Christmas Gift Storage Bag

Christmas gift storage bag

Christmas gift storage bag

The Christmas gift storage bag could of course be used at any time for general storage and tidying up.  However I thought that at this time of year it would be a useful idea for transporting Christmas gifts to their various destinations.  No doubt you are far more organised than I am and have already made all your Christmas gifts!

The body of the bag measures about 24″ high by 11″ wide by 7″ deep.  I’ve used just over 3/4 yard of the main fabric with 1/4 yard of an alternate fabric..  I’ve used French seams for the sides to make it stronger and the outer bag is made with cotton canvas for the same reason.

Cutting requirements for the Christmas gift storage bag

Main fabric:  two rectangles 25″ by 12″, two rectangles 8″ by 12″, on rectangle 23.1/2″ by 6.1/2″, one 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric.

Alternate fabric:  one 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width for the strap linings, two 2.1/2″ strip cut across the width of fabric for the facing.

Sew with right sides together

Sew with right sides together

Make the body of the outer bag

Place a 25″ rectangle and a 12″ rectangle with right sides together.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Repeat with the other pair of rectangles.  This gives you a normal looking seam.

Sew a second seam

Sew a second seam

Press the seam allowances and then fold the seam so that the fabrics are wrong sides together with the seam line running along the fold.  Sew 1/2″ away from the fold.

Sew the pairs of rectangles together to make a loop

Sew the pairs of rectangles together to make a loop

This gives you a box seam with the seam allowance on the outside of the bag.  This gave me the boxy look that I was hoping for.

Repeat with the other pair of rectangles and then sew the two pairs of rectangles together to make a loop, using the same method.

Add the base of the bag

I am not using French seams to sew the base to the bag.  I think that it would make the pattern more complicated – and I’m not bright enough to work out how to do it!  Actually I also felt that it was only the side seams that I wanted to strengthen so that the bag would stand upright, and I felt that the seam allowances at the corners would be very bulky if I used French seams all over.

Sew the base to the two long edges

Sew the base to the two long edges

With right sides together, sew the base rectangle to the two long edges of the bottom of the loop made earlier.  This will leave you with a gap at each side of the bag.  I have done this deliberately to make this part as easy as possible.  Very often when sewing the base to a bag you end up with inset seams or forming triangles to fold under.

Sew the sides to the base

Sew the sides to the base

I have tried to make this part of the pattern as simple as I can, so I have sewn the two long edges first.  Now it is much more easy to sew the two remaining seams to close off the sides of the bag where they join the base.

That completes the body of the outer Christmas gift storage bag.  I have not lined this bag because I felt that it didn’t need a lining – the inside of the bag is neat already because of the French seams.

Make the straps

For the straps I have sewn together the two 2.1/2″ strips – one in the main fabric and one in the alternate fabric – with right sides together.  Sew along the long edges to make a tube.  Cut in half and then turn the tubes right side out.  Topstitch 1/4″ in from the edges to give added strength and to hold the fabrics in place.


Pin the straps

Pin the straps

Assemble the Christmas gift storage bag

Pin the straps to the outer bag – one strap to each side of the bag.  I have positioned mine with the ends about 5″ apart.

On the alternate fabric strip press under a 1/4″ hem along one long edge.

Pin the facing around the top

Pin the facing around the top

Pin the facing around the top of the bag using the edge that hasn’t been pressed.  Turn under a 1/4″ hem at each end of the facing (the short edges).

The facing should be about 62″ long.  To be safe, I tend to cut the end when I’ve nearly finished sewing the facing to the bag.  That way I can be sure that the two ends of the facing just meet with each other.

Flip the facing to the inside of the bag and press in place.

Sew the facing in place

Sew the facing in place

Finishing the bag

In order to sew the facing in place I have begun by topstitching 1/4″ from the seam using a normal sewing stitch.  That holds the top of the facing in place.

In the past I have always hand sewn the other edge of the facing in place.  This time I decided to use an embroidery stitch in order to speed things up.  I selected a stem stitch on my sewing machine and used that to hold the bottom of the facing in place.  I sewed this on the outside of the bag – you can feel where the facing hem is as you’re sewing to make sure that you always catch this in the stitching.  Using this method saves time and also makes a feature just beneath the top of the bag.

That completes the Christmas gift storage bag.  I hope you’ve found this a useful idea.

Here’s the video:

Freemasons Hall

Freemasons Hall

One of the joys of visiting London is finding gems around every corner.  Yesterday I met some friends for lunch in London.  I was early so had a wander around the Covent Garden area.  The first building that struck me turned out to be the Freemasons Hall.  It’s a gorgeous building (regarded as one of Britain’s finest Art Deco buildings) and they have a museum that is free to visit.  It took me out of the cold so I had a look in the museum.  It was fascinating.

Throne for King George

Throne for King George

This throne was made for King George IV.  It seemed far too big for a person to sit on, but apparently he weighed 25 stones so needed a big throne!

Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House

Then around the next corner I came across the Royal Opera House – another gorgeous building.  This is somewhere I have always wanted to visit because when I see it on TV it always looks so luxurious inside.

Seven Dials

Seven Dials

Wandering just another block further I came across somewhere called Seven Dials.  I had never been there before but when I looked it up it turns out to be a very pretty area where seven streets meet up between Covent Garden and Soho.


