Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo

How to make a drawstring bag

by: Chica

How to make a drawstring bag
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As I mentioned the other day in my hard candy jewels post, Jo and I have done a lot of projects for Little Jo’s birthday party this year. While I’m still not ready to tell you the theme (but soon, I promise!), I would like to show you another one of those projects. Jo wanted to give each of the kids a goodie bag, so I whipped some up drawstring bags pretty quickly on the sewing machine. In keeping with the party’s color scheme, the bags were hot pink with a teal lining.

We’ve told you about drawstring bags before, like when we made 50 of them out of denim or when we showed you how to make a fur-lined velvet Santa bag, but since these goodie bags for the party were super simple, and the others had been more elaborate, I thought it was worth explaining the basic process again. So here’s how you make a lined drawstring bag.

how to make a drawstring bagFirst, figure out how big you want the finished bag to be, then use those measurements to determine how big to cut the fabric. Double the width of the bag and add one inch. Then add one inch to the height of the bag. In other words, for a 7″x9″ finished bag, your fabric will be 15″ wide (7×2=14; 14+1=15) and 10″ tall (9+1=10). You’ll need two pieces of fabric this size — one for the outside of the bag and one for the lining. They can be the same color or different colors, as you wish.

For our bags, I cut a 15″x10″ piece of hot pink satin fabric for the outside of the bag, and another 15″x10″ piece of bright teal for the lining.

Start by placing the two pieces of fabric right sides together, and pin along the top (widest) edge. Sew a seam along the pinned edge.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Open the sewn piece up and place it face up on the table, with the lining half at the top. Fold it over from right to left, making sure the finished side of the fabric is on the inside.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Pin along the long left side and along the bottom, then use the sewing machine to sew along those two edges.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Now flip the bag inside out, revealing the finished side of the fabric.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Next you need to close up the bottom of the bag’s lining, which was the teal side for me. Grab the open end with both hands and use your index finger to push the sides in about a half an inch. Push the cut ends down until you can’t see them and pinch to hold in place.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Secure the pinched seam with a row of pins. Now you can do a slip-stitch to close the seam or — since it’s just the inside of the bag anyway — just sew it closed with a quick row of stitches on the machine.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Now shove the lining down into the bag, pushing the seam you just sewed down to the bottom of the bag.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Next stabilize the top of the bag by pinning around the edge, making sure that the outer and inner layers of fabric are lined up nicely. Then, using the free-arm on your sewing machine, sew a row of stitches about one inch from the top of the bag.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Then sew a second row of stitches next to the first one. These stitches will form the channel for your drawstring. The spacing will depend on how wide your drawstring cord is. For my thin cord, I left a gap of about 1/4 inch, but for wider cords, you might want to go up to 1/2 inch.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

To open up the channel to allow the drawstring to enter, use a seam ripper to cut away at the thread right at the seam, making a hole just big enough to slip a safety pin into. Then put a small safety pin on the end of your drawstring cord.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Stick the safety pin into the hole and use it as a sort of handle to feed the drawstring all the way through the channel and out the other side.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

Pull the cord through and even it out, cut to an appropriate length, and tie a knot in each end.

how to make a drawstring baghow to make a drawstring bag

This is a simple drawstring bag that can be made with just about any fabric, in any color, to suit any occasion. You can easily vary the size, too!

how to make a drawstring bag

how to make a drawstring bag

How to make a drawstring bag
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99 comments so far:

  • 1
    Maria Devine 12/20/2011 at 5:14 pm

    wanted you to know that my grandson (age 2) has as much if not more fun carrying his bag around everywhere he goes as playing with the train that the bag was designed for! I am now starting wine gift bags..thank yu again!

  • 2
    Chica 12/20/2011 at 6:25 pm

    So glad to hear that he loves the bag so much, Maria! We’d love to see your wine gift bags if you want to share a photo with us :)

  • 3
    Patti R 12/23/2011 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you for showing me how to make this bag. I made a large one as a Christmas present bag, and it went pretty smoothly considering that not only am I poor at sewing, but I’ve actually been dangerous around a sewing machine! Much to my amazement, the bag came out really pretty! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your talent!

  • 4
    Chica 12/24/2011 at 8:25 am

    That’s so wonderful to hear, Patti! We’re happy that you were able to create such a nice bag. Merry Christmas!

  • 5
    Eva 12/29/2011 at 9:35 am

    Thank You so much for this wonderful tutorial of a quick and easy make that not only looks great but is also so fun to make! As well as perfect explanations, you have even put on photo`s.I very much appreciate the effort you have put into making sure people understand!And by the way, is the theme of the party underwater/something to do with mermaids?Or a sweet themed party with lots of pink things?It is what i think…..please tell the theme!!!!!

  • 6
    Chica 12/29/2011 at 11:31 am

    Good guesses on the theme, Eva. These particular bags were for a Super Mario Brothers party featuring Princess Peach that Jo had for her daughter’s birthday.

