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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Embellished Gift Bags {A Tutorial}

 So I might have gone a little overboard here. I made a lot of embellished gift bags. I ruffled, I flowered, and I put a bow on them. Now you get to learn how. Check it out.

 Once I got going, I couldn't stop. Seriously. Ridiculous. I even coordinated fabrics with different types of embellishments...

I might need an intervention. These are so easy and fun. 

I got this idea because I always get so mad when I walk into Target and have to spend $3.99 on one cute gift bag. In this post I talked about how I decided to just get the 10 for $5.99 pack and embellish my own for only 59 cents a piece. Well. I went to this fun little hometown discount store, Ollie's, and got a different pack (the teal you see) 10 for $3.99!! 
That's 39 cents per gift bag, even after embellishing if you use your own scrap fabrics!!

Wanna make some? Let's do it. 
Beware. This post is long and full of pictures. It's only to help you (and to help me) be more clear on how to do it. Don't be overwhelmed- this is so easy.  
Materials Needed:
About 20x7in of tulle
About 20x5 in of chiffon
About 20x3 in. of cotton
About 20x1.5 in. of cotton
gift bags
hot glue
Sewing essentials
For the ruffle gift bags, I basically used 4 layers of ruffles as labeled above. All layers are strips cut to be double the length of the bag. The first layer is about 5 or 6 layers of either tulle or mesh and is 7 or 8 in. wide (about an inch in from each side of the bag). The second layer could be chiffon to add more texture (or you can just use cotton) and is about 4 or 5 inches wide. And the 3rd and 4th layers are cotton coordinating fabrics, the 3rd layer is 3 inches wide and the 4th layer is 1.5 inches wide.

I found this great bolt of tulle that is a perfect width to start out with at Michael's. You can always cut yours, too. 
Cut 5 or 6 layers of tulle, set your machine to the highest setting on tension and the highest stitch length on your machine and sew down (for more ruffling techniques and tutorials go here).
 Once the stitches are in, to add more texture cut the one layer of tulle at a time so that the layers are different widths. I started with the top layer the smallest width and worked my way out.
It'll look like this when you're done.
 Then pull on the basting stitch so that it's ruffled enough and is just a little longer than the length of your bag.
Use your glue gun to draw a vertical line up the center of your bag and place ruffle on top, ensuring the seam of the ruffle goes on the line. 
Once the ruffle is glued down, you're safe to cut off the thread that you pulled to create the ruffle. (Not pictured.) Use your glue gun to draw a horizontal line (the same width as your fabric) on the top and bottom of your bag, then fold your fabric under and press down. 
Make the rest of the ruffles the same way (minus the cutting the layers into different widths like you did with the tulle) and glue on top.
And done!
Materials Needed:
4x60in of fabric (for flower)
6x6in square of coordinating fabric (for leaves)
1/4 yd or less of felt
gift bags
hot glue
Sewing essentials

I first made flowers kind of like these in my Easter Flower Onesie Dress Tutorial and you can also see a tutorial for them here which I used as a guide when making my flowers on the Easter Flower Onesie Dress. I did these a little differently in that I did not make the folds in precise places as the target pillow tutorial suggests, and I made them more loose than the ones in my tutorial by not stitching across the entire flower at the end (only the center) making the flower a little more free-flowing).

Decide whether you want thread that blends in mostly,
or contrasting thread and then gather supplies.
 First cut a strip of fabric about 4x60 inches and then press in half long ways. 
Draw a circle around a piece of felt. My bowl was a perfect size because it took up most of the bag. This circle will be your guide for sewing.  
 Lay the strip of folded fabric along the circle with the middle of the strip kind of on the line. 
Sew straight down the strip until it's time to turn and follow the line of the circle. Make sure your needle is down before you move your fabric and fold your fabric over 90 degrees. Sew directly over the fold and once you're in the middle of the strip, needle down, turn your fabric so you're ready to sew straight down the fabric again.  
Continue this over and over. As you work your way around each layer of the flower, work your way in as well.
Once you get to the center, turn the end of the fabric strip under itself and sew over. Then for added texture, sew a spider web-y star pattern over the center by sewing forward and backward at different angles. Cut any loose threads.

Your flower will look like this.

Cut extra felt from flower by folding the "petals" back and cut close to the flower so the felt doesn't show. Sew flower aside.

Now let's make the leaves.
 Cut curved triangles.
 Sew triangles onto felt with contrasting thread starting at the bottom and sewing all the way around using a 2/8 or 1/8in seam allowance.
 Sew to middle of the bottom of the leaf, then with needle down turn the leaf to pointy side down. Sew down an inch or so. (Now we're going to make the decorative stitching that will be the veins of the leaf.)
Needle down, angle the leaf away from you to the left and sew down and then backstitch to the original line and stop. Needle down, and angle the leaf in the opposite direction and do the same thing.
It should create an upside down Y as pictured above. 
 Continue that pattern until you get to the the top and then backstitch all the way down the middle vein (it's ok if it's messy) until you get to the bottom of the leaf. Snip loose threads. 
Cut excess felt from leaves and then stitch leaves together with a few stitches in a V-shaped form. 
Glue the leaves down first and then glue the flower on top.

Now this tutorial isn't mine. I borrowed Kate's Bow Tutorial from See Kate Sew, except I did not round the corners as she did and instead of stitching the middle piece of fabric, I just hot glued it, as seen below. 
 Don't make fun of my ridiculous mess of  a glue gun!! 
Then just hot glue the bow wherever you want on your bag.
On this particular bag, I was using a fabric with a birdie print so I had to save some to put on the bag. :)
Get creative! 
And done!

