DIY Fabric Gift Bags for Next Year’s Holidays

Are you still suffering flashbacks from wrapping, taping, and then cleaning up mounds of paper this year?  Even if you tried to go green by using recycled paper, wrapping everything and then cleaning up the holiday mess is labor intensive.  You may never have had have time to sew up a batch of gift bags before the holiday crush, but why not do it now?  Holiday fabric and ribbon are on sale and it will only take you about two hours to make bags that can wrap up all your gifts for years to come—with no waste and no yearly cost.  (My mom is still wrapping our gifts in festive bags that we’ve used for over thirty years!)  While you’re at it, whip up a few out of simple patterned fabric and have bags that can be used for birthdays, Valentines, and random surprises.

I am NOT a talented seamstress, but I’ll walk you through the steps so that you can stitch up some holiday bags yourself.  This one is made from ribbon we got for seventy-five percent off and fabric I had left over from my daughter’s curtains.

You’ll need:

  • Fabric (as much as you’d like to make small and large bags)
  • A sewing machine (Try to borrow one for an afternoon!)
  • Fabric Ribbon
  • Pins (optional)

fabric layout for homemade gift bagsFirst fold the fabric so that the outside pattern is facing inward.

Fabric gift bag directionsThen cut two six-inch pieces of holiday ribbon.  Lay the pieces on top of each other and sandwich them between the seam toward the top of the bag with the ribbon strings extending inward.

Rolled hem for homemade gift bagsSew a seam around the three sides of the bag, including the ribbon in the seam.  Then turn the bag inside out.  Finish off the bag by doing a rolled seam on the top edges to prevent fraying.  You’re done!

Finished homemade fabric gift bagIf you have time and skills you can applique patterns onto the bag front or stitch on decorative ribbons.  You can also use iron-on letters to personalize bags for each of your children. (My mom finally gave me mine after I’d had it for my entire childhood.)DIY finished fabric gift bags

The finished bags look really cute, pack up easily, and won’t cost you a dime for decades to come!  I hope you get a bit of time to make things easier on yourself next year.  If you’re swamped you can ask a crafty family member to whip you up a homemade set or buy a Wrapsacks set of gift bags on Amazon.  Have you found a way to avoid wrapping paper?  Please share!


  1. these are a great idea! i will try to make some~i’ve never seen them before!

  2. I’ve been using pillow cases tied with ribbon for a couple of years (in some cases, new pillowcases which are themselves part of the gift)–though since those come in only one size sometimes that doesn’t work. Last year I also bought a set of resuable bags in different colors from and wrapped gifts in those–again, the bag was part of the gift to the recipient.

    I do love the idea of having a personalized bag that can be used over and over–maybe I will get my sewing friend to make a few for our family!

  3. I love the idea of these fabric gift bags, and pillow cases are a great idea, too. As I’ve mentioned probably 5000 times on this site, we have a collection of decorative boxes, tins, ribbons, and fabrics we use to wrap our presents. I love spending nothing on gift wrap each year–and having no huge mounds of trash to throw away!

  4. Last year I bought Christmas-print fabric when it was on sale after Christmas and made a bunch of bags this summer when I had some free time. It felt good this year to start using homemade bags instead of wrapping paper!

  5. These would be great for birthday’s and using fun birthday/celebration fabric, or really any holiday. Thank you for sharing.

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