Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We interrupt this message...

Christmas bags
If you are here from the 7gypsies blog then this is the post your are looking for...we have taken a break from our Junk Drawer Calendar to give a sewing tutorial for fabric gift bags.  For those of you following the Calendar, I'll be back with another tag soon.  I think we still have two more to go!  For those just joining us for the Fabric bags...Welcome, we hope you stay a while!

Small Bag Instructions
Cut a piece of fabric (I used muslin) at least 7 x 10".
Iron fabric (it needs to be free of wrinkles for stamping).

We are using the same two stamps we have been working with in the Junk Drawer Calendar (I am a fan of using things that are already on my desk).
Nottinghill Clear stamp - script writing
Venice Clear stamp - Very Beautiful

Lay fabric piece on a craft mat (totally worth every penny for one of these).  Use script stamp to create an all over pattern on the fabric.  I am using  Archival Ink pads - coffee and sepia.

Stamp all of one color (Archival - Sepia)

Change to the second color ink (Archival - Coffee).  The finished result should look something like this. Note: The stamps can be layered on top of each other and some should run off the sides of the fabric as well as the top and bottom edge.

Use your iron again to heat set the ink.

Cut a small rectangle...mine is 3 x 2" (you can also cut after you stamp as shown in bag #2 below).
Stamp with the VERY BEAUTIFUL stamp from the Venice clear stamp set.   This time I used StazOn-Timber brown just to throw in another color.  You can stick with the Archival ink if you like.
Note: We are going to sew on this stamp as a patch so do not cut the fabric too small.  

Fold bag in half to gauge the placement of the patch.  I like to also fold under the right edge of the bag 1/2" (where I am going to sew the bag closed)  to see the true center of the finished bag before pinning.  Remember, you are going to tie the neck with a ribbon so the patch must not be too high (just test before you sew).

Once the patch is pinned on, you can sew it to the bag.

Hem the top of the bag.  You really have the option to leave it raw, zig-zag, pink the edge, etc.  Sometimes that depends on the type of fabric used or how formal you want the bag to be.  Lots of options here.

 Fold the bag in half, right sides together and stitch closed (leave the top open!).

It should look like this when you are done sewing.

Now here's a super easy trick to make a gusset so the bag will stand up.  
This part is totally optional so if you want to skip to the packaging and ribbon tying go right ahead.

Find one of the bottom corners of the bag. Make the corner into a triangle (in the picture you are looking at the seam on the bottom of the bag).  Match up the seam on the bottom and side, pin through all thicknesses and stitch straight across the corner to form a gusset.  I know this looks weird but it will work, trust me!  You can clip off corner of gusset leaving 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Since this bag is so small I just left it as is.

Note: I stitched about 1" from the tip of the triangle.  The further away from the tip you stitch, the bigger the bottom of the bag is going to be...and since this is a little bag we just want a 1" bottom.  Just remember the ratio - the taller the bag, the wider the bottom can be. 
 Here's how it will look when it's sewn.  Cool, right?

Now the only thing that left to do is add the gift, gather the top and tie a ribbon.

Large bag  
So let's do one more since Ive got all this stuff on my work table. Were going to follow the same directions as the first bag for sewing, just change it up a bit.  
Cut a piece of fabric at least 9 x 13".
Iron fabric
We are using the same Archival ink- Coffee and Sepia as used in the last bag. 
Start the bag the same as the last by stamping with the script stamp in Archival - Sepia.  
Change ink to Coffee to stamp a clock face (found in the Venice stamp set).
Your fabric should look something like this when you are done.  Heat set with iron.

This time I am using the 7gypsies Gypsy Year clear stamp.

Using Archival - coffee or StazOn- Timber brown, stamp December 25 on a piece of scrap fabric.  
Cut out (I used my roller cutter to do this).
I changed my thread in my machine to a Mettler Quilting thread (only on the top...I think it might be too heavy to use as bobbin thread).  I love the red color of this thread, it's No. 601.  Stitch patch onto bag, adjust placement depending on size of bag.  
I used the 7gypsies stamp Disclaimer (it is no secret this one is my favorite) 
to stamp this above the label
and this on the back of the bag. 
Note: You must remember to stamp at least 2-3" up from the bottom of the bag.  It might look funny but after you sew the gusset, part of the back becomes the bottom of the bag and if you stamp to close to the seam words will not show once the bag is standing up. Once you do one you will see what I mean.
 Pink the top opening (aka: use pinking shears)
Sew a zig zag stitch along edge to prevent fraying (same red thread)
You can stop right here and add your gift and be done, but if you want to keep going...

