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ScrapBusters: Heart-Themed Gift Bags with Side Ribbon Ties

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Valentines gift bag set #2 of 3: pretty fabric pouches with burlap and ribbon accents. Pull out your boxes of scraps for today's quick and easy project. We added simple casings as their closure solution, and give you two looks for the ribbon ties. You can cut your ribbon in half for matching petite side bows or thread a long length from front to back and make a single side bow... kind of like the 80s side pony - I loved the side pony. Cute burlap hearts add the perfect touch to say, "Handmade just for you, my Valentine."

The main bag panels are just 7" x 9" cuts, which means you could even use some leftover Layer Cake 10" x 10 squares. It's a great chance to experiment with different color and print combinations. The bags finish at approximately 6" wide x 7" tall.

We suggest a full yard of ribbon for each bag, which is a good excuse to sample a few of your favorites. Browse through the Renaissance Ribbons store or shop The Ribbon Retreat

A pattern is included for a perfectly sized heart. We choose burlap for a rustic look, and to blend with the other bags in our series. But you could use just about anything for the heart embellishment. Velvet or corduroy would be pretty and would retain a touch of texture against the crisp cotton. Check out our tutorial on Working with Specialty Fabrics for tips about working with burlap. 

As you can see from our photos, this bag's simple yet stylish design is equally as cute when loaded up with treats for tots or with gifts for a more grown up Valentine.

Sewing Tools You Need

Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Jem Platinum 760)

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies listed are for TWO gift bags.

  • Scraps or ¼ yard EACH of TWO 45"+ wide cotton prints; we used standard 44" quilting cottons, purchased locally, a red and white stripe and a red and white polka dot, both purchased locally, for our heart themed bags
  • Scraps or ⅛ yard of burlap or similar; we used a 58" natural jute burlap in khaki, purchased locally 
  • ONE yard EACH of TWO coordinating ⅝" to ¾" ribbons; we used a plain red ruffled edge ribbon and a red and white dot and strip wired ribbon, both purchased locally, for our heart themed bags
    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
  • Straight pins
  • Small safety pin

Getting Started

  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 template along the solid line.
  3. From EACH of the two coordinating cottons, cut the following:
    TWO 7" wide x 9" high rectangles
    TWO 1½" x 7" strips
  4. From the burlap (or similar), use the pattern to cut TWO hearts.
  5. Cut one yard of ribbon into two equal 18" lengths. This is for the double-side bow ties. 
  6. Cut the second yard of ribbon into ONE 30" length. This is for the wrap around single-side bow tie. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Heart appliqués

  1. Place one 7" x 9" rectangle for each bag flat on your work surface.
  2. Place one burlap heart in position on each rectangle. The bottom point of the heart should be 2" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric rectangle and centered side to side. Pin in place.
  3. Thread the machine with thread to match or contrast with the burlap in the top and bobbin. We used a matching thread.
  4. These heart appliqués are designed to be raw-edged. 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 edge of the burlap will lightly ravel.


  1. Find the two 1½" x 7" strips for each bag (four strips total). Fold back each end ¾" and press well. Fold back the long top and bottom edges ¼" and press well. You should end up with four finished edges and a strip that now measures 1" x 5½". This will become the casing for the ribbon ties.
  2. There is a casing on both the front and back of each bag.
  3. Place all four front and back rectangles right side up on your work surface. 
  4. Place a casing strip on each rectangle. The design is to mix and match the casing fabric and the bag fabric (ie. striped casing on dot panel).
  5. Each casing should be positioned 2" down from the top raw edge of the rectangle and centered side to side (¾" from each side edge).
  6. Re-thread the machine with thread to match or contrast with the casing strips. We used a matching red thread for both bags.
  7. Edgestitch along the top and bottom of each casing strip. Leave the ends open. In order for the ribbon to easily slide through the casing, it's important your stitching line be straight and very close to the folded edge - ⅛" or less.

    For a more rustic look, you could leave the top and bottom edges of the casing strip raw, folding back only the ends. In this case, use an approximate ¼" seam along the top and bottom. The exposed top and bottom raw edges can then fray. Pull a few strands to hasten the look. Or, launder the bags when done to accelerate the raveling.

Stitch front to back and hem

  1. Place each front and back rectangle right sides together, sandwiching the casings between the layers. 
  2. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at each corner. The top remains open.
  4. To prevent fraying, finish the seam allowance. We used a simple zig zag. For more options, check out our series on machine-sewn seam finishes, which starts with Most Popular
  5. With the bags still wrong side out, make a simple hem around the top of each bag. To do this, fold down the top raw edge ¼" and press. Then turn down an additional ½" and press again. Stitch each hem in place, starting and stopping at a side seam and staying close to the inner fold. 
  6. Turn the bag right side out and press flat. 

Thread the ribbon into place - two options 

  1. We used two different options for cinching the gift bags closed. 
  2. For option one, start with the 30" length of ribbon. Attach the safety pin to one end. Feed the ribbon through the front casing, around the side and through the back casing, coming out at the same side as where you started. You now have both tails on one side and can cinch the bag closed and tie a pretty bow. Trim the tails to your desired length if need be. '
  3. For option two, start with the two 18" lengths of ribbon. Attach the safety pin to one end of one length of ribbon. Feed the ribbon through the front casing. Pull the ribbon through so the amount of ribbon extending beyond the ends of the casing is equal on both sides. 
  4. Repeat to feed the second length of ribbon through the back casing. 
  5. Tie the front and back ribbon tails together at each side. First tie a simple knot, then cinch up both sides to close as needed, and tie a pretty bow at each side. 
    NOTE: For both options, 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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