How to Sew a Drawstring Bag

Sew a Simple Drawstring Bag

How to Sew a Drawstring Bag
Mollie Johanson

Drawstring bags are a great way to hold a few items for easy travel or even to wrap gifts. Follow this simple tutorial and sew your own drawstring bags in an hour or two. You can make them in any size you need!

Grab a few fabrics and a drawstring, then get this project started!

Drawstring Bag Materials

Drawstring Bag Tools and Supplies
Mollie Johanson

Supplies

  • Fabric A - 1/2 yard
  • Fabric B - 1/2 yard
  • Fabric C - 1/8 yard
  • Cotton Cording or Thin Rope - 1-2/3 yards
  • Thread

Tools

Cut the Fabric Pieces

Different sizes of different patterned fabrics
Mollie Johanson

Using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut the fabric as follows:

  • From Fabric A, cut two outside pieces: 12-1/2" x 12-1/2"
  • From Fabric B, cut two lining pieces: 12-1/2" x 12"
  • From Fabric C, cut two drawstring channel pieces: 12-1/2" x 2"

Prepare the Drawstring Channel Pieces

Press and Sew the Ends of the Channels
Mollie Johanson

Press in the ends of the channel pieces, forming a 1/4-inch double fold hem. Sew across the folded hem 1/8-inch from the fold.

Fold and press each piece in half on the long edge. 

Pin and Sew the Outside, Channel, and Lining

Pin the Layers of Each Side
Mollie Johanson

Pin the layers of one side of the bag together. Align the raw edges of the drawstring channel with the top edge of the outside fabric, centering the channel between the two edges. Place the lining fabric on top with right sides facing.

Sew the layers together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Press the seams open.

Assemble the Drawstring Bag Sides

Pin and Sew the Sides Together
Mollie Johanson

Pin the two sides together with outside to outside and lining to lining. Match the center seam and be sure to mark where to leave a three-inch opening on the lining. 

Sew around the four sides with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, backstitching on each side of the opening.

Cut Out the Corners to Make a Boxed Bottom

Cut Out a Square From the Four Corners
Mollie Johanson

If you want to make your drawstring bag sit flat with a boxed bottom, continue with these next steps. You can also skip these for a standard bag. 

Cut out a 2-1/2-inch square from each of the four corners of the sewn piece. Don't worry about cutting through the seams because the next step will secure them.

Match and Sew the Seams for the Boxed Bottom

Match the Seams and Sew the Boxed Corners
Mollie Johanson

At each cut corner, match up the side seam with the bottom seam while aligning the raw edges. Sew across from folded edge to folded edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You should sew over the cut seams to secure them.

Sew the Lining Closed

Sew the Opening in the Lining Closed
Mollie Johanson

Turn the bag right side out and sew the opening in the lining closed. For an invisible seam, hand sew the opening with ladder stitch. However, since this lining is inside the bag, you can sew it closed with a quick seam 1/8-inch from the edge.

Thread the Cording Through the Channels

Thread the Drawstrings Through the Channels
Mollie Johanson

Cut the cording or rope piece in half and tape the ends to prevent fraying while you thread them through the bag.

Thread each piece through both channels so you have two ends of the drawstring on each side. A turning tube makes this job easier, especially when threading the second piece through. You can also use a safety pin or a bodkin.

Tie the Drawstring Ends

Tie the Ends of the Drawstrings Together
Mollie Johanson

Tie the two ends together on each side of the bag and remove the tape. 

Your drawstring bag is finished and ready to use!

Drawstring Bag Ideas

DIY Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial
Mollie Johanson

This basic tutorial is only the beginning. You can adjust and customize your drawstring bag to be creative and fit your needs!

  • Add fusible interfacing to the outside fabric so your bag has more structure and stands on its own.
  • Use patchwork panels for the outside of the drawstring bag. You can even quilt it to batting for a mini quilt in bag form!
  • Alter the size of the bag as much as you like. Keep in mind the size of the drawstring itself and make sure the channels are large enough.
  • Add embroidery to the outside for a fun custom gift.
  • Use drawstring bags to help when packing for a trip, giving gifts in reusable gift bags, organizing craft projects, and more!