Reusable Fabric Gift Bags to sew


When Deby asked if I wanted to contribute to the So Sew Easy Seasonal Sewing Series, I immediately agreed. Not only did it sound like a fun series, but I could get a head start on planning and sewing for Christmas.

For the past couple of years, I've cut down on my use of Christmas paper, by sewing re-usable fabric gift bags. Today I'll show you how I make some of those bags…

Super easy, next to no sewing bag:

  • Cut a rectangle twice the width you need (mine is 15″ x 8″, suitable for a small gift such as a pack of cards).
  • Fold in half, with the right sides together.
  • Sew down one side and across the bottom.
  • Use pinking shears on the seams and across the top. Don't worry if you don't have pinking shears… just leave the edges raw.
  • Raid your fabric scraps and tie.



Minimal sewing bag:

  • Cut 2 pieces of fabric the same size (mine are 11″ x 8″, but you can make them whatever size suits). Cut a piece of ribbon, long enough to tie a nice bow (mine is 36″).
  • Fold the ribbon in half, right sides together.
  • Place the 2 pieces of fabric, right sides together.
  • Place the folded edge of the ribbon in between the 2 pieces of fabric, lining up the folded edge of the ribbon with the side seam and 3″ from the top. (If making a larger bag, increase the distance from the top.)
  • Sew the side seam.
  • Sew the other side seam and across the bottom. Tuck the ribbon into the bag so it doesn't get caught in the other seams.
  • Neaten edges with a zig zag stitch or overlocker (serger).
  • Hem the top edge
  • Turn right side out and tie the bow.

Unlined Drawstring Bag:

This little, unlined bag is sewn with French seams to keep it neat and tidy on the inside. A pop of colour is added to the top of the inside, but stops at the casing. It's a very quick and easy make. Here's an overview as to how it's made…

  • cut front and back from main fabric and two smaller pieces for contrast
  • join contrast colour to main fabric
  • join front and back with French seams
  • attach casing
  • thread cords

The unlined Christmas drawstring bag is made using the Treasure Bag tutorial over on Threading My Way. Vary the measurements to make a larger bag. Last Christmas I made a set of robot finger puppets and popped them into a bag like this.

Lined Drawstring Bag:

Another small bag, but this time lined. It's the perfect size for gifting some pretty, homemade soap, or perhaps jewellery. It doesn't take long at all to make. Basically…

  • sew the lining leaving a gap
  • sew the exterior, leaving gaps in the side seams for the drawstring
  • join lining and exterior
  • turn and close the gap
  • sew stitching for the casing
  • thread cords

I have used the Small Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial several times now, as a means of wrapping some lovely, locally made soap.

Small Lined Tote Bag:

Another lined bag, this time for slightly larger presents. This is a simple tote bag, with a scrappy bow to jazz it up a little. Here's an overview…

  • sew the lining leaving a gap
  • sew the exterior and add handles
  • join lining and exterior
  • turn and close the gap

The Little Shopper Tote tutorial will show you how to make one. Obviously the scrappy bow would need to be taken off, if the bag is destined for a young child. Again, vary the measurements to make bags of different sizes. You'll find lots of tote bag tutorials online.

Medium Sized Lined Drawstring Bag:

And lastly another drawstring bag, but larger.

Use your imagination to embellish fabric bags and make them extra special. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Drawstring cords can be made from ribbon, wool, fabric… lots of things already in your stash.

Over on Threading My Way, I host an ongoing Gift Wrapping link party. I'll be looking through the collection of projects, for ideas on how to make cute, little gift tags to accompany the Christmas bags.

Not only do fabric bags save on wrapping paper, the bags themselves can become part of the gift. Make them up in Christmas fabric, or use Christmassy colours without actually using Christmas fabric. If you make the minimal sewing bags, collect them up and re-use them next year. It's a win win all round.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the So Sew Easy Seasonal Sewing Series. I know there'll be lots of inspiration for gifts I can make.

… Pam


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Introducing Pam from Threading my Way
Pam spends most of her time sewing and blogging about sewing, over at Threading My Way. She has been sewing since she was a young girl and loves to share the varied projects and tutorials she creates. On her blog, Pam hosts ongoing, themed sewing link parties, where readers are invited to add their own sewing projects. When not sewing, Pam can be found out in her garden. You can find her at FacebookGoogle+Pinterest and Twitter.

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90 Responses to Reusable Fabric Gift Bags to sew

  1. Great ideas & easy to make. Thanks so much!

  2. Ann says:

    We use fabric bags here as well for Christmas, holidays, and birthdays. I like some of your more complicated bags; and want to try to make some new ones this year. Thanks for sharing the instructions!

  3. Cindy says:

    I love the idea of a fabric gift bag. Although I enjoy wrapping gifts, I also love the idea of a quick easy bag that can be reused by the receiver of my gift. It’s like getting two gifts in one. I’m going to make some for this Christmas season. Thanks so much for the post.

  4. Carol P. says:

    Easy and super cute.

  5. Brenda Sutton says:

    Great bags. Thank you

  6. geni says:

    I really really wish Santa brings me a huge bag with 56 yards of my most favorite, lushious fabric and a stand to hang each roll of fabric. 🙂

  7. Gina S. says:

    Hope he brings me more fabric!

  8. VickiT says:

    I honestly need nothing but Santa could make me happy if inside that fabric bag was a huge pile of some of the many designer fabrics I have on my wish list.

  9. Toni says:

    I’m hoping Santa brings me some good books to read.

