Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday tip: Gift wrap shortcut!

It's that time of year when many people seem to be in a gift wrap frenzy! We've got a solution for you to minimize your gift wrapping AND maximize your time at your sewing machine. (Win-win, right?!?!) 

A while back, we invited readers to email us with ideas for tutorials--we wanted to see what YOU would make with our fabric. Today we're sharing Nancy's tutorial, which uses one easy strip set to make a fabric gift bag and matching wine bottle bag. See? No fighting with the wrinkles and rips of wrapping paper, the bags are reusable for next year, and you have an excuse to spend some time sewing! Here's Nancy:

Hi all! I'm excited to be here today sharing my first tutorial. Thanks to Fabri-Quilt for the fabric and the help on putting this together. I love the snowflake and star prints in the Christmas in the Woods collection, and I used them with two Marblehead prints (green and cream) to make some festive gift bags. 

1/4 yard each green snowflake, red snowflake, green star and red star prints
1 yard green Marblehead
3/8 yard cream Marblehead

Red and green snowflake:
Cut one 4" x 42" strip from each

Red and green star:
Cut one 2-1/2" x 42" strip from each

Cut two 15" x 20" pieces
Cut one 11" x 19" piece
Cut one 5" x 42" strip

Cut four 1-1/2" x 42" strips
Cut one 4" x 42" strip
Cut one 1" x 20" strip with a pinking shears

Sew the strips together in the order shown in the photo (or rearrange them as you like, but keep the green at one end, as it will be the bottom). To make your strip set as straight as possible, do not press any of the seams until all the strips have been attached. This prevents warping on the skinnier strips.

From the strip set, cut two 15" x 20" sections. Reserve the remainder for making the wine bag. (Isn't it great to use an entire strip set for something? I never know what to do with the leftovers!)

Sew the two 15" x 20" pieced sections right sides together, leaving the top (green star) open. Backstitch at both ends.

Cut out the bottom corners on both sides. I lined my ruler up so the 2-1/2" marks aligned with the stitched seams.

On one bottom corner, bring the side and bottom seams together so they meet. Pin the raw edges along the seams and then stitch to box the corner. Repeat on the opposite corner. 

Sew the two 15" x 20" green pieces right sides together, leaving one short end open and leaving a 5" opening in the opposite short end (circled in the photo below). Box the corners in the same way as for the outer bag.

Turn the outer bag right side out and stuff inside the lining with right sides facing. Pin the raw edges along the top, making sure the side seams match. Sew around the top with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

Turn the bag right side out through the opening. Slipstitch the opening closed. Stuff the lining in the outer bag and press the top edge. Topstitch around the top edge. 

To make the tie strap, fold the 4" x 42" cream strip in half the long way, wrong sides facing. Fold each half in to the center fold. Press. Also press each short end in 1/4" to hide raw edges.

Refold and topstitch down both long sides of the strap.

Find the center of the strap and find the center from left to right on one side of the bag. You can decide how far down the bag you want your strap. i chose to put it in the red snowflake section. Pin the center of the strap to the center of the bag and stitch with a box and an X to secure (see in the yellow circle below).

Your bag is done! Fill with a gift and enjoy giving it! No scotch tape or ribbon hassles!

Now, to use that leftover piece to make a wine bag. Square up the edges so it measures 11" wide. 

Trim 1" off the green end. Fold it in half the long way and sew the green bottom edge and up the side to create a tube with one closed end. Do the same with the 11" x 19" green piece, only leave an opening on the short end for turning. Finish using the directions for the gift bag. Instead of sewing a strap onto this, I used pinking shears to cut a strip of fabric for the tie. You can also leave it without a tie and just fold the cuff over, like in the photo on the left below.

There you have it! Two gift bags from one strip set. And you're one step closer to the holidays.

Thanks Nancy! 

To go along with Nancy's tutorial, we'll be giving away two "kits" with the fabric needed to make your gift bag duo. For a chance to win, sign up to follow our blog (through a blog reader like Bloglovin' in the righthand sidebar or by email) and then let us know you've done so. Gain a second entry by liking us on Facebook and letting us know you've done so. If you've already done either/both those things, great! Just let us know in your comment. For fun, in your comment, also let us know what's one thing you're still hoping to get finished before the holidays (could be a gift you're making, cookies you're baking, cleaning the house...). The giveaway will be open through Monday, December 16th at 11:59 EST and we'll use random number generator to select two winners. 


  1. I'm a blog and Facebook follower. I'm planning to do lots of baking with my girls when they're on Christmas break :)

  2. I follow your blog via email. And, I still need to clean my house! Keep putting that task off. I guess I am hoping someone else will do it for me. LOL

  3. I'm a follower with Bloglovin'. Thanks for the great tutorial & chance to win.

  4. I'm liking you on Facebook - thanks again.

  5. I am following on Bloglovin and FaceBook. I really need to get my living room cleaned by Christmas!

  6. I follow your blog via email, and need to finish a wallhanging, pinecone and buy new dress for Christmas Eve dinner.

  7. facebook; and I am cross stitching 4x6 pictures for gifts this year.... back to it:)

  8. I follow by email. I'm hoping to still make gifts, but have special orders to make first! Then a cheesecake and some cookies.

  9. I also follow on Facebook. Cute tutorial! Great fabrics.

  10. I love these fabrics!! I already follow via Bloglovin!

  11. I am now a follower on facebook! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  12. I follow on FB and via email. I hope to finish cleaning up after phase one of remodeling bathrooms! All I want to do now is sit and sew! Haha

  13. I follow you via email. I hope yo finish a rag quilt for my Granddaughter for Christmas. I will be glad when the holidays are over so I can just sew away!

  14. You are "liked" on my face book and I love following you that way, two. Thanks for a second chance to win!

  15. I already follow your blog by e-mail.

  16. I follow via email and I'm hoping to finish 2 embroidered pillows for Christmas. Thanks for the great tutorial and giveaway.

  17. I follow through email and Bloglovin.

  18. I just shared on Facebook, too!

  19. Those bags are really pretty and a great idea. I love those fabrics. At this point, if my life would cooperate and slow down, I am VERY much hoping to at least get 3 Christmas stockings made for my grandchildren. I'm losing hope at this point but haven't given up yet. I'm starting to wonder if I'll be up at 1am again this Christmas Eve sewing them though. Last year it was 2am when I finished my youngest Granddaughter's Christmas dress. LOL I refused to give up and got it done.
    I also have a list of cookies I want to make so hubby can take treats into work this year. It's been a few years since I did that for him. Now if the new stove would be delivered so I can get them done, it would be wonderful.

    I am already a follower of your blog on Bloglovin' and also via email

  20. I am also already a Facebook follower as well.

  21. I hope this is a great giveaway,thanks.

  22. I follow with email, thanks.
    smjohns63 at yahoo dot com

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