Two reusable embellished wrapping bags on a red sofa

Reusable gift bags

Holidays can be full of presents, but they can also be full of waste. Why not make reusable, embellished wrapping bags and give gifts sustainably?


Drawstring present bags, Japanese knot bags, scarves, scrap fabric, stockings and sacks are all great ideas when giving greener gifts. However, shop bought ones have some flaws! They can be expensive, they can be boring or impersonal, and you don’t know the conditions that the garment workers are experiencing in the factories where they’re made.

Sustainable gift-wrapping works when it used again and again. Why not make your own that can be brought out each year? It’s a great way to make memories with your family as they grow. Or make the wrapping part of the present and pass it on. Just make sure it gets used again!

two nutcrackers embroidered on Drawstring present bags


  • Scarves, bags, pillowcases, fabric or whatever you want to use as a ‘wrapper’
  • Embroidery thread, heat vinyl, diamante, fabric paint
  • Embellishments
  • General sewing and craft supplies

How to


To get you started we have a fabulous, free nutcracker pattern that you can download here.

If you want to embroider designs or names on your ‘wrapping’, you will need to stabilise your fabric. To get you started we’ve written an article about which stabiliser works best for which fabric/project, read it here.

Tubular items like bags and pillowcases, especially smaller ones, may need to have their side seams unstitched before you embroider them (sew them up again when finished). If you’re making your own bags from scratch, stitch out the embroidery before you piece together your bags.

If you want to challenge yourself you could make your own design on the Artspira app, and send it wirelessly to your machine.

Or you could embroider on scarves. Don’t worry, we’ve got an article about embroidering on chiffon and lighter materials here!

Nutcracker and snowflake designs on reusable embellished wrapping bags


Not an embroiderer? Or want to mix and match the embellishments on your bags?
Here are some ideas about how to use your ScanNCut to add your designs:

  • Cut out heat vinyl and press onto your fabric
  • Cut stencils out of card and screen print or fabric print
  • Use the rhinestone kit to add some sparkle
  • Use the rotary blade or fabric mat to cut small appliqué designs.

We’ve got lots of free festive designs that you can download from our Winter Wonderland Resource Centre. Or, why not make your own on Artspira and send them wirelessly to your ScanNCut?

Red heat transfer snowflake on Drawstring present bag


If you want to sew your own gift wrapping, you can choose how simple or complex to make it.

The easiest way is to sew a large rectangle of fabric and hem around all the edges. To make it more durable, make it double-sided.

If you’d like a bag shape, sew two rectangles of fabric right sides together, leaving an opening at one end. Clip the edges, turn through and press. You can add a drawstring closure if you like.

If you want to make a stocking, we’ve got a free pattern you can sew here.

Why not take sustainability one step further and upcycle fabrics when sewing your own? Old clothes, bed sheets, stash pile leftovers and pieced together scraps can all be used.

Tis the season to be sustainable

If you’d like to go as green as you can this year, why not make some of our other reusable projects?

Have a happy and sustainable holiday.


We can’t wait to see what you make! Remember to tag in Brother on Instagram and Facebook so we can share your makes and inspire others.


Credits: Illustration by Alex Rennie, embroidery by Riana Auret

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