If you'd like to learn how to make your own gift bags with encased seams, read on. As long as you can sew a straight-ish line, you're good to go. As an added bonus, you'll be able to brag to all your friends that you know how to make French seams. You'll sound so fancy!
Step 1: Select your fabric and cut it to size.
You can pretty much use any kind of fabric you want at any size - the process is the same for all. To start you need to cut your fabric into a rectangle. Figure out how tall you want your bag to be in the end and double this measurement and add on about 4 inches to get the long edge of your rectangle. The short edge will be the desired width of your bag plus an extra 2 inches or so.
Step 2: Sew up the sides.
Fold your fabric in half WRONG sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/4 inch if you happen to get carried away in any spots.
Step 3: Turn your bag inside out and press the seams.
Your seams should look something like this now. You're now working from the WRONG side of the fabric.
Step 4: Attach the ties.
Cut a length of ribbon approximately twice the width of your bag and fold it in half. Use a pin to secure the folded edge of the ribbon to one of your seams from what is the inside of your bag at the moment.
|Pin on the WRONG side of the fabric holds the ribbon in place inside the bag.|
|Looking into the bag with ribbon secured with a pin.|
Step 5: Encase the seams.
With the bag still inside out, stitch up both sides - this time with a 1 cm seam allowance [yes, I did just switch to the metric system mid-pattern...I like to keep you all on your toes!] It's important to use a wider seam allowance on this step to ensure the raw edges of the seam will be completely encased.
Voila! You just made a French seam! Go ahead and remove that pin that was holding the ribbon in place. It should be nice and secure now.
Step 6: Hem the opening.
Turn down the top edge of the bag opening approximately 1 inch and press.
Turn down the top edge of the bag opening another inch and press before stitching the bottom edge of the hem in place. This would be a good spot to use a decorative stitch if you're so inclined.
And....you're done. Here's one of my finished bags. Pretty cute, non?