Make Your Own Fabric Bags for Gifts

Begin a family tradition by making bags out of pretty holiday fabric tied with cloth ribbon, and placing your gifts in them. It is likely that everyone to whom you give the bags will really appreciate the idea of saving resources by using them, and will save the bags to wrap their own gifts next year. Maybe someday fabric bags will be like chain letters—you give a gift to one person, who gives it to another, and maybe one day it will be given back to you!

Materials: Buy colorful fabric ribbon, and enough yardage of pretty fabric (holiday fabric is readily available in craft stores) to make the number of bags you want. You may also have some nice fabric stored at home in a drawer or closet. A little over a yard of 42" to 45" wide fabric will make two 20" x 10" inch bags.

Step 1: Choose the size bags you want to make and then adapt them to this pattern:  For one 20" x 10" inch bag, cut out a piece of fabric 12" x 42" inches in size. Fold the fabric in half so that doubled it is 12" x 21" inches in size.

Step 2: With the "inside" sides pinned together, stitch the side seams on three sides. Turn inside out. Then turn inside the raw edge on the top of the bag and hem, either by hand or with a sewing machine.

Step 3: Cut a cloth ribbon at least 12" long. At the seam of the bag on one side or the other, about four or five inches from the bag opening, stitch the middle of the ribbon to the bag.

Make Your Own Gift Wrapping Paper

Wrapped with natural raffia ribbon and decorated with crayons, brown grocery bags make very attractive wrapping. The straw-like look of undyed raffia makes a really lovely contrast to the brown bags.

Step 1: Cut paper grocery bags into squares.

Step 2: Tape together enough of the resulting squares of grocery bag paper to wrap the present.

Step 3: Color with crayons.

Step 4: Wrap the present and tie with natural raffia ribbon (available at craft shops).

More Wild, Worry-Free, Wrappings

Holiday wrapping can be much more fun than just covering a gift with colored paper. Delve into the options below for exciting green alternatives to store-bought wrapping.

Great Book Idea For the most inspiring book you will ever see on gift wrapping, we recommend Gift Wrapping: Creative Ideas from Japan, by Kunio Ekiguchi (Kodansha International, Ltd., 1985). Of particular interest are the wrapping techniques using fabric. Ask your library to find it for you on interlibrary loan if they don't already have it.