  • 7
    Maddy Brown 01/01/2012 at 7:24 am

    Good and simple instructions. This is a perfect bag for my homemade fabric hair curlers. I used the fabric which some of the curlers are made out of. Works and looks great!!!!

  • 8
    Malissa 01/12/2012 at 1:07 am

    SUPER EASY!, my first bag came out soo good! I’m selling them to a local shoppe.even the proto type is salable..Thanks..Brilliant!

  • 9
    Miranda 01/20/2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks so much for putting up this tutorial! My kids needed some simple drawstring bags and I couldn’t find them in any store, and I knew they needed to be lined but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how to sew them up with liners in them. This was simple and easy to follow and now my kids have the bags they need!

  • 10
    Chica 01/20/2012 at 12:31 pm

    So glad we could help, Miranda. I had to think the lining process through a few times before figuring it out myself :)

  • 11
    Robyn 02/08/2012 at 4:54 pm

    I’m a beginner sewer and just made two of these, one for each of my older sons. This tutorial was easier than many I found that didn’t include a liner! Thanks!

  • 12
    Chica 02/08/2012 at 6:47 pm

    So glad to hear that, Robyn!

  • 13
    Heather 02/29/2012 at 4:22 pm

    I wanted to make some simple bags with my new sewing machine to include in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
    I looked at several websites but then found yours. I’ve already made 4 bags and plan to make more with other leftover material – mainly dress material – with white poly cotton lining.
    My mum cannot believe that I’m lining the bags but with your method, I think it makes it easier rather than harder. Thank you!

  • 14
    Chica 02/29/2012 at 7:14 pm

    Heather, we’re so glad we were able to help you create nice bags for Operation Christmas Child!

  • 15
    marcela 03/01/2012 at 8:55 am

    omgosh!! i entered ‘how to thread a drawstring bag’ into google and came across this site! It’s perfect!! If only me and my friend had thought of this sooner we would have saved at least two hours of head scratching, quite a few sacrificial ‘um no not quite right- oh dear’ prototypes ;. lol, and have more than five ‘YES we did it!!!!!’ un-strung ‘draw-string bags :D thankyou soooo much for putting these wonderful and SO easy to follow photos up :D We are making bags for my crystal healing business and found the simple two piece bags easy enough but were having trouble with the lined bags (a must for protecting precious crystals and the dainty points some of them have).
    We made ours slightly differantly however (lol and probably terribly wrong but somehow it works :) tho’ the material has to be the same colour) by using one piece of material in a rectangle shape, folded in half(with non-print side facing us), sewing along all the seams but leaving a small 3 or 4 cm area un-sewed at the corner of one of the sides. we then pulled the material inside out, sewed up the space with a neat straight line,. rubbing the material together in the middle we seperate the two sides from each other and kind of like popping the top of a sock inwards we stuffed the top half of the resulting ‘tube’ of material inside the other half and then sewed a line a cm in from the top for the drawstring!!! We were so proud!!!!
    Now thanks to you we know how to ‘string’ them!!! Thankyou!!! :) am now going to put together some bags like you have demonstrated. Again, Thanks!

  • 16
    Chica 03/01/2012 at 1:28 pm

    Marcela, we’re so glad your Google search led you here, and delighted that we were able to help you and your friend. If it makes you feel any better, I had plenty of “um no not quite right” moments myself when coming up with this technique. :) Sounds like you made a clever adaptation, too!

  • 17
    miriam 03/01/2012 at 7:19 pm

    Thankyou very much for your instructions it hashelped me a lot.

  • 18
    Carmen 04/09/2012 at 1:44 pm

    Hey chica
    I love this site
    Your instructions are easy to follow, and the pics help alot

  • 19
    kathy 04/13/2012 at 8:48 pm

    thank you so much. This help alot, between the great pictures and the directions it helped me to understand how to make them. like i said thanks again:)

  • 20
    Marilyn 04/14/2012 at 4:28 pm

    What a simple but professional way to make a drawstring bag. It looks absolutely perfect inside and out when it is finished. Thank you!!

  • 21
    Sarah 05/17/2012 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you so much for the great EASY tutorial. I acutally used the same colors which happen to be my friends wedding colors, guess what, now she has a money bag for her big day tomorrow :) Thanks again!

  • 22
    Rica 06/18/2012 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial!! Even me who is clueless to sewing can get these done. I am planning on having these made for my bridesmaids and myself :)I plan on doing a little decorating of the bags but thank you for the basic design!

