Christmas Projects / Inspiration / Tips & Tutorials

How to Wrap Presents With Fabric

How to wrap Christmas presents with fabric! Eco friendly and money saving // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

You guys! This is the fifth year that we have wrapped our Christmas presents in fabric! I am SO excited! When i started doing this i really hoped that it would be something we could continue each year, and i’m just thrilled that it’s worked so well! In five years we haven’t bought any wrapping paper! YAY! Now if only i could reduce the amount of waste packaging in the presents themselves i would be a really happy girl (sigh).

If you’d like to try this yourself, click through for all the info, tips and tricks you’ll need to know!

What supplies do you need? It’s pretty simple really – you’ll need some cute Christmas fabric, ribbons for wrapping up and optional masking tape or washi tape to help with your wrapping. That’s it :) I got my fabric from JoAnns fabric just before last Christmas while they were having their Christmas sales. This is a great time to stock up as so much of it is on sale. But if you’re smart about it, you could probably just by some plain cotton solids, or even some sheets and cut them to appropriate sizes. Size wise, my pieces range between just over 1m wide by 1m long to up to 3m long. I have about 15 different pieces, and the same amount of ribbon. The great thing about this is that it really doesn’t mater if they match – if you stick with a colour palette they will all co-ordinate no matter the pattern. I decided to stick with the classic green, red and gold.

I’ve had a lot of questions about how to wrap neatly with fabric. Lets be honest, you really can’t get it as perfectly neat and slimline as with paper. But I also don’t think it really matters in this case. You would not believe how many compliments i’ve received on how nice our Christmas presents look. I think the cuteness and quirkiness of the fabric+ribbons really compensates for any lack in finesse if you know what i mean. It also survived the mom’s group critique (which is pretty much the harshest critique your home will ever come under hehehe)

If you’re having trouble, a good trick to wrapping with fabric, is to secure the fabric in at least one place with tape, basting stitches or a safety pin (though the safety pin may make unwrapping a bit harder). I find masking tape or washi tape works the best. You don’t need a lot, and it will come off easily when you want it to – but that little strip of tape will help tonnes. Once you’ve secured with tape, use your ribbon to finish up.

With respect to size of fabric – i don’t cut the fabric down, ever. My pieces range between just over 1m wide by 1m long to up to 3m long. If i have small presents i just tend to fold the fabric till its the right size, or i use a few drawstring bags i’ve made. The reason i don’t cut my pieces down for small presents is that if i keep doing that over the years, i won’t be able to wrap my presents anymore! i’ll just have a pile of scraps :) which kind of defeats the purpose of reusing the fabric.

If you’d like to make your own drawstring gift bags – check out THIS tutorial.

You’ll also need a way to label your presents. I made reusable felt tags for mine with all of our family initials on. It works really well, and we love using them! If you’d like to try this, HERE is the tutorial. You can make this simpler if you like, by taking pieces of card, writing on them and punching a hole in the corner and threading the ribbons through.

I wouldn’t really suggest doing this for anyone who isn’t in your immediate family. Just because you want to wrap your presents with fabric doesn’t mean someone else will appreciate that you were trying to be sustainable and cute. You’ll probably just be hurt by either their confused facial expression or the fact that they just threw your pretty fabric in the trash. Though having said that – i think if you make your fabric into a draw string bag or tote bag, then it’s something that they may use again.

I’ve had some queries on cost – i’m not 100% on this, but i think i spent close to $100 on fabric and ribbons that first year. I know that sounds like a lot. But i don’t plan on ever buying wrapping paper for our family again, i’m done. Also, i’d rather spend more on something i’ll reuse than a little on something thats just going into land fill. but thats me :)

My favourite part! Once Christmas is over, clean up is easy! Fold up the fabric, roll up the ribbons, pack it away and you’re ready for next year! No trash bags – whoop whooop!

I hope that helps!! Please let me know if you have any more questions – I’m still loving this idea and i’m so excited to keep doing this for many years to come!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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8 years ago

That’s really a a great idea! I’m going to have to stockpile Christmas fabric when I see it on sale to do this for future years. I love the idea of not wasting all that paper just to have to throw it out. Thanks, Megan.

8 years ago

It’s such a great idea! I’ve read a post about this on you blog before, but still haven’t done anything about this for my family. Maybe I should for the presents we have left to wrap?
Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

8 years ago

Hi Megan – I’ve picked up your blog post from Abby Glassenberg’s newsletter, and am really thrilled to see you’re wrapping christmas presents with fabric – I do too! A lovely lady called Rebecca in Melbourne started the #GiveWrap idea a year ago, and my cousin Polly and I picked it up – you can read about what we have made on my blog: and there are pictures on Instagram too – check out #GiveWraps I agree that you don’t use them with everybody or you get that sort of puzzled look, but lots of friends like the idea! I also agree that they don’t wrap so well as paper – but you’ve got some good ideas like the washi tape that I’m definitely going to take on board – thanks!

8 years ago

Lovely idea, and lovely wrapped packages! I especially like the felt tag idea! I’ve made small felt ornaments and attached them to gifts – my children and family enjoy finding all their packages that way. Plus nice memento when they put the ornaments on the tree next year. Thank you for fabric-wrapping idea, I think I’ll put flannels to use next year – we’re usually chilly in Chicago area at Christmas. Happy Holidays!

8 years ago

My mum and now I have been making Christmas drawstring bags for closing on twenty years. Many have been sent out, but lots have stayed close to home and they make wrapping so very very easy. For really loved people sometimes I sew really nice lined bags.
This year we want to try this and the fancier Japanese fabric wrapping.
We also love the excuse to buy the fun Christmas fabric.