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We know you love fast and easy projects, and we also know Valentine’s Day is creeping ever closer. But we also know this doesn’t mean you want to skimp on cute or stylish! We have you covered with these sweet little sacks. First off, they use just tiny bits of fabric and ribbon, so other than a little bit of burlap, you’re likely to already have everything you need on hand. If not, the amount of fabric and notions required is small – or buy in bulk and set up a gift bag assembly line for all your Valentines. The finished bags are as cute as the proverbial button with a rustic style that works for young and old… and in between.

We combined burlap and cotton with pretty ribbons. Dive into your stash to see what wonderful combinations you can come up with.

From oodles of candies and treats to a special spa collection, these bags hold a little or a lot, and they look great doing it.

Check out our tutorial on Working with Specialty Fabrics for tips about sewing with burlap. Fabric.com has a nice selection of burlap from which to choose in both natural tones as well as cool colors.

These bags finish at approximately 6″ wide x 7″ tall. All the supplies shown were selected with our heart-themed Valentine’s Day style in mind. You could certainly vary the colors for other occasions and could even change out the heart appliqué to another shape or an initial.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Supplies listed are for TWO gift bags.

  • Scraps or ¼ yard of 45″+ wide burlap or similar; we used a 58″ natural jute burlap in khaki, purchased locally
  • Scraps or ⅛ yard each of TWO coordinating cotton prints; we used a red and white stripe and a red and white polka dot, both purchased locally
  • ONE yard EACH of TWO coordinating ⅝” to ¾” ribbons; we used a plain red and white gingham and a wired red and white chevron, both purchased locally
    NOTE: You can use lightly wired or plain ribbon. We used one of each.
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth, recommended when pressing burlap
  • Straight pins
  • Seam sealant; optional to seal the ends of the ribbon

Getting Started and Pattern Download

NOTE: Cuts listed are for TWO gift bags.

  1. Download and print out the one template sheet: Gift Bag Heart Template.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the heart template along the solid line.
  3. From the burlap, cut FOUR 7″ wide x 8″ high rectangles. With its obvious weave, cutting into burlap is easy; simply follow a thread in the weave.
    NOTE: As mentioned above, check out our tutorial on Working with Specialty Fabrics for more tips about burlap. 
  4. From EACH of the two coordinating cottons, cut the following:
    Using the pattern, cut ONE heart
    NOTE: We stacked our scraps and cut the hearts for both bags at one time.

    ONE 2½” x 13″ strip
  5. Cut EACH yard of ribbon in half into two equal 18″ lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the bag

  1. Place one 7″ x 8″ rectangle for each bag flat on your work surface.
  2. Place one heart in position on each rectangle. The bottom point of the heart should be 2″ up from the bottom raw edge of the burlap and the outer edges of the heart should be centered side to side. Pin in place.
  3. Thread the machine with thread to match or contrast with the heart fabric in the top and bobbin (the look is up to you). We used red.
  4. Following the rustic look of the burlap, these heart appliqués are designed to have raw edges. This means the outside cut edge of the heart remains as is. Simply stitch each heart in place, running the seam ⅛” from the raw edge. With use, the edges of the heart will lightly fray.

    NOTE: For other appliqué methods, see our Appliqué Tutorial
  5. Find the two lengths of ribbon for each bag. Measure 1″ down from the top raw edge of the burlap/heart rectangle. Place one ribbon at each side at this measurement point. The raw end of the ribbon should be flush with the raw edge of the burlap. Pin each ribbon length in place. Gather the ribbon tails to the center of the burlap/heart rectangle.
  6. Find the remaining two plain burlap rectangles. Place one over each of the burlap/heart rectangles, sandwiching the ribbons between the layers. Pin in place through all the layers, re-pinning the ribbon ends, along both sides and across the bottom. The top remains open.
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at each corner. Remember, the top remains open.
  8. To prevent fraying, finish the seam allowance. We used a simple zig zag. More finishing options are listed in the tutorial mentioned previously, Working with Specialty Fabrics.
  9. Turn the bag right side out and press flat, using a pressing cloth.


  1. Find the two 2½” x 14″ strips, one for each bag.
  2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press well to set a center crease. Unfold so the crease line is visible. Fold in each long raw edge so they meet at the center crease line. Press in place.
  3. Unfold the ends of the strip so the four crease lines are visible. Place the ends right sides together, aligning the four crease lines. Pin together to form a loop. Repeat for the remaining strip.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ends together. Repeat for the second strip.
  5. Press the seam allowance open, then refold each binding strip back into its original folded shape, following the crease lines. You should now have two continuous circles of finished binding.
  6. Slip a binding strip over the top raw edge of each bag and pin in place.
  7. Edgestitch the binding in place. If your machine has a free arm, now is a good time to use it.
  8. To secure the bag, we brought the two ribbons to the back, crossed them, then brought them around to the front, cinched and tied a pretty bow. The two lengths are long enough to experiment with this and other tie styles.
    NOTE: Because our bags are designed to have a more rustic look, we did not finish the ends of our ribbons. If you’d prefer a different look, you could make a tiny hem on each end. If you choose a ribbon you are worried will fray, use a line of seam sealant on each end, such as Dritz® Fray Check.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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