I have been making some simple bags to put 'treasure' in for Christmas and thought I would share this idea as a mini tutorial. These are so easy to make and could be modified to suit any size of gift. They re-use old materials or scraps and are re-usable after Christmas, the perfect answer for an eco-friendly present season.
I started with a piece of felted blanket that I had previously dyed in the washing machine. I cut it into an oblong, twice the size I wanted for the finished bag. The nice thing about using felted wool is that you don't need to worry about hems or fraying, so it is easy to judge by eye the finished size you want and just add a little for joining and the channel at the top for the tie.
The next thing I did, using fabric ink and some stamps, was to print the name on to a scrap of fine linen I had found in a bargain bin at a charity shop (it was an old table cloth that was stained and damaged beyond repair but is perfect for projects like this!) I then folded the felt in half and positioned the label, adjusting by eye until I was happy with how it looked. Using a small straight stitch on my machine I attached the linen, stitching fairly close to the edge. I didn't hem my label as I quite liked the damaged, well-loved look but it would be very easy at this stage to just turn all the edges under and stitch them in place to avoid the fraying.
The next step is to sew a channel across the top of your bag - leaving enough room to push a ribbon or cord through at the end. This is simply achieved by folding over about 2cms on to the wrong side of the fabric and stitching in place with a small straight stitch.
With the fabric still inside out, you then fold your fabric in half and starting at the bottom folded corner, sew across the bottom and turn at the open corner and sew up to the top, stopping just as you hit your folded channel.
Your bag is nearly finished, all it needs is a tie, I used a piece of ribbon that had been saved from wrappings last year. I fixed a large nappy pin (kept especially for this kind of job) to the ribbon and fed it through the channel. Using sharp scissors I snipped the ends to give an attractive finish and turned the bag the right way out to complete.
You could make these bags using any fabric but I love the way the old blanket doesn't fray and that it has enough weight to make it hold it's shape nicely. You can personalise these any way you like and with machine dye you can easily make them any colour in the rainbow. They are great for birthdays, toy storage or for keeping all those nature finds in too (wonderful for conkers!).
I hope you have enjoyed this idea and tutorial? If anything in the explanation is confusing please let me know. I'd love to hear if you give the bags a try - Have a fun and creative weekend!