Get crafty and sew up the most adorable gift bags ever! These gift bags are made out of felt along with some cotton fabric and wired ribbon to make the bag handles. They are a great size for small presents and gifts at 5’’ tall and 6’’wide (not including the handles). This blog tutorial includes free PDF templates for all of the pieces.
This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The free sewing tutorial in the blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The Optimized for Printing PDF download for $2 is totally optional.
I must admit that my favorite part of this project is the elf shoes. They make me swoon!
My other favorite part is the way that the ‘suspenders’ cross in the back. So cute! I used 1 1/2’’ wired ribbon for the handles so they stand up like this. If you want to get the same ribbon I used, here is the sparkly red and white striped ribbon and here is the black and white gingham ribbon.
The felt that I used for this project is a mixture of wool blend craft felt and acrylic craft felt. I dug through my stash and used whatever colors were right. The red felt is wool blend felt from Joanns and the green felt is acrylic felt from Amazon. Wool blend felt costs more, of course, and feels nicer, but I don’t think most people will notice a difference.
Some readers have asked if they could use Kraft-Tex for the body of this bag and I think that’s a really cute choice too. It simply costs more and that’s why I used felt. If you have any other questions please leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer.
Let’s sew Elf Pants Gift Bags!
You will need:
1/4 yard acrylic or wool craft felt for the bag
scraps of different colors of acrylic or wool craft felt for the embellishments
scraps of cotton fabric for the legs and pockets
1 1/2’’ wired ribbon for the suspender handles
iron on fusible web (such as HeatnBond lite)
small bits of polyester stuffing
1. From cotton fabric, cut:
2 from the FRONT POCKET template
2 rectangles 2 1/2’’ x 6 1/2’’ for the legs
2. From red or green felt, cut:
2 rectangles 5’’ x 6’’ (front and back)
2 rectangles 5’’ x 4’’ (sides)
1 rectangle 4’’ x 6’’ (bottom)
3. Use a pen or pencil to trace the rest of the templates onto the paper side of some fusible web adhesive (I used HeatnBond lite).
Refer to the pattern templates – they will tell you how many times to trace each piece. Trace the straight lines onto the buckle pieces as well.
4. Cut out each shape, leaving about 1/4’’ – 1/8’’ around each piece.
Organize the pieces by the color of felt that you will use for each one.
5. Place each piece on the back side of the felt (if your felt has a back side – mine didn’t) and press lightly with a dry iron to fuse.
6. Cut out each shape along the lines. Do not remove the paper on the backs of the pieces until specified.
Use a rotary cutter and/or scissors to cut along each line on the back of the buckle pieces.
Tip: If your wired ribbon is smaller than 1 1/2’’, then cut shorter lines on your suspender buckle pieces. See below.
7. Remove the paper backing from your suspender buckle pieces and weave the ends of your ribbon pieces through the slits to make sure that the ribbon will fit. It doesn’t need to slide very smoothly. You will simply need to put the buckle in the right spot for each one.
Make the Legs and Shoes
1. Fold each 2 1/2’’ x 6 1/2’’ leg piece in half lengthwise and pin. Using a 1/4’’ seam allowance, sew across one short end and then along the long edge.
Trim away the corners at the sewn end.
2. Use a chopstick or turning tool to turn each leg right side out. Place a clip or pin at the sewn end of each leg to prevent batting from going into the bottom 1/2’’ of the leg.
Lightly stuff each leg with batting. Do not fill the last 3/4’’ at the top with batting either.
3. Remove the paper from the backs of the shoes and the shoe buckle pieces. Arrange the two buckles on top of two opposite shoe pieces. Press to fuse.
Tip: I found that both wool and acrylic felt fused best when my iron was on the steam setting and the high heat (cotton fabric) setting. Press for up to 10 seconds to fuse well. If you are worried about using the high heat setting on acrylic felt, you can start with a lower temperature and see what works for you.
4. Turn the two shoes with buckles over. Remove the clips from the bottom of the legs. Pin the bottom of the legs to the back of the shoe pieces as seen above. The legs should go ‘into’ the shoes by only about 1/2’’.
