Guest Post | Embroidered Holiday Gift Bags How-to and Giveaway!

By Wendi Gratz

(Giveaway info below to win these bags!)

Hello again everyone! Way back in July I posted here about some basic info you need to start embroidering – and I shared some of the details about how I stitched up one of Joel’s Paper City designs. As soon as I saw Joel’s holiday designs on printable gift tags. I knew I wanted to stitch them on some little gift bags. Joel gave me permission – so here I am with another embroidery tutorial. :-)

First off, you’ll need the free Goody Bag pattern. You can download the PDF pattern here.

You’ll want the images so that they pretty much fill the face of a goody bag. (No wider than 4 inches, and no taller than 2 1/2 inches.) Joel has created a new template in which the images are already resized for you. Just click on the image below, then print.

Next up, you’ll need to transfer the image onto the fabric. I used a medium-weight twill. I couldn’t see through it well enough to trace the design with a pencil, so I used an iron-on transfer pen. You can watch a video showing you how to do that here.

Transferring the image isn’t difficult – the trick is knowing exactly where to place it. The pattern calls for you to use two fabric rectangles – one for the front of the bag and one for the back. The edges of those rectangles will wrap around to form the sides and bottom of the bag. You want to make sure to position your embroidery so that it’s centered on the front of the finished bag. First, fold the rectangle of fabric in half the long way and mark the center with a pin. That will show you the vertical center line. Now – measure up 2 inches from the bottom of the rectangle. Place the bottom of your design so that it rests on this line. (See photo below of the bag before it was sewn. There is more fabric than you might expect showing around the edges of the embroidered image.)

Now stitch your design. I backstitched everything in white thread (There’s a video tutorial for that stitch here.) For almost all the designs I used three strands of embroidery thread. I used just two strands for the tiny packages under the Christmas tree, and for the entire Santa-Driving-the-Sleigh design.

These would be a really fun project to work on with kids – especially the simpler designs like the hat, the bells, the sleigh, and the snowman. I definitely don’t recommend the Santa-with-Sleigh design for beginners of any age. That was some fussy stitching! :-)

Happy stitching everyone!


Giveaway info!
Hey everyone. Joel here. Wendy has very kindly offered to give away these two sets gift bags!

Leave a comment on this post to try and win one set!
Leave a comment on Wendi’s blog here, to try and win the other set!

The contest will end Saturday morning. Then we will randomly select the winners and notify you.

Wendi said she will ship world-wide, so everyone can enter. (Depending on where you live, there’s a chance they might not arrive by the holidays.)

Good luck! Happy Holidays! And thank you Wendi!


UPDATE: THE CONTEST IS FINISHED. Cath is the randomly selected winner! Congratulations!


  1. December 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Love it. Thanks for another super idea. And very nice to have a giveaway! Double thanks.

  2. Heather M.
    December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    These bags are very cute.

  3. Heidi
    December 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

    These are gorgeous. I really need to give embroidery a try!

  4. December 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

    These are super cute!! and look easy enough to actually be able to make!

  5. Bethany
    December 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Love these bags!

  6. Amélie
    December 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Awww these bags are really nice!!

  7. Amanda Babcock
    December 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful! I love embroidery!

  8. Amber Hannes
    December 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Great designs on the bags. It would make a really nice gift with cookies inside of the bag of course!!!

  9. December 8, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Joel - thanks so much for letting me play in your sandbox! These were really fun (and easy!) to stitch. I hope you all have fun with them! Best, Wendi

    1. December 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      Thank YOU Wendi! These are so cool. Great that you can reuse them over and over too. Thanks again for the awesome post!

  10. Noreen
    December 8, 2011 at 10:55 am

    These bags are so neat. I could see a smaller version of 24 of them as an advent calendar.

  11. ania
    December 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

    cute but it's a pity there is no chanukah set ;)

  12. December 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Thanks so much for sharing! These are super sweet!

  13. December 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Those are lovely. I already read Wendi's blog, so I will head over there too. Is that greedy? :)

  14. Natalie S
    December 8, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Lovely idea and wonderful giveaway! Thanks to Wendi and Joel!

