Big Bow Reusable Gift Wrap: Serger Project

Create beautiful, unique, and stylish reusable wraps for gifts this holiday season in minutes using a serger. Read on to find out which stitches work best for finishing the edges, tricks for turning tubes without a bodkin, and how to serge crisp square corners without touching the presser foot.



Materials to make a Big Bow Reusable Gift Bag:

  • Serger, I used a BERNINA L 450
  • 3 Cones of Thread
  • 2 Fat Quarters of coordinating fabrics (or scraps)
  • Ruler
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Small Thread Snips
  • Standard Shirt Size Gift Box (14.25” x 9.50” x 1.88”)
  • Fabric Tape: Pellon EZ Steam II Pressure Sensitive Tape, Scrap of either fabric

1. Fabric one will be your main fabric for the package. Fabric two is used for the bow. Cut (1) large rectangle 24” x 17” from fabric one. Cut (2) rectangle strips and (1) smaller rectangle 4” x 5” from fabric two. Place the two rectangles you cut for the bow right sides together on cutting mat. Measure 4″ from left short side bottom up—mark lightly on fabric. Use a straight edge to create a line from 4″ mark on fabric to right bottom corner. Use rotary cutter to remove small triangle of fabric.

2. We are going to start by setting up our serger for a 3 thread overlock using the RIGHT needle. Refer to your manual for proper settings. This stitch only requires 1 needle, so please ensure that you have removed the left needle and have cleared any thread from its pathway. I am using the BERNINA L 450 today and I have my tensions set as follows:  x/3.5/4/4

Tip: Rolled Hem, Picot Stitch, and Narrow 3 thread stitches are used to finish edges and will most often be used on single layered, light weight fabrics.


3. Now that our fabrics are cut and machines are set up, we will finish the edges of our bow on the serger. Separate the cut fabrics, we are only finishing the edges at this time and you will be serging on 1 layer of fabric. Begin stitching on the long side down to the point. When you approach the point, slow down and carefully stitch right to the very end of fabric. When you get to the edge use hand crank to bring the needle position to its highest placement. Lift your presser foot up. Gently and ever so slightly pull the fabric to the back of the serger to lift off of the stitch fingers below. This will allow you to pivot the project and get crisp corners. Begin stitching just atop of those beautiful stitches you finished securing them into place. Repeat when you come to the next corner. Finish the last long side of bow piece. (Repeat for 2nd bow piece and set aside.)

4. Working with the main fabric, lay it flat so that your short ends are horizontal. From the top edge measure 9” down, use chalk or marking tool to note measurement on the long side edge.


5. Use the marking we just made—you will now align top of bow strip with the pretty fabric up. Clover clips come in handy to keep short flat edge of bow even with the side of main fabric. As you look down at your project the long tapered point should be on the top edge. Repeat this on both left and right sides.


6. Fold the longer edges of your bow strips to center and pin in place. We are doing this to keep the fabric from getting trimmed or stitched as we finish the outside edge of our gift wrap.


7. Starting on the long side edge, begin serging around all 4 sides to finish the edges. You will be finishing the edge of 1 layer of fabric. As you come to the bow sections, slow down, and be sure to remove any clips as they come nearer to your knife blade. Be sure that you are feeding both layers of fabric through to attach raw short end of bow to main fabric.

8. Optional: Use spray starch and iron for a nice crisp wrap.We’re almost finished but first we need to make a small loop using that last rectangle piece of bow fabric. The technique I’m using here can be easily used to create lengths for straps or edging without the need of a tedious bodkin or tuner.


9. Without any fabric on your serger—create a long length of serger chain at least 14 inches long. Bring the long chain around behind your presser foot to the left and forward. Do not cut the chain from the machine.


Take your small rectangle of fabric and finger press it lengthwise in half pretty prints on the inside. Open the fabric and place your serger thread chain down the center along the crease.

Prepare to serger the raw long edge together—making sure that your serger chain does not get stitched (it should be tucked closely in the fold). When you are finished you will have a tube.

After serging the long side you will see that our long chain has now become a handy pull allowing us to turn the tube right side out. Get it started but folding the edge over 1/2”. This technique can be used to make thin straps, trim, and much more.

Press so that the serged stitches are in the center of strip.

Fold right sides together. Serge the short sides together. Turn so that all visible stitches are on the inside of loop.


Feed one bow strip at a time though the finished loop.

Wrap gifts and reuse!IMG_7540

Bonus! Create fun fabric tape to match your wrapping using Pellon EZ Steam Tape. I also found double sided tape works great too!

