Sunday, December 14, 2008

Custom Gift Bag

Face it, its difficult to wrap presents like the Animated, Musical Christmas Chopper aka Biker Santa:

It doesn't come with a box, and it's such an awkward shape, where are you going to find a box that it's going to fit in? If you can sew, you can make a custom bag for Biker Santa. This is another one of those projects where I don't do a lot of measuring, I just go for it.

Step One: Biker Santa and I move to the sewing room, and I drape fabric around him until there's enough. I just pin it on to get a general idea. I'm going for a loose fit here. You don't want the recipient to have difficulty pulling out the present, and ripping the fabric to get to the gift is generally not an option, is it?

This is a shot of the fabric after marking it, unpinning, and removing Biker Santa:

Step Two: fold the fabric lengthwise, right sides together, and sew it like a pillowcase (one seam lengthwise, one seam widthwise).

Step Three: if your bag looks anything like mine, there were huge "dog ears" on the bag you just made and test-fitted onto Biker Santa. This step will neaten that up a bit. Fold the lengthwise and widthwise seams together to form a triangle, like this:

Mark the desired depth ( I went with 3") along the seam in the middle of the triangle, mark and sew across. Repeat on the other side. That side doesn't have a lengthwise seam, so you'll just be centering the widthwise seam as best you can. I think the home dec and purse making books refer to this as "boxing" a corner, so if you can't figure this out from my pictures, check them out or look on sewing sites with similar projects. And, this is optional. If you don't mind dog ears, then leave them. No one will care, really...they'll be amazed that you sewed a bag, regardless!

Here's what it looks like pinned:

And here's what it looks like after sewing. I used a serger, which automatically trims off the triangles, so you'll want to trim them off if you're using a conventional sewing machine.

Here's what it looks like after the seams are made, the bag is turned, and Biker Santa does a test fit:

Step 4: up to this point, I've been working with the full width of the fabric. So now, I figure how much excess I want at the open end of the bag. Then I folded down a hem, trimmed, and sewed it down. No illustration on this part, again, it's like a pillowcase.

Step 5: Biker Santa went back in the bag once again, but this time I tied the bag shut with some pretty wired ribbon. Done! Easier and better looking than trying to wrap the blasted thing with wrapping paper. And if you buy Christmas fabric on sale (it's probably marked down now), not even that expensive.

Now, this project was a one-off, but there's no reason you couldn't work this out and make these assembly line style if you're giving, say, wine bottles, toiletries, etc. to all your family and friends. You could add a drawstring, finish off the open edge with pinking shears, or use the decorative stitches on your sewing machine. This is also an excellent way to use up stash fabric--there's no reason you'd have to use Christmas fabric.

FYI, I bought Biker Santa for a girlfriend at work who's quite the biker girl. I figured she and her husband would get a kick out of it. I found him at Walgreen's, which has a pretty good assortment of animated Christmas toys.

1 comment:

ACorgiHouse said...

Brilliant, I love it. And the Biker Santa is cool too. I need to hit Walgreens, I still have shopping to do. K