How to make organza bags

red ribbon image by Liz Van Steenburgh from

Organza bags are not only pretty and useful, they also make an environmentally-friendly alternative to gift wrap or paper bags as they can be used over and over again. Organza bags, in a variety of sizes, are widely available in stores, but making your own will save you money and allow you to customise the colour and size. Although organza is not the easiest fabric to handle, anyone with basic sewing skills should be able to make these simple bags. French seams give the bags a neat finished look.

Decide how many inches long and wide you wish the finished bag to be. Double the length and add 1/2 inch for a hem allowance. Add 1 inch to the width for a seam allowance.

Cut a rectangle of organza using the dimensions determined in Step 1. Fold the rectangle in half (lengthwise) with the wrong sides together. Place a few pins along the side edges to hold the two layers together.

Thread your sewing machine and select a straight stitch setting. Sew the two side seams, stitching ¼ inch from the edges of the fabric. Remove the pins.

Trim the seam allowances to about 1/8 inch using scissors, and trim any long thread ends. Turn the bag inside out so that the wrong sides of the fabric are facing out and press the seams flat so that the stitching line is along the fold.

Sew another set of side seams ¼ inch from the folded edges. This will encase the raw edges of the first set of seams.

Fold the upper (raw) edge of the bag over to the wrong side by ¼ inch, then by another ¼ inch. Pin around the hem.

Remove the table attachment from your sewing machine, if possible. Stitch along the lower folded edge of the hem, making sure you keep the opposite side of the bag from the one you are sewing out of the way. Trim long thread ends and turn the bag right-sides out.

Cut a long, narrow strip of organza to make a tie for the bag. Make it twice as wide, plus a ½ inch, as you want the finished tie to be.

Fold the strip of organza in half lengthwise, pin through both layers along the entire length, then sew a straight seam ¼ inch from the raw edges.

Turn this tube right-sides out using the blunt end of a narrow knitting needle, wooden skewer or chopstick to help push the fabric through. Press the tube flat.

Tuck the two short ends of the tie inside and stitch along the outer edges. Sew the tie to the bag: pin the centre of the tie to the outside of the bag, about 1 inch from the upper edge, and sew a few stitches back and forth to hold it in place.

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