Day 5 #CutTheWrap – how to make gift bags from old clothes

wrapping gifts with old clothes, gift bags from old clothes

We made it to day 5 of #CutTheWrap – woohoo! Today I am sharing how to make gift bags from old clothes.

I have a never ending mending pile, which I struggle to keep up with. One great way to avoid the mending without wasting the clothes is to use them to wrap gifts!

They can make a really attractive, unusual and resuable gift wrap alternative. If you don’t have any clothes that are suitable or want something seasonal, take a look in charity shops. I found a pair of PJ’s for £2 in a charity shop recently, that I decided would make great gift bags. Here’s what I did:

Octopus energy

How to make gift bags from old clothes like pyjama bottoms

Step 1

Lay out the gifts that you plan to give on top of the pyjama bottoms. You need to make sure they will fit. For larger gifts you might want to make a bigger bag. For smaller ones, you could get more gift bags out of it. It is important to leave a big enough gap at the top and bottom. This is so that there is spare fabric to tie up at the top over the gift.

The pyjama bottoms that I found were aged 9-10. As you can see they comfortably fit a couple of bottles of fizz and a couple of books in them. If your gifts are bigger, you will need a bigger pair of trousers or pyjamas!

Gift bags from old clothes

Step 2

Chop into 4 pieces. I made one cut around half way up each leg to make the bottom pieces. For the top pieces, cut down the middle of the waist band on each side. Next cut down the central seams to separate the top part into two pieces. Don’t cut over two pieces of fabric at once on the top part as it has more potential to go wrong

Gift bags from old clothes

Step 3

Turn the leg pieces inside out. For the bottom part of the trouser legs, you only need to sew across one end. I zig zag stitched the ends together to stop them from fraying, then I did a straight line stitch a bit further in. Make sure you tie the thread ends together after sewing so it doesn’t come undone later.

The top parts are a bit more complicated. However, you again want one end sewn up and one end left open. Remember to do the zigzag and the line stitch to make it a good quality seam! You might want to chop off the sticking out bit of fabric where the legs join to make it a straighter bag. It’s up to you how you do it.

With both bags, I sewed the raw edges i.e. the cut edge. I thought the finished edges look better for the opening.

Step 4

Turn your bags the right way out , insert gifts and tie bags with a ribbon!

Gift bags from old clothes

I think these gift bags made from old clothes look really attractive! It took me a couple of hours to make them and cost me 50p each. It would be a bit of a mission to make these in bulk if you wanted to use them for all your gifts. However you could build up your stash slowly. Plus there are lots of no sew ways to use old clothes for gift wrapping. Check out how here: No sew ways to wrap your gifts in old clothes

In case you are wondering if the clothes would have been better off left as is, we buy and donate far more clothes to charity than we can use in this country. Find out more about this issue here: Is it OK to haggle in charity shop?

Thanks for taking part!

That concludes my week of posts about alternatives to wrapping paper! Well almost – next week I have a post coming about other bloggers who have been getting involved and helping to spread the word about the campaign.

The week may be over, but the festive season is not, there is still plenty of time to pledge to avoid single use wrapping paper and to try out the alternatives. To recap:

Not using conventional wrapping paper might feel a bit strange at first. However, I think in a few years time most of us will be avoiding it – well at least I hope so! My hope comes from remembering the time when it seemed like I was one of a handful of people refusing plastic bags in shops. Now shops aren’t allowed to give them away! Awareness of our impact on the environment is spreading and step by step we are making the changes in the right direction.

Thank you to everyone who has joined in and taken part so far. Well done to everyone who will be avoiding single use wrapping paper this winter! I would love to see your alternative wraps. Please share them with on social media – I can be found under @ecothrifty on Instagram and Twitter. Remember to tag me and use the hashtag #CutTheWrap. You could also join my Facebook group and share your pictures there!

Black Friday

On a side note, it is Black Friday today and in Brighton, where I live, Extinction Rebellion are planning to do a free market in protest. It will be a stuff swap – bring things you don’t want and swap them for things you do. There is also a global climate strike today.

Personally I tend to ignore Black Friday unless there is something I actually need in which case I would shop and I’ve explained more about that here: Should you shop in the Black Friday sales or not? What do you think about Black Friday and what is your approach to it?