Monday, December 12, 2005

Gift Bag How-To

I had a request for making gift bags, so here's a quick and dirty.

First, determine what size you want to make it. For something like a DVD, I figure that the material needs to be an inch larger on the sides and then quite a bit extra at the top. (For something thicker, you'd need more width and length.) The fabric is shown here doubled over with the fold at the bottom. I cut through both layers along the selvage at the right and then at the crease there at the top.

Unfold the fabric and you're going to have a looong rectangle. I like the top of my gift bag to come to a point, so I trim the corners at ONE end of the gift bag. Layer this fabric right sides together with the material that is going to be on the inside of the bag (note that you will actually see this material so use something matchy or at the very least that you don't hate) and cut it to the same size. Then layer these on top of the batting and cut to size again. [Note: you can actually cut all three of these layers at the same time, but I make fewer mistakes doing it singly.]

Pin the three layers together. Personally, I like sewing with the batting on top. You will be leaving a gap that is large enough for you to fit your hand through. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. I use a seam allowance a bit bigger than 1/4" but you can do bigger. This is called the pillowcase method.

After you've finished stitching, stick your hand through the gap between the two fabrics and pull the insides of this sandwich to the outside. You might have to fuss with it a bit to get all the corners poked out, but they can be curvy rather than crisp. Fold the loose material down and sew the hole closed with a whipstitch.

Do whatever quilting, tacking, tieing, or buttoning you would like to hold the three layers together. If you're using polyester batting you may not need to do any of that at all.

Sew the sides of the bag up, leaving enough of your cornered flap at the top so that it can comfortably fold down. You can use embroidery floss or perle cotton and take big bites of the outer material so that the stitches really show up or you can do it almost invisibly using quilting thread and a blind hem or a whipstitch.

I like to sew a decorative button on just for interest, but tassels are fun too. The last step is to glue velcro on the flap and the bag so that it will stay closed. Use fabric glue - plain old white schoolroom glue just won't hold, tho I imagine hot glue gun glue would. Try saying that fast.

I started this project today thinking I would just make a quick bag and then somehow I got sucked into doing all the quilting with green embroidery floss. The bag needed it.

I'm really sleepy at the moment, so I hope this makes some sense at all. If not, just ask.


Finn said...

You did good! Makes perfect sense, go take a nap if the kitties will let you..*VBG*

I imagine, like most things, if a person makes one, they'll get the swing of it faster than just the reading. I know it's like that with the flannel pillowcases. Love the stitching you "HAD" to do...LOL It really adds alot.

Holly said...

Thank you for showing how to make these because I have really admired them and would like to make some myself someday :)

Joanne said...

What a great idea! I've made big bags before, but never thought of adding batting and finishing this way! Thanks for posting these instructions, Tonya!
Merry Christmas!

Quilts And Pieces said...

Your right - the green quilting really adds that something special and looks great with that green button. I would LOVE this gift bag. How fun are these. Maybe I'll have to start making some for next year! (In all my spare time - yeah right)

Deb Geyer said...

Thanks for the instructions! It looks so simple. I'll try it!

Darcie said...

You're a great bag-making explainer, Tonya! ;-)

I bet little ones would even be cute...then hung on the tree with little goodies inside.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the idea! I was just trying to find a box for the Christmas present I got for my boss, with no luck (aside: I'll make my first million manufacturing boxes in sizes different than "shirt"). When I stumbled across your post, I realized that I had PLENTY of scraps to make my own, adorable container! If I had more time, it would've turned out better, but it was SOOO cute just the way it was! Thank you so much for the inspiration!!! :)