Each year I try to handmake gifts for my daughters' friends birthdays. Partly because I like handmade, but also so that the kids receive something different.
Now I know kids enjoy unwrapping their presents, but in an attempt to avoid all that wasted paper, I often try to make gift bags instead of using wrapping paper. The kids never seem to mind, and the bag becomes as much of a gift as the present!
For a party this weekend, I'd made a Pyramid Pouch , and a Personalised Rag Tag. For both of these I used material from a pair of old jeans, and some fabric scraps.
Not wanting to give an empty pouch as a gift - I got a bag of jelly snakes to go inside!
So - on to the Gift Bag.
They are really simple to make - and you can decorate them how you like.
First your materials:
A pair of old jeans, fabric scraps, and a rectangle of material for the main bag
(I used a piece of calico 30 x 56cm (12 x 22"), but you could use any material, any size - depending on the size of your gift and the colour and style you want the bag to be!)
Once you've cut your main rectangle for the bag, cut one back pocket off the jeans, and also the hem from the bottom of both legs (these will be the straps)
Next cut strips of your scrap fabric just longer than each side of the jeans pocket and around 5cm (2") wide:
Pin then stitch these strips right sides facing down along the edge of the pocket piece. Stitch 2 opposite sides first, then fold those back and pin and stitch the last 2 opposite sides:
Then place your pocket with scrap border centrally on the top half of your main bag rectangle. Fold the 4 raw edges under and pin:
Stitch this into place.
Now the decoration is done, it's time to make the bag!
I use a French Seam here - which is really simple, and hides the raw edge for a neater look!
Fold the rectangle in half right sides facing out so it looks like a bag:
Pin and stitch along both sides:
Next trim your seam very close to the stitching.
Turn the bag inside out..
And stitch down the side seams again, so enclosing completely the raw edges of the seam:
This is what your seam will now look like inside the bag. Nice and neat!
Now all you need to do is finish off the top of the bag and attach the straps!
For the top - simply turn the top edge over twice to completely hide the raw edge. Pin and then stitch.
Then take those two bottom hems of the jeans, and pin into place around the top of the bag:
Then stitch each strap end into place with a box and cross:
And there you have one finished, upcycled and reusable Gift Bag:
Complete with a nifty pocket in the front for a small card:
So here is the complete gift for the birthday girl this weekend:
For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial click here.
How do you wrap your birthday gifts? Do you ever make gift bags? Or are you happy to use wrapping paper - which the kids can enjoy rrrripping off the present!!
Is the wrapping as important as the present...
If you enjoyed this tutorial, there are many more on
- including a whole series of projects to sew in 5 steps and 15 minutes that anyone can try!
And if you want more ideas for jeans or any other clothes upcycling projects - check out the
which has over 600 ideas linked up.
Jill, that is fabulous! "Gift bag" nothing. I would take one of these as my present any day!ReplyDelete
That is so cute, Jill! What a great way to give a present!ReplyDelete
Awesome gift bag, Jill!!! The extra pink fabric under the pocket is perfect and so are the denim handles. Fabulous present in all!!!ReplyDelete
Great bag and stand alone present!ReplyDelete
Cute and such a thoughtful gift..so full of love!ReplyDelete
Awesome and cute! Great gift!ReplyDelete
Girlies will love it!