Stitch across each leg to secure.
5. Wad up a small piece of stuffing and place in the center of the shoe (optional). You could use a cotton ball instead!
Place the opposite shoe (no buckle) on top for the back of the shoe, and press to fuse both sides of the shoe together.
6. Stitch around the outside edge of each shoe with a straight stitch (1/8’’ from the edge) or a decorative stitch. I used my sewing machine’s blanket stitch.
This step is optional since the shoes should already be fused permanently.
7. Remove the papers from all four ‘shoe fur’ pieces. Place one on either side of a leg at the top of the shoe. Match up the edges and press to fuse. You can sew around these pieces too if you wish (I didn’t).
Repeat for both cute legs!
Sew the Bag Together
1. Fold each pocket piece in half and press to make a double sided pocket. Pin the pockets to one of the 5’’ x 6’’ bag rectangles. This will be the front of the bag.
The two pockets should be evenly spaced with the folded edge at the top, about 1/2’’ from the bottom and side edges of the felt piece.
2. Stitch around the curved edges of each pocket piece using a striaght stitch 1/8’’ from the edge or a decorative stitch. I used my blanket stitch again.
3. Turn the piece over and pin the top ends of the legs right underneath each pocket. The top end of each leg should overlap the back of the felt piece by about 1/2’’.
4. Stitch across each leg to secure.
Tip: Turn the piece over and carefully move your pins to the front side. Then stitch across the bottom of the felt (1/8’’ from the edge), catching the leg underneath. Use thread that matches the color of the felt. This way, your stitching will blend in when you sew the bottom of the bag on in the next step.
5. Turn the front of the back over, and lay the 4’’ x 6’’ bottom piece on top, lining up the bottom edge. Pin from the front.
Stitch across the bottom edge, 1/8’’ from the edge. Sew over the stitching that secured the legs (if possible) to hide it.
Note: We are sewing this bag with the felt pieces placed wrong sides together so the seams will be on the outside. This is a very cute look with felt!
6. Open the pieces and place the remaining 5’’ x 6’’ felt piece (the bag back) against the remaining long edge of the bag bottom (wrong sides together). Stitch with a 1/8’’ seam allowance.
7. Open the seams and place a 5’’ x 4’’ side piece along the side of the bag front, wrong sides together.
Flip the bag over and pin from the front.
8. The side edges look best when they are only sewn to the bottom seam, not over it. On one side of the bag, you can start at the top and sew down to the bottom seam with a 1/8’’ seam allowance.
When sewing the other bag side to the front, it’s easiest to start at the bottom (right above the seam)
All of the felt rectangles should be attached now.
9. Pin and stitch each side to the back of the bag the same way that you sewed the sides to the front.
10. Finally, flatten the side bottom edge against the bottom of the bag and pin the open edges together.
Stitch across with a 1/8’’ seam allowance.
Finishing the Gift Bag
Place the 13’’ pieces of wired ribbon through the suspender buckle pieces, if you haven’t already.
1. Pin the bottom ends of the ribbon to the front top edge of the bag. They should overlap by about 1/2’’
2. Stitch across the ends of the ribbon to secure. If your sewing machine has a free arm, this is the perfect time to use it,
3. Criss-cross the ribbon in the back and pin at an angle as seen above.
4. Stitch across the ribbon in the back, sewing along the top edge of the bag so you can trim away the extra ribbon below (see top right).
5. To make the front belt, remove the paper from the back of the two small yellow button pieces and fuse them to the ends of the belt.
Then remove the paper from the back of the belt and the belt buckle. Slide the large buckle through the belt.
6. Fuse the belt to the front of the bag, with the top edge of the belt just above the top edge of the bag.
7. Remove the paper from the remaining belt piece and fuse it to the back of the bag. I like to fold the bag like a grocery store paper bag and press it flat so that the only wrinkles left are straight lines on the sides and bottom.
I love to see the things you make with my tutorials! Post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look.
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