Wrapping paper is expensive. Unless you are one of those people who carefully peel the tape from your gifts, chances are you will not be able to use that wrapping again. It can take weeks to get all your Christmas gifts wrapped and having all that beautiful paper strewn across your floor on Xmas morning is not only terrible for our carbon footprint, but it also means a sheer waste of time, effort and money. The environmentally-friendly alternative to rolls of wrapping is the DIY drawstring bag. These nifty little bags can be used at Christmas time, birthdays or any other special occasion.

Use Your Sewing Machine to Create Lasting Drawstring Bags

Drawstring gift bags are an easy to assemble, cost-effective solution to wrapping paper. You can choose cotton, muslin, velvet – just about any fabric you fancy – for your drawstring bag. Because you are making these bags from scratch, you can select prints your loved ones will absolutely adore (think Disney princesses and Star Wars for the grandkids!). 

This Is the Sewing Equipment and Other Tools You Will Need to Create Your Fabulous Gift Bags: 

  • Safety pin
  • Pins 
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Overlocker
  • Fabric of choice
  • Ribbon of choice or string
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Cotton thread

Follow These Easy Steps:

  • Step 1: 

Fold the fabric double. Put the gift on top of it. Measure out the correct dimensions for your gift bag and cut out two identical halves, allowing 1 cm at the sides and bottom for the seams, and a 4 cm allowance for the drawstring tunnel on top.

  • Step 2: 

Line up the halves, with the wrong sides facing outward, then use your overlocker to run up the sides and bottom. Overlock the top edges separately to guard against fraying.

  • Step 3:

You can now see your bag taking shape. Fold the top sides over, allowing enough space for your ribbon and safety pin to slide through. Remember the drawstrings will be lined up double, so leave enough space and do not sew the edges closed (the tunnel must be open on either side). Use pins to hold the tunnel in place.

  • Step 4: 

Line the top of your bag up to the sewing machine. Use plain stitching to secure the drawstring tunnel, removing the pins as you go along. Use reverse stitching at both edges to secure the tunnel. Repeat the procedure on the other side of your bag as well, carefully trimming any loose threads with a scissor.

  • Step 5: 

Fold the overlocked seams open and iron them flat. Now turn the bag right side out.

  • Step 6:

Fold the short end of your ribbon in half and put the safety pin through it. Close the pin and push it into the drawstring tunnel. Thread the ribbon through the tunnel and pull it out at the other side. Now flip the bag over and stick the drawing pin into the tunnel on the other side, threading it through until both ribbon ends are sticking out on the same side. Once this is done, take out the safety pin and securely tie both ends. 

  • Step 7: 

Complete step 6, but on the opposite side of your bag. 

Once you have put the string through the top of your bag, simply pull on the sides to close it and you are done. 

You can use this video tutorial for a more detailed guide. Or, click on some of these festive designs for more inspiration.

To create a bigger bag that could double-up as a backpack, increase the dimensions, use rope instead of ribbon, add a grommet to the lower corners of your backpack, and string the rope through it and then tie a double knot. You can view a drawstring backpack tutorial here.

Like with most DIY sewing projects, you will need to prepare these Christmas drawstring bags ahead of time, but they will save you money and have a much longer life than wrapping. Your guests will be thrilled to receive their personalized, 100% reusable bag. Depending on the size, they can be used as storage space for Christmas ornaments, or slung over the shoulder when you pop out to the shops or the gym. Contact us today to learn more about Empisal overlockers and affordable sewing machines.