  10. sjmcclelland says:

    These little bags are so cute. I’m hoping for a small hard shell rolling suitcase – it would need to be a pretty big bag!

  11. Norma says:

    I hope I get lots of sewing notions and tools!!

  12. Sandhya says:

    Great bags.

  13. Carma says:

    These bags are awesome! I will make some tonight! Thanks!

  14. SALLY KERR says:

    I would dearly love a handbag pattern and gorgeous fabric in my Christmas stocking, to make up and surprise my family (and myself), Lol.

  15. Dyan says:

    I’m always looking for fun patterns. Would love Santa to bring me some.

  16. kbo says:

    Santa Baby can put shiny “Bling” in lovely fabric bag for this good girl.

  17. Carla G says:

    I hope Santa brings me some Clover binding clips. 🙂

  18. LuLu says:

    I would truly like to grow up to be like you! I want to make great bags!

  19. I hope Santa brings me more fabric 🙂

  20. Gill says:

    I’m hoping for a kindle!

  21. beachmomof4 says:

    The lined drawstring bags are my favorite! Wrapping gifts in reusable bags is a fabulous idea, one I’m hoping to do more of this Christmas.:)

  22. Connie says:

    Thank you so much! I would love some bundles of fabric and a learn to sew clothes book or two! Connie

  23. says:

    I love making fabric bags for wrapping gifts and have even made pillowcases to use for wrapping gifts and be part of the gift as well. I’m hoping Santa brings some new sewing notions. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  24. Shirley says:

    These are great Pam! Such a personal touch added to a gift.

  25. Theresa says:

    Those bags are so cute. I want to start sewing them right now, but I think it might be smart to decide what I’m giving first….to know what size to make.
    I hope Santa makes a big bag because this Mama would LOVE a serger!

  26. Thanks so much for inviting me to contribute to the Seasonal Sewing Series, Deby!!! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

  27. Vicky myers says:

    Great ideas Pam, as always:) Can’t quite believe I wasn’t already following everyone on twitter – a great prompt! Would love an old sewing machine capable of sewing through many layers of fabric!

  28. Natalie says:

    I hope Santa bring a Wacom bamboo, so I can draw out my patterns.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I have a drawing tablet on order too Natalie, I’m hoping to digitise my patterns, but nothing as posh as a Wacom. It’s my first so I went with a budget model – hope it works OK! What software do you use for pattern drawing?

      • Natalie says:

        HI Deby, that is a good question about the program I use. The problem is, I have no idea…..I make up pattern pieces then I retrace them onto large sheets of paper. Then my husband scan them into the computer on a large scanner at his work. I then get them back on a stick. I pull up what ever free program he loaded into my computer. After I play with it for a while and can’t get the lines traced out smoothly or where they should be. DH comes along and does it for me as he is an Engineer. The problem is this is such a long drawn out process and I have to wait on him to help me. So this is why I need some thing else. Once I get the hang of it, I should be able to do it myself. I guess they have come out with some budget friendly models. My DH is questioning what type of software comes with it or is there any software at all. I have just left him to it, he know more about that type of thing and he knows what I’m trying to do. I know he will get something that he is hoping he doesn’t have to keep rescuing me. lol I use Adobe to write out the instructions and adding pictures to the PDF files.

        What program do you use?

        • Deby Coles says:

          I have a copy of Serif Draw on order, but I’ve not used it yet so I hope its fairly easy. Good that you have a handy-man who can do these types of things for you. I would really like to find someone with a big scanner so that I can draw the pattern and then scan it in all in one piece instead of having to cut it up into small pieces first. So you think somewhere like an engineering company or maybe an architect or something might have a big scanner – thats a good idea. I’ll start calling round..good luck with the new drawing tablet.

  29. Sandra :) says:

    I’m hoping Santa will bring me a pair of the new Fiskars scissors – the ones made especially for cutting heavy duty fabrics 😀 Great bags Pam – I especially like ones that are lined, if I have enough time and fabric to make them that way 🙂

  30. caroline says:

    I have had so many new pressies this year, new Serger, new machine, and so on, so I would like Santa to bring me some fabric please 🙂

  31. Kim Andrews says:

    I would love if Santa brought me a seger!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Me too Kim – you never know, you might be lucky in the Grand Prize draw at the end of the series. One of the prizes is a nice shiny new serger. I’ll race you for it!

  32. Jessi says:

    Wow, thank you Pam! I think I won´t need any wrapping paper this year. They are lovely. I will give them definetely a try.

    I hope that Santa will assist me in convincing my boyfriend to start a family soon, that is all I wish for 😉

  33. Jessi says:

    Wow so many nice gift bags. Thanks Pam those are lovely. I will definately need no wrapping paper this year 😉

    I do only need a little help of Santa to convince my boyfriend to start a family soon 😉

  34. mamalusco says:

    I’d love to receive a new travel book for Christmas. Thanks!

  35. Becky R says:

    These bags are adorable. Great idea!

  36. Sherry S says:

    Love, love, love handbags! I am hoping Santa sews me up one of each this year 😉

  37. Geni says:

    How do I enter for the daily giveaway? There isn’t a clear link…

  38. Stopping by from artsy mama corner Thursday. I LOVE this idea, THANKS for sharing it.

  39. Lydia says:

    what a great idea. i hope i get a fabric gift bag with a gift of more fabric 🙂

  40. Pam, I love these! What a great way to stay away from wrapping gifts in paper. I also love that you have done several styles and sizes.

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