Designing and Sewing Custom Gift Bags

I don’t know about you, but I love custom gifts. What about the packaging the gift is wrapped in? Here are a couple of ideas for designing custom gift bags, that can be used all year long and for any gift giving occasion! You don’t need a lot of fabric for these gift bags, quite often I will use leftover scraps from my latest projects. The bag can be any size depending on the gift you are wrapping or the amount of fabric you have to work with. This bag has final measurements of 9 inches wide by 8 inches tall.


Sewing Machine: PQ1500SLPRW
Features: Fabric Separator ScanNCut

Pattern Pieces to cut:

Fabric for Bag
  • cut 1: 10” X 19”
  • cut 1: 10” X 19”
Fusible Fleece
  • cut 1: 10” X 19”
Fabric for Embellishment
  • cut 1: 12” x 12”
Ultra Bond-light
  • cut 1: 12” x 12”
Straps (1/2” to 1” wide ribbon)
  • Cut 2: 16” long
  • Cut 1: 20” long
Just about any fabric will work for this gift bag and I encourage you to think outside the box. I’ve chosen four-way stretch bathing suit fabric of the outside of the bag and tissue lame’ for the lining and ScanNCut embellishment. Both fabrics are very slinky and can be difficult to work with, so here are a few tips for sewing and designing success!

Steps to Make Your Custom Gift Bag

Prepare Fabric for Gift Bag

  1. Press fusible fleece interfacing to the wrong side of the bag fabric.
  1. Trim off any excess interfacing.

Embellishing with the ScanNCut

  1. Prepare the fabric by pressing Ultra Bond light to the wrong side of the tissue lame or the fabric for embellishing on the ScanNCut.
  1. Place the fabric with the paper side of the Ultra Bond down onto the ScanNCut mat.
  1. Scan in the fabric and test cut.
Designer Tip: I am using the standard blade and my blade is set at 4 for this fabric. Your blade setting might be different depending on how often your blade has been used. It’s better to err towards the lighter side than risk cutting into the mat... and test cut!!
  1. I have chosen snow flake designs built into the ScanNCut; other ideas would be to download your own image or scan in an illustration.
  1. Choose various snowflake designs, adjusting the amount and size. Continue to add designs to the cutting screen. Cut the designs.
  1. Remove the designs from the ScanNCut mat.
  1. The bottom of the bag, when finished, is 3 inches wide. Using a quilting ruler and fabric marking tool (I am using tailor’s chalk), mark the center of the fabric. Mark another line 1½ inches on either side of the center as shown.
  1. Peel away the paper part of the Ultra Bond from the back of the design. Place the snowflake designs randomly over the bag, avoiding the center 3”.
  1. Using a press cloth, press the snowflakes onto the fabric.

Sewing the Gift Bag

  1. Align each strap to both of the shorter ends of the bag. The ribbon should be about 3” from the edge of the fabric.
  1. Stitch the straps in place.
  1. Fold the bag with right sides together as shown.
  1. Stitch down each side of the bag with a ½” seam allowance.
Designer Tip: The PQ1500SLPRW offers an attachment called the fabric separator. This tool slides in between the layers of fabric and helps guide the fabric. Engage the pin tuck feature in the feed dogs and slide the fabric in between the fabric separator. This really helps when sewing difficult fabrics!
  1. To create the boxed bottom for the bag measure 1 ½” from the center bottom. Finger press open the seam allowances and stitch across as shown.
  1. Do the same for both corners.
  1. Fold the lining in half and follow steps 4 through 6.
  1. Turn the lining right side out.
  1. Slide the lining into the bag fabric, right sides of the fabric should be facing each other.
  1. Stitch the lining to the bag along the upper edge with a ½” seam allowance leaving a 3” opening.
  1. Turn bag right side out, and slide lining into bag.
  1. Turn the seam allowances of the opening into the bag.
  1. Fold the straps out away from the bag and topstitch ¼” from the top edge of the bag. Be sure to push the lining towards the inside of the bag and close the 3” opening.
  1. If you are not adding trim, the bag is finished.

Embellishing with Trim

All year long I keep my eye on bargain bins for unique items to use as trim: feathers, faux fur, fringe, ribbon, crocheted trim, etc. Once your gift bag is finished, lay different embellishments across the top and find the perfect effect for any season! For this bag I have chosen a fringe trim and the silver ribbon.
  1. Align the first trim with the top edge of the bag.
  1. Stitch. Attach the trim all the way around the bag. Overlap the trim about ½” when you get to the end. If it's the outer most layer of trim and a trim that will unravel, be sure to fold the end under about 1/2" before you stitch down that last 1/2" of overlapped trim.
  1. Layer the second trim or ribbon over the first trim and stitch.
This custom bag can be used all year long for any holiday, birthday, baby shower, you name it! I have plans to use mine for New Year's already!! Be sure to share photo’s of your own custom bags and be sure to tag us at #BrotherSews #StitchingSewcial and #AngelaWolfPatterns. Happy New Year's! Angela angelas-sig