Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gift Card Bags

We find we're using gift cards more and more come holiday and gift-giving time.  I've been making these little "gift card bags" the last few years -- thought I'd share them since they definitely fall under the "one-yard-or-less" guidelines!

The bags are pretty simple -- the handle can be kind of special if you have a serger with holiday-colored thread for the bag handle.  Or, you could just sew a handle with some ribbon or scrap bias tape.

I like to stock up on holiday fabric -- after holiday season when the prices fall!  Plus -- I found these nice holiday "napkins" for .25 cents each -- bought a bunch of them to cover mantels and such.  They make good gift-bag makings, too.

You can see my Christmas fabric rectangle overlaid on top of my Christmas napkin.  I'll make two bags -- once from each source.

It doesn't take much fabric for a bag -- use a gift card or a credit car for a guideline.  I'm using my Metro bus pass here -- it's about 2 inches high by about 3 1/2 inches wide.  I didn't measure it with a ruler -- I'm just setting it on the fabric to get an idea of how much to cut.  Leave about 3/4 of an inch on each side.  The length should be twice the card's width plus about 2 inches.

After sizing and cutting a rectangle, fold it in half.   Place the card on the fabric near the bottom fold to check the sizing.  Trim the fabric as necessary -- a little too big is good, a little too small is bad!

Again, you want about 3/4 inch on each side of the bag -- and about an inch at the top of the bag (we're going to hem this with a double foldover -- hence the extra.)

Begin by sewing a "hem" on each end of your rectangle.  I used a simple double fold-over and hemmed it down with a straight stitch.

You can see I've already hemmed the left-hand portion of this piece -- I'm hemming the right-hand side right now.

Once done, fold the bag back up -- and sew a straight stitch down each side.  The bottom is already closed because of the fold, so we'll have a "bag" closed on three sides when we're done.

Don't worry about finishing the sides -- we're going to use the serger to both finish and for handles in the next step.

If you're not serging, you can sew some ribbon or some bias tape along the sides (and curve it over the top of the bag for a handle).

If you are serging, begin from the bottom side of the bag and serge up towards the top.  When you get to the top, DO NOT cut off the serging thread like you normally would.

Instead, keep serging -- even after the bag side passes the needles -- so that the thread tail continues to grow.  Then, curve the bag around so that you're serging down the other side of the bag -- going from the top to the bottom.

I've probably made the thread tail a little too long here -- my "handle" looks a little stretched!  Still functional, though!

I made a second bag using my Christmas napkin the same way.  Using a card for size, I cut a rectangle from the napkin, hemmed the tops, sewed the sides, then serged a tail that crossed from one side to the other for a handle.

And -- here are the results!  Use some holiday colored serger thread for more interesting handles (I was too lazy to rethread the serger!)  

Let me know if you give this a try -- I'd like to hear what you think!

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