Lush Gift Bags

One of the reasons I buy fabric specifically destined for and make gift bags is so that I don’t have to wrap gifts using paper. I also like to have an excuse to buy holiday fabric that I know I will never use for a quilt. FabMo has created a whole new aesthetic for me for gift bags.

At the last CQFA meeting, Bron brought a few pieces of FabMo fabric and I scooped up a couple. You’ll see some of them soon, but I already made the gift bag.

Lush Gift Bag
Lush Gift Bag

This fabric is some kind of velvet like material and it changes the whole look of the gift bag. I didn’t take any chances when sewing it. I used the new open toe walking foot because I am not familiar with how this fabric acts in the sewing process.

The ribbon is also from another gift.

It is an odd shape, because I just used the shape of the sample and folded it in half. The edges were serged and I wanted to maintain that integrity.

One of the things I like about it is that it looks really special. That is a good reminder for me that the fabric really makes the piece – especially in other types of sewn accessories that don’t have the opportunity for quilting or embellishment, etc. I realize that the maker could do both on a gift bag, of course, if the design were different.

Lush Gift Bag detail
Lush Gift Bag detail

I actually think that gift bags would be a good way to try out new techniques, feet, stitches on your sewing machine, free motion quilting, etc.

Babies Finished

Babies and wedding some in waves and I am in a baby wave right now. I am not having my own baby, just to be very clear. Friends are in baby producing mode, however. I have made a few quilts for friends, but am, frankly, too lazy for the most part.

I do make receiving blankets quite frequently. They are much more useful than quilts and people seem less reluctant to use them or save them for a special day. I thought I had written about them before, but I guess not. I searched and only saw mentions

Lily Blankets
Lily Blankets

Mostly I made receiving blankets, which can be used for all sorts of useful baby things such as:

Superman (or girl) cape


nursing cover

layer for warmth




changing pad

burp cover


Ayden Blankets
Ayden Blankets

I fold over a double hem and stitch with fun thread and a decorative stitch. Often I will leave the selvedge on so as not to have to hem yet another side. The decorative stitch takes awhile, so it is better for me to do as little hemming as possible. If these were going to another sewist or quiltmaker, I might rethink that strategy, but mostly they go to people who are not crafty.

Baby Gift Bags
Baby Gift Bags

Finally, I don’t usually give gift bags to people who don’t give them back or re-use them. This time, I really didn’t feel like dealing with any paper or tape or anything. I sincerely dislike wrapping gifts with paper, so I pulled some fabric off the ‘back art’ shelf and made two bags. I don’t really like the background color of the fabric. Don’t ask me why I bought it – the cherries, probably. I like the bags, though and perhaps it will encourage more people to make fabric gift bags they can re-use.

More Gift Bags for the Holidays

A FB contacted pointed me to these gift bags, which are for sale on Etsy. They seem to be specifically made for CDs and other flat gifts, but there is a nice selection and I like the design. You can see other posts about gift bags at:
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Resuable Eco-Friendly Gift Bag for CDs and Other Goodies – Peppermint Twist

Resuable Eco-Friendly Gift Bag for CDs and Other Goodies - Peppermint Twist
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Mini Gift Bag

Mini Gift
Mini Gift

I got the directions for making this little bag, just with folding an sewing from Maeda Trading Company at PIQF 2009.

They sold squares of fabric so you could make this little bag right away. Of course, a person could also use their own fabric with no problem.

Mine looks a little weird, because I didn’t have enough of the right ribbon to make this work. I thought about using these types of bags as another kind fo gift bag.

Gift Bags Return

Gift Bag #2, Holiday 2009
Gift Bag #2, Holiday 2009

This is one of the fabrics I received from the new Etsy store in April, which I didn’t order. Some of it isn’t really my style, but every style makes a good gift bag, so here is gift bag #2 for Holiday 2009.

To make gift bags:

I press a double hem on one side of a fat quarter and finish it with a decorative stitch. This is a good way to get to know the resources required to use your decorative stitches.

Once done, I fold the piece in half, right sides together, aligning the hem at the top. I put a piece of ribbon, folded in half, inside the piece. The fold of the ribbon will be sticking of the side a little bit and is placed about a quarter of the way down the side.

I sew down the side, starting with the hem. I reinforce the start, the the ribbon and the end by backstitching over it a few times. Then I turn the bag right side out.

I love using gift bags for gifts. Besides the fact that I intensely dislike wrapping gifts with paper, the fabric feels so much nicer in my hands. I also get to see the beautiful holiday fabric each year.

Little Bag

My sister asked me to make her a cute bag to carry her retainer around in. I thought she was being totally revolting at first, but she showed me that the retainer has a case.

This is kind of the gift bag pattern, but I lined it using the same technique as the tote bags, because I wanted to see how lining the gift bags would work. It turned out to be too small for her purposes, but it was a good learning experience.