Go back to your sewing machine...this time you need a wide zig zag stitch and a piece of string twice the circumference of the bag.  Zig zag stitch over the string so that the stitch makes a "casing" for the string. 
Back stitch when you start and end so the "casing" does not unravel. Be careful NOT to catch the string when you are sewing or you will not be able to pull the gathering string.  Just sew SLOW and you can do it.

Pull tight to gather the top...love this quick way to make a closure.  And I just can't tell you how much I LOVE red and white bakers twine! I think everything should come with bakers twine wrapped around it!
Use these little bags for gifts (not just for Christmas) or candy...make them in a variety of sizes.  I am using mine for a Christmas Eve treasure hunt...they will be filled with candy or  small things like striped mittens, sticker packs, flower hair clips...all with secret notes to lead them to the next hidden bag.  You can see how they blend into the holiday decor at my house!

Hope you like the tutorial.  Please leave a comment if you might be interested in more sewing tutorials...and if you have any questions about the bags you can email me (the email link is back up at the top) or Deb (she's just as good a sewer as I am).


  1. BRILLIANT. love, love, LOVE this. i am working on some linen curtains with the venice stamp set. i must get them done asap too. and YES, please more sewing tips/tutorials. i've been sewing every day for the past several months and always looking for inspiration, especially from you two! SEW happy that you are showing us this. loves!

  2. Ok, this is just the BEST EVER! I don't sew much, and even I think I can do this! LOL I just love these kind of projects.

  3. You make just the cutest things!

  4. Paula,
    I am addicted to your blog! It's like Christmas morning everytime I check your latest post. I only wish I had every product you do (I'm workin' on it). Merry Christmas & thanks for sharing. Lisa

  5. I have to be honest -- I'm interested in everything you make!! I'm looking forward to making several of the bags. I, too, am addicted to your blog. Thanks so much for sharing. Merry Christmas!

  6. I love how you did those closure strings! Never seen them done that way before! I too love bakers twine (in just about any color combo).

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. great bags!!

    thanks so much for showing us the "how to's"


    barbara jean

  8. Thank you for sharing, that was amazing tutorial!!!
    LollyChops said...

    "I love how you did those closure strings! Never seen them done that way before!" - not me either :) Cool!

    Merry Christmas!
    Hugs from Norway

  9. Thank you for the tutorial! These bags are fabulous!!!

  10. Keep these lessons coming!Your tutorial for the bags is great.
    I guess I will have to start getting ready for NEXT Christmas asI can't keep up with you two.

  11. This is the coolest idea! Thanks for your tutorials - just awesome! Does ironing the stamping make it waterproof?? Just wondering, have a scarf this might be fun to use it on.

  12. hi Clever karen,
    You know, I am not sure about "waterproof" because to me waterproof means I could wear the scarf in the pool and the ink would not wash away. I know you are not planning to wear the scarf in the pool but snow may be similar (I live in Coastal, Caifornia so we only wear scarfs for show, not warmth). I think heat setting the ink will make it so the ink does not come off on your hand (or neck) as the case may be. My suggestion is to stamp the Archival ink on a test piece, heat set it, and then get it wet. It's really the only way to know how it will react to the fabric you are using.
    I would be interested in the results! :)

  13. I love this idea! I never would think about using stamps!

  14. Your tutorials are the absolute BEST. I look forward to whatever you do, but as one who likes to sew, I hope you offer many more sewing ideas. Happy holidays, and thanks for your fantastic blog.

  15. These are just adorable... I don't sew much, but I know I can manage these... thank you for the detailed tutorials... :)

  16. This is a fantastic tutorial~Yes, please, more!

  17. I saw this on the 7 Gyspies blog and had to stop by and let you know how much I love this project. Wonderful!

  18. Yes...loving the sewing tutorials, well for that matter all of them...lol
    You do a great job of explaining...thanks so much. Just found your site tonight...and I'm adding you to mine :)
    Thanks Girls :)

  19. Just found your blog and I love it! Thank you so much for the sewing tutorial...would love to see more of that...you explain everything SO well! thanks for sharing!

  20. I really love your ideas for gift bags! Thanks for sharing :-)