  15. Veronica
    December 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Love them!! I´ll try to do it. Hope I win the Wendi´s contest. :)

  16. aSprinkling
    December 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    My kids have asked for a "hand sewing" project. Maybe we'll make a few of these.

  17. Jennifer Trempe-Thomas
    December 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

    So cute! I love them!

  18. Gill
    December 8, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Thank you for sharing! I would love to win a set!

  19. Eva
    December 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Very cool!

  20. December 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    These bags are cute. I think my children would like to do them too.

  21. Kelly
    December 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    super cute!!

  22. Cath
    December 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Great, I love your blog and hers ! Thanks a lot

  23. rachel
    December 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

    way too cute!

  24. Christine
    December 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Love them!

  25. BMackey
    December 8, 2011 at 11:51 am

    thanks for the chance. love these bags.

  26. December 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Love them all!!! Count me in please!!!

  27. Claire
    December 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

    These bags are beautiful! Thanks for the giveaway.

  28. December 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    how wonderful! thanks for the great giveaway. crossing my fingers...

  29. Jessica
    December 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Cute idea!

  30. December 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    what cute bags!

  31. mirabelle
    December 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    love the kitty!

  32. Susan
    December 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Wonderful bags! Love the white thread on the rich red, blue, and green fabric.

  33. Églantine
    December 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    There are so cute !!!! I hope to win :-)

  34. Eileen
    December 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Darling bags. Thanks so much for the chance and have a great day

  35. Natalie
    December 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    sweet bags and what a lovely idea. Xx

  36. Mandy
    December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    These are lovely (:

  37. December 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    These bags are really cute, I'll try my luck. Thanks for all the great ideas. Greetings from Berlin.

  38. Sarah
    December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Aww, those bags are so cute! I can clearly picture them under my Christmas tree :-)

  39. December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    They are gorgeous! I just love them... :)

  40. Jen
    December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Love the gift bags!

  41. December 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Would LOVE to win these! Thanks!

  42. December 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Cute and much better than paper wrappings.

  43. December 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    What a great idea, thanks for introducing me to Wendi via your blog back in the summer - she has been a really useful source of information!

  44. am12pm
    December 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I love these giftbags! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  45. emsbutler
    December 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Great gift bag designs! Ecological, too!

  46. Claire Crum
    December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Very fun! I think I'll go ahead and start now to get them done for next year :P

  47. S. Bird
    December 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Cute idea! I use little gift bags in our stockings for homemade treats. Now I want to decorate them!

  48. gladys
    December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    thank you for the ideas.

  49. Véronique
    December 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Well, nice idea for pretty bags, thanks !

  50. December 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    As fun as those look to embroider, given that it's December 8, I would love to win a set!!

  51. December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I absolutely love the reindeer cat. I would so love this set. My family uses festive fabric in lieu of wrapping paper and last year I sewed some into bags.

  52. carrie carreon
    December 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Love the patterns on these bags Joel! Awesome as usual.

  53. December 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    These are adorable. Thanks for offering some!

  54. December 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Wow! These are fabulous.

  55. mickie
    December 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    What a great idea! I might have to make some (or win some, hint, hint!) I did freezer paper stencils on pillowcases for all the niece/nephew presents!

  56. Cris
    December 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    These are great! I love the idea of a super cute reusable gift bag.

  57. Patricia
    December 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    That reindeer-cat is just adorable!

  58. Linda
    December 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Oh Pick ME Mr. Randomizer! These are too cute!

  59. Keira Eddy
    December 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I would love to have these, and am going to try to craft some with my daughters once school is out. Its good for all of us to learn some patience and joy in the making.

  60. December 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I love these bags!!! So cute. Glad you teamed up with Wendi so I could "find" your blog!

  61. Mhairi
    December 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I love to see the collaborations of two crafty people and this is one of the best, so simple and yet so effective. I would love a set of these bags.

  62. Tricia hinely
    December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    So inspiring! You are quite generous to share your lovely work!

