Reduce, Reuse, Rejoice: Part 1

If you’ve read any of my DIY posts before, you know that I love a craft that is equal parts fun, eco-friendly and practical. This particular tutorial just so happens to hit the sweet spot that intersects all three!

Everyone knows that there is a lot of waste associated with gift giving. It includes everything, from excessive packaging, to duplicates, and things we’ll never use. By taking old fabric scraps that would otherwise gather dust, you can make a gift bag that is memorable, customizable AND reusable. It’s the perfect way to be crafty during the holiday season! Click the Read More link to see 3 ways you can make a gift that keeps on giving for the holidays.


Option 1: The Sachet. This roomie little gift bag is good for packing in many small items, like skin care products or other knick knacks. I made this one using a scrap of silver leatherette and an end of diaphanous ribbon.


Option 2: The Baggie. This one is the ideal size to fit a novel or two if you have a book lover on your list! As an added bonus, it can be reused as a pencil case or makeup bag.


Option 3: The Bottle Bag. The ideal way to elevate the presentation of a bottle of bubbles at that holiday dinner party on your calendar. I might have to make some more of these; it’s definitely a hostess gift that can be used again and again!


Here’s what you need:

  • a sewing machine and a serger if possible
  • scrap fabric
  • scissors
  • a safety pin
  • a 3/4″ button
  • a ruler
  • pencil and eraser
  • double fold bias tape that matches your fabric
  • a large pad of newsprint/ tracing paper/ craft paper
  • twine or ribbon
  • straight pins
  • a coloured pencil or chalk
  • foraged evergreen sprigs, pinecones and any other things you want to use as embellishment (ex. ribbon, twine and/or gift tags)

Step 1: Choose your gift bag type from the options below. I’ve included measurements so you can create the patterns yourself. They’re all simple rectangles, so don’t be intimidated by this step!

Option 1: Sachet. The first notch on the left is 1 1/4″ in from the left edge, and the second notch is a 1/2″ further in from that.


Option 2: Baggie. The dot with the circle around it is a drillhole, and the line to the left of the dot is where you slash to make a buttonhole.
Option 3: Bottle Bag

Draw out the pattern by following the rectangle dimensions for the accompanying bag type on a large piece of paper. Craft paper, tracing paper or simple newsprint can be used for this step.


Step 2: Cut out the pattern piece and pin it to your fabric scrap ensuring that the grainline on the pattern lines up with the fabric grainline.


Step 3: Make sure to clip any notches if you are making Option 1. Mark out the drillhole if you’re making Option 2. I marked the drillhole by putting a pin through the dot on the paper and moving it around to enlarge the hole, then marking the hole with a coloured pencil. You can also use chalk for this step.


Step 4: Cut out around the paper pattern piece. Remove the pins.


Step 5: Serge around all 4 sides of the fabric piece.


Step 6: Sew the two long edges of the bag together at 1/2″. For Options 2 and 3, complete steps 10 and 11 before completing this step. Always make sure to backtack at the end of each line of stitching by reversing the stitch direction and sewing a few stitches. For Option 1, leave the area between the two notches unstitched.


Step 7: For all options, cut a notch in the seam allowance 2″ in from the side of the bag along the bottom seam. Option 1 has no bottom seam, so cut the notch along the side seam. Flatten the side seam against the bottom to create a triangle. You want to sew straight across the triangle at the level of the notch. The best way to do this is to use the bobbin tread as a guide straight across and over the notch. Repeat this step for the other bottom corner.


This is what your bag should look like when you flip it right side out.


Step 8: For Options 2 and 3, skip ahead to step 10. For Option 1, topstitch the seam allowance down on both sides around the the area of the side seams that went unstitched in step 6. Fold over the top edge 1 1/4″ and sew it down at 1″.


Step 9: Flip your bag right side out. Attach a piece of ribbon or twine to your safety pin.


Feed the pin through the unstitched hole at the opening of the bag and out the other side, then remove the pin.


Step 10: Open up the double fold bias tape and sew the shorter edge to the wrong side of the fabric at 1/8″.


Step 11: Fold the bias tape around to the right side of the fabric, making sure that the raw edge of the tape is folded in.


Step 12: Fold the seam allowance towards the back of the bag and topstitch it down. For Option 1, this is the final step.


Step 13: For Option 2, create a buttonhole in the spot you marked in step 3. Most domestic sewing machines have a buttonhole setting, so this is where you’ll want to employ that function. After you’ve stitched in the buttonhole, slash open the hole between the stitches with a seam ripper or small scissors. Complete this step on the 2nd layer of fabric so that there are flush buttonholes through both layers.


Step 14: Fold the top edge down towards the front and iron it.


Step 15: Hand sew your button on where the drillhole is marked.


Step 16: Measure the square created at the bottom of the bag. Cut a square of cardboard in the same dimensions and insert it into the base of the bag to stabilize the bottom.


This is what each of the bags should look like when you’re done. Clockwise from top left: The Sachet, The Bottle Bag and The Baggie.


After you’ve constructed the bags, you can get creative by adorning them with all kinds of festive garnishes, from evergreen sprigs, to ribbons and gift tags. This part makes your gift bag even more unique and versatile. Because this bag is meant to be reused, there’s no limit to the different combinations of embellishment you can try!


Thanks for reading this DIY post. If you have any questions or you try this one for yourself, leave a comment in the section below!

COMING SOON – Reduce, Reuse Rejoice: Part 2

More DIY ideas from STUDIO 403

Follow Jennifer Fukushima on Facebook

Shop for holiday goodies at jenniferfukushima.com


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