wowww.. u're so creative Jill!! cute and great bag for present^^, thx for share really love itReplyDelete
Such a great idea. A girl can never have too many bags.ReplyDelete
that is really really cute I only wish I had or could use a sewing machine... have to do it the old pioneer way lol!!ReplyDelete
That is super cute! I do not sew but my sis does and I will send this link to her. I would like a larger tote size bag just like the gift bag you made. Thanks for the great info on how to make one. Easy2SaveReplyDelete
I never would have thought of this! This is perfect for B-days. I usually buy a fleece blanket and embroider the child's name on it for our presents because like you I want to give something different.ReplyDelete
I love that idea! I'm now a follower!ReplyDelete
THAT is adorable! Does your daughter love your handmade items? I am on a sewing group and there is a really sweet lady on the list and her daughter HATES anything she makes. Her daughter is now grown and this even extends to anything handmade for the grandchild. It's really kind of sad because she has to get everything approved by her daughter before she makes anything for the grandchild. Now the grandchild ADORES anything grandma makes, so that is good. I really love this bag that you've made and thanks for sharing how to make it.ReplyDelete
Thanks Starlene. Yes, so far both of my daughters love anything I make; even my disasters!! Who knows when they get older what will be 'cool' or 'totally uncool'!! It's such a shame when people - especially family don't like or appreciate handmade, because so much of the fun is seeing that people like and use what you make for them!!Delete
I love the pink camo accents - that makes it especially cute!ReplyDelete
I do not sew but you made this look very cute! Lots of pics for the beginners!ReplyDelete
Thanks Hopkins family!! I try with my tutorials to photo each step and make it as clear as possible so anyone can give it a try regardless of their ability to sew!Delete
Great idea love the tutorial nice pictures and easy to followReplyDelete
thanks for sharing
What a cool idea and a great gift in itself! I would love to get one of those, please ;)ReplyDelete
I'm so impressed! That is really beautiful Unfortunately, I can't even sew. You make it look quite easy. :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks Judith! I'm a great believer that anyone can sew, and try to show that in my tutorials by making them as detailed and simple as possible!Delete
I'd love to have that as a gift bag. Seeing all these great crafty blogs makes me want to be more creative :)ReplyDelete
Great gift. I love other peoples crafts better than my own!ReplyDelete
Cute creations! I wish I was as creative as half the bloggers I see online haha. I usually just toss the gifts I give in a store-bought bag, but this seems much more thoughtful!ReplyDelete
want to come teach me how to put thread on my bobbers? LOL
Just an idea... Please, don't give me gifts for my birthday... other than a little trip... it doesn't need wrapping... and I miss it so much...ReplyDelete
Wow! This is such a great idea. I have no skill whatsoever when it comes to sewing, but my friend is great at it so I might have to send her a link to this post and then visit with a pair of old jeans ;)ReplyDelete
What a really great idea. My friend was making purses for her 4H group, but this is even better.ReplyDelete
Oh my goodness, that linky is amazing! And so are your projects! I love the tag most of all - simple and super-cute!ReplyDelete
This is so cute and I think it would even make a nice gift for a boy if we used material geared for a boy. As my son could use it to carry his cars in. I will have to check out those sites as I need to learn to make some things as it is cheaper than buying things.ReplyDelete
Awesome! I love sewing and handmade goods. I try to make handmade gifts too! Thanks for the tutorial.ReplyDelete
That is really cute! Makes me wish I had a sewing machine even more! I have to hand sew everything, so jeans aren't an option for me but still a great idea.ReplyDelete
Super cute! You are really talented. I'm terrible at crafts and cannot even darn socks. Super impressed!ReplyDelete
God bless you that you could do that!!ReplyDelete
That is really cute, and I love how detailed your tutorial is!ReplyDelete
Very, very cute! I cannot believe that I tossed some old jeans. Wish I could get them back. I'm pinning this!ReplyDelete
Oh how I wished I could sew a straight line. I am straight line impaired-- in everything! These are sooo cute that they really make me wish I could overcome my impairment......I don't think there is any hope for me though.ReplyDelete
Oh don't let wonky sewing lines put you off - fabric is very forgiving! Plus you're always far more aware of your mistakes than others who would probably never notice!!Delete
That really is SO cool. I want to be creative when I grow up. :-)ReplyDelete
Great step by step instructions- now I just need to haul out my mom's old sewing machine and figure out how to use it...ReplyDelete
-Viva recently posted Homemade Pizza Dough
Two words... love it. Great project. I am bookmarking and pinning!ReplyDelete
Saved By Love Creations
Nice pictures and description of a fun project. Now, if only I could sew or make anything crafty at all...ReplyDelete
Well I think your very creative and, those bags will always come in handy I know I can screw up a bag in a month. Great post and great idea!ReplyDelete
I really like this project. I may use it for one of the sewing projects for my daughter's home EC class next year in our homeschool. I recently made a quilt for my son using a bunch of old jeans from our family. I just have to finish quilting it and it will be already for him. It is really nice when you can reuse fabric to make something brand new.ReplyDelete
