Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sew what?

My mom gave me her old sewing machine the summer before I turned 23. That was the summer I graduated from college; as well as the year Squeeze and I were married. I wasn't sure how to use it at first, but I was grateful for it: the potential was exciting.

Not unlike canning, I wanted to start on something easy. My main goal was to use it with enough frequency to keep myself familiar with the workings of the machine. At some point, I'd like to get a little more heavy-duty with it (why on earth didn't I give it a try before I had a baby??). However, for now the answer is: gift bags. No patterns, pretty to look at, re-usable.

I've been making them each winter for 4-5 years now: both sides of the family has enough built up to use each year. We trade them back and forth every Christmas; my eventual goal is to phase out wrapping paper completely. I purchased the holiday-themed cloth at our local fabric store after Christmas, with the post-holiday-craze discount prices: 50% or more off, I believe.

They are so easy - simply:
  • Cut to fit the particular present
  • Hem the top on each side
  • Stitch up the sides

You can use it as a bag, with ribbon tied around the top. Or, like I did last year (pictured), use the bags like wrapping paper and fold to fit: secure with ribbons and bows.

Here is another inside into my insanity: I save all the excess ribbon, bows, and ties each holiday to use the following year. Why throw them out?

Gift bags don't have to be limited to Christmas: with the right fabric, they can be used for any gift-giving occasion or birthday. They are pretty, interesting to look at, fun to make, and twice as fun to give.


Jenni said...

What a fun idea :) So does the receiver keep the gift bag or give it back to the giver? Thanks for the tip, Aidan was very impressed, he wanted to see them closer and probably open them if he could! :)

a. borealis said...

The receiver keeps the bag. Since most of them are given to family members, they get moved around back and forth each holiday amongst the families. And for winter birthdays, too (now that I think of it).

I've given them to non-family members as well, and they've kept the bags - either to pass on or use themselves. One of my friends liked her bag so much (it was blue with wind-whipped snowflakes) that she kept her knitting supplies in it.

That's so cute that Aidan liked them so much. :)

TulipGrrl said...

One of the big "treasures" we got in Ukraine when another American family moved away, was a box of wrapping paper and supplies, which had been reused through the years.

Last year I used brown paper bags (or craft paper when necessary) for wrapping, raffia for bows, and gingerbread cookies for tags. I liked it, and I liked how the gifts from our family were identifiable when we went to my ILs. But. . . under our tree, having everything variations of brown was a little. . . plain. . .