Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Women's Institute


This year the Women's Institute is marking it's centenary. According to the WI website:

The Women's Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation's aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. The WI will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and currently has 212,000 members in around 6,600 WIs.

The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

I am not a member of the WI but decided to visit today to meet the ladies, have a piece of cake and a coffee and to watch a demonstration of how to make a gift bag. This is how to do it.

Take a piece of paper, wallpaper is a good thickness, wrap it around a box the size you require to make the bag big enough for your present and cut a rectangle to size allowing for overlapping.

Fold over about an inch on one of the long sides.

Wrap the paper  round your box so that it is a snug fit, with the folded edge next to the edge of the box. Ensure that you can see the sharp edges of the box marked on the paper when you unwrap it. Unfold the folded edge and using a hole punch, make holes in the front and back where the handles will be as above.

After making the holes, re-do the first fold you made so that the holes are on the inside. Glue the overlap on the side to form a snug tube round the box.

Remove the box and bring the side folds together on both sides to strengthen the bag by creating an inner fold as above.

Put the box back inside the tube with the folded edge level with the bottom of the box, resting on the table. Fold in the paper at the other end to form the bottom of the bag and glue securely. Cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the bottom of the bag. Remove the box and glue the cardboard inside at the bottom of the bag.

Cut two strips of cardboard the width of the bag and about half an inch long  to reinforce the top of the bag and glue in under the fold with the holes in on both sides of the bag.

With a pencil, carefully make a hole through the other layers by placing the pencil in the hole-punch holes. From the outside, put the pencil back into the holes to neaten them.

Cut two lengths of rope or shoe lace. Knot one end, thread through the hole from the inside and then back through the next hole and knot the end.

Make a gift tag and tie onto the bag.
Hopefully you've ended up with a very presentable gift bag!

We also saw how to recycle other packaging items - orange nets, serviettes, ribbons, hats from Christmas crackers - to make wrapping paper and decorations to wrap up those gifts in a stylish way.

About 40 ladies enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon. Lots of people helped - making the cakes and refreshments, running the raffle, providing prizes, checking people in, selling books, running a bring and buy, but even still the money raised was just about enough to cover the hire of the hall and any guest speakers.

If you have a WI near you, perhaps they might appreciate some help raising money to keep up the good work.



  1. Sounds like a fun meeting! Making your own gift bags to fit the gift is a good idea isn't it as things are often not the same size as the standard bags. xx

    1. It looked just like the real thing at the end too! Any craft is fun though isn't it. x