Magic Gift Bag Tutorial

bag under a Christmas tree with title "Magic Gift Bag".

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to make the Magic Market Bag. It’s the easiest reusable shopping bag the you can make. Even if you’ve never tried the market bag, you will love this Magic Gift Bag! 

It’s magic because of how quickly it goes together. You can make one in under twenty minutes, so in an evening you can make enough for all your Christmas giving.

finished gift bag.

The size given is for a medium-sized gift bag, but if you want to make a custom-sized bag, check out THIS POST for instructions on how to do the calculations. It’s easy math, I promise.

You will need:

  • 13″ x 35-1/2″ piece of fabric (Whatever you have on hand – cotton, twill, poly cotton – will work. This is a great time to use that bargain fabric.)
  • 1 yd of ribbon (Again, check your stash! Any old pieces of trim will work. You could even use lace or cord instead of ribbon.)
  • 4 small grommets (Look for packages in your local craft store. Most come with a tool. You will need it.)

1. Finish the edges of the fabric

Zig zag stitch or serge around all the edges of the fabric. Doing this first saves time later.

Christmas fabric for making a gift bag.

Fold in half wrong sides together. It should sort of look like a bag already.

2. Make the magic fold

Fold the top fabric down 2-1/4″ from the bottom fold. If you have a quilting ruler, this is easy. Place the ruler along the fold, then turn the fabric down over the edge of the ruler. If you don’t have a quilting ruler, just mark a 2-1/4″ line on a piece of paper and use that to measure it.

making the magic fold for the gift bag tutorial.

Flip the whole piece over and repeat the fold on the other side. It should look kind of line an “M” when you’re done.

"M" fold for the magic gift bag.

3. Sew the seams

Pin the sides together.

side seam of the gift bag.

Sew each side with a 1/2″ seam.

4. Finishing

Press the side seams open at the top. Fold the top down 1″. Stitch down the fold to hem it. Turn the bag right side out.

top hem in the fabric gift bag.

The bag should be 12″ across at the top. Mark the top edge of the bag at 4″ and 8″ from the edge.

measuring the gift bag to place the handles.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, place grommets at each of the marks on both sides of the bag.

Instructions may vary slightly, but it will probably involve cutting a small hole, inserting one piece, adding the piece to the other side and hammering them together. Don’t be intimidated!

grommets in the top edge of the fabric bag.

Cut a piece of ribbon (or substitute) for the handle. Longer pieces make a longer handle, but you probably won’t want to cut shorter than 12″. Thread through the eyelets and knot the ends to keep in place.

ribbon handles on a black gift bag.

If the knots keep pulling through because the ribbon is too narrow just tie the two ends together to make a loop.

gift bag under a Christmas tree.

You’re done!

If you want to have a firm bottom so the bag stands on it’s own, cut a piece of cardboard 8″ x 4″ and place in the bag. This is helpful if you’re giving something soft or fragile.


If you enjoyed this upgrade of the Magic Market Bag, subscribe to my newsletter and get ideas for eight more upgrades. (The gift bag isn’t one of them!)

Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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