Approximate sizes (width x height x depth): small: 9" x 5" x 2"; medium: 9" x 9" x 3"; large: 9" x 11" x 4"; wine: 5" x 10.5" x 1". Very economical, these bags were designed to be made from only 1 yard of fabric. Skills required for these bags are: straight stitching and mitered corners. We will teach you a trick for making perfect miters the easy way.
Updated pattern: buttonholes are no longer required.
Add your own trimming to create your own look. Gift bags make wonderful gifts themselves, or use them
to present your gifts in. I have made several and they have been passed through the family numerous times as they are used to "wrap" gifts.
These bags are made with a casing to hold the ribbon that will tie the bag
closed. Small slits provide the openings for the ribbon. If you prefer an easier pattern (no casing), check out our
easy giftbag pattern.
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To make all 4 bags, you will need 1 yard of 45" fabric (if your fabric is less than 45" width, make the small bag slightly narrower; for example, if your width is 43", make the small bag only 9" wide - or distribute the difference between the 3 larger bags - do not adjust the wine bag)
Thread (to match fabric background)
Ribbon or lace, etc. for trim; Ribbon for use as ties (I used 1 yard per bag of 5/16" ribbon)
hint: quilting pins are easier to use than regular pins; a tupperware box works well as a supply box.
Note: all seams are 1/4 inch. Always iron between steps.
Safety Reminders For Little Helpers
A. Always have an adult do all the ironing!
B. Never run with scissors. Carry them pointed end down.
C. Never use a sewing machine without adult supervision.
D. Always let an adult use the seam ripper for you.
Now you are ready to start!
Please Note: These diagrams are not exactly to scale, but pattern pieces do fit as shown.
First, cut out paper pattern pieces. I use butcher paper, bought on a roll at Costco.
Medium Bag: Cut 1 piece 12.5" x 32".
Large Bag: Cut 1 piece 14" x 36"
Small Bag: Cut 1 piece 12" x 23"
Wine Bag: Cut 1 piece 6.5" x 34"
1. Cut Out Bag Pieces
Lay-out pattern pieces as shown above. Cut out fabric pieces. The photo on the right shows fabric cut for all four bags.
2. Mark slits for ribbon
Place bag wrong side up. Use fabric marker or pin to mark 5 1/2" from upper edge, at the center of the front of the bag. Cut a small square of fusible interfacing and use an iron to press onto the bag. Draw two small slits on the interfacing. The slits should be just below the 5.1/2" mark. I used 5/16" width ribbon and drew my slits about 1/4" long.
3. Cut slits for ribbon
Using sharp, precision cut scissors (such as thread snippers), cut a the two slits.
4. Stitch Side Seams
Fold each bag right sides together. Sew 1/4" sideseams.
5. Draw Lines For Mitered Corners
Using a quilter's square, draw squares of the following sizes, in the two lower corners of the bag (the bag is still inside out). Do not include the seam allowance in your measurement; in other words, start the measurement at the seam line stitching.
large bag: 2" square
medium bag: 1.5" square
small bag: 1" square
wine bag: 1/2" square
Draw another square 1/4" inside the first square.
6. Cut Lines For Mitered Corners
Cut out the inside square. The outer square's lines will become your stitch line.
7. Stitch Miter Seams
Pull apart the layers and line up the seams so one is on top of the other. Line up the top cut edges. Pin layers together. Stitch layers. The stitch line is enhanced in red in the image below. This creates the mitered corner. Repeat on all four corners.
NOTE: the photos below are from our wheelchair cushion cover pattern. The fabric is different; the method is the same.
8. Stitch Hem
Press upper edge of bag under 1/4". Fold down the upper edge to create a hem that just covers the cuts for the ribbon. The cuts are enhanced in the photo on the right.
The hem should be approximately 3". This allows a 2" ruffle and a 1" casing. It does not have to be exact.
Press hem with iron and pin into place. Stitch the hem into place, close to the edge. I run my stitch line approximately 1/8" from the edge of the hem.
9. Create Casing
Run a second line of stitching 1" up from the first line of stitching, all the way around the bag. You will now have a line of stitching just below the ribbon holes, and just above the ribbon holes. This creates the casing for the ribbon.
Turn the bag right side out. Attach a safety pin to one end of a 1 yard piece of ribbon. Use the safety pin to pull the ribbon through the casing. Go in one hole and come out the other. Tie off the ends of the ribbon so they do not fray.
For one bag, I cut a second set of slits just under the casing. I ran a narrow ribbon through the slits and tied a permanent bow.
These bags are quick and easy and very economical to make. I buy my ribbon at the dollar store, and a roll is enough for 6 bags. Use special occasion, holiday, elegant or casual fabric for different looks. Stencil, paint or applique bags. Attach beads to the ribbon. Use your own sense of creativity to create bags that are uniquely your own.
Ribbon cutting: read our product review article for a one step ribbon cutter and sealer.