Impress your friends and family this holiday season with unique gift wrap that they can use for years to come. I would love to see your handmade gifts and gift wraps this season as we all are consciously making efforts to change the way we consume and create. Please share them with us here on WeAllSew by uploading your projects in the Community section or always online tagging #BERNINAUSA or tag me personally @TrashN2Tees

The December 7 Gift for You from the Benartex team

Three 1 yard cuts of fabric from Amanda Murphy’s Sparkle collection: Wreaths Light Turquoise, Wreaths Red and Tape Measure Grey.

Amanda Murphy's Sparkle Collection

All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:

Do you use reusable packaging to wrap your gifts?

A winner will be chosen at random on December 8, 2016 and announced the following week!

Good luck!

The contest is open for comments until December 7 at 12:00 midnight Central Time. Click here for contest rules.


Congratulations to our WeAllSew reader “flygirl”, the winner of the December 7 gift. Enjoy!

103 thoughts on “Big Bow Reusable Gift Wrap: Serger Project

  1. I rarely have to buy boxes for wrapping gifts or for sending gifts. I save the boxes gifts came in, tissue paper to! I break them down and store them flat. The boxes spend most of the year on a shelf in the garage. The tissue is reused for wrapping and stuffing the boxes when I need to send a gift that needs extra packing. I would use the gift wrap but the grand kids usually shred it when opening gifts. By the way gift wrap is usually not able to be recycled.

    1. I have been threatening for years to make holiday gift bags and give as gifts to my kids to use and reuse for years to come. Gotta say, glad I haven’t because this idea is the BEST.

    1. I have gone all the way to wrapping a box so that all you have to do is take the lid off and take your present out. Put the lid back on and you have a fully wrapped box ready to go. Some people still have my boxes and use them for gifts every year.

  2. I have used and reused decorated paper bags. I love this idea. I have a Bernina serger that I do not use. It is a little intimidating to me. My local Bernina shop is having a basic class next week that I plan on going to. They will then have some classes using the serger. Yeah!!!

    1. Oh please let me help you fall in love with your serger! (Of course I encourage you to attend the class and would love to know how it turns out!) There’s a wonderful intimate community full of BERNINA loving serger owners who support and inspire one another on facebook and we would love to have you: If you’re not active on facebook you can always email me or comment on the post here with questions and I’ll do my very best to help out!

  3. I sometimes use reusable packaging to wrap gifts, but mainly in the form of gift bags. I generally use gift bags when I have an unusually-sized gift to wrap.

  4. I have always used “reusable wrapping” everything from comic papers, paper bags, napkins and scarves. It sometimes becomes an extra present in itself !

  5. I save all my tissue, bows, and ribbon from year to year. Have a couple drawstring bags, but nothing as pretty as the above project. Going to have to try that one 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway too.

  6. I reuse boxes and wraps that don’t get ripped to shreds. But, I have never made a cloth wrap or bag. It looks like a fun way to include an extra bonus with the gift. Now that my Christmas list is getting shorter, I may just plan ahead and do this next year!

  7. Around our house, we recycle gift bags and larger gift boxes for irregular shaped items. We always get a chuckle when the one particular recycled decorated box is given to another family member each Christmas.

  8. Yes I have used many reusable items over the years. Leftover gorgeous paper & ribbons as some in the family buy the expensive stuff, decorated plastic & paper bags of course My grown kids think I am weirdo!! 🙂 I miss having the time now to do my own package deco. Love the prints shown, too, which would make excellent gift bags.

  9. I save and sometimes reuse gift bags in good condition and boxes and bows. I also save packing materials, but wrapping paper always gets shredded or has creases in it, so out it goes. This is a cute idea.

  10. Sometimes. I still love wrapping gifts, but I’ve also embroidered lots of felt gift bags, and we use purchased gift-bags a lot. I had to stop using bags for several years because one of the cats kept “adding” extra gifts when I wasn’t looking…….

  11. Love the big bow. We use some reusable and recycle purchased bag. Some have become almost heirlooms. Lol
    Pillow cases make great gift bags for little ones.

  12. I use gift bags and recycle boxes- except for the Santa gifts.
    I’ve been meaning to make fabric bags for ages – maybe between Christmas and New Years

  13. Yes of course. I have made fabric gift boxes that I keep after the gift is opened although they also are great as part of the gift. They fold flat when stored which another plus for the reusable fabric box.

  14. I save and reuse gift bags, boxes & bows, When I have to purchase bags and cards, I go to the “Dollar” store or half price sales after. Also try to buy a few plain colored generic bags so can be used for all occasions.

  15. My mom was the ultimate recycler..she taught us to wrap family gifts in newspaper funnies. I use bags a lot and they are often reused. The bow makes a very beautiful package too!

