Friday, December 13, 2013

Stitched Gift Wrap

I thought I'd resurrect this post from the archives, as it's one of my favorite ways to simplify and save time at Christmas.  If you hate wrapping gifts, this post is for you!

You may not necessarily realize it unless you know me well, but I'm a pretty crunchy girl.  And I HATE waste of any kind, not just because it's not great for the environment, but because it's not great for my wallet.  For several years, the piles of wrapping paper littering my living room on Christmas drove me crazy (not just from our immediate family, but from the extended family that gathers here later in the day.)  It seemed so wasteful, but at the same time, how does one unwrap gifts if they aren't wrapped with wrapping paper?  I thought about it, and three or four years ago, decided to make a change:  cloth gift bags.  I asked my kids if they'd miss tearing into the wrapping paper, and they really didn't hesitate to say they could pretty much care less (they're awesome like that).

These are very simple bags:  three seams and a hem at the opening.  There are no drawstring closures, just an open bag.  I close them by tying a ribbon around the top.  So if you can sew a straight line, you're pretty much set and able to make these.

You may be thinking that purchasing all the fabric to make these will cost a fortune, but that doesn't have to be the case.  I didn't spend a dime on these bags.  I had piles of fabric in reds and greens that I was able to use.  Most people I know don't sew, so I tend to be given fabric on occasion.  Or perhaps my thriftiness is more commonly known than I think. ;)  If you aren't the hoarder that I am (I'm not really that bad, I promise!), you can often find fabric at thrift stores.  And while you're there, you may find old sheets, or even clothing that you can pick up inexpensively to recycle into gift bags.  It's easy to turn a shirt into a bag...many of mine were made from old uniform shirts that I had left over from an former part time job (see, now you do think that I am a hoarder.  I do tend to hang onto things that I think I'll use for something gift bags!)  I even used the sleeves to turn into smaller bags.  Those were the easiest, because I didn't have to sew the sides. 

We only use these gift bags for our immediate family.  I still use wrapping paper for gifts for anyone who doesn't live in my house.  And the first year I did this, there was a mix of about half gift bags and half wrapping paper.  It took a couple of years to make enough for us to use them exclusively on Christmas, but now we're set.  Last year I picked up four rolls of wrapping paper after Christmas.  It will last us for at least another four years, unless my kids go through it more quickly.  They tend to me a bit more generous with the amounts they use than I do. :)

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