How to Make a Drawstring Bag

This easy, beginner-friendly sewing tutorial teaches how to make a handy drawstring bag in less than 15 minutes. These drawstring bags are a great way to use up any fabric scraps you have lying around into something useful.

Drawstring bags have so many uses. They can hold fruit and vegetables in your weekly shop. If you have children, these are handy for carrying snacks or essentials. If you make homemade gifts like these 15 handmade gift ideas, you could wrap them in these lovely drawstring bags, a thoughtful and reusable wrapping solution!

This tutorial includes three handy sizes, 30cm, 26cm, and 22cm, to choose from.

3 drawstring bags in different sizes

Why You Will Love These Drawstring Bags

  • Quick to sew together in under 15 minutes
  • A functional way to use up scrap fabrics
  • It has many uses, from storing fruit to being a gift wrap
  • This beginner-friendly tutorial is an excellent first-sewing project

What can you use these drawstring bags for?

These drawstring bags have many uses, so it’s worth sewing them.

  1. Produce Bags – Ditch the single-use plastic produce bags at the supermarket and use these instead. They can be made from natural, undyed cheesecloth or calico. I love using mine for grocery shopping – they are easy to take in my bag and fit everything I need to pick up.
  2. Gift Wrapping – If you have a gift to give, homemade or store-bought, these bags are a nice way to wrap them. It’s an extra present that is more useful and prettier than wrapping paper.
  3. For organising – If you have lots of beauty products or knickknacks, pop them into these bags to keep things organised. You could add little tags, so you know what each bag contains.
  4. In your purse – Keep small bits together in your purse, like lipsticks, tampons, hair ties and bobby pins. These essentials are always in my handbag, but they get thrown around or lost unless kept in my drawstring bag.
  5. To hold craft supplies – If you lovemaking things, these drawstring bags are perfect for keeping supplies together in one place. I’m notorious for working on multiple projects at once, so this keeps me from losing anything.
  6. In luggage – If you travel, you can place small items like socks, underwear, makeup, chargers, or other essentials. This is the best way to keep your suitcase from becoming a stressful mess.
Set of three different sized drawstring bags in floral cotton prints

Materials and Tools You Will Need:

Fabric (as cutting guide below)
Ribbon, binding, or drawstring cord (as cutting guide below)
Thread
Sewing machine
Cutting tools like fabric shears or a rotary cutter
Iron

The Best Fabrics and Drawstrings to Use

I recommend using fabrics with a sturdier structure for these drawstring bags. Materials like cotton poplin, quilting cotton, cotton drill, linen, and calico are all suitable. They are easy fabrics to sew and care for and will be durable.

Use a cord, ribbon, or bias binding for the bag drawstrings. A pretty cotton lace would also be lovely.

Two handmade drawstring bags in floral cotton prints

How To Make a Drawstring Bag

Step One: Cut out the drawstring bag pieces

Begin by cutting out the fabric to size. You will need a pair to make x1 bag.

Small bag (Finished size: 12 x 22cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 37.5 x 24cm and x2 drawstrings at 60cm long.
Medium bag (Finished size: 16 x 26cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 30.5cm x 19cm and x2 drawstrings 48cm long.
Large bag (Finished size: 21 x 30cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 29.5cm x 15cm and x2 drawstrings 36cm long.

Cutting out cotton fabric on a cutting mat with rotary cutter

Step Two: Mark in drawstring casing

Mark in the casing by measuring 6cm down from the top edge of the bag. These are the notch points.

The notch points are the starting and finishing point of the side seams.

Marking the top notch point on the drawstring bag

Step Three: Begin sewing the French seams

With the wrong sides of the fabric touching, begin sewing a 5mm seam at the first notch. Stop when you get to the second notch. Trim the corners

Close up of drawstring bag seam sewn at 5mm

Snip into the seam at the notch point – be careful not to cut the stitching line.

Cutting the notch point into the top of the bag

Turn the bag out so the right sides are touching. Press the bag flat to make the seams crisp.

