I first thought of wrapping presents in fabric a few years ago, after reading Björk's account of meeting with a Japanese delegate when she was making her film. She mentioned that the delegate brought her simple but beautiful gifts all artfully wrapped in textiles.
At that time I was learning dressmaking and had a heap of fabrics in my stash that didn't work out or I changed my mind about. I thought - great, I use them up for gift wrapping...! And without much research or learning techniques, I bundled all sorts of things into them when I had an occasion for it. And I still do it that way.
I really enjoy the freedom and malleability of fabrics, and the way they lend themselves just as easily to both bubbly shapes and neat little parcels which can look effortless, pleasing and exciting.
You don't need to worry much about symmetry, crisp angles or creasing down corners . You can hype up a DVD or a book into unguessable shapes, or make a lovely parcel out of one of those items that doesn't come in a box and is a nightmare to wrap traditionally. There's also no dilemma about which hand should be holding down the fold of paper while trying to cut that very sticky tape with your scissors. Because there's no need for tape or scissors.
A piece of cloth and a length of ribbon can be a very creative combo in anyone's hand, so I won't even make a proper step-by-step tutorial about how to wrap with fabrics... it's so easy. But for good measure here's how, the basic steps along with a few tips:
You will need:
- lenghts or bigger pieces of fabric
- ribbons or string
- tissue paper (optional)
- consider the size and the weight of your object when choosing your fabric for wrapping
- you might want to wrap your present up in tissue paper first, to protect it, or to even out an uneven shape
To make a pouchy parcel:
Plonk your object into the middle of the fabric and pick up the corners around it then pull to the top centre, where tie it tightly with ribbon. Style the top bit as you like; you can tuck parts of the loose fabric back into the ribbon for example. You could also use two different fabrics to create a two-toned parcel.
To make a square-ish parcel:
Plonk your object in the middle of the fabric and fold the fabric up, then around, until it's neat and square-ish. Employ tucks and tugs, then tie with ribbon when happy. I used thrifted fabric swatches (blogged about before here) which have nice pinked edges and also wrapped a contrasting second fabric around my parcel before securing the ribbon, but you could do many other variations.
The possibilities are virtually endless! There are a lot of inspiring ideas online too, if you need more than just my simple guide - look here on this beautiful website for some lovely ideas.
It's also suitable for all genders and ages; the pressies in my picture are for my guy actually. Just choose the colours and patterns of your fabric and ribbon to suit the person you are giving to.
I could weave it on and on about the greatness and ingenuity of wrapping with fabrics, but let me close on a sneaky one. Isn't a fabric wrapped gift the ultimate way to keep curious kids and grownups finding out prematurely what they are getting, in case they 'happen' to come across the hiding place? I would certainly not attempt to undo fabric wrapping in fear that it will not look the same when done up again...enough said.