GiveWrap, an end to wrapping paper

August 30, 2014

Today the Needleworks Collective held their first event, a GiveWrap workshop in Melbourne town. Needleworks Collective is a small craftivist group of friends: Emily, Aisha and I.  We have been making stuff together for a few years now and discovered we had a shared interest in making things that could have a bigger life somehow, maybe change minds or make the world a little kinder.

GiveWrap is a sweet but powerful project that aims to transform the culture of disposable gift wrap into one of reciprocal giving of treasured wrapping cloths.

by Emily

Inspired by the traditional wrapping clothes of Japan and Korea, GiveWraps are a unique expression of their maker and contemporary life.  They might be embroidered, appliqued, pieced, quilted or printed.

GiveWraps are given with a gift but not returned to the giver. Instead, they have a life of their own and are given and regiven continually. GiveWraps inspire us to make something that has no monetary value. It is not made for sale. Its value lies in the giving and increases the longer it remains in circulation.

GiveWraps can be the size of a pocket handkerchief up to the size of a bunny rug and use scraps and leftover bits of fabric, doilies, old table clothes, vintage pillow cases, really anything you have to hand.

Thank you to all those lovely folks who came today and made a GiveWrap.  We had a merry and productive throng.  These are some of the beautiful GiveWraps that were made today.

You could make a GiveWrap too. Here are some handy instructions which are also available as a PDF on the Needleworks Collective website.

First assemble your materials

Use what you have already.  A GiveWrap is a perfect way to use small scraps, bits of braid, a pretty pillowcase, anything really. You will also need a sewing machine or sewing needle, scissors or rotary cutter, pins and tape measure.

Decide what size GiveWrap you will make

A good size range seems to be from the size of gentleman’s handkerchief to a baby blanket.  You might be limited by the materials you have to hand. There is no correct size.

Cut out the backing and attach your label

We printed our labels onto inkjet printable fabric for quilters or if use your best writing, you could use a laundry marker on calico. Either hand stitch or machine stitch the label to the backing. Make sure to include a name, location, date made.  You can download our printable labels from Needleworks Collective.

IMG_3881Assemble the front

This might be pieced from small pieces, embellished with braid or embroidery or screen printed.

IMG_3894Joining the front to the backing

Lay the front on top of the backing, right sides facing each other. Then pin the two layers together. Sew a seam around the edges of the GiveWrap, remembering to leave a gap for turning inside out. Clip the corners and turn inside out, making sure you push the corners out neatly.  Hand stitch the opening closed and press with an iron.

IMG_3893Take a pic and post

Take a photograph of your new GiveWrap and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #givewrap. You could spot your GiveWrap in a faraway place when you search later under #givewrap or it might pop up in your feed like a message in a bottle.  You can also send us a pic for the GiveWrap gallery at

Here are some of the lovelies, all wrapped up and you can see more pics of GiveWraps by following me on Instagram where I am Rebeccaspindle.

Give away and make another

Please do make one, indeed, make many. You might consider making a set of GiveWraps that circulate just within your family or that you use especially at Christmas time.

You can sign up for updates on other Needleworks Collective projects here. No worries about being inundated with emails…we move slowly but with purpose!

IMG_3827Keep them free!