Ruffled gift bags

We are coming up on several major holidays in December, including Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and more. These ruffled gift bags are a great way to not only do some scrap busting but also add a personal touch to gift giving.

There are lots of different ways to make your own gift bags, anything from very simple to extravagant and fancy. I like these bags because they are a quick project with sizing that is easy to customize and upsize or downsize depending on what you want to gift.

I started with a piece of fabric that was 21 inches by 14 inches. The longer section will be folded in half to become the width of your bag, the shorter section becomes the height, minus about 4 inches.

After ironing my fabric, I folded down 3.5 inches from the top (along the longest side of the fabric).

I turned over my fabric, still with the top folded over and marked the channel that will contain the drawstring feature of the gift bag. I used a white marking pencil to identify these two lines.

Starting about a half inch above the bottom of the fold, I marked the first line, and then made my second line about a half inch above that. Your drawstring channel can be as wide as needed to accommodate whatever type of ribbon or drawstring you’d like to use.

With the fabric folded right sides together along the short edges (so that folded it is now 10.5 inches in width), I marked just where the channel started and ended on the wrong sides of the fabric.

Before sewing along the side seam of the bag, I like to open up the fabric first and top stitch along the top of the bag. I think it adds an extra little detail to the gift bag, particularly if you pull out some metallic thread like I did for this project. I enjoy using Madeira’s gold thread on my Janome Skyline S9 machine.

I also love using the Janome HP foot and needle plate for projects such as this.

The one-piece foot and foot holder combo of the Janome HP foot allows for precision sewing. Look at that top stitch detail!

With the topstitching completed, fold the fabric so it is right sides together again and stitch down the side of the gift bag (where you marked the drawstring channels. Sew from the top of the bag to the start of the channel, back stitch and clip your threads. Then start again where the second mark for the drawstring begins and sew to the bottom of the bag. You want to leave that small opening so you can add in your drawstring.

Turn the bag right side out and stitch along the lines that mark the top and bottom of the drawstring channel.

To finish the bag, turn wrong side out and stitch along the bottom to close.

You can easily use any type of ribbon as the drawstring for your bag. I choose to make my own in a coordinating colour. Basically, I cut 2 inches of fabric about 20 inches long, then pressed like I was making binding, and top stitched along both sides, again using my favourite gold metallic Madeira thread.

The ribbon is then threaded through the channel and tied on the outside.

How cute is this little gift bag? The ruffles on the top naturally happen when you close the drawstring, which gives it an extra little flourish. You can make your bags a little extra special with some simple detail. I did a little straight stitching along the bottom of one of the bags with more gold Madeira thread to add an accent. You can line the bags, use patchwork pieces that are quilted together to the desired size, or even embroider on the bags. Something festive for the occasion or even a “to” and “from” notation, the possibilities are endless!

What holidays are you gearing up for in December? Have you started your holiday sewing or does that happen last minute for you?

Happy Sewing!

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