  63. December 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    What a super creative idea! Thanks for the giveaway, Joel.

  64. Jennifer J
    December 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Joel, I am so glad that you and Wendi got together on this. Your styles just go so well together! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  65. AmyH
    December 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Adorable. I'm going to try to do this with my 5 year old daughter this weekend!

  66. Charlotte
    December 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    thanks for the chance to win these. I'm no embroiderer so would probably never get around to trying them myself

  67. December 9, 2011 at 12:12 am

    They are sooo sweet, and to be able to win them is great! I think I might give it a try myself sometime - all these wonderful ideas in the www and so little time:). Have a nice day! Simone

  68. Angeles
    December 9, 2011 at 1:40 am

    They're absolutely gorgeous. I'll be trying embroidery soon, so I'm going to depend on Wendi ¡a lot!.

  69. December 9, 2011 at 2:37 am

    These are such cute bags with great designs!

  70. Elsa
    December 9, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I would love to win a set!

  71. Cristina
    December 9, 2011 at 2:57 am

    How very nice!Thanks for the opportunity!

  72. December 9, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Would love to win these!! I definitely need to do more embroidery. Thanks for the great ideas.

  73. December 9, 2011 at 3:46 am

    these are gorgeous! thanks for sharing and for the opportunity!

  74. December 9, 2011 at 4:43 am

    These gift bags are super cute! Thanks for all of the great posts.

  75. December 9, 2011 at 4:52 am

    So cute! Would love to win, thanks for the giveaway.

  76. Luce
    December 9, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Love this set, what a great idea :D Thanks!!!

  77. December 9, 2011 at 7:41 am

    cute! I'd hang them on the tree as ornaments

  78. December 9, 2011 at 8:06 am

    They are so cute! Almost too cute to give them away as presents!

  79. December 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

    They're gorgeous! Absolutely love 'em. Thanks so much for the give-away.

  80. Sebastian Fischer
    December 9, 2011 at 9:09 am

    So simple, so beautiful. I'd love to win one of these!

  81. Sharon
    December 9, 2011 at 10:23 am

    This looks like the perfect start to learn to embroider! Thanks for another wonderful idea!

  82. December 9, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I love them! I would adore to win them!

  83. BKC
    December 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Though the instructions were perfectly clear, I've got a bit less than zero crafty talent. I'd love to win a set of these!

  84. Gina
    December 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for the contest! Beautiful bags and a cute idea!

  85. December 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    these are great... must definitly try and make some!

  86. Andrea
    December 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    What a great collaboration between 2 of my favorite designers! What great imaginations and techniques! The tutorials at Wendi's site are the best! Share the tutorials with your kids to empower them to Know that they can Stitch!!! Great Job and Happy Holidays to all! Aloha, Andrea

  87. jen
    December 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    these are amazing!

  88. sangeetha
    December 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    they are so cute - love that!

  89. December 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Absolutely amazing idea!

  90. shel
    December 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Those are adorable and perfect for our gift exchange at work..simple to make & very cost-effective. I'd fill mine with candy for the small group of girls I work with.

  91. Jennifer
    December 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Love Wendi and her work!

  92. michelle
    December 10, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Oh, these are beautiful! I hope I win!

  93. Stacey
    December 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

    So very beautiful. Thanks for offering them.

  94. Grace
    March 12, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Nice. Maybe on a weekend i'll try this... it will probably take me till X-mas anyway :)

  95. Daisy
    May 19, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Is so cute!

  96. February 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Why is your web site not iphone compatible? Needed to go to my Personal computer and finish reading. Your site actually froze up my iphone. .. that's horrible. Make sure you look into that. I love your website, but I hate using my personal computer!

    1. February 3, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Totally on my to do list! Sorry Chelsea! Yeah, basically I got kind of screwed from my old web guy. Getting a new one soon!

  97. April 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    [...] You can whip up some easy peasy reusable fabric gift bags with the free pattern you’ll find here. If you use a cute fabric and some ribbon you can whip up a batch in no time. If you fancy a little stitching time in front of the fire – try some of these Made by Joel designs on them. [...]

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