Sew the second seam with a 1cm seam allowance, starting at the notch point again. Stop when you reach the second notch.

Close up of the bag seam sewn at 1cm wide

Step Four: Press the casing sides

Turn the bag inside out so the print or right side faces outwards. The top of the bag will have four raw edges. Press these in by folding under 5mm, then 1cm.

Folding in the sides of the top of the drawstring bag 5mm then 1cm

Fold down the top edges of the bag 1cm and press to crease.

Folding down the top edges of the bag 1cm

Fold the top of the bag once more (keeping the 1cm folded) down to the notch point. Edge stitch the casings closed.

Folding down the top of the drawstring bag casing to touch to notch point and edge stitching

Step Five: Thread the drawstring

Next, thread the first drawstring through one side and around and out the other end. Tie the ends together.

Threading through the first ribbon drawstring in the casing

Thread the second drawstring starting at the no-tie end and back around, tying the ends together.

Threading through the second ribbon drawstring in the casing

And that’s it!

More Sewing Project Tutorials You Will Love:

Yield: 1 Bag

How to Make a Drawstring Bag

Set of three different sized drawstring bags in floral cotton prints

This easy, beginner-friendly sewing tutorial teaches how to make a handy drawstring bag in less than 15 minutes. These drawstring bags are a great way to use up any fabric scraps you have lying around into something useful. Drawstring
bags have so many uses. They can hold fruit and vegetables in your weekly shop. If you have children, these are handy for carrying snacks or essentials. If you make homemade gifts like these 15 handmade gift ideas, you could wrap them in these lovely drawstring bags, a thoughtful and reusable wrapping solution! This
tutorial includes three handy sizes, 30cm, 26cm, and 22cm, to choose from.

Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $2.00

Materials

  • Fabric (cutting guide in instructions below)
  • Ribbon, drawstring or binding (cutting guide in instructions below)

Tools

  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric shears or rotary cutter
  • Pins
  • Safety pin

Instructions

  1. Cut out the drawstring bag pieces
    Begin by cutting out the fabric to size. You will need a pair to make x1 bag.
    Small bag (12 x 22cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 37.5 x 24cm and x2 drawstrings at 60cm long.
    Medium bag (16 x 26cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 30.5cm x 19cm and x2 drawstrings 48cm long.
    Large bag (21 x 30cm) = Cut x2 rectangles of fabric 29.5cm x 15cm and x2 drawstrings 36cm long.
  2. Mark in drawstring casing
    Mark in the casing by measuring 6cm down from the top edge of the bag. These are the notch points. The notch points are the starting and finishing point of the side seams.
  3. Begin sewing the French seams
    With the wrong sides of the fabric touching, begin sewing a 5mm seam at the first notch. Stop when you get to the second notch. Trim the corners and snip into the seam at the notch point – be careful not to cut the stitching line. Turn the bag out so the right sides are touching. Press the bag flat to make the seams crisp. Sew the second seam with a 1cm seam allowance, starting at the notch point again. Stop when you reach the second notch.
  4. Press the casing sides
    Turn the bag inside out so the print or right side faces outwards. The top of the bag
    will have four raw edges. Press these in by folding under 5mm, then 1cm. Fold down
    the top edges of the bag 1cm and press to crease. Fold the top of the bag once more (keeping the 1cm folded) down to the notch point. Edge stitch the casings closed.
  5. Thread the drawstrings
    Next, using a safety pin thread the first drawstring through one side and around and out the other end. Tie the ends together. Thread the second drawstring starting at the no-tie end and back around, tying the ends together.

    And that’s it!

Notes

  • I recommend using fabrics with a sturdier structure for these drawstring bags. Materials like
    cotton poplin, quilting cotton, cotton drill, linen, and calico are all
    suitable. They are easy fabrics to sew and care for and will be durable.
  • Use a cord, ribbon, or bias binding for the bag drawstrings. A pretty cotton lace would also be lovely.
  • The seam allowance is 1.5cm wide.



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