  • 23
    Marilyn 06/25/2012 at 4:48 pm

    Great tutorial. You made it so easy. I just made 7 of them of my young grandsons to keep their cars in. Outside is the same on all 7 and the lining is different on each one. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • 24
    patricia 06/26/2012 at 1:42 pm

    i love drawstring i just made a 100 of them in two weeks
    love them

  • 25
    Chica 06/26/2012 at 1:46 pm

    Marilyn and Patricia, I’m so happy to hear that this tutorial worked well enough for you to easily make so many bags! Thanks for sharing your results :)

  • 26
    Jenny 08/17/2012 at 4:08 pm

    Made my first bag this afternoon! Very easy to follow instructions and great pictures; even for a pretty beginner seamstress!! Thank!

  • 27
    Erin 10/07/2012 at 3:02 am

    Hi, I love this bag I used it for my project and got an ‘Att’

    Thanks alot

  • 28
    Cathy 10/11/2012 at 5:57 pm

    Do you have instructions or a video on how to make this drawstring bag with two straps? Thank you

  • 29
    Chica 10/12/2012 at 4:22 pm

    Cathy, we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, but you might be able to adapt the drawstring style in our drawstring backpack tutorial to meet your needs.

  • 30
    Leah 10/19/2012 at 1:57 am

    I love this bag idea, I just made 3 Santa sacks but just bigger of course. Thank you.

  • 31
    Q 12/14/2012 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you for your tutorial! I just made a coin bag for my boyfriend as xmas gift. merry xmas to you :)

  • 32
    Pam 12/30/2012 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks so much for this easy way of making a drawstring bag. I am making bread bags so that I can make bread and give them away as gifts!!

  • 33
    Chica 12/31/2012 at 10:26 am

    What a fun idea, Pam!

  • 34
    anny 01/14/2013 at 8:00 am

    Really appreciate this step by step visible learning.its really helping me to develop my idea of making a draw string bag.

  • 35
    Lel 01/23/2013 at 5:52 pm

    Great page! This helped me make drawstring purses for birthday presents. I customized them by using different fabric, pretty stitches, and embroidery on the fronts. Your tutorial was clear and easy to understand, thank you so much!

  • 36
    Chica 01/24/2013 at 7:17 am

    So glad you enjoyed the tutorial, Lel. We’d love to see your photos if you want to share a photo with us on Facebook or in our Flickr group for reader projects.

  • 37
    heidi kerrison 03/09/2013 at 9:48 am

    First class tutorial! Love the photos and clear instructions thank you. I always find photos easier to follow rather than instructions. Now making drawstring bags with felt bunnies on filled with foiled wrapped eggs for Easter.

  • 38
    Chica 03/10/2013 at 3:20 pm

    So glad our photos helped, Heidi! I love your Easter bag idea. P.S. Have you seen our felt Easter egg jellybean bag tutorial? You might like it!

  • 39
    Lee 03/17/2013 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you so much for your easy direcctions. The pictures were great. I appreciate you sharing your talent and information!

  • 40
    Susana 04/27/2013 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you very much for this tutorial.
    This is easy to understand and make.
    Hugs and Kisses from Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America.

    Susana :)

  • 41
    Chica 04/27/2013 at 3:12 pm

    You’re very welcome, Susana. So glad we could help someone so far away!

  • 42
    D&D Player 06/03/2013 at 12:45 am

    I had been looking and looking around the interwebs for an easy tutorial for a drawstring bag when I came across yours. This could hardly be more simple; thank you!! I’ve made many dice bags for myself, my husband, and my fellow D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) players using your tutorial. Now, all of our dice, pencils, cards, and minis can stay together and safe in a custom bag!

  • 43
    Cristina 11/18/2013 at 4:02 pm

    Exactly what I needed! Thanks for the step by step instructions, and the pictures, it was perfect!

  • 44
    Karen 02/09/2014 at 5:33 pm

    Absolutely fab, I am a novice sewer and this tutorial was fab.. Thanks

  • 45
    Chica 02/10/2014 at 8:31 am

    So glad you enjoyed it, Karen!

  • 46
    Leisa 12/23/2014 at 8:44 am

    Perfect tutorial for my boys santa sacks this year!!
    Wasn’t sure about lining… I am now!! Thanks so much!

  • 47
    Chris 01/21/2015 at 11:25 am

    Nice tutorial, just what I was looking for. Going to be mixing this and the drawstring backpack tutorial to make some small pouches for dice.

    Thanks for the tutorial

  • 48
    Jaimn 05/21/2015 at 10:25 am

    I make a lot of bags, but this was so much easier than making the separate pieces and then joining them. Thanks so much!! I can’t wait to try this. :)

  • 49
    Penelope 10/11/2015 at 10:34 am

    I needed to make a tube, lined with vinyl, to carry balls for dogs in and I had no idea how to do it.
    Thank you so much for a very helpful tutorial, it saved me a lot of grief and time. I have achieved what I wanted to and now know how to make some very pretty Christmas present purses into the bargain!

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We are two best friends sharing our creative journey. You never know what we will be into each time you visit. We could be throwing a unique party, refinishing a flea market find, or whipping up a new cupcake recipe. We invite you to join us for the ride as we tackle life one project at a time!

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