Now I have all these bags finished and ready for any kind of occasion almost! All of it created for only $5.76 and I have brown bags left over!
Just think about all the goodness you could create for Christmas! 

Thanks for reading! 


Katie said...

These are awesome - great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

those bags are a gift in themselves! so cute and creative!!

The Autocrat: Haley said...

Oh wow!! You did an amazing job!

Katie said...

These look so fun! I can see why you went overboard!

Mariah said...

What a clever idea, I love how personal you can make them for the recipient!

Life With Lucy said...

um SO adorable! thanks so much for sharing... I'm most definitely inspired to spruce up my gift bags now!

Jamie @ DIY Home Sweet Home said...

CUTE!!! More the Merrier Monday will be open until tonight at midnight. I would love for you to stop by and link up your gift bags.

Jennifer said...

These are so great!! I agree, cute bags can be too much! You've inspired me!
Found you on the Someday Crafts Linky!
Oh and I'm pinning these! :)

Jen @ lil Mop Top said...

love these! great idea! Way cuter than the bags at the stores too! :)

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said...

Oh my gosh these are the most darling things ever! I'm right there with you on how I hate paying so much for gift bags at retail stores. Love all the embellishments and girl I think you may made enough to last you for a year of gift giving...LOL

~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ said...

Those are all soooo cute and inspiring to make your own personal gift bags for your friends!! Love it!! :)

btanders said...

Very cute! These are ABSOLUTELY adorable!!

Unknown said...

Such a clever idea! I love the little birds!

nicolette {momnivores dilemma} said...


I just left a comment...but it disappeared. I will repeat myself.

Gift bags are highway robbery at $4-6 a pop...this is such a great solution!

I'll be featuring you next week at Creative Juice!

Thanks for linking up.

Fonda @Southern Scraps said...

These are fabulous! I've decorated my own gift bags before with paper and scrapbook embellishments, but not with fabric. I've got to try this.

Jamie said...

What a cut idea! I have lots of dollar store bags that could use some dressing up!

BluBabesCreate said...

What amazing gift bags! Come see a toilet seat to match!

Bethany @ A Fish Who Likes Flowers said...

These are so cute!!! It's given me all sorts of ideas! Thanks for the inspiration!

evie @ brown paper packages said...

Just adorable!!

Happy in red said...

Now that is very clever and I bet people will lave these bags!! How much fun is it to get a pressie and a bag like that. Yay!

Unknown said...

OMG I am totally freaking out right now! These are the CUTEST gift bags EVER! Loooove them!!!

Unknown said...

These are super cute! I'd hate to part with them, might even ask for the bag back after they opened the gift! hehe jk! Love the little birds one.

Anonymous said...

Those are really cute! I would love to get a gift in those! Or even the bag for a gift. :) That is such a great idea and saves loads of money! I have a party going on over at my blog if you want to join! I'd love to have you! Check it out under the "Stache Party" page on my blog:

Unknown said...

Oh yeah! Forgot to mention, I'd love for you to link up your post at my Tuesday Tutorials Link Party! :)

Kylean said...

What a great tutorial! Im going to try this soon!

Unknown said...

I love love love these!!! I would love for you to link these up this week on Wow Me Wednesday!!

La-Dee-da crafter said...

so cute and I would love to recieve a gift from you. I am thinking about starting to work on my own for Christmas. Thanks for sharing. i am following you now.

The Ellis' said...

Those are so cute! You are so creative! We would love for you to share this at our link party and come enter our free digital scrapbooking software giveaway!

The Sisters @ Six Sister's Stuff

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple said...

Those are so much fun!!! Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

Rosana Garcia Hess said...

Allie those bags are beautiful!!! thanks for the tute. I´ll feature on my blog. Hope you don´t mind
hugs from Brazil

Nicole said...

These are so stinking cute! I think I would make them and never want to give them to anyone, or I might ask for the bag back;)

Thanks for the great idea!!!

Christina said...

I am LOVING this! Such a fantastic and beautiful idea!

Tanya Anurag said...

These bags look so beautiful. Better than the ones available in stores. I love the flowers on the bags. Thanks for sharing.

We have a link-up party going on - Tea Time Thursdays @ Kreative Korner. I would really appreciate if you'd link up some of your awesome posts there. Hope to see you at the party.

Amanda @ Frills and Frolic said...

Love these! I am going to a shabby chic type party saturday and I know exactly how to gift wrap it now!


Jaimie said...

Wow! These are so pretty and creative! I love them!! I was wondering if I could have your permission to use one of your pictures on a blog post of mine - the picture of the hot glue with the bow? I'm typing up a post entitled "How to Know You're a {Pinterest} Pinner"... :) I would link right back to you. Thank you!

Jackie @ Gift Basket Ideas said...

Wow these bags are amazing! I am always on the lookout for creative and different ways of presenting gifts. These are just stunning. Thank you for sharing :)

BBCrafts said...

Such a great idea! These bags are looking so beautiful…
Before some time I have also made some bags by organza fabrics, but now I'll try this one.
Thank You for this post

Robert said...

Very Helpful and Informative post.
Organic Cotton Products
Plaid Tablecloths

rustamkhan said...

Ruffle Chiffon

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