In 2016 I challenged myself to use fat quarters each month in a project. And I promised to show you my creation by the 15th of each month.
My December project is a fabric gift bag. I’ll describe how I made it and show pictures, too. First, “square up” a fat quarter of holiday print fabric making sure it is a true rectangle with 90 degree angles for all four corners. The longer (20″) sides of the rectangle are the top and bottom of the gift bag.
At the top of the fat quarter, I pressed under 1/4″ and then 1/4″ again to the wrong side. The pressing made it easy to narrowly hem the top of the gift bag by machine. I rotary cut a 1 1/2″ strip along the bottom 20″ side of the FQ to make a tie closure. You could skip this step and use about 20″ ribbon (1/4″ or 1/2″ wide). For my tie closure, I pressed the 1 1/2″ wide strip in half and then pressed both raw edges of the strip toward the center fold. I machine stitched through all four layers, completing the tie.
The next step was machine stitching 1″ wide white gathered lace along the top of the bag. I back-stitched at the beginning and the end. If your gift bag is for a guy who doesn’t appreciate lace, you could skip this step or use rick rack or gross-grain ribbon in a contrasting color. At this point, fold the tie in half and stay-stitch it in the seam allowance to the left side of the bag. The tie is placed about 5″ down from the top of the bag, pinned to the “pretty” side of the fabric.
Now fold the bag in half, right sides together, and pin the left side of the bag to the right side of the bag. Sew from top to bottom, back-stitching at the beginning and the end as shown in the first picture below.
Place a pin at the bottom center fold. Match the side seam to the pin. Then pin and sew along the bottom of the bag as shown in the second picture above.
“Box” the bottom corners, stitching about 2″ from the corner points. Turn the bag right side out. Insert a gift, gather the top of the bag together and tie closed.
After the gift unwrapping on Christmas morning is over, my family knows to hand over the fabric bags so I can use them again next year. But I have been known to give in to the begging, “Oh, please, can’t I keep the bag, too?”
What about you, have you been sewing up some of your fat quarters? Please send me a digital picture (firstname.lastname@example.org)