Friday, December 19, 2008

This Years' Gift Bags

I've always loved wrapping gifts, it was my first paid job that I ever held, gift wrapper at the mall. And I do still use purchased Christmas wrapping for a lot of my gifts, but I'm trying to transition over to utilizing methods that are recyclable or reusable. Thinking of all that paper used and then thrown away seems so wasteful and extravagant. I've found that purchased gift bags can last a long time if you pack them away for storage neatly. There are about 15 or 20 of these that we use and pass back and forth in our family. One year I bought a bunch and so did my mom, so we've been using the same group for several years now. Admittedly they start to look a bit tatty after a few uses, but it is fun to see the same ones, almost an expected part of the decorations. But with the gift bags, you still need to at least wrap the gift in some paper covering, otherwise peeking is just too easy.
So one solution is using a fabric gift bag. No paper required, and very durable, and in most cases washable. Sure they are floppy and casusal looking, but you know what, so am I!
Every year I make a new batch of fabric gift bags for Christmas gifts. Some of which come back to me, to be reused, some that do not. I hope they get reused by whomever ends up with them, but who knows, right? This is a bunch of the new ones. I don't measure anything or use a pattern, just eyeball the gift that I'm planning to be contained, and add a little extra.

Crazy holiday cats, they all have such goofy expressions. Can you imagine trying to get a coat, hat and scarf on your cat? Hah! You'd have to come visit me in the hospital if I tried it I think.

This one is for a sports loving guy. The Santa print is from a panel print that had Santa Sports boxers. I pieced some strips around it to make it big enough to contain the gift.

This one I made the top differently, making a double stitched channel for the ribbon, leaving a collar at the top. I think it looks a little fancier, although it uses a bit more fabric. But, hey it is a gift right? Be extravagant, besides I bought this fabric on major big time post-holiday sale. Which reminds me, after I made these bags, I'm almost out of holiday fabric, better get some at the upcoming sales for next year...

I like choosing a ribbon color that contrasts a bit, makes it easier when opening gifts in low lit rooms. I use an embroidery stitch of bells or stars to nail down the top hem, it is subtle, but I like how it make the finished bag look, it adds a bit more subtle decoration.
This one was for a smaller gift, and I felt like making something new up instead of just the usual bag. I had some leftovers from cutting out curvy bits for the holiday vest I'm making myself, so I took one that was already a nice shape, did a bunch of stitching on it with some quilt batting underneath, made a facing, sewed it on right sides together, turned it right sides out, made a "hinge" and sewed that to the top of the bag. Then for a closure I used a button with a ribbon stitched on loop.

How about you? What's your favorite wrapping solution?


Jaye said...

So glad you are using gift bags and making them and POSTING about them!!! I like the different closure you tried. Gift bags are great for trying out new things: zippers, different machine stitches, new type of thread, piping, prairie points, new type of handstitching - whatever. They can allow you to get the feel of something without a huge time commitment.

Simple red and green fabric works if you run out of the holiday stuff.

Laume said...

Wow, that last bag is a gift in and of itself! Very pretty - the recipient could use it as a small clutch or perhaps to put small things in and pack in larger luggage or store in a drawer.

I've been thinking about wrapping ideas. I tried to use up all my wrapping paper last year but I still have some left and I bought some this year because they finally made the style I looked for EVERYWHERE for two years and couldn't find. But I'm still planning ahead. I'm thinking instead of using fabric though, I might try using reusable thrifted boxes and tins. There's certainly enough of those around!

Darling Petunia said...

I've done some fabric bags in the past, but I'll admit mine aren't as finished as yours! I love these for those lumpy bumpy things that are so hard to wrap.