Fabric is the new paper!
Well, not exactly. The Japanese have been using it to wrap gifts and make all sorts of accessories like bags and headwear, for centuries. They call it "furoshiki". And as with all things Japanese, the ideas and designs are gorgeous and creative.
Inspired by this website I came across, I tried my hand at a few. http://furoshiki.com/techniques
The more complex furoshiki designs seem to be made using a special stretchable cloth (which I don't have) - but a bit of research revealed that people use all sorts of different kinds of cloth and still get pretty good results. So I tried it with saree material using squares of material from old sarees which have become brittle and tear easily. The ivory-coloured cloth was left over from some curtains I got made! :-)
The bag was easily made by cutting out 2 pieces of cloth, sewing in the seams or rather hemming it and turning the bag inside out. The string was attached by tying it around the top, folding the cloth down and sewing the seam around it. Don't forget to tie a knot though or the string might disappear in the seam :-)