How to Sew a Drawstring Bag

How to Sew a Drawstring Bag
Mollie Johanson
Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you know how to sew, there's no need to spend money on simple drawstring bags. Even beginning sewers can easily follow this tutorial and sew a drawstring bag in just an hour or two. Make them in any size you need—along with holding trinkets, drawstring bags make for clever wrapping for gifts.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric turning tube, large safety pin, or a bodkin

Materials

  • 1/2 yard fabric of your choice
  • 1/2 yard second fabric of your choice
  • 1/8 yard third fabric of your choice
  • 1 2/3 yard cotton cording or thin rope
  • Thread
  • Tape
  • Pins

Instructions

  1. Cut the Fabric Pieces

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

    • From fabric A, cut two outside pieces: 12 1/2 inches x 12 1/2 inches
    • From fabric B, cut two lining pieces: 12 1/2 inches x 12 inches
    • From fabric C, cut two drawstring channel pieces: 12 1/2 inches x 2 inches
    Different sizes of different patterned fabrics
    Mollie Johanson
  2. Prepare the Drawstring Channel Pieces

    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. 

    Press and Sew the Ends of the Channels
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Pin and Sew the Outside, Channel, and Lining

    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.

    Pin the Layers of Each Side
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Assemble the Drawstring Bag Sides

    Pin the two sides together with outside to outside and lining to lining. Match the center seam and mark where to leave a 3-inch opening on the lining. Sew around the four sides with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, backstitching on each side of the opening.

    Pin and Sew the Sides Together
    Mollie Johanson
  5. Cut Out the Corners to Make a Boxed Bottom

    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.

    Cut Out a Square From the Four Corners
    Mollie Johanson
  6. Match and Sew the Seams for the Boxed Bottom

    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. Sew over the cut seams to secure them.

    Match the Seams and Sew the Boxed Corners
    Mollie Johanson
  7. Sew the Lining Closed

    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, because this lining is inside the bag, you can sew it closed with a quick seam 1/8-inch from the edge.

    Sew the Opening in the Lining Closed
    Mollie Johanson
  8. Thread the Cording Through the Channels

    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.

    Thread the Drawstrings Through the Channels
    Mollie Johanson
  9. Tie the Drawstring Ends

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

    Tie the Ends of the Drawstrings Together
    Mollie Johanson

Drawstring Bag Ideas

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!
DIY Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial
Mollie Johanson