This Christmas I was inspired by Soulemama to save some trees and make reusable fabric gift bags.
It was such fun making them! At least the first few... I did them with the suggested French seams until I realized that Santa would never get his gifts delivered on time at that rate, then switched to regular seams and pinking shears (next year, I'll start earlier...) And I improvised a method of attaching the ribbon by folding it and stitching it down in a box that seemed a bit more natural to me for tying the gifts. By 2am, after Midnight Mass, I had given in and was using last year's leftover paper gift bags -- cause that's still recycling, right? And since K woke up at 3, I was glad I did.
Aside from the ecological benefits of wrapping packages this way, I now have the bonus of being able to give any gift in attractive packaging, without hunting for the Scotch tape. What could be better? Plus, I had the opportunity to make use of some of the gorgeous vintage fabrics that have been languishing in my stash waiting for a worthy project.
Want to try one? My favorite is the bag near the middle, the one with the orange, green and navy flowers. It started out as an extremely worn, extremely dated vintage blouse that I had been holding on to with no idea what I was going to do with it. Of course I could turn it into a bag! If you don't have one of these in your closet (and I bet you do), it's easy to find them on half price day at the Goodwill.
The easiest way is to turn the shirt inside out, cut the collar and sleeves off just below the underarms, and sew closed, but if you need to you could narrow the sides and sew them closed as well. Either way, for my friends who are afraid of their sewing machines, it is just straight seams. Leave the bottom hem intact (it is now the top of the bag) and sew a ribbon to the center. Done. You've spent less than 10 minutes sewing, which is 3 minutes more than you would have spent wrapping, but your friend will think you slaved all day. And you saved a tree. Go you.