DIY Fabric Giftbag

By March 22, 2012Blog

We are excited to have Jesi of Hip Violet share a super fun tutorial on the blog today! Check out Hip Violet’s great products and her blog where she shares more fun stuff. She’s a local favorite and a seasoned Horseshoe vendor. Thanks, Jesi!

Here is a very easy tutorial on how to make a fabric gift bag out of a pillowcase. Yes, it does require the tiniest bit of sewing, but as long as you can do a straight stitch, you’re good! Plus it only takes about 15 minutes to complete, so it’s a quick one too!

First, take a trip to the thrift shop (twist my arm!) and pick up a few pillowcases. I found these for between $.25-.99. Try to find some that are darker colors or have patterns – otherwise you can see right through them, and you might as well just hand the gift over unwrapped! Wash and dry your new-to-you pillowcases.

You need 5 things to make this gift bag: pillowcase, ribbon, lighter, safety pin, and scissors or rotary cutter. Okay, and a sewing machine. So six things. Make sure your ribbon is a bit smaller than the casing (the 2-3″ sewn part around the opening – this is where your drawstring is going to go) on the pillowcase. I used very thin ribbon because my casing was pretty narrow. You can use whatever you like that will fit!

 The reason we are making a gift bag out of a pillowcase is because of that aforementioned casing – it’s already there! You don’t have to worry about making one yourself (which you can do!). However pillowcases are rather long and most gifts are rather small, so we’re going to cut your pillowcase in half to make it more suitable for gift giving. That being said, if you’re giving a larger gift, feel free to skip this step and use the whole thing! Or use a sheet for that matter, it’s got casing too! SO fold your pillowcase in half with the casing at the top. Mark where half is, then cut it with a scissors or rotary cutter. It does not need to be exact so don’t worry out if it’s kind of uneven.

Take the top half of your pillowcase (with the casing) and turn it inside out. Now you’re going to SEW! Do not be frightened, it’s very easy. Set your machine to a straight stitch and position it so you have a little bit of fabric allowance on the right side (see photo). Back stitch, then sew all the way down to the other end. Back stitch again to close it off. There! If that was enough sewing for you, go ahead and turn your bag right side out and skip down to where we start getting ready to put your drawstring in. BUT if you want to REALLY impress your friends, read on!

Now we’re going to box the corner. Take one of your new corners and pinch it apart, then lay it flat with your new seam right down the middle.

Sew a straight stitch about 2″ from your corner. Don’t forget to back stitch!

Cut off the excess fabric about .25″ from your stitch. Repeat on the other side.

Turn your bag right-side-out. Check out your fancy boxed corners! Give yourself a pat on the back, Fancy Pants!

Now it’s time to put in your ribbon drawstring. Find the seam on the top of your pillowcase. Pinch just the TOP piece of fabric, and with a very sharp scissors, make a tiny hole. Do this on both sides of the seam.

Then using that hole, cut a slit a little bigger than your ribbon on both sides of the seam.


Now thread the ribbon onto your safety pin, and push the pin into your casing. Push the pin/ribbon all the way around the top casiing and out the other side.

You can now use your lighter to singe the ends of your fabric so it won’t fray. You may need to trim the piece that you pushed around the inside of the casing – it can fray doing all that hard work! Then I like to tie a few knots into the ribbon to keep it from sliding back through the casing.

Guess what? YOU’RE DONE!! Put your fabulously cool gift into your new fabulous cool handmade AND upcycled gift bag. Cinch together the drawstring and VIOLA! You’ll be the hit of the party!

And don’t forget to admire your fancy boxed corners one more time!

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