  16. I have gone all the way to wrapping a box so that all you have to do is take the lid off and take your present out. Put the lid back on and you have a fully wrapped box ready to go. Some people still have my boxes and use them for gifts every year.

  17. I love this, but have never tried making reusable fabric gift bags because the holiday gifts vary so much in size and shape I’m not sure it would be able to be reused again I do like the big bow and may make it for another project.

  18. I reuse boxes bows and anything else that is in good shape. Never thought of sewing a reusable wrap. I will have to look for after Christmas holiday fabric sales. : )

  19. Do I use reusable packaging to wrap my gifts? Absolutely – this is a way of life for me. I grew up very poor so everything was recycled right down to the wrapping paper and tape. Even after I got my education and a good paying job, recycling reusable packaging became the norm.

  20. I’ve been saving the pre-printed shirt boxes and gift bags for my family for over 10 years. Names are on them and everyone knows whose gifts are whose 🙂 The only time new paper was involved was for “Santa” gifts.

    1. You are very welcome! On behalf of my friends at BERNINA, Brewer Sewing, and Benartex- I hope you know how much that simple thank you means to us. Wishing you and your family the warmest and happiest wishes this holiday season and best of luck in the giveaway! I love that Amanada Murphy- and her beautiful fabrics- so glad we could share them with a lucky reader.

  21. This is such a cute tutorial!!! About ten years ago I made a pile of serged edge squares and rectangles and we used ribbons to tie them. We used them exclusively for about 4 years. Since then we use about half and half. Meaning that anything I wrap we usually use fabric for and anything my husband or kids wrap they use bags, sometimes with the fabric stuffed in there as tissue paper! I love not throwing away so much on Christmas morning! But I really love this tutorial, I never thought of using fabric to tie and attaching it straight to the fabric!!

    1. There’s nothing quite as magical as the little (and big) kids tearing into paper wrapperings. Thank you for making a conscious effort to cut back on waste but keep the memories! I’m so glad you enjoyed the tutorial. Happy Holidays!

  22. Some but not many are recycled. Reuse the tissue paper to wrap ornaments. We avoid boxes. Love the pillowcase idea, so fast on a serger. Thank you for the pictures of the tube turning technique. Much easier than looking around for the turning tubes.

  23. I have used fat quarters or napkins. I also save gift bags to reuse. I also save the ribbon from packages I receive. I am kind of a pack rat because I also reuse the tissue paper and have used the comic section of the newspaper to wrap also.

  24. I save boxes all year, just for Christmas presents! I like to use newspaper- especially the Sunday comics- for wrapping paper, as well as brown paper- with string for ribbon.

  25. My entire family knows what a lazy gift wrapper I am so they are never surprised if their future gifts come in bags and boxes that look familiar, I do dislike wrapping presents so avoid saving gift wrap.

  26. I have used store bought gift bags that I have reused for 20 years or more, does that count? I have made simple bags to put gifts in a few times but really need to get more in the habit of it!

    Jenny in Florida

  27. I reuse bows, tags, ribbons etc, and often use fabric, yarn or real ribbon. I would like to make some fabric gift bags as I don’t use boxes much anymore at all. There is something fun about the tearing of paper, though, as long as it goes into the recycle bin!

  28. I stopped using wrapping paper and paper gift bags when I started to sew several years back and starting making fabric gift bags tied with ribbons and zip bags as well.

  29. A few years ago I bought fleece throws and made reusable gift bags for my family. I used a different design for each person, so everyone has their own. I made 3 – 4 different size bags out of each one, and put draw cords on them. They are colorful, work great, and everyone loves having their own bags.

  30. I have been reusing gift bags and utilizing scarves and bandana’s for wrapping gifts for years. This year I decided to use up some of the Christmas fabric I buy every year because I can’t resist all the sales and make gift bags. So far I have 1huge bag, 10 Large bags, 10+ medium bags and at least 20 small gift bags with matching ties. So much fun and these bags can be shared and used for years.

  31. Absolutely! I use “re-useable” bags and fabric wraps for every occasion. Perfect “gift in a gift” my family and friends loves them and have “re-used” for plant potted plant covers , lunch bags, medicine totes, female hygiene and many other things.

  32. What a fabulous idea! I wish I would have seen it sooner!. On the day after Christmas I go to the sales and purchase wrapping paper for 50-75% off. I buy the clearance gift wrap and tape and that’s what my neighbors get the next year for Christmas. I have been doing this for 15 years and they all know that it’s coming. They never have to worry about running out of paper and tape.

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