very original, but if I see someone else’s good idea, I am inclined to grab it, implement it and pass it on. Thank you, Gay.
I’ve often thrown together homemade gift mixes of all sorts—hot chocolate, muffins, cornbread, etc. and packaged them in canning jars with the lids covered in pretty fabric and tied with an instruction tag and a ribbon. I still think these are sweet and homey and I’m sure I’ll make them again at times, but I’ve really come to like the idea of a fabric gift bag for several reasons.
They’re fun, customizable and reusable. Unlike the jars, they’re unbreakable and ship cross-country with no worries, and there is peace of mind if your children want to help with hand-delivery. There are so many fun fabrics to choose from, and they’re even on sale right now. And finally, this project is a perfect introduction-to-sewing opportunity for daughters.
I haven’t done too much machine sewing with Hannah so far, but this week I was inspired to have her help sew these simple bags. Straight stitches are as easy as it gets, and what a delight it was for her to help make a bag in just minutes, start to finish.
I love that the kids can have a hand in the “homemade.” From packaging the mixes, to trimming the tags, to tying the ribbons, there’s something for everyone.
Now for some specs on the bags themselves: These are very adaptable, and you can make them whatever size you need. The mixes I’m making this year all fit nicely in ziploc sandwich bags, and so I want my bags to allow for that amount of bulk but still have somewhat of a fitted look at the bottom and plenty of room to tie a ribbon at the top.
A quilter’s mat and a rotary cutter make quick work of the cutting, but if you don’t have any of that, just use a ruler and your scissors. The dimensions of each unsewn bag are 20-22 inches long and 7 3/4 inches wide. It does not have to be terribly precise.
What’s easiest for me is to fold up the bottom edge of the fabric so there is a double layer which is 10-11 inches long, with the fold at the bottom, like you see in the picture. Cut across the single layer of fabric (you see the wrong side of it in the picture) along the edge of the layer that is on top. Then cut down the sides so each bag is about 7 3/4 inches wide.
Use pinking shears and trim each short edge. (If you don’t have these, you can finish the edge on your machine or just pull some threads loose to fray the fabric a little, depending on the look you want.)
Then, with right sides together, fold the bag so the side and top edges line up evenly. Stitch along each side, leaving a 1/4 – 3/8 inch seam allowance. Then trim the threads and turn your bag right-side-out, and it’s ready to be filled and labeled.
We’re filling our bags with mixes, but I’m dreaming up of all sorts of other uses for them as well, and not just for Christmastime.