To make your own cloth bag, cut two pieces of fabric ½ larger all around than the desired final size. Hem the top edge of both pieces. Line up the two pieces of fabric with right sides facing each other. Sew around the three unhemmed edges and turn right-side out. To include a tie, cut another piece of fabric or a strip of ribbon about 2 feet long. Before sewing the sides of the bag, fold the tie in half and place the folded edge between the two halves of the bag along one edge and about 1 inch down from the hemmed edge. Sew the three sides of the bag as before.
Wrapping gifts in attractive, reusable pieces of cloth, known as furoshiki, is a centuries-old tradition in Japan. Furoshiki are versatile, because they can be used to wrap gifts of varying shapes and sizes. Bandanas, scarves or cloth napkins can serve as ready-made furoshiki, but you can also make your own wrapping cloths out of your favorite fabrics – even larger scraps. Learn more about this technique here.
Photo by Susan O'Donnell