Influenced by my youngest daughter, our family made a pledge several years ago to go green by having all of our gift bags be of reusable fabric.  It takes a lot of bags, especially at Christmas time, but at least three branches of the family have been able to stick to the pledge.  The bags are either returned to the giver or are kept for the next occasion.

I wanted to make a different sized bag to hold the Halloween gifts I had gotten for my daughter and wanted to use as much as possible of my huge scrap collection and anything else that could be recycled.

I found two old dinner napkins (16×16 inches) which were very worn around the edges.

I pulled out a big bag of scraps of various sizes in fall colors – orange, rust, yellow, dark red, maroon, green.  I wanted to use an old piecing technique that uses a lot of small scraps and started out with a small piece in the center of one of the napkins (scrap piece right-side-up on wrong side of the napkin).   Then, I put another small scrap on top of the first piece, forming an angle.

I stitched a 1/4 inch seam, trimmed and pressed the piece open….

…then sewed a piece across the bottom of the first two pieces, log-cabin-style.

I continued around the sides of the block, trimming and pressing each time after stitching.   I continued to sew strips until the napkin was filled.  I put the strips at different angles to get a wonky look.

I turned the piece over, trimmed the excess fabric around the edges and squared-up the piece.  I also trimmed off the worn hemmed edges of the napkin.

Using the completed piece as a pattern, I placed it on top of the second napkin and cut the napkin the same size to form the back of the bag.  A piece of recycled cord was sewn to the right-side of the back piece.

The front and back were stitched with a 1/2 inch seam along the sides and back.  Then I stitched a facing to the top portion of the bag, turned it to the inside and hand-stitched in place.


The bag was turned and pressed….

…and was ready for filling with something good – and for recycling many, many times.