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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Make Reusable Cloth Gift Bags

I usually like wrapping Christmas gifts. I have all sorts of tips and tricks to upcycle just about anything into gift-wrap, ribbon, and bows to make magazine worthy gift-wrap. My gift wrap turned art projects reduce waste while the receipt is none the wiser. All they see is a pretty package and that’s the way I like it.

I save the paper gift bags in our stash for Husband because he claims he’s not as good at wrapping gifts as I am. This may or may not be a spousal management issue on his part because it means I end up wrapping almost everything.

As our extended family has grown so large that it takes me days to wrap all of their gifts. After last year’s four night wrap a thon left me less than holiday cheerful (to put it mildly), I promised myself I was going to make wrapping gifts easier this Christmas.

With reusable cloth gift bags!

Made from sparkly recycled materials - for reals.

I originally planned to buy Christmas fabric on super mega sale the day after Christmas last year to make my cloth gift bags. Then I realized I already had a hug storage tub full of velvet and brocade fabric and trims from my historical costuming days that would make glammy (and green in that the-greenest-thing-is-that-you-already-own way) cloth gift bags. This is a big DUH moment for me because I've been hanging on to my scraps for too long. 

 I used the paper gift bags in my gift wrapping stash to help me decide what size bags I should make. In same cases, I let the size of my fabric scraps determine the size of my cloth gift bags. I tried to err on bigger sizes because you can always put something smaller in a bigger bag but not the other way around.

I got on a roll and upcycled a few things too. I made the gold bags from a shower curtain I bought for the Master Bathroom but didn’t quite work as well as I hoped.

I like the fringe on the gold bags the best.

I made this silver dress for the finale of vaudeville show and shoved it in the back of the costume closet soon after. I got another use out of it when Blitzkrieg, Husband, and I competed in the 24 Hour Film Contest.

This is Blitzkrieg’s big high five scene. He nailed it on every.single.take.

The dress makes prettier gift bags than it did a dress. How perfect would this glittery bag be for The Festival of Lights?!

I wonder how much Hanukkah gelt they hold?

The construction is simple and very forgiving. This a great beginner sewing project.

I cut one rectangle of fabric and two lengths of ribbon/cord/trim for the tie. I folded it in half right sides (the pretty part) together. I pinned the two lengths of ribbon in the side seam a few inches from the top of the bag and sewed the bag together.


I used the selvage edge for the top of my bags when I could so I didn’t have to hem them. If the fabric was the type that would fray, I folded the top over twice by  ¼ of inch and sewed it into place.

This brings me to my December One Small Green Change. To wrap most of our Christmas gifts in reusable cloth gift bags. It isn’t practical to use the gift bags for all the gifts we are giving this year because we have to ship to our family out of town. I’m still going to use wrapping paper for those gifts because I won’t get the cloth bags back to use next year.

I love my glammy gift bags and how much time they saved me wrapping gifts this year! However, this may not work for you if you have a pre-holiday gift peeker at home. Fortunately we don’t.

However, I do have a little Peke photo bomber who ran to the tree once I pulled out the camera to take pictures for this post.


Hi Everyone!  

In other words, just a typical day here at Condo Blues.



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