My sewing machine has been limping along, so my projects are all on hold while it gets serviced. I did manage to whip up one last thing before the machine went to the shop: a few gift bags for Christmas using allpeoplequilt.com’s Small Treat Totes pattern. With a finished size of 4″x4″x2″, they’re about perfect (if not almost too large) to house the jewelry I’m giving to my four older nieces, and the little finger puppets for the youngest.
The pattern differences
I didn’t stick to the pattern 100%. The main change I made is the fabric layout. The original pattern calls for two fat quarters: a light pattern and a dark pattern. The result is four bags, two with the light pattern featured on the outside top and two with the dark featured.
None of the Christmas-themed fabric I picked up (50% sale at Joann) had small enough patterns to pair with each other, so I chose to use my holiday fabric on the upper outside and interior of the bags, and using a green dot fabric from my stash for the contrast on the bottom of the bags. I paid a very small amount of attention to fussy-cutting some of the exterior panels, but for the most part just cut the required rectangles from strips.
As usual, allpeoplequilt.com provided easy-to-follow directions for the project. They have you construct two panels: the lining, ribbon handle, and outer panel (of the focus piece and contrast). Then, you sew the two panels together, turning it inside out and pressing for the finished bag.
In order to have a flat bottom, you fold the corners so that the two corner seams are touching, then press and sew a straight line across, creating a triangle of excess fabric (which you trim off).
One thing that is not clear in the instructions is that you need to do this corner treatment to all four corners. I realized this during construction of the first bag, but decided to not flatten the lining corners for sake of time. It results in a baggy lining with excess fabric on the interior instead of a flat one. It doesn’t affect how the bags look, however.
This is a great quick project that is adaptable for just about any gift or treat-giving occasion.
This is a project where fabric size is important: you will need fat quarters to cut out all the pieces without wasting a ton of fabric. A normal quarter yard cut is not tall enough to fit two of the panels on top of each other. I was working with half-yard pieces that I’d picked up for various other project ideas.
This can also be a great project for scraps—who says you need to cut all the panels out of the same fabric? The pieces needed are: 2 5.5″ x 6.5″; 2 3.5″ x 6.5″; 2 2.5″ x 6.5″. If you can scrounge up those pieces, anything goes, right?
The handles could also be created from the fabrics you use. I grabbed a spool of 75%-off Christmas ribbon. The pattern recommends heavy grossgrain ribbon (which is what I bought), but depending on what you plan on putting in the bags, I don’t see why lighter ribbon wouldn’t work.