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Fabric Gift Bags

by Elaine Theriault

Today, we’re going to make some fabric gift bags. They’re fun and fast! I made mine with Christmas fabric, but you can customize them so the bag can be reused year round by the recipient.

Supplies

Fabric: I made six bags from 42 inches of fabric, but you can adjust the size of the bag to make them bigger or smaller.

Ribbon: I used 64 inches per bag of 1/4 wide ribbon. This was very generous – you’ll see when we get to that part.

Thread:  I used a matching thread but you could use contrasting thread, if you wish.

Supplies needed to make fabric gift bags

Supplies needed to make fabric gift bags

For each bag, you need to cut two pieces of fabric. To make things easier, I folded the fabric with right sides together. I trimmed one end and then cut three strips 14 inches wide each. Note: each strip yields two bags.

Then, I trimmed off the selvedges from the first strip. Keeping the strip with rights sides together, I cut two pairs of rectangles each measuring 10 3/4″ by 14″. You may have to adjust the size depending on the width of your fabric, but I used the full width of fabric so there was no waste.

One strip of fabric cut into two pairs of rectangles measuring 10 3/4" by 14" each

One strip of fabric cut into two pairs of rectangles measuring 10 3/4″ by 14″ each

I set the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q to stitch an overcast stitch (A10) and used the J foot to sew the bags together. The nice thing about the overcast stitch is it sews the seams and overcasts the edges of the fabric at the same time. The J foot acts as a guide and keeps the edge of the fabric from rolling. 

I sewed three sides of the bag together. Then I finished the top edge with the overcast stitch as well.

Overcast stitching the top edge of the bag using the J Foot

Overcast stitching the top edge of the bag using the J Foot

The overcast seam of the bag

The overcast seam of the bag

The top edge of the bag is overcast using the J Foot

The top edge of the bag is overcast using the J Foot

The Sapphire 960Q performed the overcast stitch on both one layer of fabric (the top edge) and two layers of fabric (the side and bottom seams) with no glitches.

An alternative to overcasting the top edge is to turn under 1/4″ and stitch. This adds bulk to the casing so it’s not my preferred method.

The top edge of the bag is turned under 1/4" and stitched

The top edge of the bag is turned under 1/4″ and stitched

To form the top edge and the casing, turn down about 2 1/2" and press.

To form the top edge and the casing, turn down about 2 1/2″ and press.

From the wrong side of the bag, sew the flap down. I sewed right through the overcast stitching along the edge of the bag. Note that the Sapphire 960Q is set up in the free arm mode, which makes sewing around these bags a breeze.

Sewing the first line of stitching on the bag casing in the free arm mode on the Sapphire 960Q

Sewing the first line of stitching on the bag casing in the free arm mode on the Sapphire 960Q

Now, you want to sew a second line of stitching to make the casing for the ribbon. I use the ribbon as a guide to show me how far apart the two lines of stitching should be.

Use the ribbon to determine how far apart the two lines of stitching need to be. Then, I can use the foot as a guide, if I keep the foot about 1/8" from the edge of the overcasting I should be okay.

Use the ribbon to determine how far apart the two lines of stitching need to be. Then, I can use the foot as a guide, if I keep the foot about 1/8″ from the edge of the overcasting I should be okay.

Sewing the second line of stitching to form the casing. I'm using the edge of the foot as a guide.

Sewing the second line of stitching to form the casing. I’m using the edge of the foot as a guide.

Turn the bag inside out and press well

Turn the bag inside out and press well

I have serged these bags in the past and found that the bulky seams make it difficult to get nice corners and a nice crisp seam along the edges. The much less bulky overcast seam made great corners and allowed for much easier pressing. As a technical quilter, this makes me very happy!

Use your seam ripper to open up the stitches in the side seam between the two rows of stitching that form the casing. Again, this task is way easier to do with the overcast seam rather than the serged seam.

Use the seam ripper to open the side seams between the two rows of stitching that forms the casing.

Use the seam ripper to open the side seams between the two rows of stitching that forms the casing.

Cut two lengths of ribbon for each bag. I cut the ribbon so it was two widths of the bag plus 12 inches. That is very generous. The actual length you need will be determined by the size of your gift bag. The formula: twice the width of your bag plus four inches. I cut my pieces 32 inches long, but you could get away with 25 inches for this size of bag.

Cut two pieces of ribbon for each bag

Cut two pieces of ribbon for each bag

Thread one piece of ribbon all the way through the casing so it enters and exits through the same opening. Tie a knot and take the second piece of ribbon and thread it all the way through the opposite opening so that it enters and exits through the other opening. Tie a knot in this end as well.

Ribbon threaded onto a bodkin-type needle

Ribbon threaded onto a bodkin-type needle

The same piece of ribbon entering and exiting the same opening in the casing

The same piece of ribbon entering and exiting the same opening in the casing

The completed fabric gift bag

The completed fabric gift bag

Fabric gift bag filled with goodies and ready to give

Fabric gift bag filled with goodies and ready to give

Santa Sacs

If you want to dress up your gift bags, Jen (one of the guest bloggers) has designed some fabulous Santa Sacs. I made four (okay, I’ve almost completed four of the Santa Sacs). They’re fun to make and are big, so you can put lots of loot in them.

Check out Jen’s web page to see the other designs available for the Santa Sacs.

Santa Sac (pattern by Quilts by Jen)

Santa Sac (pattern by Quilts by Jen)

Fabric gift tags

This project takes mere minutes to put together. I took a piece of linen that I had in my stash and cut a strip about 2 inches wide. I also cut a piece of INSPIRA Tear-A-Way stabilizer to put underneath. I chose two different Omni Stitches from the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q, put the S Foot on the sewing machine and stitched out some snowflakes and some snowmen.

Two of the OmniStitches from the Sapphire 960Q - the snowflake and the snowman

Two of the OmniStitches from the Sapphire 960Q – the snowflake and the snowman

I then cut up the linen, loosely tore away some of the stabilizer and, with matching thread on the top, stitched the piece of linen to a paper tag (available at office supply stores). Using my quilter’s awl, I roughed up the edges to make them fray and voila – a fabric gift tag!  You could also make cards and bookmarks the same way.

Fabric gift tag

Fabric gift tag

There you have it – two very quick ideas to help you prepare for the upcoming holidays! However, both the fabric gift bags and the fabric gift tag could be made for any season – just choose the appropriate fabric or stitch and you’re set.

Now that we’ve completed our fabric gift bags, I’ll share my top ten reasons why I love the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q. So, check my post tomorrow. Even if you’re not in the market for a sewing machine, check out the features. It’s good to know what the current sewing machines can do. There are lots of tips and you never stop learning. Not only will I tell you what my top ten are, but I’ll tell you why! Ciao!

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2 comments

asteride July 9, 2018 - 2:49 am

Never heard of the J foot before! Please write more about it!

Reply
Margaret Schindler July 17, 2016 - 11:59 am

I am going to make some of these for Christmas. I love the snowman

Reply

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