Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tool Time Tuesday...Handmade Fabric Gift Bags

Happy Tool Time Tuesday! This is it...the last Tuesday before Christmas, so I thought I would show you how to make a super quick fabric gift bag. I know...sewing, but even if you don't sew very often, you can make these. All they have are 2 straight seams. Easy!

What's the "Tool" of the day? These cuties...they are called Fat Quarters in the quilt world, but some fabric stores have their own name for them. A Fat Quarter is a yard of fabric that is opened up to it's full width, so it would be 36 inches by usually 44 inches. Then that piece of fabric is cut into quarters. Each piece is then 18 inches by 22 inches. Click here for the explanation I did a while back. If you by a quarter of a yard right off the bolt, that measurement would be 9 inches by 44 inches. Buying a Fat Quarter, it's still a quarter of a yard, but Fatter!
You can find Fat Quarters at most larger fabric chain store and your local quilt shop. The big advantages to buying the pre cut Fat Quarters are
  • it's quick...no waiting in the cutting line
  • they're a great size for crafting
  • you can buy a variety of different fabrics and not spend a lot of money
  • they usually cost about $2.00 -$2.50 each, sometimes less if they are on sale. My sister bought these for me...and I think they were only $1.00!!

Some measurements are dependent how wide the fabric was to begin with. This fat quarter is 18" by 21".

Here's a quick tutorial to make 2 gift bags from one fat quarter. Open up the fabric...this piece has the 18 inches on the bottom of the picture.

Cut it in half, so each piece is now roughly 18 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

Take one of those pieces and fold over the top edge about 1/2 inch...

and iron flat.

Fold over again to have a nice clean edge...hiding the raw edge.

Sew a straight seam across the top.

Here is the finished edge on the right side of the fabric.

Now take a matching ribbon about 24 inches long or so.

Fold it in half.

Now take the folded end...

and place it about 2 1/2 - 3 inches down from the top of the seam you just sewed.

Pin in place.

Now take the left edge and fold it over to the right edge. Right sides together.

Pin the sides and the bottom together. I sewed with a 1/4 inch seam.

Now, starting at the top right edge, sew down the side...

leave your needle down at the bottom corner and pivot or turn the fabric...

and then sew across the bottom left edge. Back stitch at the beginning and the end to secure the seams.

This is a close up of the pivot at the corner. If you pivot and turn the fabric, it's only one quick seam with one motion!

Turn right side out, iron the seams and you're done! A fast, and re-usable fabric gift bag with a tie already attached.

Just fill with goodies and you're good to go!

Don't forget...you get 2 of these bags from one fat quarter.

Here's another idea for a wine bottle gift bag. You'll get one bag from one fat quarter.

This measurement may vary depending on how fat your wine bottle is. ( wow, I've said the word Fat a lot in this post...not a good time of year to use that word as I'm eating a cookie as I type!) My measurement was about 13 inches by 15 inches. You can always use the strips that you cut away to make a matching tie for the bag too!!

The steps are all the same. Finish the top edge, add your folded ribbon or tie...

Fold over the left side to the right and sew your 1/4" seam.

Quick, easy and "sew" pretty for a bottle of wine.

Don't forget to make a set of matching coasters. Click here for the tutorial. You can use them as a regular coaster under the glass...

or as a snuggie coaster that stays on the bottom of the glass.

Always stays on to protect your table.

Great last minute gift set idea! A bottle of wine in your gift bag, glasses and a set of matching coasters.

Have a wonderful Tuesday. Now get out there and buy some fat quarters and have fun making these bags!


  1. Love it! I WILL be making these, Thanks! I have a dozen fat 1/4s to use, Merry Christmas to you.xxx

  2. Karen, gracias por el tutorial tan bien explicado de las bolsas para regalos, quedan muy bonitas!!! además se ven fáciles de hacer. Muy buena idea la bolsa de la botella. Un beso

  3. Great gift idea Karen, especially as hostess gifts. Thanks!

  4. Can't wait for next years tool time Tuesdays...you always are so fun and creative.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with those gals of yours!!

