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Fast Gift Wrap Sleeves in Felt & Cotton

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Slice, stitch, tie, give. Just four steps to fast and festive (and reusable!) gift wrap solutions in wool felt with cotton accents. Pretty bows and belts keep things wrapped up tight. We planned three different sizes and styles from glamorous to whimsical to guy-friendly. Each is designed to be saved and used again as gift wrap, or in the case of the All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom option, to be used as an every day accessory to carry papers, small devices and more – perhaps as a cool "drop in" folder for a larger briefcase. 

We chose a wool blend felt for all our samples, and do recomment a quality felt that can hold up to all the wrapping and unwrapping. Our friends at Fabric Depot have a nice selection of Wool Felt by the yard in dozens of pretty colors. It's very affordable and comes 36" wide. You can make a number of gift wrap sleeves from a single yard. You can also often find wool blend felt squares when you need just a small amount. We used this economical option for our All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom sample

Felt is so easy to work with. A rotary cutter and ruler (held in place in our photos by the cool Omnigrid Ruler Grip) make quick work of the simple shapes. And since there's no raveling, we used the seams as a design element, stitching right sides out so the seams show on the outside, which also means no turning from wrong side to right side. 

To give the edges of one an extra festive look, we switched to a pinking blade for some of our rotary cutting.

On the sleeve shown above, we also added a gift tag pocket in clear vinyl. This optional pocket could be added to any of the versions, making it easy to slip in your own to/from tag.

Holiday prints are new and exciting every year. Check out the hoiday selection at Fabric Depot to create your favorite combinations. 

Choosing the ribbon, twill tape or lightweight webbing to use for the closures is fun, and is what helps create the signature look of your package.

Our three sleeve samples each feature a different texture of ribbon: satin, a narrow grosgrain style, and a wide linen and burlap blend. Pull from your stash or have fun shopping for something unique. 

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
  • #14-16 Denim Needle (recommended over a universal needle to best penetrate the thick felt without skipped stitches)
  • Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful to make quick, accurate work of the seams)
  • Walking foot or Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome Ultra Glide foot (optional for stitching the vinyl pocket in place)

Fabric and Other Supplies

Long & Narrow with Single Wide Ribbon - finishes at approximately 6" x 10"

  • ¼ yard of 36"+ heavy-weight felt or similar for the body of the sleeve
  • ¼ yard of 44"+ quilting weight cotton for the flap
  • 1 yard of 1-1½" double-sided satin ribbon
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing

Envelope Style with Double Narrow Ribbons - finishes at approximately 9" x 12"

  • ¼ yard of 36"+ heavy-weight felt or similar for the body of the sleeve
  • ¼ yard of 44"+ quilting weight cotton for the flap
  • 1 yard EACH of TWO of ⅜" - ½" double-sided coordinating ribbons
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Scrap of clear vinyl for gift tag pocket (you need just a 4½" x 2¾" cut)
  • Pinking blade for rotary cutter

All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom - finishes at approximately 8" x 10"

  • ¼ yard of 36"+ heavy-weight felt or similar for the front of the sleeve or a cut felt square
  • ¼ yard of 36"+ heavy-weight felt or similar for the back of the sleeve and the flap
  • 1 yard 1" - 2" double-sided coordinating ribbon or webbing
  • TWO D-Rings to fit ribbon/webbing; we used 2" Dritz D-Rings  

Ingredients required for all sleeves

  • Omnigrid clear rulers and Omnigrid Ruler Grip with a Rotary Cutter - this combo will make all your measuring and cutting faster and easier, allowing you to set up you own Santa's Workshop for assembly line construction of all your holiday wrap
    NOTE: See our full tutorial on using the Omnigrid Ruler Grips
  • All purpose thread to match and/or contrast with the fabric; we used matching thread on the Long & Narrow with Single Wide Ribbon and the Envelope Style with Double Narrow Ribbons, and a contrasting thread on the All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom
  • Tape measure
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Seam Sealant; we used Dritz Fray Check 

Getting Started

Long & Narrow with Single Wide Ribbon

  1. From the felt, cut TWO 6" wide x 10" high rectangles.
  2. From the cotton, cut TWO 5½" wide x 9½" high rectangles, fussy cut to best center the motif on the panel.
  3. Cut the ribbon into ONE 18" length and ONE 16" length. 
  4. From the interfacing, cut ONE 5½" wide x 9½" high rectangle.

Envelope Style with Double Narrow Ribbons

  1. From the felt, cut TWO 9" wide x 12" high rectangles. Use a pinking blade in the rotary cutter to cut the sides and bottom edges of both pieces. The top edge of both should be a straight cut.
  2. From the cotton, cut TWO 7½" wide x 11½" high rectangles, fussy cut to best center the motif on the panel.
  3. Cut EACH ribbon into ONE 18" length and ONE 16" length. 
  4. From the interfacing, cut ONE 7½" wide x 11½" high rectangle.
  5. From the clear vinyl, cut ONE 4½" wide x 2¾" high rectangle. As with the felt above, use a pinking blade in the rotary cutter to cut the sides and bottom edge. The top edge should be a straight cut.

