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Felt Gift Bags

December 25th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Just in time for Boxing Day — that is, if you’re doing nothing else today — are these felt bags, shamelessly copied from ones Starbucks sells every December.  (Or, at least, for the last few.)

The Starbucks bags are much smaller, made out of much denser felt, and have a slightly elasticized ribbon as the closure.  Apparently, it pays to have a factory at your disposal in China.  (The Starbucks bag, which I bought, sells for only $4.00, so I’m guessing they’re not made by union labor in Seattle.)  I had to make do with plastic bottle felt and OTC ribbons.

The overall design has a nice retro feeling, and the contrast is so much fun:

Fortunately, plastic bottle felt comes in a huge number of bright colors (that’s about all it has going for it!), and is very, very inexpensive (and 60 inches wide).  Each of these bags cost well under two dollars to make, and are a lot less offensive to the eye than the horrible (and pricey) paper holiday gift bags that are ubiquitous this time of year.

Here’s the pattern (yeah, I use the fancy “freezer paper” method):

Drafting this is incredibly easy:  Decide what size you want, draw the front, add quarter-inch seams, then draw the base to fit, and finally, the triangle for the sides.

Stitching is likewise fast and easy; I used the side panel color for thread, and made sure to stitch with the contrast color up so that the stitching line was as even as possible where it was going to be most obvious.

I made myself a little scheme so that I’d remember what buttons I’d planned to pair with what bags:

Do note that there are some more somber combinations here, including a rusty burgundy paired with black, and a dark green paired similarly.  Something for everyone!

These bags were a little too floppy, so next time I’ll double the fabric for the fronts and sides, and stitch around the tops and the handle openings for additional support.  Made more sturdily, these might get re-used, a thought that makes me happy!  Regardless, they’re a quick, simple, and very rewarding little project.

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  1. Jill
    December 27th, 2010 at 00:21 | #1

    love this idea. I have lots of felt sqares that I dont know what to do with. Now I do! Thanks for the idea!

    • December 27th, 2010 at 08:26 | #2

      Jill, you just made me wonder how cute these would be made a lot smaller — it’s a great idea to use up orphan squares for them!

  2. December 26th, 2010 at 20:53 | #3

    Came for the gift bags but stayed longer…I’ve enjoyed my visit.
    Terisa

  3. Missy
    December 26th, 2010 at 20:05 | #5

    I LOVE these. As soon as my sewing machine is repaired, I will start making some. Thanks for such a great and simple idea! Also, most wrapping paper is now 100% recyclable, so I don’t feel so bad about it anymore. (We recycle nearly everything.) But other people would recycle these bags if they are not into the regular recycling habit. Wonderful project.

    • December 26th, 2010 at 21:46 | #6

      Hi, Missy — Recycling is good! I kind of like the circularity of the recycled plastic bottled felt being made into gift bags that will probably be recycled yet again. No trees harmed into the bargain, either! But I do wonder if the plastic bottle felt ever degrades when it’s eventually discarded . . .

  4. December 26th, 2010 at 04:41 | #7

    They are very cute, and would be great for gift wrapping.

    • December 26th, 2010 at 08:47 | #8

      I’m loving the idea of just being able to pull one out of stash and tuck a small treat inside all during the year.

  5. December 26th, 2010 at 02:25 | #9

    I love those bags! I might make a few each month for next year, having forsworn wrapping paper for the future after watching the pile of waste paper accumulate this year. Disgust. Thanks so much! I’m thrilled to have found your blog through PR.

    • December 26th, 2010 at 08:46 | #10

      Steph, I think I’m going to do just this myself, for exactly the same reason. Thanks for your enthusiasm about the blog!

  6. shams
    December 25th, 2010 at 15:37 | #11

    I have never noticed these at Starbucks, but how cute!! The primary pattern piece (with the cutout) – is that a rectangle? It looks as if it’s a bit wider at the top? Those are fun and whimsical and definitely good for reuse.

    I hope you are having a great, fun, and maybe relaxing, day! 🙂

    • December 25th, 2010 at 18:04 | #12

      Shams, I’ve only seen them at about three Starbucks — one in a grocery store (last year), one I-can’t-remember-where, and one at a Starbucks, this year, at a turnpike stop. They don’t seem to be very common, which is why I bought one this year. The cutout is a trapezoid, wider at the top than the bottom, which is what (along with the contrast, I guess) gives the bags their “retro” feel.

      Yes, today’s a lazy day. Well, a lazy day I spent clearing up the latest creative messes! We’ve actually decided to have our big meal tomorrow. We’re pretty awful about holiday observances, I’m afraid.

  7. December 25th, 2010 at 12:01 | #13

    OMG!!! These are the cutest bags ever!!! I am copying your instructions and making them ahead for next year. Terrific idea!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • December 25th, 2010 at 13:26 | #14

      They’re kind of addictive, Annette — I’m already eager to make more!

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