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How to Make Fabric Gift Bags

Learn how to make fabric gift bags. This eco-friendly Christmas, holiday, and birthday reusable wrap is so easy, that your only challenge will be picking fabrics!

a blue fabric gift bag with holiday llamas

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These DIY fabric gift bags are a great project for all those random scraps of fabric most crafters have. You can also repurpose old shirts or even pillowcases.

These easy sew gift bags are a simple project for sustainable gift-giving and will help you give presents in style.

Homemade Fabric Gift Bag Supplies

  • Fabric – the sky is the limit! It is easiest to work with cotton and flannel fabrics.
  • Sewing machine (I have this one)
  • Ribbon (optional – I use this brand)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Straight pins
  • Iron 
  • Thread

But How Do I Get My Cloth Gift Bags Back?

A valid concern, but I think in 10 years of making these, I have only had a handful of them disappear. Most people automatically hand them back after talking about how pretty they are. 

I have also trained my oldest son to get them back when he (used to) go to birthday parties. And make sure you get the ribbon back too. 🙂

I keep ours in a plain plastic tub and it takes up much less room than different tubes of paper gift wrap or bags and tissue.

How to Make Fabric Gift Bags

You’ll notice I don’t make our cloth gift wrap in any specific sizes. I think limiting yourself to certain measurements limits the gifts you give. 

1) Double your cloth, and lay your present over it. You’re gauging how much fabric you need. Cut it about 7 ish inches above the top of the present. I totally eyeball this and the key is to not stress about making it perfect. It will still be gorgeous even if you cut it a little big or a little too small. Relax! 

a toy, and scissors on top of a piece of fabric

2) Place the fabric with the wrong side (the back of the fabric) facing you. Identify the part that will be the top of the bag. Then fold a seam about 1/2 inch, and then fold it again. Press with an iron and pin. Pro tip: the fabric is so much easier to fold for making the seam if you lightly spritz it with water.

2 photos showing how to fold/press a hem

3) With the fabric facing face up, sew a simple hem, double stitching at each end of the fabric.

fabric on a sewing machine showing how to sew a seam

4) Fold the bag in half so that the right side (pretty side) of the fabric is facing itself, and make a basic stitch around the sides and bottom like you’re creating a pocket, leaving the hemmed edge open.

fabric in a sewing machine

5) Fold it right-side-out, and voila, a gift bag. Pat yourself on the back for being freaking awesome and not creating a bunch of paper waste.

a cloth gift bag on a white board

Tie a pretty bow, and decorate with gift tag. 

a black fabric gift bag against a white backdrop

Pro Tips

  • Make a handful of bags at once to avoid having to create cloth gift wrap at the last minute.
  • I like to precut and press the fabric at night while I’m doing something mundane like watching TV. It’s great busy work while Dateline is on the screen. 🙂
  • If your fabric has a pattern that only goes in one direction, be mindful of how the finished product will look before you cut it. I’ve too often finished a bag only to realize the pattern is upside down. 
  • For most sewing projects you should wash and dry the fabric before cutting to avoid weird puckering if you ever launder the finished product. But I mean, c’mon, these are gift bags. How often are you washing gift bags?

I am so happy to have pretty wrapping that can be used year after year. Also, I’m happy that wrapping a gift takes just seconds now. Seriously, me wrapping with paper is straight-up ugly. Watching me wrap a present would make you want to kick a small bunny.

Save the bunnies. Make homemade fabric gift bags.

MORE EASY SEWING PROJECTS

3 colorful fabric giftbags with white bows
 
a black fabric gift bag against a white backdrop
Print Recipe
5 from 21 votes

How to Make Fabric Gift Bags

Learn how to make easy reusable fabric gift bags.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: DIY
Keyword: cloth gift bags tutorial

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Double your cloth, and lay your present over it. You’re gauging how much fabric you need.
  • Place the fabric with the wrong side (the back of the fabric) facing you. 
  • Identify the part that will be the top of the bag. Then fold a seam about 1/2 inch, and then fold it again. Press with an iron and pin
  • With the fabric facing face up, sew a simple hem, double stitching at each end of the fabric.
  • Fold the bag in half so that the right side (pretty side) of the fabric is facing itself, and make a basic stitch around the sides and bottom like you’re creating a pocket, leaving the hemmed edge open.
  • Fold it right-side-out, tie a pretty bow, and decorate with gift tag.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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25 comments on “How to Make Fabric Gift Bags”

  1. I started making cloth gift bags about 25 years ago – just a few the first year,adding more each year when
    after- Christmas sales made the fabric more affordable. I sew cloth ribbon on them so it can be used for years too.

    • That’s exactly right – I too started slowly and added over the years.

      I don’t tie the ribbon on since it limits my usage of the bag. I may want the ribbon up high or down low, etc. So I reuse the ribbon and store them inside the bags!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this Sarah! I finally made some this year and they turned out beautifully, even though my sewing skills are extremely rudimentary. I even turned an unused elegant table runner into a beautiful bag with snap closures.

  3. Thanks for reposting! I saved wrapping paper, but we moved and I really really REALLY don’t want to dig it out of the pile of boxes. I might just do this ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and just so’s ya know. I love your blog enough to make it a point to click on all of the ads. Keep doing what you are doing. You add sparkle to my day. I love how you are so matter of fact. You don’t sugar coat it. Like real life.

  4. Your blog makes my day lol “I’ll cut a bitch I swear” LMAO You my dear, rock! Anyway, I use gift bags now for my family. They know to give them back so I can reuse them. I dont buy wrapping paper at all anymore. And I buy the gift bags after Christmas to use for the next year (for those gifts where I wont get the bag back) or I reuse bags I get throughout the year.

  5. I love using bags that we buy from the dollar store because we can reuse them again and again (and we do), but I love this even more. Kudos to you for making all of them at one time. I wouldn’t have the patience for that!!

  6. So glad you reposted this post. I read it last year and thought you were a genius. I remembered it just this week and was going to go back through your posts to try to find it and you beat me to it by reposting it. Are you reading my mind?

  7. I do this also. I swear it makes me physically ill to see paper ripped off presents and thrown away. I feel bad when I see people with rolls and rolls of it, knowing it’s going straight into the bin. Even those reuseable bags people buy don’t make me feel better, because ultimately they’re going the way of the wrapping apper too.Lovely pictures you have!

  8. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this yet. We typically wrap in paper bags (from the times we forget to bring our reusable bags to the store), or packing paper.
    I may have to see if I can make up a few of these to use throughout the year.

  9. I would so love to do that but we do Christmas with my in-laws and they are all about the waste. I am sometimes surprised that they don’t have “Kill the trees!” as their family chant. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Someday when we can actually have a real Christmas at home I will be able to do this.

  10. Those are really neat! I do so many presents that I send away to family and friends that I have never thought about it (plus I am kind of quick at present wrapping). My husband wraps like you ๐Ÿ™‚