All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom

  1. From the felt for the front, cut ONE 8" x 10¾" rectangle.
  2. From the felt for the back and flap, cut ONE 8" x 15¾" rectangle.
  3. Cut the ribbon into ONE 20" length and ONE 5" length. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Long & Narrow with Single Wide Ribbon

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the cotton flap panels. 
  2. Place the two cotton flap panels right sides together. Pin around all four sides, leaving a 3" - 4" opening along the top edge for turning. 
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 3" - 4" opening. 
  4. Clip the corners and turn the flap right side out through the opening. 
  5. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long, blunt tool, like a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. 
  6. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges along the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  7. Edgestitch around all four sides of the flap. This will help the flap stay flat and closes the opening used for turning. 
  8. Place one of the felt rectangles on your work surface. 
  9. Place the top edge of the flap 2" down from the top edge of the felt and centered side to side. 
  10. Find the 18" length of ribbon. Slip one raw end under the flap. Insert the ribbon about ½" - ¾" at the exact center of the flap. The flap is extending up from the felt panel and the ribbon is extending down across the felt panel. Pin the flap in place along the just its top edge, securing the ribbon as well. If using a directional fabric, make sure things are running the right way; the flap will fold down. 
  11. Stitch across the top edge of the flap only through all the layers. Your new stitching should follow exactly in line with the flap's edgestitching seam. 
  12. Fold up the ribbon so it is now laying down the center of the flap. Measure 2" from the top edge of the flap along both sides of the ribbon. Place a marking pin at each side. 
  13. Edgestitch the ribbon in place, through all the layers. Start at one marking pin, stitching down the side of the ribbon, pivot, stitch across, pivot, stitch up the opposite side of the ribbon, stopping at the opposite marking pin. The side stitching should be as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible. The horizontal stitching should, once again, be exactly in line with the previous seams. There is no stitching across the ribbon at the 2" mark.
  14. Find the remaining piece of felt. Place it together with the flap felt, aligning all the sides. Pin in place. The flap should be open and out of the way.
  15. Find the 16" length of ribbon. Insert it between the layers of felt at the bottom center. 
  16. Double check from both sides to insure the bottom ribbon is exactly in line with the already-stitched-in-place top ribbon. 
  17. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the felt in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
  18. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top remains open. 
  19. Cut the ribbon tails at a diagonal and run a line of seam sealant along each cut end.

Envelope Style with Double Narrow Ribbons

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the cotton flap panels. 
  2. Find the 18" lengths of both colors of ribbons.
  3. Place a felt panel flat on your work surface. Place the interfaced cotton panel right side up on the felt. Align the top raw edges of the two panels and center the cotton panel side to side. 
  4. Pin one raw end of one length of ribbon in place so the inside edge of the ribbon is 2" in from the pinked edge of the felt and the top raw edge of the ribbon in flush with the raw edges of the panels. Pin just through the cotton, not into the felt. 
  5. Repeat to pin the second color of ribbon at the opposite side. Remove the felt so you're working with just the cotton panel. 
  6. Gather up the ribbons to the center of the panel and pin them in place out the way of the coming seams.
  7. Place the two cotton flap panels right sides together. Pin around all four sides, leaving a 3" - 4" opening along the top edge for turning. 
  8. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 3" - 4" opening. 
  9. Clip the corners and turn the flap right side out through the opening. 
  10. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long, blunt tool, like a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. 
  11. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges along the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Un-pin the ribbons and pull them out from the seam. 
  12. Edgestitch around all four sides of the flap. This will help the flap stay flat and closes the opening used for turning. 
  13. Fold the ribbons so they are now laying down the sides of the flap. Measure 3" up from the top edge of the flap along each ribbon. Place a marking pin at this point for each ribbon. 
  14. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and thread to match the flap in the bobbin. 
  15. Edgestitch the ribbon in place, through all the layers, making a long narrow box. The side stitching should be as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible. The top short horizontal stitching should be exactly in line with the flap's edgestitching. 
  16. Repeat to stitch the other ribbon in place, changing out the top thread again if necessary. Set the flap aside.
  17. Place one of the felt rectangles on your work surface. 
  18. Find the two 16" lengths of ribbon.
  19. As above, place each ribbon so its inner edge is 2" in from the pinked edge of the  felt. The bottom raw end of the ribbon should extend ½" beyond the bottom pinked edge of the felt. Measure 3" up from bottom edge of the felt along each ribbon. Place a marking pin at this point for each ribbon.
  20. Repeat to pin the opposite ribbon in place.
    NOTE: We set the flap in place to double check the bottom ribbons were exactly in line with the already-stitched-in-place top flap ribbons.
  21. Find the vinyl pocket. Center it side-to-side between the two pinned-in-place ribbons and 1" up from the bottom pinked edge of the felt. Pin in place.
  22. Tuck the raw end of the ribbon under itself (not under the felt as that would interrupt the line of pinking) to create a finished end, then stitch a long narrow box, just as you did for the top ribbons, to secure it in place.
  23. As above, remember to change out the thread color for each ribbon. 
  24. Edgestitch the vinyl pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, leaving the straight top edge open. We used our Janome Walking foot. You could also use a Teflon® type foot, such as the Janome Ultra Glide foot. Or you could insert a layer of wax or parchment paper between the presser foot and the vinyl to keep a standard presser foot moving smoothly.
  25. Find the remaining piece of felt. And the flap with its ribbons stitched in place.
  26. Place the top edge of the flap 3" down from the top edge of the felt and centered side to side. 
  27. Pin the flap in place along the just its top edge. 
  28. If necessary, re-thread the machine to best match the flap in the top and bobbin. 
  29. Stitch across the top edge of the flap only through all the layers. You new stitching should follow exactly in line with the flap's edgestitching seam. 
  30. Place the two felt panels wrong sides together with all sides flush. Adjust as needed so the pinked points align. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. Keep the ribbons and the flap out of the way of the seam.
  31. If necessary, re-thread the machine to best match the felt in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
  32. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top remains open.
  33. Cut the ribbon tails at a diagonal and run a line of seam sealant along each cut end.