  1. Measure
  2. For a bag this small use thinner lining fabric
  3. Make the main part of the bag the size of the object that will go into it, then add on the measurements for the ribbon and the piece above the ribbon.

At least she likes the fabric, which is good since I am making her a tote bag out of the same fabric. I have the correct measurements and will make another one to send to her.

Additional Gifts from Near and Far

I am a lucky girl! I have such nice friends who give me presents sometimes. 😉

First, I got a gift certificate for some fabric. Above is what I bought. Dots, of course, but also some of Mark Lipinski’s Califon line. I like the delicate designs. Not sure how I will use it, but something will come up. Now I can rest assured that the FOTY 2009 quilt will have some fabric in it. Thgift certificate came from TFQ for Christmas and the fabric just arrived today. I still owe her a thank you note.

How do you like this gift bag? The bottom has something slightly stiff in it, so it stands nicely up to attention. It is made out of felt, so I may be able to make lovely designs with embroidery (using my machine’s embroidery function) on the front instead of the applique’. The blanket stitch can be done on the machine as well. I’ll have to try it. One thing I like about it is the cute size.

This little teapot pincushion was in the gift bag. My friend, Leah, gave both to me. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time and when we got together, she produced this little package for me. It is a very sweet treat, and unexpected.

I have been transferring my pincushion between sewing machine and ironing board, so this came at the right time and, perhaps, I can start thinking about just keeping one near each workstation? I am definitely going to have to buy more pins!

Gift Bags From Afar for the Luckiest Girl

I got a surprise on Thursday! Kristen and Mrs. Kristen sent me a dotted package filled with fabrics and gift bags. I was so thrilled and it was just the pick-me-up I needed.

I saw this sunflower fabric on Kristen’s blog and asked her to get me some earlier this year. I never saw it and know that she is really busy, but was so pleased to see it come to live with me.

The dots, of course, will come in very handy.

While they were at it, they worked on some gift bags for me. Aren’t they pretty? They have little cuffs on them, which is wonderful and different from mine. I am so pleased to add them to my collection. I am also pleased that the gift bags phenomenon is spreading. Hope you will make some, too!

They put it all in a gift box covered with dots, which made me happy even before I opened the package. Thanks, ladies!

Gift Bags From Afar

Last year, Mary-Jeanine and I exchanged emails about gift bags. She had already put her Christmas ornaments away when we had the conversation, but she promised to send me one of her bags this year. I also sent her one of mine.

Mary-Jeanine’s are about the same size and proportion as mine. I am sure hers vary depending on the size of the gift, though.

She serges the inside of her bags, which, I am sure, makes the construction go a lot faster.

M-J also does a little different closure construction. She puts a grommet in on each side and makes a casing, so the wrapper can pull the top tight

I really like seeing different takes on these gift bags, especially on the closures.

Thanks for sharing Mary-Jeanine!

More From the Bag Lady

A long time ago there was a discussion on a Yahoogroup about being a bag lady. Not the kind you see on the street begging for money, but someone who loves all kinds of bags.
Tote bags
Laptop bags

You name it. I love them. I am also a bag lady, as you might have noticed. Not that I am not particular about the bags that I buy or make, but havingg the right bag at the right time makes all the difference.

This site has a list of of many free (and some NOT free) patterns for a variety of bags that you can make. Some of them might make great Christmas or holiday gifts.

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35 Reusable Grocery Bags You Can Make – Free Patterns

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Sewing Grocery Bags & Totes

  • Fabric Grocery Sacks: Replicas of plastic grocery sacks made from vintage sheets and pillowcases (any fabric will do!). These also make cute lunch bags. Features a tie closure for a neat fit in your purse when not in use.
  • Offers a downloadable pattern in pdf or word doc format (also an animated web tutorial). Simple tote style, easy to make.
  • SewUseful San Fransisco Shopper: Roomy fabric tote with shoulder straps, folds down nicely to fit into a pocket or purse.
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    Bags of the Kemshalls

    Linda and Laura Kemshall are quilt artists extraordinaire. I love their Thr3fold Journal and the straightforwardness (is that a word??) and artistry with which they present their projects. They have come out with a new gift bag pattern via Quilting Arts. I looked at the pattern and it is kind of a backwards bag. What I mean by that is that you create, paint, embellish, bead and torture your fabric THEN you make the bag out of it. I can see where this pattern would work for stuff you already had around the house or for test techniques that you didn’t want laying around after you were done testing. These bags look pretty complicated, however. Please note that I haven’t made one, but I am very much a fan of he 10 bags an hour method. Let me know if you make one of these bags and how it turns out. I’ll be happy to post your photo to my blog or link to your blog etc from Artquiltmaker blog.

    More “Gift Bags”

    I notice a gift bag theme starting. I got the Janome newsletter and they have a pattern for Bottle Caddy. It is a gift bag with a bit of dressing up.

