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D.I.Y. Thrifted Pattern Gift Wrap

Hello everyone!  Please helo me give a cheery welcome to Rikkianne...our very first contributor for the Creature Comforts 18 Days Series.  You may already know Rikkianne from her business Chakra Pennywhistle where she creates the most wonderful home textiles and accessories for living.

And now...Rikkianne's D.I.Y. Thrifted Pattern Gift Wrap:

Create a simply beautiful gift wrap by visiting your local thrift shop. Thrifting for materials is a fun and inventive way to recycle and create a unique, personal experience when it comes to gift giving.

For this tutorial, I would like to share how I wrap all of my products and gifts with vintage sewing patterns found at my local thrift.

My Grandmother volunteers at a thrift shop here in Tucson.  Her lovely coworkers allowed me to come in and take a few snapshots. I had to photograph the craft section. Most thrifts have one of these areas filled with everything from fabric scraps, yarn, to sewing patterns.  I personally love this section of the shop. There is just something about browsing those shelves. The yarn is half-used, the ribbon has been cut, the patterns have been opened -  yet they are all still of good use and waiting to be revived.

Thrifting can be so rewarding, not only for scoring those used goods and fantastic prices, but also due to the fact that most thrift stores are charity-based. My grandmother's shop is associated with a local hospital and all of the ladies that work there are hospital volunteers. They are happy to be there and willing to share their knowledge on anything store-related.  Aren't these ladies wonderful?  That is my grandmother on the right.

Since my grandmother volunteers, I have gotten to know the folks of the thrift and have learned something that I didn't realize.  A lot of sewing patterns don't even make it to the sales floor. They might be missing instructions or parts of the pattern itself. This is where we come in.  My thrift gals save all of those patterns for me. I bring them home and use them for gift wrap.  So make a note of that when you go on your next thrifting trip.  Don't hesitate to ask if there are any patterns in the back that can't be sold.

Once home the paper takes on its new life.  I gather my materials and prepare to wrap.  I prefer to use hemp twine. I think that it brings a natural look to the package.  I also have a giant spool of cotton twine that I found at the thrift.  It works well, making the package a bit more soft and simple.

Add some color for a more festive style that is fitting for the holiday season.  I used red cord paper for the gift box below.  I especially love the small surprises you can find when wrapping your gift.  The pillow is wearing a belt pattern while the "sleeve" just happened to place itself perfectly on the top of the box.

Once the packages are wrapped, the pattern envelope can also be used.  You can create fun tags and gift cards making the whole package recyclable.

I really enjoy using these patterns to wrap gifts and products.  This is an old idea that has been used by so many creative folks.  Check out more lovely, eco-friendly uses for vintage sewing patterns on the Crafting a Green World blog.  There are a couple of my fellow Eco Etsy teammates who share some fun projects.

Also, if you are not sure where to find beautiful gift wrapping accessories, I recommend the Etsy shop Nice Package.  I was just browsing the shop and think that the manila tags would make a wonderful addition.  I also spied some mini-clothes pins that would surely take the presentation to a whole new level!  

Gift giving and thrifting go hand in hand. This season, why not have fun exploring and creating you own special presentation? It really is easy to give gifts that inspire and give back to your local community and the environment.

Thank you so much Rikkianne!  If you'd like to see more of Rikkianne you can find her:


Reader Comments (33)

i love it!!! it's super cute, cheap and green :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraprintaday

really fabulous!! i just posted about "brown paper packages tied up with string" on scoutie girl. i'll add a link to this post!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertara - scoutie girl

A very swank idea! Now I have to choose between this or using kraft paper .... hmmmm

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Klein

yay rikkianne.
i saved all the wrapping that came with my orders and this wrapping is going to fit right in with my "natural" christmas theme.


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbetty lee

i can say this is a wonderful way to receive a gift! i got one of Rikkianne's pillows wrapped just like this - and her Grandma is lots of fun!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra keller

love, love this rikkianne. especially the tags

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterethanollie

I sooo love this!!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

I love using sewing patterns for things like this! I bought a paper mache box with lid from my local craft store and covered it in sewing patterns using spray mount. Now it's a little storage box for sewing notions.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandi

Absolutely LOVE this! Can't wait to start this tradition here at home. Cheers, Mandy

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandy Behrens

Great idea!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna

those packages look wonderful!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererin, maker of chimes

I think I know which thrift store is that. Is it the one next to Walgreens and Safeway? I shop there regularly and all the ladies who work there are kind and nice. It feels like a little space for girls. I wish they had tea-parties there :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMy Owl Barn

Oh, I love the wrapping, the idea and the photos!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterUnni Strand

Oh this was so fun! Thank you!!!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiss B.

Best idea ever.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterB takes incomplete sewing patterns as donations. All parts of a pattern are saved and given to people who want to sew the patterns. Please consider donating the pattern tissue, instructions, and envelopes rather than wrapping gifts with them.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I LOVE this idea! Brilliant and so elegant!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTravelingmama

Lovely. Another fab idea from Rikkianne.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennie @ Sweet Greens

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this hun!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa de la Fuente

Thanks everyone!

I am so glad that you enjoyed this project.

My Owl Barn: You are correct! I bet the ladies would love to have tea :)

Anonymous: Thank you for posting the link to the pattern restoration site! I am certainly going to register and donate vintage patterns. What a lovely effort! Recycling at it's best.


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRikkianne

Rikkianne, what a fun tutorial and what a delight to see your lovely grandmother! :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Great post! I had the pleasure of being able to thrift shop USA style last year and like you said they had all these incredible craft sections! I was mesmerised and delighted! Most of the thrift shops over here don't have dedicated sections like that.

The patterns look fab as wrapping paper - and love the tags too! Nice work!

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergreenworks

So clever! Love those gift tags. Way to go Rikkianne!

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

Great wrapping paper, lovely tags. What a great way of recycling, Rikkianne!

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterelena

What a great post! I wondered what they did with incomplete patterns. It's amazing how fab the packages look!

December 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA Second Chance

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