How To Make DIY Gift Bags From Repurposed Fabric

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How to Make a DIY Gift Bag

Gift bags are expensive! So I learned how to make a DIY gift bag using some old fabric I had lying around the house. Follow along to learn to make your own.

The building I work in can get very warm, so I wear shirts with short sleeves or 3/4 sleeves. But I’ll often find shirts that have long sleeves, so I cut them off. Then I have all these sleeves laying around. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m big into repurposing old or used objects. I figured out that I can make gift bags from them!

How to Make A DIY Gift Bag

Find your Fabric

I’ve found that shirt and sweater sleeves work great for making gift bags. So I shop the clearance racks for patterns and fabrics I like, then cut the sleeve to the length and hem it.

You can also find your fabric online or the craft store.

Start With the Cut

Don’t know how to sew? Learn from these videos.

If using shirt/sweater sleeves, put the shirt on and figure out where you want the sleeve to end. Cut about 1/2 inch beyond that and set the shirt aside to be hemmed later.

Now, decide what you might want to use the pouch for. You can make a DIY gift bag, but you can make these into purses for kids, coin bags, bags for glasses-so many things!

Once you know what you’ll be doing, trim the sleeve to the right size, leaving about 1/2 inch for the hem.

Hem the Bottom of Your DIY Gift Bag

Turn the sleeve inside out and hem the bottom, making sure to hem only the raw edge. (Leave the already hemmed edge for the top of the bag.)

If it is a woven fabric, you may want to zig zag the edge or use fabric glue to keep it from unraveling. You can do this with a sewing machine or you can do it by hand.

Once the hem is done, turn the bag right side out.

Add a Lining to Your DIY Gift Bag

If you are going to use the bag for glasses or a coin bag, you may want to line it.

While it is turned inside out, place another piece of fabric or another sleeve over the top, seams inside. Tack this to the bottom corners and maybe the sides with a few stitches. Next, attach to the inside top with a single row of stitching.

When it is finished, turn it inside out.

Add a Drawstring

If you’re making a DIY gift bag you can simply place whatever you want on the inside and use a ribbon to close it.

Or, if you’re making pouches for another purpose, you can add a drawstring.

To do this start by making two small cuts near a seam, one on either side. Stitch around them if you wish to keep them neat. Then draw a cord through the hem using a safety pin or a stringing device. Pull the cord so that it is even and tie it together that way. The holes for the cord can go inside or outside of the hem. The hem that is already there makes a perfect channel for the cord.

Make A DIY Gift Bag From Other Fabric

You can also use other fabric to make a DIY gift bag that is larger or if you simply want different fabric.

Grab your fabric of choice, decide on the size you want, and cut your fabric to size leaving enough room for a hem. ¼ inch to ½ inch will be good.

On the top of the bag, sew a hem with at least ¼ inch clearance. This is for your cord. You can also add another stitch around the top to make it more decorative.

Make any holes you need for cording and finish off the holes. An easy way to do this is to use a buttonhole stitch if you have a sewing machine. If not, you can do it by hand.

Now fold the right sides together and sew along the edge and bottom. Use a zig zag stitch or fabric glue to keep it from unraveling. Add a lining if you like, following the instructions above. Turn the bag right side out and add the cord. You can also stitch the folded edge if you want to make it look evener.

Fabric Ideas for A DIY Gift Bag

This is also a good way to use clothes you have grown out of or that have lost their shape. I have two pairs of jeans that are too short, so I’ll be making shorts and then denim bags out of the pants legs that are left. One fits inside the other so the lining will be the same.

You can make a DIY gift bag or use different fabrics and sizes to make bags for just about anything.

Have you ever tried to make a DIY gift bag? Tell us about it!

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About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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