These fabric ang pao packets are easier to sew than they look! They can be as simple or fancy as you like, and have no fussy buttons or ties, all while keeping their contents secure inside. Read on to learn how to make your own.
Ang pao packets have for quite some time now joined the sustainability trend, with crafters making and selling fabric ang pao packets in a market that has seen increasing demand for sustainable handmade products.
Fabric ang pao packets can be as simple as a piece of red cloth sewn into an envelope, or intricately designed to mimic the traditional Chinese costume. When I was designing my version of the fabric ang pao featured in this post, I had just one aim - to do away with any form of fasteners (i.e. no buttons, no ties, no zippers) and at the same time keep the contents secure inside the packets.
Bring on the No-Fastener Fabric Ang Pao Packet.
One Side of the Ang Pao.
In the tutorial below, this side is called the "Back".
The Other Side of the Ang Pao.
In the tutorial below, this side is called the "Front".
Closer Look at Ang Pao's Opening
To check out what else you can sew for the Chinese New Year, see this post.
The key to having no fastener is using an elastic element that "turns" to the back to conceal the opening and "turns" to the front to reveal it again. Here I have used 6-inch wide elastic lace. In general, your elastic lace needs to be at least as wide as the width of your ang pao packet.
6 Inch Wide Elastic Lace
You will also need a main fabric, a back fabric, and a lining fabric. These can all be the same fabric if you are going for that minimalist look.
My Selection of Fabrics.
The lining fabric is a very thin cotton that is a little translucent.
The main and back fabrics are both quilting cotton.
To give it stiffness to withstand the pull of the elastic lace, this ang pao packet has a total of two layers of hard fusible non-woven interfacing and a layer of thick fusible batting.
You may notice that my ang pao packet has applique and quilting on it. These are totally optional and the tutorial below tells you at which point they need to be done.
I have actually made two slightly different designs. One of them has the lace running vertically, while the other has it running diagonally. The materials above and tutorial below are all for the diagonal version, which can be adapted to make the easier vertical version once you grasped the concept.
Vertical Lace Version.
Note that the workmanship here is not as good because this was my first try and I made quite a number of mistakes, all of which have been circumvented in the tutorial.
Diagonal Lace Version (Used in Tutorial)
STEP 1: Cut Fusible Interfacing & Batting
Cut interfacing and batting to the following dimensions and quantities:
STEP 2: Cut Fabrics
Cut main fabric, back fabric, and lining fabric to the following dimensions and quantities:
Tips! Rough cut these fabric pieces to about 1 cm to 2 cm larger all around than the dimensions shown. This will ease Step 3.
STEP 3: Fuse Interfacing & Batting to Fabrics
Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of main fabric as below:
Fuse batting and interfacing, in that order, to the wrong side of back fabric as below:
Tip! If you had rough-cut in Step 2, this step will be easier as you won't need to center the fusible elements so accurately on the fabrics. After fusing, simply trim all sides leaving 1.5cm seam allowance all around and you will end up with fabrics of the dimensions shown in Step 2.
If you want to quilt or add applique, do them at this point (after ironing on all the fusible interfacing and batting) before going further.
STEP 4: Prepare Back Piece
Take the back fabric that has been fused with interfacing and batting (from Step 3). Place one of the lining fabrics on the interfaced side as shown below:
Double-fold the top flap of seam allowance of the back-fabric to hem it:
You now have the following Back Piece, ready for assembly in Step 6. When flipped, you should see the right side of the back fabric.
STEP 5: Prepare Front Piece
Take the front fabric that has been fused with interfacing (from Step 3). Place a length of the elastic lace diagonally on the front fabric (ensure it is taut), baste within the seam allowance, and trim excess lace as below:
You now have the following Front Piece, ready for assembly in Step 6. When flipped, you should see the interfaced wrong side of the main fabric.
STEP 6: Assembly
Take the Front Piece from Step 5, Back Piece from Step 4, and the remaining lining fabric. Stack them as shown below, and baste or clip together. Note that the Back Piece should be 1.5 cm shorter than the other two layers.
Sew all around about 3 mm away from the edges of the batting and interfacing (you can easily feel where this is with your finger, and draw lines to demarcate them). Be careful that the stitches do not catch the double-folded hem underneath on the "Top" side. Leave about 15 cm opening on the side that has no lace.
Turn the assembly inside out to reveal the lace and the pretty sides of the Front Piece and Back Piece. This step can be very unnerving because you may feel like you are ruining the fusible elements. Try to be as gentle as possible but if the interfacing or batting got detached or crumpled, a good pressing with the iron will fix it.
After turning and pressing, close the opening with hand-stitching. I used the ladder stitch.
Ladder Stitch to Close the Opening
Now you can flip the elastic lace back and forth between the front and the back of the ang pao packet, and witness first hand how the ang pao packet is opened and closed without any fastening mechanism!