Pretty Drawstring Bag Tutorial

SONY DSCThis pattern is a real favourite of mine and have used it sooooo many times for a range of different types of bags. It’s really easy, quick and can be adapted to suit whatever size you want to make (or fabric you have spare!)

You will need:

  • Fabric for your outer
  • Fabric for your lining
  • Small piece Bondaweb
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Coordinating thread
  • Chalk and a pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine, pins and needles
  • Iron

SONY DSC1. Cut out your pieces of outer and lining.
Fold your fabric in half, right sides together and cut a rectangle (the size of mine is 14.5 inches x 11 inches). Repeat with your lining fabric so you have four rectangles in total.


2. Add your applique shape to your bag.
On the paper side of your Bondaweb, draw the shape you want to add to your bag – I’ve decided to draw a pair of pants!


Place your Bondaweb, glue side down (paper side up) onto the wrong side of a small piece of contrasting fabric – I’m using the same fabric as my lining. Press for a few seconds, until the Bondaweb sticks to the fabric.


Cut out your shape and peel away the papery backing of the Bondaweb.


Place your shape (pants) onto one piece of your outer fabric and press, so the shape sticks.
Using a contrasting colour thread and a small zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, stitch around the shape.


Tip: When you get to the corners of your shape, stop sewing, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot up and spin the fabric to the direction you need to continue to sew.

Snip your threads to neaten.
Here, I’ve decided to add a little bow to my pants. I made the little bow from ribbon and hand stitched it to the outer fabric.




3. Sewing your outer and linings together.

Place one piece of your outer fabric, right sides together with a piece of your lining fabric.


Pin across the top (the short side of the rectangle).
Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew across the top, attaching one piece of your outer fabric with one piece of your lining fabric.


Repeat the above steps with the other outer and lining piece.
Press your seams open. You should now have two sides of the bag (made up of one outer and one lining).




4. Sewing your bag together.

With right sides together, place one side of the bag on top of the other, with the outers facing and the linings facing (so here we have the florals on top of each other, and the spots on top of each other).

SONY DSCLine up the seam and pin all around the bag.
Using a ruler, measure 1 inch either side of the seam line and make a chalk mark. Repeat this on either side of the bag.



SONY DSCStarting at the bottom of the lining, sew all around the bag, stopping and starting at each chalk mark (so you have a gap 2 inches wide over the seam line). Stop sewing about 2 inches before you get to where you started (so you have a gap for turning the bag the right way round). Stay stitch (sew a few stitches forward and backwards) at the beginning and at the end. Snip your threads.



SONY DSCTip: Use a larger seam allowance on the bottom lining of your bag – this way, the bag lining will fit better inside the outer.

Trim your excess at the bottom of your lining.

SONY DSC5. Turn your bag the right way round.

Press the seams open of the gaps you made in the bag.


Snip all four corners.


Pull the bag through the gap at the bottom of the lining.

SONY DSCTip: Use a pencil to poke out the corners.

Press your bag, paying attention to the gaps, so all the bits that need to be tucked in are!
Hand sew closed the opening in your lining.

SONY DSCPush the lining into the outer and press.

SONY DSC6. Finishing

Using a contrasting coloured thread, starting on one side of the channel (the bit where we will be threading the ribbon around the top of the bag), top stitch all around the top of your bag. Stay stitch at the beginning and end.

SONY DSCUsing a safety pin attached to one end of your ribbon, thread it through one opening at the side of your bag and all the way around the top of your bag, through the channel, and out of the other opening on the same side you started. Cut the ribbon and tie the ends together.



SONY DSCYou could finish here and have just one tie, I like to have two, one on either side, so I threaded another length of ribbon around the top of the bag, through the opening on the opposite side of the bag.

Beautiful! You’ve made a little pants bag.

This tutorial is really versatile; you can adapt the size, colours, applique shape and it can have a multiple of uses; I’ve made a number of these for underwear bags, smaller ones for gift bags and larger ones for laundry bags and even Santa sacks.

Use two contrasting fabrics on the outer and change the applique shape to suit…this bag below was for my mum who asked me to make her another after I gave her one for her birthday and she likes it so much!

