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12 Days of Cheer Day 7: Reusable Holiday Gift Bags

December 14, 2012

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass4

Today I put together a little tutorial for a simple, eco-friendly wrapping you can use for years to come.  I’ve made a set of these reusable fabric bags in a variety of shapes, patterns and sizes that we use for our gifts at home every year.  It makes wrapping super easy for my husband, and we don’t throw out a mountain of wrapping paper.  Instead we iron our bags and pack them back up in a box until next year.

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass1


  • Fabric:  I got mine from The Stockroom.  Usually after the holidays I look for fabric sales online and get great deals on holiday patterns.  You can also use scraps, vintage fabric and destash lots.
  • Fabric Scissors and/or Rolling Cutting Tool
  • Cutting Mat
  • Straight Edge
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass3

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass2

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass7

These directions are pretty general.  There are not a lot of rules for these simple bags.  These are directions for a basic bag.  More advanced sewers can add a drawstring, fancy trim or gussets.

  1. Measure out your fabric.  Determine how large you want the bag to be.  For instance in the photos I was making a set of long and narrow bags for toothbrushes (we always give each other fresh toothbrushes for christmas), that I wanted to be about 3″ x 11″.  Add 1″ to each dimension to allow for 1/2″ seams.  So I gut a piece of fabric that was 7″ wide by 12″ tall.  Use the diagram above on the left.
  2. Fold over the top seam 1/2″ and sew with a simple stitch or fancy stitch if you machine allows.  You can use a contrasting thread color if you like.
  3. Then fold the bag in half so the backside of the fabric is showing.  Sew the bottom and side shut.  See the diagram above on the right.  I like to use a little back stitch when turning the corner to reenforce them.
  4. Flip bag right-side out.  You can press them and/or starch them if you like a crisp look.

I use every scrap of fabric.  The tiny bags are great for little stocking stuffers.  Save your ribbons every year and keep them with your bags.  You can also use long scraps of fabric or cheap packing twine, doubled up (like I did in these photos) to tie the bags shut.

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass6

HolidayBagTutorial CottonandBrass5

You can use these bags year round.  When I’m going to a wedding or a shower, I make one out of pretty floral vintage sheet fabric to wrap oddly shaped gifts (like the set of mixing bowls I gave to Michelle for her wedding this autumn).  The recipient can of course keep and re-use the bag.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!  I tired to make it a clear as possible.  Anyone with any sort of sewing experience should be able to figure these out.  They would be a great project to teach your little ones to sew (with plenty of adult supervision and guidance of course).

All images property of Cotton & Brass.  Feel free to share or pin, but please credit and link lovingly back to this post.

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