Make your own fabric wrappings! You can do what I do, and ask for your fabric wrappings back again… then you can use them year after year. If the recipient will be willing to switch to using cloth wrappings, then gifting them a wrapping will help boost their collection, and then next year you can get one of theirs, and your collection will grow and change 🙂 To go completely reusable, think about making gift tags too. Something like felt or fabric with the person’s name embroidered (or fabric painted) on…. so that it can be reused again next year too.
Choosing the Fabric
Buying Christmas printed fabric is best done in January, when the stores are trying to clear it out cheap… But if you don’t want to wait almost a whole year to start your fabric wrapping collection, and you don’t want to spend $12 a metre on the Christmas fabric, you can always buy the MUCH cheaper plain fabric (maybe red or green poplin.. should be about $3 a metre) or plain calico… and use nice ribbons to make it look more festive.
(hurredly wrapped, but you get the idea)
Or, if you want to go even more eco-friendly, look in thrift/op shops and buy good sheets and fabric remnants and use those. You might even find old Xmas tablecloths. You can make gift wrappings for birthdays and other occasions this way, where you wouldn’t want Christmas prints…. and who says Christmas gifts need to be wrapped in red/green or Christmas prints anyway…
How much fabric you’ll need depends on the size of wrapping you are making. It is a good idea to have some different sizes so that you’re not trying to squeeze a huge item into a small wrap, or having a lone CD floating around in a massive sack.
Plain Square or Rectangle Wrapping “Paper”
The easiest by far to make is a plain square or rectangle of cloth that you could wrap stuff in, like you would paper…. I get a metre of fabric and cut it into 4 – which I find is a good size for most things. Use a ribbon to keep it closed instead of stickytape, and you’re all set. If you have an overlocker, then you can roll hem the edge for a neat look…. if not, you could fold the edge over and give it a hem that way on the sewing machine (or by hand), or you could use pinking shears and leave it unsewn.
(the ribbon keeps everything held together)
It can be a bit tricky to use though, since it has a mind of its own and won’t stay folded like paper will. The ribbon should keep everything together, but you can always cheat with a little stickytape if you have trouble – its still better than using paper wrap.
Useful for larger or odd shaped items, and for kids who might have trouble unwrapping a ribbon-tied present or people who are getting lots of smaller things. They are easier to use because you don’t have to fiddle with folding… just pop the items in, tie the ribbon closed and you’re done! You could make them in one of 3 ways…
- Bag with no closure, and a separate ribbon – allows you to tie the ribbon to close it at any height, for more adjustability, but there is a chance you’ll lose the ribbon.
- Bag with ribbon sewn on – You’ll never lose the ribbon, but you are limited to tying the bag closed in the one spot, so no adjustability for times when there is more or less in the bag.
- Bag with drawstring top – You use the whole bag then, as you don’t have the wasted fabric at the top, you also can’t lose the drawstrings… but it might not look quite as nice.
To make the bag with the ribbon sewn into the side seam…..
Take your fabric and cut a piece that is twice as long, or twice as wide as you want it. Depending on the fabric you use, and the size you want to make… and if you want 2 side seams, or one side and one bottom seam….. you’ll have to figure out how best to cut it for your fabric. In this example I’ll be folding the fabric so that the seam will be on one side and on the bottom.
Pin a piece of ribbon into the side seam allowance, a few cm down from the top edge of the fabric.You want the ribbon to be a bit longer than twice how long you’d like it to be.
If your ribbon as a good side and a bad side, make sure that the good side will be showing when the bag is tied – this means your good sides of the ribbon should be touching… it looks wrong, because when you turn the bag, the good sides are together and you see the wrong sides, but when you tie the ribbon up, it goes around the bag, so it works – trust me! :)… so… good sides of the ribbon together and it should come out as it should. I suggest you make one, check it works, then make more… or use double sided satin ribbon so it doesn’t matter 😉
Now sew up the side/bottom seams of your bag. below is a picture showing how the ribbon is in the seam allowance of the bag.
If your ribbon has wire in it, you might like to remove it first if you’re overlocking/serging, or place it out of the way of the cutting blade. Also make sure you don’t overlock over the pin! Make sure when you sew up the seams you don’t catch the ribbon in them!
Then hem the top.
So there you go…. no more paper wrap!