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How to make re-usable Christmas drawstring bags

I've been trying to reduce our Christmas waste for years. We switched from glittery and foiled wrapping paper (as it's not recyclable) to brown kraft paper a few years ago. I save every ribbon (a habit from my mom!) to be reused on other gifts. Last year though, I decided to even skip the brown paper as we usually only used it once and then it went straight into the recycle bin. Drawstring bags make perfect gift wrapping that can be used year after year. 

easy drawstring bag for Christmas

Growing up my mom and her best friend had "friendship bags" that were made from fabric and they would pass them back to each other every Christmas and it has been going on for more than twenty years! 

I hope these bags will be used by my kids and family for years to come and become part of our gift-giving tradition, sewn up in some fun festive fabric from Cloth & Candy. 

Want to learn to make your own? Here's a quick how-to:

What you'll need:

  • Fabric (1 fatquarter is enough to make 2 small bags... I can totally recommend Cloth & Candy for some gorgeous prints!)
  • Cord or thin rope for the drawstring (Bobbiny makes amazing rope from recycled cotton)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron-on letters (optional)

The first step is to cut:

You can make your bags any size you like, depending on how large your fabric piece is. I like to fold my fabric so that I only have to sew 2 sides. Remember, whatever size you want your bag to be, to add 2.5cm to the top for the drawstring casing.

how to make a simple drawstring bag

Then it's time to sew:

I used the tutorial for Easy Drawstring Bags from PurlSoho to make mine, but here's a quick sketch on how to make them. It's really as simple as folding your fabric over, sewing two sides but remembering to leave a 5cm gap at the top.

Fold over both hems towards the wrong side by 1/2 cm. Then fold the top down 1/2 cm, press and fold it again 2cm. Press. Top stitch this tunnel and feed some rope into it using a safety pin. Tie both ends of the rope together and personalise them if you like!

Ready to get personal?

Cut out letters from felt or glitter fabric and glue them on with fabric glue and you have just made the most gorgeous, personalised, Christmas drawstring bag that will save you money on gift wrap, but also cut down on waste as it can be used every year.

how to make easy Christmas re-usable wrapping

I am always on the look out for new ideas on how to reduce waste or re-use materials year after year, how do you cut back on waste at Christmastime? Do you have any special gift-giving traditions or favourite ways to wrap presents?

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