  5. Just what I need for the purse I will gift to my mother-in-law! TY!!
    Greetings from Spain!

  6. Nice tutorial! Always enjoy reading your blog.

  7. What a wonderful way to wrap up the season. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas
    Be always in stitches.

  8. You are just amazing!! I love these ideas!!! I have tried the coasters already, and they are great gifts.
    Happy Holidays karen!!

  9. Thanks Karen--I wanted to make gift bags for my nieces but didn't have time to figure out how to do it! Happy Holidays; I enjoy reading your blog!

  10. Thanks. Your pictures and instructions are very simple and exact, so that even a beginner could do these. Wonderful blog.


  11. Love your idea, sew cute and creative. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Looking
    forward to 2011 Tool Time Tuesdays.

  12. Wow, so simple and such a great result!!!

  13. Great tutorial! Thanks! So easy and quick to make.

  14. Nice tutorial and it arrives at the perfect time.

  15. Absolutely too cool! I wish I had done this for my quilting buddies Christmas gifts. Next year ;-D

  16. I love using fat quarters. They stack so nicely, too.


  17. I dearly love fat quarters. My eye always goes straight to them in a quilt store. This is a wonderful project! So cute too! Merry Christmas!

  18. Very cute. I've had difficulty with fat quarters purchased from JoAnn's. They haven't always been cut square. I should probably go to a quilt store. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  19. I am going to use this tute to wrap an embroidered waffle towel for my BF this Christmas!! I want to do your coffee table wrapped in dictionary pages tute as well. Probably after Christmas for that one:)

    Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!

  20. This makes me want to get out my sewing machine... I havent made anything in a while! But these are so adorable!

  21. OMGSH!! That is SEW CUTE!! Thank you for the easy instructions!! XXOO, Damaris

  22. Thanks for reminding me....I don't need to go for more wrap afterall....I can bust some stash....but then again...do I want to part with it? Now that is another issue all together...LOL

    Merry Christmas and Thank You for a years worth of excellent ideas and tutorials!


  23. Wonderful tutorials & easy to personalize!

  24. Very clever! My mom has always made fabric bags for gifts - she ties them with ribbon though instead of adding it into the project like you do. Happy Holidays!

  25. Karen I love them. It is a great tutorial. Hope you have a Happy New Year! Steph

  26. Karen, I love it. You always have these great gift ideas without spending a lot of money. Thanks!

  27. So timely and so helpful: I'm about to start mess production of gift-wrapping bags!

    And now, a question:

    How do you keep the KIDS out of presents wrapped in this way? Any ideas?

    So far, the best my DH and I can imagine is to close the bags with cable ties!

  28. С новым годом!

    Happy New Year!

  29. Aw, these baggies are so cute! :D I love them...and they seem simple enough to make!
    I'll have to ask my mum-in-law to make these for me though...i've never sewed before.
    Tnx for the idea! :)

  30. Love the wine bottle and coaster idea. Gonna try tonight at bee.

  31. I love making these bags too! Here's a recyling idea I'd like to share. When my daughter was small I made lined versions of these out of her outgrown satin pajama bottoms. Just cut the legs to the desired length of your gift bag. Sew a button hole an inch or two from the top of one leg (this will be for the ribbon to exit the casing). Next sew the two legs together at one end and press them inside each other. Create a row of stitching above and below the button hole through all fabric layers (the ribbon casing). Then finish off the bottom with a french seam so all raw edges are enclosed. Insert a ribbon into the casing and voila you are done. Simple and SO inexpensive. (Note: if the legs are tapered, adjust so that the top and bottom are same width)

    Have Fun and keep coming up with these great ideas. BTW, LOVE LOVE LOVE your sewing room.

  32. just featured this bag on my blog....



  33. you are so amazing! i just spent 2 hours on your blog.

  34. Great tutorial!! Cant wait to make these for my kids school parties!! Your blog is amazing.

  35. Your Tool Time Tuesday is my favorite blog because there is almost always an idea I can use. Love these holiday wrapping ideas - thanks so much - and the Penny Pocket from today that led me to this one. Thanks for your very careful and clear instructions. I'm sure I am not the only one who really appreciates the TLC for your readers that this effort represents.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

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