Tutorial: Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bags


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Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsWelcome back to my eco gift wrapping guide! Today’s tutorial requires a tiny bit more effort to make than the other projects in this series (though being far from difficult) but is probably the easiest one to use afterwards, and will definitely be used many times. Simple drawstring bags make incredibly convenient gift wrapping; you simply pop your present inside and tie a bow. It doesn’t matter if the bag is way bigger than the present inside and they take up very little space to store.

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsSure, you could make adorable little drawstring bags from scratch, but isn’t it even better if you can reuse totally useless freebie gift bags? I had these four smallish drawstring bags hanging around. Two contained those little games and things they give kids on overseas plane rides and the other two were gift bags full of chocolate that someone gave my kids last year. If you have some little sackies like this, they may be slightly different than mine, so be ready to adapt this tutorial as needed. Another thing: if your bag doesn’t have logos or other things that offend your aesthetic sensibilities, you could really just leave it as it is and add on an upcycled gift tag to the drawstring when tying it. But if you want to make yours seem less like the freebie bag that it is, read on!

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsFirst off, if your bag has an ugly side tag, get rid of it! These bags are usually made out of synthetic non-fraying fabric and therefore just sewn normally without overlocked seams, making it super easy to pick them open. Turn the bag inside out and rip open the seams where the tag is until you can slip it out. Then sew back over the seam to close it back up. (I used a contrasting thread to make it show up more for the picture.)

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsRevisit my tutorial for making a name tag window and make one that is large enough to cover up any ugly logos or pictures on your bag. In this case, I wanted to cover up the Kinder logo. (despite the many things I make with plastic Kinder eggs, I really dislike Kinder, as I wrote here long ago, and I don’t buy their products.)

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsPin the window in place. Don’t position it too close to the drawstring or the bag won’t be able to be cinched closed properly.

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsNow you need to sew around the side and bottom edges of the window to keep it in place. If you’re positioning the window towards the bottom like I am here, it can get a little complicated to sew it with a sewing machine. You could rip out some of the side seams to open up the bag, but I prefered turning the bag inside out and sewing with the fabric all scrunched up, like you can see in the picture above. It’s not the most convenient thing in the world, but it gets the job done just fine!

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsSee? You start sewing from the top right corner, sew down, across the bottom and back up the other side. Do NOT sew the top of the window!

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsThese bags’ ribbons were also printed with the Kinder logo, so I replaced them with plain white ribbon. I also cut out a piece of card stock that fits nicely inside the window.

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsYou might want to slightly melt the cut ends of your ribbon to keep them from fraying. Just hold them close to a flame and you will see the edge shrivel up slightly. (Did you notice my lighter has the word “Ciao” written on it? Is there a Ciao brand of lighters? Hilarious!)

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsAnd your bags are all ready to be used about a thousand times or so!

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsAll that’s left to do is write out and decorate your tag…

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bags…and stuff it with goodies. (Besides the knit beaded necklaces like this one which I made for my daughter’s school’s charity market [the reason why I made these ornaments with the class], the Blue Meanie, worn-out book and My Little Pony with a mohawk are not actually gifts, but I snagged them from the kids’ room for demonstration purposes only!)

Reusable fabric gift bags from freebie bagsAnd you are ready to roll! It’s so easy to get your gifts wrapped like this, without worring about wrapping paper ripping or wrinkling or tape getting stuck everywhere. And next time you use them, you can just switch out the name tags if necessary. I already know that my kids are going to love seeing these bags under the tree or on other gift-giving occasions!


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