Activities: Make Your Own Victorian Gift Bags
Victorians were as enthusiastic about gift presentation as they were about their Christmas trees and decorations. Much time was spent making ornate papers, bags and boxes to hold small trinkets and presents that could be hung on the Christmas tree.
This activity uses sharp tools. Children should be supervised.
Print out the gift bag template, or you can cut out the shape by eye. Use a non-fraying fabric, such as felt to make the gift bag. Place two pieces of fabric on top of each other and cut out the shape.
Set aside one of the cut out pieces of fabric, you will need this later to make the back of the gift bag.
Choose a design for the front of your bag from one of the templates (T2, T3 and T4), or use your own design. Taking a piece of different coloured fabric, cut out your chosen design and stick it on to the front of your gift bag with glue. You can also sew the design on to the bag and make the stitching part of the decoration.
Now take some thick embroidery thread and sew the front and back pieces of fabric together. Be sure to use bright and bold thread for the sewing, as this really adds to the look of the gift bag.
Fill the gift bag with treats and sweets or a small present.
Finally, tie some ribbon in a bow around the top of the bag and hang on the tree.
National Archives: Victorian Britain
History in Focus: The Victorian Era
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victorian Web
British Library: Online Exhibition: Victorian Britain
Pollock's Toy Museum
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