fabric gift bags

I love the holidays, I love gift-giving and gift-making, I love the baking and pretty lights and the music. I had Prairie Home Companion on last night while I made falafel feast to celebrate Stuart finally being done taking Comp Sci courses, and the sound of Garrison Keillor singing Stille Nacht with the entire audience made me all choked up and teary.

But one thing that always bugs me about Christmas is the mounds of trash generated by packaging and gift wrapping. I grew up re-using paper when possible, and paper gift bags can often be used several times before getting pitched, but it still bothers me. So the other day when I saw that my friend Carissa from happy.stuff. sells fabric gift bags on etsy, I had a major Aha! moment. I could make gift bags out of scrap fabric, and they can be re-used indefinitely! Then I had another Aha! moment when I realized less than a week before Christmas, there's no way I'll make enough for all the gifts, especially the larger ones. I was going to buy some from her, but there were some logistical problems for us meeting on such short notice...so I went ahead and made a few myself. I used fabric from my stash (my fabric stash is rather modest, but it's still surprising how much I could find in there). Carissa uses fabric from thrifted shirts and curtains, which is ultra-cool and completely in the spirit of recycling and something I'd like to try, but I don't have time to comb through the racks at St. Vinny's at the moment. She also prints designs on the bags, I think with silk-screening...check out her shop when it re-opens after Christmas.

Alas, these little cuties are too small for the gifts I had in mind, but they'll work for something.

This is the inside and outside of a gift bag for my mom's present, because she'll appreciate how it's slightly funky. I remember making these star blocks 7 or 8 years ago, but I don't remember why I made them. Practice with triangles, maybe? Potholders that I never finished?

Alsoy, there were all these random strips of coordinating fabric sewn together, I think leftover from whatever original project I had made. I think it was a Christmas table runner for my mom. It was really cool how chopping them up and turning them every which way made a wacky little design and sized up perfectly with the star pattern on the outside.

I've got another bag half-done on the sewing machine; I just took a quick blogging break to nurse Anya to sleep for her nap. When it comes to knitting, I'm always ready to try new and challenging projects. But with sewing, I have found I stick with what works. There was a time I could make nothing but nine-patch quilts and be quite satisfied. Right now I could make dozens of these bags and not get tired of it. I think the variety of fabrics and sizes and the fact that exact measurements don't matter, as long as the pieces line up makes for interesting, quick projects. Is anyone out there interested in a tutorial? If so, I'll do one.


abcgirl said…
nice work!
Jessi said…
This is a super idea. It makes my head hurt to think about in conjunction with this year, but next year... Super Idea.

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