Add a pocket…

The possibilities are endless!


How to make a drawstring bag.

I recently completed a part-time course in screen printing. Whilst the course was really good, I was not! However, my designer friends: Rose, Nat and Jenny were naturals!

Having been donated a sewing machine by her gran, Jenny’s been practicing making her screen printed fabrics into little drawstring bags…with not much success by the sounds of things. I’m absolutely not doubting Jenny’s ability, more the pattern she is following!

So here you go Jen, while my screen printing may be poor, I can sure help out with the sewing side with this really easy how to.

How to make a little/or big (it’s up to you) drawstring bag…

You need:

  • A pattern (i.e. rectangle piece of paper) to whatever size you want your bag to be (mine is 12″ x 10″) so my bag will be slightly smaller if I take into account a seam allowance.
  • Piece of fabric for your outer bag (flowery)
  • Piece of contrasting fabric for your lining (stripy)
  • Two bits of ribbon (or extra fabric if want matching) for your drawstrings
  • Thread and a sewing machine
  • Ruler and chalk/something to mark on the fabric
1. Cut your fabric.
Using the pattern, cut two pieces of your outer (flowery) and two of your lining (stripy) so they are all the same size.
2. Sew outer pieces to lining.
Place one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together, to the lining fabric.

Pin and sew across the top (the side with the narrowest width), I left about 0.5cm seam allowance.

Iron out the seam.
3. Place bag sides together. You should now have the two sides of the bag, with outer joined to lining. Like this…

Place the two pieces right sides together with the same fabrics together (so flowery on top of flowery, and stripy on top of stripy). Pin the two together at the middle where the outer joins the lining.

4. Mark the channel for your drawstrings. From the seam line connecting the outer and lining fabric, measure 1.5cm, make a mark. Then, from this line measure another 1 cm (this distance can be larger depending on how big you want channel to be), mark on the fabric.

Do this either side of the seam line, and both edges.

Pin the rest of the fabric together, so the two outer fabrics together and the two lining fabrics, just so it stays still while your sewing around the whole thing.
5. Sew the bag together. Start from the bottom of the lining fabric, and sew all around the bag, stopping at your first [drawstring channel] mark (1), then starting again at the second mark (2). Sew across the seam line and stop again at your third mark (3), starting again at the fourth (4). And continue around until you get to the marks on the other side (do the same here). So you are leaving a small gap on the outer and lining fabrics on both sides of the bag. These are the gaps your drawstrings will feed through. I think the photos below will help make this clearer.

Stop just before you get to where you started sewing, leave a small gap of about 1-1.5 inches at the bottom of the lining – this will be where you turn your bag inside out.
Iron out the seams.
6. Corners. At this point you could leave it as it is and jump to the turning the right way round stage (Point 7). However, I like to put corners in the bottom of my bag; the next few steps show you how to do this…
At each corner, from the seam, mark about 1 inch (again this can be different depending how big you want your corners to be).

At your corners, pinch both sides of the fabric and open out, so your marks touch.

Draw a line across the corner, and sew, snip the end.

Do the same to all four corners, and they should end up looking something like this…

7. Turn the bag right way round. Through the small gap you left in the lining, turn the bag the right way round.

You should have something like this…

8. Hand sew the little gap in the lining. And fold the lining into the outer. Iron.
10. Finish your drawstring channel. Match up the two holes on either side (remember those gaps you left when sewing around the bag?). I use a pencil or the end of an unpicker to make sure they match up. Pin to hold in place.
Now, top stitch all around the top of the bag; once above your holes and another below.

Mines a bit wobbly!

11. Thread your drawstrings. Your nearly done! Pop a safety pin in the end of one of your drawstrings (this makes threading it through much easier!) and thread into one of the holes in the side of the bag, thread all the way around until you come out of the same hole.
Repeat on the other side using your second drawstring (I’ve used a different colour ribbon to show this a bit clearer).
Tie a knot in both ends of the drawstrings.
Ta da…you have one completed drawstring bag!
Hope this is clear, please ask me any questions if you get stuck along the way x