Introduction: Easy Gift Bags for Books, Video Games, and DVDs

About: Amanda is a squirrel brained cosplayer and maker with varied interests and the desire to try them all. She's blogs about her projects and inspirations at

Add a touch of class and ease to your gift giving any time of year by using these simple gift bags designed for books, DVDs, and video games. These bags are unlined and made from a single piece of fabric. The bag can be tied off with a fabric ribbon or any other material you deem suitable. The best part is that they are easy to make and can be reused by you or the recipient of your gift.

This instructable is suited to anyone who knows how to use a sewing machine.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

- Sewing Machine
- Pins
- Self-Healing Cutting Board & Rotary Blade or Fabric Scissors

- Large paper or sturdy fabric to make the pattern
- Fabric. Use the pattern measurements to determine the amount you need. I recommend cotton or cotton-blend fabric used for quilting since it is easy to sew and usually cheap. This pattern works just fine with fancy fabric, fleece, or old t-shirts.
- Coordinating fabric ribbons
- Coordinating thread

Step 2: Create Your Patterns

Using the measurements below, draw a rectangle with 90 degree corners on a large piece of paper or sturdy fabric.

Mark one of the Width edges as the fold edge for placement on your fabric.

Cut out the pattern.

My Pattern Measurements
Small Pattern: Fits DVDs, smallish box sets, CDs, mass market paperbacks.
Height: 13.25 inches
Width: 9 inches (mark as fold edge)

Medium Pattern: Fits standard softcover books and hardcover books
Height: 15.75 inches
Width: 10 inches (mark as fold edge)

Large Pattern: Fits larger books up to 11.25 inches tall or standard size RPG books.
Height: 18.5 inches
Width: 12.5 inches (mark as fold edge)

I determined these patterns by measuring the gifts I wanted to give and then adding extra fabric to allow the bag to be sewn and tied. You can create your own patterns based on my model if you like. I recommend over-, rather than under-, estimating the size of bag you need. Also, this pattern will not work as well if the final bag width is greater than the height.

The Height of the pattern includes one and a half the height of the gift, one inch for the bottom seam, and a half inch for the top seam.
H = gift height + half gift height + top seam allowance + bottom seam allowance

The Width of the pattern includes the width and depth of the gift, one inch for seam allowance, and an inch "wiggle room". The pattern's width will be doubled when cutting out the fabric by cutting it on the fold.
W = gift width + gift depth + seam allowance + wiggle room

Step 3: Measure & Cut Fabric

Fold your fabric right/patterned side together and place the pattern with one width edge along the fold. Pin if necessary.

Cut out the bag.

Step 4: Sew Bag Edges

Keeping the fabric folded over, pin the bottom and side of the bag.

Sew these sides up with a half-inch seam and in one pass. Be sure to back stitch at the ends of your sewing. The open end will be the top of your bag.

Step 5: Trim Waste Fabric

On the inside of the bag, trim the seam to a quarter inch for a cleaner look.

Trim off the bottom corners so the bag will have sharp points. Be careful not to cut into your sewing.

Step 6: Hem the Top

Smooth the seam at the top open with your fingers.

Fold the top edge down a quarter inch and then another quarter inch and pin. This will give you a smooth top edge since we are not lining the bags.

Sew along the bottom edge of your fold. Keep the line as straight as possible since the thread will be visible from the outside of the bag.

Step 7: Turn Right-side Out

Turn your bag right side out and clean up any loose thread. You're Done!

Now you can place your gift inside and tie it off with a fabric ribbon. The bags are just long enough to leave a little over hang above the top of the item once tied off. For attaching gift tags, I prefer to make tags out of old cards and staple them to the top of the bag.