As you can tell from the new header picture up there, I like to wrap Christmas gifts in fabric bags. I started using mainly bags about two years ago when I looked at my stash of Christmas fabrics and realized I'd never sew enough items to use them all. So I started wrapping gifts in them. After giving many away, the stash had dwindled and I was actually bemoaning the need to stop making gifts and start making bags for the gifts.
Then I opened a box of decorations and found this:
A stack of fabric bags ready for sewing! All they needed was side seams!
Since I was going to make a few, I thought I'd put together a tutorial for my two favorite styles. These are by no means "original designs". These are just my interpretations of various styles I've seen on the web or in magazines. Both styles begin with a simple rectangle and you'll need to decide how to fold it over and make the bag. I've cut these examples to fold along the middle of the narrow width, forming a pouch.
Style 1 is the gathered top pouch look. Style 2 is the wrapped gift look. Both start the same way.
Step 1: Fold bag, right sides together and press. Also, press a small hem into each end of the strip. This will finish the open edge at the bag top and, on a small bag, you won't be able to hem after it's constructed.
Step 2: Sew a narrow seam down each side edge of the bag.
For Style 1 - About 1.5" from the bag top, tack a piece of narrow ribbon/ ric rac. I do this by cutting a length of ribbon and folding it in half. I then tack the fold into the seam line. Trim seam allowances to about 1/8" and press.
For Style 2 - Use a longer ribbon piece and tack the center of it to one side of the bag top. Your bags will look like this now:
The top three are side ties (Style 1), while the bottom is a center tie (Style 2).
Here's a close up of the center tie. I've simply folded the ribbon a little to help it stay sturdy. It's tacked to one side of the bag opening, in the middle.
Step 3: Turn the bags wrong sides out and lightly press. You're going to create a french seam and hide the rough edges. Sew along the side seams again with a 1/4" seam allowance. Once done, turn back to right sides out and give a final press for a professional look.
Step 4: To wrap the gift with the center tie, place the gift inside the bag and then fold the bag over. Wrap the ribbon ends around to the front and tie a pretty bow. I've shown you the back of the package above. I like to tuck the corners under when I fold it over as it gives a more polished look.
These bags can be made in any sizes you need. I have made them large enough to fit shoe boxes into, as well as various odd shaped gifts over the years. When I make larger bags, I use wider ribbons. The header picture has several styles and fabric combinations from years past.