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How to sew a reusable gift bag

This simple sewing project is great for beginners who want to practice their stitches and get familiar with their machine.
This simple sewing project is great for beginners who want to practice their stitches and get familiar with their machine. (BestReviews)

Giving a gift to someone? If you’re looking for a unique way to wrap it, consider making a one-of-a-kind reusable gift bag.

Even if you’re new to sewing, a reusable gift bag is one of the easiest projects around. In fact, it can be completed in around 30 minutes or less. If you snag a deal at a fabric store or have material around the house, the project comes in at less than $5, too.

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Materials

Here’s a list of everything you need to make a reusable gift bag:

How to make a reusable gift bag for small gifts

Step one: Cut the bag

Fold the material in half. With your scissors, cut a piece that measures 11 by eight inches and set it aside. This will give you two separate rectangles for the bag.

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Repeat the step with the same fabric, or a different fabric, for the lining. In total, you’ll end up with four rectangles that measure 11 by eight inches.

Step two: Sew the bag

Take one pair of rectangles and pin them together with the wrong side facing out. Sew the long sides of the bag and one short side for the bottom. Set aside.

Repeat the step with the remaining rectangles for the lining and set aside.

Step three: Squaring off the base

Take both newly sewn rectangles, which serve as the shell and the lining, and find their corners. There will be two per layer, with a total of four corners.

Place your finger inside each corner and make the material flare out, creating a triangle. Place a pin three inches down from the corner. With a ruler, mark a horizontal line.

Sew across the line, and repeat this step for the three remaining corners.

Step four: Make the handles

Cut a piece that measures 22 by two inches. Fold it long-ways with the wrong side facing out. It should now measure 22 by one inch. Sew along the long raw edge.

Attach a safety pin to one side of the long rectangle. Push it through the inside until the material's right side is facing out.

Sew two parallel stitches along the edges. This will flatten the handle and give it a crisp, clean finish. Cut the rectangle in half and set it aside. This will give you two handles for the bag.

Step five: Put the bag together

Take one of the bag’s rectangles and turn it right side out. Place the other rectangle, whose wrong side is facing out, inside it. The corners and edges should line up well.

Fold down the raw edges for each layer so that they face each other. Pin them together. This will create a clean line for both layers by hiding the raw edge.

Tuck handles inside the layers so that they’re even. Pin them accordingly.

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Sew along the newly-folded edge of the bag. Be mindful to hold the handles perpendicular to the bag so they remain centered. Sew a second stitch just below the first one to finish the bag.

How to make a reusable gift bag for books

To create a pattern that fits a book, place the book on the folded fabric. Measure two inches out from each side for paperbacks and thinner hardcovers. Measure three to four inches out for thicker hardcovers. Cut the bag’s rectangles accordingly.

Follow all steps, except for number three, to create a custom-fitted book gift bag.

How to make a reusable gift bag: gift cards

To create a pattern that fits a gift card, place the gift card on the folded material. Measure two inches out from each side, and cut the bag’s rectangles accordingly.

Follow all steps, except for three and four. For the mini handles, repurpose crafting ribbon and cut to size.

Pro tips for making reusable gift bags

  • Iron fabric before you begin cutting and sewing. This will eliminate bunching and uneven measuring.
  • Choose a lining material that complements the shell of the bag. For example, if the outside material is a bold print, choose a lining material in one of its accent colors.
  • Buy pillowcases and sheets at garage sales and thrift stores. They make great linings for reusable gift bags, plus you get several yards of material for only a couple of bucks.
  • Take advantage of fabric sales to buy in bulk and save big. Many seasonal prints, for example, are marked down 30 to 50% off right after the holiday ends.

Perks of making a reusable gift bag

Reduces single-use paper

Reusable gift bags are an easy way to go green with gifting. They replace single-use paper products, such as gift wrap, gift boxes, paper gift bags, and tissue paper.

Has sentimental value

Handmade gifts hold sentimental value for recipients, and reusable gift bags are no exception. Anyone can wrap a gift in paper, but making your own gift bag adds an extra-special touch. It goes without saying that it will make your gift a memorable one.

Can be repurposed

Recipients can repurpose reusable gift bags in countless ways. The bag can be re-gifted to someone else, or it can be a container for small items like makeup, hair accessories, art supplies, or prepackaged snacks.

Great practice for bigger projects

Those new to sewing benefit from ultra-simple projects, like reusable gift bags. The pattern is simple with only straight stitches, making it great practice for bigger, more involved sewing projects. Best of all, the project can be completed in 30 minutes or less.

Saves money

The average yard of fabric costs around $5 per yard. Depending on the size of the reusable gift bag, you can make more than one with a single yard. As a result, reusable gift bags are often cost-effective alternatives to single-use paper gift wrap.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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