Oh, this is an adorable little bag. I think I have almost everything on hand to try this tutorial out. So cute, I am sure my nieces would love to have one. Birthdays are right around the corner... hmmmm... thanks for this tutorial, Jill.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone! The birthday party was yesterday - and the gifts including the bag much appreciated and loved!!ReplyDelete
That is such a clever and unique project! I know my daughter would love to have one of those :) Now if only I could remember how to work my sewing machine....ReplyDelete
Very cute! I wish I could sew :)ReplyDelete
I love, love handmade gifts. Learning to sew better is on my list of to-dos this year!ReplyDelete
That's so beautiful. You are very creative.ReplyDelete
I wish I know how to sew and make a handmade tote as cute as thisReplyDelete
Too cute! For baby showers I make a demin tote bag and iron on cut our shapes - like a blueberry muffin and then fill the bag with books like - Would your give a mooose a MuffinReplyDelete
So cute! Nicely done!ReplyDelete
Very cute idea! I need to figure out how to sew and buy a sewing machine lolReplyDelete
Great idea! Personalized gifts show you care and thought ahead.ReplyDelete
Super cute idea! I'm loving up-cycling more and more these days. Now if only I could convince myself to learn how to sew - the possibilities would be endless!ReplyDelete
Wow what a cute idea. I am just not the crafty type. I dont look at a pair of old jeans and see hand bags. I am hopeless. Maybe not....I can really do a great job at cooking though. I guess we all have our gifts. Yours is fantastic. I will follow you to see what you come up with next. Inspire me!!!ReplyDelete
That's a very cool idea. I'm sure the kids do love the bags! :)ReplyDelete
What a fun gift! Great idea!ReplyDelete
Great idea. You outlines the instructions well. Very cute bags.ReplyDelete
Love this cute bag! I'm betting the recipient was very pleased!! Awesome job!ReplyDelete
So cute! I have GOT to learn how to sew!ReplyDelete
My goal is to make re-usuable gift bags for 2012 Christmas... but I better get on it LOLReplyDelete
I have so many gift bags that others have given me, I never need to buy any. Really cute design!ReplyDelete
That is so cute. I bet the girls loved it. Great job, Mama!ReplyDelete
Super cute! My daughter would love something like this. I'm so not crafty, but I might be able to handle this!ReplyDelete
Around My Family Table
So cute and so craft! I'm not crafty but this looks like something I could do!ReplyDelete
Mariah, Formula Mom
That is just fantastic. You are very creative and talented!ReplyDelete
This is so cute! I hope to begin learning how to sew- I have to admit I get rather intimidated just looking at the machine.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for the idea! I now have something to do with the 'scraps' from cutting jeans up for a quilt. I was never quite sure what do so with those pieces. I usually use/reuse gift bags, as I too hate the waste of paper. However, I think I will use up some extra material I have and make up some of these.ReplyDelete
How fun is that!? I would love to get a gift like that (um....I mean...I bet any girl would love to get a gift like that). My daughter's favorite Christmas gift was a handmade gift from her cousin! That is great....and the gummy worms to boot!ReplyDelete
Wow, that is so neat. I could never do that, so it's nice to see someone who can!ReplyDelete
What a great gift idea. My daughters love bags, so I'm sure these gifts were a big hit. You are very creative. Thanks for sharing your pattern with others.ReplyDelete
Those are really cute! pinning them for later :)ReplyDelete
So cool, thanks for sharing. I just learned how to sew and I think I can manage that!ReplyDelete
Love it! I'm going to have to give this a try!ReplyDelete
Fun project - thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
This is just adorable! And what a great way to Upcycle!ReplyDelete
Great idea to recycle old clothes. Thanks for posting such an in depth tutorial. I appreciate it.ReplyDelete
The bag looks amazing! I love upcycling but I am limited by my lack of sewing skills. Do you have a sewing tutorial for beginners?! I am so lost with my machine. I can't wait to check out all your easy, 15 minute projects and hopefully they are easy enough for me to tackle. Thanks for a great post and can't wait to explore more of your blog!ReplyDelete
That awesome! I want one! How hard would it be to make without a sewing machine? Mine is having issues right now.ReplyDelete
How cool are you! I can't thread a needle.ReplyDelete
This is a cute little bag. I love it. Gonna have to look around and see other projects that I could try and make.ReplyDelete
Oh my, this is too cute! Thanks for the tutorial!ReplyDelete
What a cute idea, I never know what to do with my old jeans...I have about 5 pairs that are too holey to wear just laying around :)ReplyDelete
Wow! What a great bag. I could never do that on my own but I love seeing the interesting things that people can do. Great job.ReplyDelete
Very cute. I love the idea of making the gift bags. I know that they are so appreciated. I make a lot of crafts items, but have never tried to make a bag! Very cute.ReplyDelete
What an awesome GIFT! I think the gift bag would be MORE than the present inside! lol. I love that bag, it looks GREAT!ReplyDelete
what a cute gift! I love that it is personalized for each kid, something really special!ReplyDelete
I wish I was crafty, I think that gene left my family at my mom. She is awesome.ReplyDelete
There is something so satisfying to make something from scratch. It's like a feeling of fulfillment and that you made something unique. WHat a feeling.
I love the idea of upcycling. It saves money and resources. Very nice. :-)
i've always wanted to create a gift bag! now i am going too . thanks for the great tutorialReplyDelete
Those look great! Everytime I've tried making bags out of old jeans they've been weird looking. Guess I'll have to try again!ReplyDelete
The most unique upcycled bags I've seen are these: http://badtadmd.com/?p=305 They're made out of the straps used on ambulance backboards!!
Thanks for sharing!