Something to Make In July

Something that I have come across lately, is that when I have received a gift, instead of using gift paper, they have been making ‘Gift Bags’.   

I thought these small gift bags would be great for our future sales table, for something that could be bought for children.  They could be made with a theme – Christmas, Spring, baby or toddler prints and a great way of using up fat quarters and remnants of fabric.  (Their finished size is approximately 9″ x 6″).

I found I could get 2 bags out of a fat quarter of main fabric and a fat quarter of lining fabric, although it was a little tight for having enough left for the handles.  I had more of the orange fabric so cut the handles from that, but for the pink bags, I used a plain pink fabric that I had spare.  

As you can see, I made 4 bags, but I don’t think those sweets will last long in our house!

Fabrics & Notions Requirements


2 Fat Quarters (one for the outside and one for the lining), or 1 Fat quarter if using the same fabric for the inside and outside of the bag.  (Each piece will be 16″ x 10″).

Medium weight fusible interfacing one piece 16″ x 10″ per bag and two pieces 1.5″ x 10″ for the handles.

Complimentary fabric for the handles if making 2 bags out of the fat quarter. (4 pieces 2″ x 10″).  However,  if you are only making one bag, you will have sufficient fabric for the handles.

Other Bits:

Matching Cotton in both Top and Bobbin threads

Fabric Scissors & Snippers

Rotary Cutter and Mat

6” x 24” Quilters Ruler (a 6” x 12” Quilters Ruler is also useful if you have one).

Soluble Marker Pen


Iron and Board

Quarter Inch Foot For Sewing Machine

Standard Foot For Sewing Machine


As I made 2 bags out of each fat quarter, when cutting out, I forgot that I would need some fabric for the handles, but fortunately had other fabric I could use.  

I laid all the fabrics out together, and cut through them all at the same time with my rotary cutter.

I had several layers to make 4 bags, but for one bag you will need to cut the following:

  • For the bag, from the main fabric, lining and interfacing, cut pieces that measure 10″ x 16″
  • For the handles per bag you will need 2 pieces of fabric measuring 2″ x 10″
  • For the handles, 2 pieces of interfacing measuring 1.5″ x 10″

Iron the interfacing onto the back of the main fabric and as per the measurements above.  For the handles, the pieces of interfacing are purposely cut half an inch narrower so that you have a guide for when you are folding them over later on.

Fold all the short ends of lining and main fabric to the inside by 1/4 inch and iron them.  This will be your guide later, when closing the top of the bag.

Open these folded ends after ironing, ready for when you will sew the sides together.

Fold the two fabrics, with right sides together, and pin the sides ready for sewing.


Sew a 1/4 inch seam down either side of each piece, using a standard stitch length (around 2.2).  (I used a 1/4 inch foot for this).

Keeping the bag wrong side out, iron the bottom fold of your main fabric and lining fabric, as this will help you to get your corner folds centered.   

Turn one of the side corners to a point with the seam running through the centre as in the image. You can finger press the seams open, it will help to centre this. (A little tip to help get this centered, is that you will be able to feel the recently ironed ‘bottom fold’ directly underneath this seam now).

When you place your Quilters Ruler across the corner, you want each side to touch the 0″ mark and the 3” mark, when it is lined up this way your 1.5″ mark should be lined up with your finger pressed seam (as in the first image).  

Draw a line with a soluble marker and put a pin in to hold it in place. Sew across this line, using a standard stitch length 2.2.

Using scissors, cut the corner off ¼” from the newly sewn line (both sides) and then turn your bag to the right side out

To make your handles, you need to fold the fabric as you would for making bias binding.

Fold each long edge in by 1/4″ so that the the two folded pieces almost meet in the middle.  Iron them down.

Then fold the fabric in half along the long edge, so that you have a neat strap with closed edges touching.

Using matching thread, edge stitch down either side of each handle, using a stitch length 3.

You will see in the image, a 1/4″ foot is great for this, as you can bring the fabric up to the inside of the right side of the foot, and using this as your guide, stitch very close to the edge.

Inserting your lining into your main fabric (wrong sides together), you will now need to pin around the top of your bag, and insert your handles.

When doing this, you can fold the edges of your fabrics inside along the line you ironed earlier, as a guide.

However, in these samples, you will see, I made sure that the lining fabric peeked over the top by just a millimetre or two, as I felt it gave a pleasing effect.

The best way to approach this, is to put pins in both side seams (matching the seams to one another).  Stretch the bag out and put a pin the middle of the front and back, to help to spread the fabric out evenly across the top.

The handles are placed at 2.5″ from each side seam, (I pushed them into the seam by half an inch to make sure they were caught by the two rows of stitching that are done next).

When pinned, lie the bag flat and check both handles match up as being joined at the same places (front to back), and also check they are the same height.

Using matching threads and stitch length 3, the next step is to stitch closely to the edge (using the same method as you did for edge stitching the handles will work here).  

In the first image you will see that I have used the inside of the right side of the foot to run the fabric through, to get as closely as I can.

In order to secure the handles, stich a second row at the 1/4″ mark.

Here is an image of your two rows of stitching, also showing the effect of the lining peeking over the top.

These little bags are quick to make and I think you could have one of them made within 45 minutes.

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