All Felt with Belt Closure & Boxed Bottom

  1. At your cutting board, and using a clear ruler and Omnigrid Ruler Grip if possible, place the felt for the back and flap (the green in our sample) flat on the work surface.
  2. Measure from the top of the felt 5" down. Place the ruler ½" in from the side edge of the felt and trim away a 5" strip.
  3. Repeat to trim a 5" x ½" strip from the opposite side. You may need to notch in at the base of the strip with your regular scissors.
  4. Measure 3" up from the notch and trim a 45˚ diagonal corner. 
  5. Repeat to trim a matching diagonal corner on the opposite side. You are trimming off 2" in height from the each side. The center straight edge along the top will end up to be approximately 3¼".
    NOTE: We'll stop once again to mention how nice it is to be able to hold the ruler secure and steady to make a precise cut. 
  6. The illustration below shows you how the cuts measure up. It also shows the ribbon stitched in place. 
  7. Find the 20" length of ribbon. Make a narrow hem on one end. To do this, fold in the raw edge ¼" and press. Fold in an additional ¼" and press again. 
  8. Edgestitch the hem in place.
  9. Find the front felt panel (gray in our sample). Place it flat on your work surface. 
  10. Find the short length of ribbon, which is raw on both ends. 
  11. Center the ribbon side to side on the panel. Our 2" ribbon sat 3" in from each side of the felt panel. The bottom raw edge of the ribbon should extend ½" beyond the bottom raw edge of the felt. Pin the ribbon in place.
  12. Find the pair of D-rings. Slip the top raw end of the ribbon through both rings. Fold back the raw edge 1".
  13. Pin the fold-back in place.
  14. Tuck the bottom raw end around the bottom of the felt, creating a clean finish along the bottom. 
  15. Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin. 
  16. Edgestitch the ribbon in place, running the seam up one side – as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible, pivot at the top and stitch across as close to the D-rings as possible – this secures the fold-back, pivot once again, and edgestitch down the opposite side. Do not stitch across the bottom. Set the front panel aside.
  17. Find the cut back/flap panel and the remaining long length of hemmed ribbon. 
  18. As shown in the illustration above, center the ribbon down the middle of the panel. The bottom raw end should extend ½" beyond the bottom edge of the felt. The top hemmed end should extend beyond the top edge of the felt about 3¼".
  19. As above, tuck the bottom raw end around the bottom of the felt, creating a clean finish along the bottom.
  20. Edgestitch the ribbon in place, running the seam up one side – as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible, pivot at the top and stitch across just below the top edge of the felt, pivot and edgestitch down the opposite side. Do not stitch across the bottom.
  21. Place the two felt panels wrong sides together, aligning the bottom edges and the sides. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. Be very careful to line up the ribbon along the bottom edge. The two folded-under ends of the ribbon should perfectly align. Open the flap to keep it out of the way of the seam.
  22. Re-thread the machine to either best match the felt or contrast with the felt in the top and bobbin. We chose a contrasting green thread. Lengthen the stitch.
  23. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top remains open.
  24. To finish, we made 1" boxed corners that are visible from the exterior rather than hidden inside. To do this, use your clear ruler to measure and mark a ¾" square in each corner.
  25. Cut out each corner square.
  26. Reinforce the corner seams by re-stitching about 1" up each side and 1" in along the bottom on each side. 
  27. Fold each corner into a peak, aligning the side and bottom seams. Open out the seam allowance on both sides so it lays flat. Pin in place. 
  28. Sew across the peak, on each side, using a ¼" seam allowance. 

    NOTE: If you are new to boxed corners, you may want to check out our full step-by-step tutorial on the technique

Contributors

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

Section: 

Comments (2)

MPaula said:
MPaula's picture

In this case, the wrapping is as much of a gift as the gift itself. I can imagine it going from person to person all around a family and back again!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

MPaula - thank you! And, what a wonderful tradition that could be!

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