Use a wide ribbon to make small gift bags
In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can easily make adorable small gift bags only with a wide ribbon. It is by far the quickest sewing project for small gift bags, since the side seams are already neat. You can make them as a drawstring version or without drawstring.
Use a themed pattern and send them out on Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas or as a give-a-way for all your wedding guests. You can create hundreds of them in a short amount of time. Or just make one lovely little bag for someone special.
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Supplies you need for one “ribbon gift bag”:
- wide ribbon (2.5” / 6,5 cm or wider)
- fabric scissors
- fabric marker pen
- some pins or Wonder Clips
- color matching thread
- safety pin (for the drawstring version)
- 15” / 38cm long color matching thin ribbon or cord/rope
- iron / ironing board (if your ribbon can be pressed)
- rotary cutter and cutting mat – especially if you make more
- 1/4” (6mm) Wonder Tape – to make a neat hem
- pinking shears – to prevent raw edges from frying
Drawstring gift bags:
Cut two pieces from your wide ribbon. The ribbon I use is 2.5” / 6.3cm wide and I cut the pieces 5” / 13cm long. If you have a ribbon where the direction of the pattern doesn’t matter, you need to cut only one piece that is 9” / 24cm long. In this case, you can skip the next step.
Place the two pieces right sides together. The pattern on both pieces shows in the same direction. Pin or clip the bottom and sew along the bottom side with a seam allowance of 1/4“ (6mm).
Trim the corners and the seam allowance (with pinking shears if you have). Take care not to cut into the seam. You can also secure the seam with a zigzag stitch.
Fold the seam open (press if possible). To create the casing for the drawstring, place the ribbon wrong side facing up. Measure 2” / 5cm away from the edge of both short sides. Mark these points with your fabric marker.
Tip: If your ribbon is fraying at the short sides then you either can secure the short edges with a zigzag stitch or fold the short sides 1/4” (6mm) inwards to the left side before folding the casing. 1/4” (6mm) wide Wonder Tape can help creating a neat fold (for more information read this post about frabric gift bags). In this case, cut your ribbon pieces 1/4 (6mm) longer. I use a very thick canvas ribbon here, which is not fraying at the cutting line, so I leave the edge as it is.
Fold the two short sides inwards to the left side of the ribbon. Align the edges with your marks. Secure both sides with pins or clips.
Topstitch with right side up over the casing 7/8” (2,2cm) away from the “new” short side. The seam is very close to the “old” edge. Try to feel the edge with your fingers while sewing to make sure that you sew right next to the “old” edge. Use a straight, zigzag or decorating stich, whatever you prefer. You can also experiment with a color contrasting thread. Repeat with the other side.
After you made the casing on both sides, fold the ribbon in the center (the seam that you made first) with wrong sides facing each other. Align the sides and pin or clip them in place. Sew the sides together with a straight stitch as close to the edge as you can. Start at the stitch line you made before down to the bottom of the bag. Repeat with the other side. Don’t stitch into the casing.
Use a safety pin at one end of your thin cord, robe or a ribbon and pull it through one of the two casings. When you reach the opening, pull it back through the other casing. Pull both ends to the same length.
Trim all ends of your thread and you are done. Fill your bag with some sweets, tie a bow and make someone happy!
“Ribbon bag” without drawstring:
Skip the casing steps. Instead just fold the top edges (short sides) once or twice (depending on the thickness and frying of your ribbon) as it is described in the fabric bag version to give the top a nice finish.
Sew both top edges in place. When it comes to the top stitch of the long bag sides, sew the left and right side seams from the upper top edge along to the bottom seam. This option is by far the quickest bag-making version!
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