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  1. Love the bag. The Seven Dials is also the name of an Agatha Christie novel Rose. Long time since I read it, so can’t remember the plot!

    • Thanks for that, Margaret. I lost the plot years ago! I’ll have to look up the book and see whether it has some connection with that area.

  2. Thank you for this bag pattern, not a usual tote and will be great for carrying gifts and a lot of other things!! I so enjoy your travel photos, what a beautiful city London must be.

  3. Nice bag, love the fabric. Enjoyed reading about your trip to Norway and will be eager to read about your trip to Iceland. Now, I will be catching up on what you wrote about London. I looked up 25 stones and found that King George weighed 350 pounds. It’s no wonder the chair was especially made for him.

    I quit the Sunbonnet Sue. I didn’t prewash all the fabrics and when I did, the red dye ran. The fabric shrunk and I said “the heck with it”. The baby likes owls so I’ve decided to make the Owl and the Pussycat applique quilt instead. The templates are all cut out and it shouldn’t take too long to make.

    Sorry I missed last week. I was feeling under the weather but I feel better now.

    • Hi Claire. Yes, King George was rather large. I felt that I was on Gulliver’s Travels when I stood next to it. They also had a Chinese punch bowl which was about the size of my washing machine! Very beautiful, though.
      Sorry to hear about Sunbonnet Sue. I had some colour run the other day – it’s really frustrating, isn’t it. The owl and the pussycat doesn’t take long to make and I’m sure that it will be just as welcome.
      Glad to hear that you’re feeling better now.

  4. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Love the bag. May make one to deliver my packages in. I am not finished with all of my projects. I get distracted and go from one to the other instead of finishing one thing. I am going to a Christmas party on Sunday. That should be fun.
    Glad you took me on another adventure. Loved seeing the pictures. Can’t wait to see the Northern Lights pictures
    Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting. Oh by the way did you get any snow? I saw where some parts of the UK did.

    • Hi Sandra. I’m like you – I get distracted easily and end up with several projects on the go. Sometimes it’s intentional so that I can do different types of sewing depending on what I feel like doing. Hope you enjoy your Christmas party. No we didn’t have any snow here in Birmingham although it seems that they had quite a lot further north.

  5. Valerie, California, USA says:

    Thanks Rose. Going to get right on this project. This really fits my bill as I tote packages to various friends and family. This solves the mix up problem and it qualifies as an added gift..
    I just love your travels. I get to travel vicariously through your trips. Keep them coming!

    • Thanks, Valerie. That’s a good idea – I hadn’t thought of using the bag itself as an additional gift. It really doesn’t take long to make because I’ve cut out all the hand sewing.

  6. Colleen McKinlay says:

    Hello Rose,
    Great tote bag tutorial. Definitely making one for my granddaughter. She comes to our house ffrequently for weekend sleepovers and beings her favourite blanket and stuffies. This will be her sleepover bag. Off to find some cute fabric. Such a great idea. Love your many travel logs. Hope to visit London one day. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas. May it be filled with love, laughter and many new memories.

    • Thanks, Colleen. I’m sure your granddaughter will love having her own bag to use. Thanks for your wishes – and best wishes to you and your family.

  7. Barbara Stokes says:

    This bag looks great. I always have trouble following patterns but yours are so easy. Thanks and Happy Christmas to all from sunny New Zealand.

    • Thanks, Barbara. That was one of the reasons that I started this website – I couldn’t always understand patterns. I feel that most patterns become more simple when you take them in small steps.

  8. Nelda Justice says:

    Hello Rose from North West Georgia, US. This is a great tutorial. I am always looking for a bag I can carry my project to my quilt guild’s Show and Tell. I enjoy your tutorials and videos and learn something new each time. Thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge.

    • Thanks, Nelda. That was what I felt – that I needed a bigger tote than the usual size. You can also make it longer or deeper if you need to.

  9. My my Rose, I don’t know where you find the time to make all the wonderful patterns when you seem to be visiting all over the place! Enjoy every moment of your travels, looking forward to the next set of photos and of course your future patterns.

    • Thanks, Hilary. My feet certainly don’t seem to have touched the ground recently, but it’s been a lovely time. I’m making up for all the years when I didn’t go anywhere because I had other responsibilities – and loving every minute of it.

  10. Thank you, Rose. This is great and just in time for the holidays. I always have to make too many trips to and from the car to get all my gifts inside for the party. This will make it easier. I can make a couple of bags and make only 1 trip. Thanks again for all the lovely patterns throughout the year. Happy Holidays to you and yours. And, I love your travel pictures. I have visited London and hope to in the future.
    Always your friend, April

    • Thanks for your kind comments, April. Sometimes it helps to be able to bundle everything into one bad, doesn’t it. Happy Holidays to you as well.

  11. Love this bag, I plan on making it bigger to hold a Yoga matt and give it to my daughter for Christmas. Thank you so much for the idea and pattern details. Sue

  12. Lynne cluchey says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorials Rose.
    I am in the process of making a baby qquilt with your charm square and cornerstone borders.what a fantastic pattern . Will send photos when finished.

  13. Gorgeous bag, the fabric is achingly pretty. Maybe also suitable also for storing some Christmas decorations. It was fantastic seeing you again yesterday Rose.

    • Hi June. Great idea to store decorations in the bag. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch with all of you yesterday – great to catch up.