I love pretty gifts. I appreciate the time it takes to wrap a beautiful gift. All my life, I’ve taken time to wrap pretty gifts, and I’ve gone through a lot of paper. I have nothing against wrapping paper, but it seems like a one trick pony. You buy it, use it once (or more if you’re really careful), and throw it away. Make one simple gift bag, and you’ll realize how quickly you can make a stash of bags large enough to wrap an entire year’s worth of gifts!
For years I’ve wrapped holiday gifts in fabric bags. I started small, using the bags only for special gifts and then I ramped up production and started to use the bags exclusively. What started as a whim has become a bit of an obsession, and I want to share that with you. There are lots of benefits to using fabric gift bags for your wrappings:
- Fabric gift bags are green. These gift bags can last for years, creating traditions among your family as the bags travel back and forth between households. There’s no waste beyond the gift tags and any tissue paper you may choose to use.
- Fabric gift bags can be really personal. When I shop for gift bag fabric, I watch for fabrics that will appeal to specific family and friends. Dinosaurs and trucks for my great-nephews, cardinals and snow-covered trees for my mother-in-law, anything less froofy for the men in my life.
- Fabric bags are the perfect canvas for trying out new things. You have lots of special stitches on your sewing machine; why not use them? Are you hoarding variegated thread? Use it up! They’ll make more!
- Fabric bags are convenient. My family has begun to build up their own gift bag supplies as they receive the bags each year. My niece, my mother-in-law, and my husband all commented this year about how easy it was to wrap gifts.
- The bags are great for travelers who can’t wrap gifts before they clear pre-flight security. Grab a stack of bags and wrap your gifts when you get to your destination. No paper to wrinkle, no shopping for tape or ribbon.
The pattern’s a great stashbuster, as you begin to pick through your fabric collection with a new perspective. You know that fabric that you don’t want to cut up because it’s too pretty? Make a bag. Only have a fat quarter? Make a bag. Have over a yard? Make a BIG bag! And don’t forget you can sew your own drawstrings! I use my Bernina binding attachment to fold and sew it closed. Yes, I make miles and miles of the stuff!
I still make a nice supply of simple cotton bags for my gifts every year, but now I’ve started making a few special bags with some very special materials.
Artistic Artifacts creates wonderful hand-dyed collage packs and I have fallen in love with them. I choose a color, pick a collage pack, and then augment the contents with vintage linens, doilies, and trim that Judy Gula (Artistic Artifacts owner) has lovingly collected and then hand-dyed.
One more thing: don’t keep the bags to yourself. I tried that in the beginning, but it felt selfish. The bags are part of the gift. Give them away and encourage the recipients to do the same. I put labels inside my bags for everyone to sign so that each bag has a record of who has used it. It’s that simple. Give away the bag, get a smile, and save some trees that would have become wrapping paper. Give a Little Gift Bag and help change the world, one gift bag at a time.