    Bottles seem to be popular items to wrap in gift bags. he shape definitely lends itself to wrapping in fabric. Weed whackers: not so much.

    The one pictured is beautiful. It seems to be fairly complex as well – too complex for me to make by the dozens, but I may expand my theme to actually trying these patterns. Let me know if you make one.

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    Christmas Stocking Bottle Caddy Pattern
    pattern available
    Christmas Stocking Bottle Caddy Pattern
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    Gift Bags Spreading Some More

    Deirdre, who finds everything and then sends it on to me, pointed out these gift bags on Lazy Girl Designs. WOW! They are amazing and definitely not as quick to make as mine, but they are gorgeous!! I would love to see one up close and personal and hope someone has made one that I can look at at PIQF.

    Lazies, Just in time for your holiday sewing, Shelly Stokes of Cedar Canyon Textiles shares her new Bosa Nova Bags pattern with us. Shelly’s decision to say goodbye to paper gift wrap led to creation these beauties. 

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    Gifts Bags Spread

    It is a little too early in the year for me to be encouraging you to get out your fabric and make fabric bags to wrap your gifts in (though it really is never too early), but Deirdre pointed me to the site below and I thought I would share another option for wrapping gifts in fabric.

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    Minister Koike created the “Mottainai Furoshiki” as a symbol of Japanese culture to reduce wastes.

    Ms Yuriko Koike, Minister of the Environment, has created the “Mottainai Furoshiki” as a symbol of Japanese culture to reduce waste. Furoshiki is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which is used repeatedly in a stylish way. (The utilization of this “Mottainai Furoshiki” will contribute to reducing household waste from plastic bags.) The Minister presented the “Mottainai Furoshiki” at the Senior Officials Meeting on the 3R Initiative held in Tokyo, Japan on March 6-8, 2006

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    Hello? Anybody Home?

    Christmas is here! My Christmas decorations and gift bags are still in storage. The cabinets for storing all the stuff are still sitting in the middle of the laundry room floor, though some progress has been made. As a result, I need gift bags. A few weekends ago, I sat down and made about 8.
    I think I bought this funky red and green fabric last year and it is what I used for this bag making foray. I love how cheerful it is! I have some more fabric in the same line that has a white background. We’ll see what I get made with it! Of course, you’ll hear it here first. 😉 In the background are bags I made last year, which you can read about in this post.Last night we went to a party where there was a gift exchange – the kind where people can steal from each other. I saw the bag above and didn’t care much for what was in it, but really liked the bag and wanted to get my hands on it, so I could see how it was made and decorated. I am thrilled that I got to keep it, because it can really add to my repertoire of bag tricks. It is felt! DUH! Why didn’t I think of that??? Also, the hem is folded over about 1.5″ and then holes have been made in the hem and the string has been run through them. I love this idea, because it gives more substance to the closure. Also, it is so easy to decorate with felt – just glue the decorations on. I think this would be a great project to work on with kids. Sadly, I gave away all of my extra felt recently, so if I want to make some of these, I’ll have to buy more. Happily, felt is cheap.

    Laume, over at Beach Treasure, writes “There are a lot of gorgeous blogs out there this time of year, filled with images of smiling children, beautifully handcrafted gifts, and gorgeously decorated homes. I ooh and ahhh at the pretty snow scenes and sigh at the glittery soft edged vignettes of holiday trees. These posts inspire me. They make me want to jump up and make my own home look just as beautiful. I want to have the perfect holiday too!”

    This is soooo not me this year. While I have been preparing for Christmas pretty consistently and have most of the cards and gift buying complete, I don’t feel the joy of the season in my heart. I don’t have snow or smiling children wearing plaid vests and skirts in front of a perfectly outfitted Christmas tree. I look forward to Christmas, but I can never seem to enjoy the preparations that much and this year is harder than the past. More time is what I need.

    More time, also, for sewing. I have made none. Note that I don’t say “I have had none,” because I have had some, but have chosen to ignore the messy sewing table, the incorrectly sized Pineapples and everything related to needle and thread. The reality is that the momentum for the Pineapples is gone. I am dejected about them and don’t want to continue to work on them anymore. This makes me feel even worse, because I really, REALLY wanted to work on one project from beginning to end. I just don’t feel that I need to work on a project that isn’t bringing me some kind of joy. There is so much in my life that does not bring me joy right now that I don’t need anything else.

    The worse part is that when I haven’t been sewing, I don’t write to you. I can’t promise that I will turn over a new leaf on that front, but I am going to try do some sewing, at least some more Christmas bags.

    So, I am going to put up the Pineapple and do something else. I am thinking the chocolate box, but we will see.

    and, BTW, Laume is a very smart woman with a good head on her shoulders. As well, she can tell you what you need to know without harping or lecturing. Go read her entire post!