Craft along with me and have a go at making your own drawstring bag. This is a super easy beginner (or experienced) sewing project and makes really cute storage.
Another sewing tutorial for you today on Aimsy’s Antics where I will show you how to make a drawstring bag. It is an easy sewing project, and perfect for practising or learning new sewing skills. Here I will give you a written and picture step by step guide and there is also a video format over on my youtube channel. I will also embed the video below.
A drawstring bag is a simple bag, with a flexible opening at the top, in which you pull on cords to open or fasten it. You can make and buy them in all sorts of sizes, and they are a great way to store and carry items.
You can make these in almost any fabric, however, delicate fabrics will be a bit harder to sew together But everyone loves a challenge, don’t they? In this tutorial, I am using a cotton piece of material in fat quarter size. This is the perfect size to make a small bag without wasting your material. You can buy fat quarters in various patterns and colours, online or in your local haberdashery.
What you need to make a drawstring bag:
- Fat quarter piece of material
- Sewing machine
- Cotton thread
- OPTIONAL – wool to make decorative pom-poms
Just to note the pictures used in this post may differ from the bag made in the video tutorial.
How to Make a Drawstring Bag:
I use cms to measure my projects, but I have included both cms and inches to this tutorial for you to use whichever you feel more comfortable with.
Before you start the project (and almost any sewing project) make sure that you have washed, dried and ironed your material. If it is a new piece of material then this will allow for any shrinkage and fraying to occur before your finished piece. You don’t want your bag shrinking in the wash once you have made it!
Step 1 – Measure out your drawstring bag
You can make this bag in all shapes, and in this tutorial, I have opted for a small-medium size bag.
Measure a 25cm by 33cm rectangle shape on your material. I found folding the material in half made this part easier as you will need two pieces in this size. So, this rectangle will be 25cm wide and 33cm in length.
Always remember to measure twice and cut once!
Cut out your bag pieces when you are happy that the measurements are correct. Where the fold of the material is, cut along to create two equal size pieces. If needed, trim the edges so that they are straight, but make sure you don’t cut into your measured size. My fat quarter piece of material wasn’t equal so I had to trim mine down. The straighter and even the edge, the easier it will be to sew.
Step 2 – Mark and Press
Now that you have your two pieces, you want to head over to your iron. Iron out any wrinkles and creases that may have formed when measuring and cutting.
Once you have done this, grab your tape and fold down the top of your material by 0.6cm or 1/4″ and press with the iron. Make sure you are folding from the right side onto the wrong side of the material.
Do this step for both pieces of material.
Step 3 – Line up material and sew
Place your two pieces of material right side to right side. In this case, it is the pattern sides together. All material as a right side and a wrong side.
When they are aligned, grab your tape measure again and mark 5cm down from the top fold. I used a tailor’s chalk and pin to mark this measurement. You want to do this on either side of the material. The pin will help keep the pieces together.
Then head over to your sewing machine to attach the two pieces together and form the shape of the drawstring bag. Make sure you begin sewing from the 5cm mark, all the way around to the other 5cm mark, ensuring you backstitch each end. Keep the seam allowance to 1.5cm or 5/8″ all the way around.
When reaching the corner parts of the bag, keep your needle in the fabric at the point where you want to turn. Lift up the sewing foot, turn your material, placing the sewing foot back down to secure the fabric. Then continue sewing in the straight line. This should give you good sharp and angled corners.
Step 4 – Press open seams
Once your bag is formed, you want to head back on over to the iron. Press open the side seams that have now been formed at the top of the bag. You should have two ‘openings’ at the top of your bag (where you marked down 5cm).
Now comes the fiddliest bit of the project, so be careful not to burn your fingers on the iron. Take one of the raw edges of the newly pressed seam and fold it in on itself. Then fold again so this is concealed. Sort of like a rolled seam. Press this to keep it in place and flat. Carry this out for the remaining three open raw edges of the side seams – both sides of the bag. See the picture or video below if this is confusing.
Step 5 – Sewing the exposed seams
Head back to the sewing machine and sew along the edge of the newly rolled seam. You want to do this as neatly as possible. Sew down the edge, just past the 5cm notch. Keep your needle through the fabric, and lift the foot again to turn your material. Sew across and up the opposite side.
You want to be careful that the material doesn’t bump or pleat during this, by keeping the material as flat as possible. You will see some of the stitching so keep it neat!
Step 6 – Form the drawstring channels
Fold-down the top edge of the material, keeping the already folded edge inside (0.6cm) by 2cm or 7/8″. Pin this into place on either side of the forming drawstring channel. Complete this on both sides of the bag.
Sew along the folded edges across the top of the bag. Remembering to backstitch on each end as you go. Once sewn you should have a small channel to thread your drawstring through.
Step 7 – Overlock the unfinished seams
This step is sort of optional, but I like to overlock or zig-zag stitch my open seams inside the bag. This gives the seam a nice finish and helps prevent the fabric from fraying inside. You don’t want your seams to fray and come undone!
Place your sewing stitch to the zig-zag setting on the machine, and turn the stitch size down to the one of the smaller setting. Zig-zag along all of the seams. I keep the seams open and zig-zag each edge, but you could place the ends of the seams together and zig-zag them together.
Step 8- Turn your drawstring bag out
We are nearing the end of the project! Now it is time to turn your drawstring bag right side out. Make sure you poke the corners out fully. You can use the blunt end of a pen to help get right into the corner.
You nearly have a fully formed drawstring bag!
Step 9 – Add in the drawstrings
Select your desired piece of the drawstring, you can use whatever type of string that you like. I like to use some form of ribbon for this. Using a safety pin, fold down the end of the ribbon slightly and secure it with the safety pin.
Starting from one end of the open channel, thread through the drawstring, looping around onto the other side and pulling through. You should have two ends of your ribbon on the same side of the bag.
Follow the same process to thread through your next piece of the drawstring. Start at the looped side this time so that you end up with two loose ends on the opposite side to the first. Secure a knot in both ends to stop the drawstring from going back into the channel.
There you have your own drawstring bag!
Step 10 – (OPTIONAL) Add on pom-poms
I love a good pom-pom so adding them to the end of the drawstrings was a no-brainer for me. This is optional, but I think it adds a nice decorative touch. After making your pom-poms, grab a needle and thread, securing them to each of the drawstring knots.
Follow this guide on how to make your own pom-poms if you are unsure.
There is how to make a drawstring bag, with the added detail of pom-poms. How easy is it to make? What will you use your drawstring bag for? Let me know in the comments below.
Also what other crafty DIYs would you like to see me make? Again, let me know in the comments below!
If you liked this sewing project, why not pin it for later?