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.