Learning how to make a drawstring bag, especially as a newbie to the world of sewing and crafting, can help you develop fundamental skills you’ll end up using for the rest of your life.
Not only that, you’ll also end up with a really cool (and useful) easy drawstring bag, too!
Believe it or not, the process for putting together a DIY drawstring bag is a lot easier than most people realize – especially once you get all of your tools and material together.
By the time you finish the guide below you’ll know exactly how to knock out a DIY drawstring project, ending up with a stylish and functional bag while flexing your muscles as a beginner in the crafting world, too.
Let’s get right into it!
What You’ll Need to Make a Drawstring Bag
Even though this is a pretty simple sewing project to tackle, you’ll still want to be sure that you have all of the equipment and tools necessary to knock it out in a hurry – but you also need to get your fabric and supplies ready to go, too.
Run through this quick checklist before you begin and everything else will sort fall into place as you move forward.
Required Tools and Equipment
- The sewing machine you’re comfortable with
- Rotary cutting tools
- A ruler and measuring tape
- A cutting mat to protect your table surfaces
- An iron
- A fabric turning tube, big safety pin, or something similar
Fabric and Materials
- At least ½ a yard of primary fabric
- At least ½ a yard of secondary fabric
- At least 1/8 of a yard of accent fabric
- 1 2/3 of a yard of cotton cord, rope, or something similar
- Plenty of thread to work with
- Lots of sewing tape/twill tape
- As many pins as you can get your hands on
After you square all of those bits of cotton fabric and other materials together you are ready to rock and roll making your own drawstring bags.
Cut the Fabric Pieces
The first thing you are going to need is to cut your major fabrics into workable pieces.
Your primary fabric should be cut into two pieces, both of them 12.5″ x 12.5″ inches. Your secondary fabric should be cut to the same dimensions.
Your accent fabric, though, you’ll want to cut into 12.5″ x 2″ pieces that you’ll use as “drawstring channels”.
Make Your Drawstring Channels
After that is taking care of, you’re going to want to create the actual drawstring channels themselves.
All you really have to do here is press the ends of both of the drawstring channels in, establishing ¼ inch double fold hem. From there, so cross the hem about 1/8 of an inch away from the fold and then fold things over once again in half (the long way).
Pin and Sew the Main Components
Now you’re going to actually want to pin up the individual layers of the drawstring pouch.
Pin along the outside edge (usually called the raw edge) of your primary and secondary fabrics, making sure that the channel pieces you have created are centered between the two layers.
Sew these layers together around the perimeter and you are rocking and rolling.
Put Together the Drawstring Bag Sides
Now that your raw edge drawstring bag pattern has been established, it’s time to pin the opposing sides together (outside to outside, liner to liner) matching things up along the inside seam allowance with about 3 inches or so established for an opening.
Create back stitching alongside this opening.
Build a Boxed Bottom
This is going to be really useful to make sure that your new drawstring casing sit flat when they are opened up, a neat little trick that just takes look and functionality of this sewing project to the next level.
Cut up about a 2 ½ in square of your fabric (primary or secondary) and then sell it into each of the four corners. You don’t have to go crazy here, as everything sort of finishes off as we move forward.
Knock Out the Seams for the Boxed Bottom
After each fat quarter has been cut you’re going to want to match the scene side with the bottom scene of this new flat bottom or boxed bottom.
Sew across from one folded edge to the other, across the cut seams to provide a little bit of extra security.
Close Up the Lining
From here, you’ll actually want to turn the larger bag inside out (or reversed) to finish sewing up the actual liner itself.
You can go with a couple of different stitches, but a lot of people like to go with what’s called a “ladder stitch, straight stitch or zigzag stitch” to get in the invisible french seam allowance. It’s 100% your choice, however.
Thread the Cording Through the Channels
We are getting close to the finish line here.
All that’s really left to do is run the cord or rope that you’re using through the actual drawstring channels that you’ve created, threading them carefully so that you have plenty of rope to tie off when you’re done.
Tie the Drawstring Ends
Tie the drawstring ends, use a lighter or match to burn the end of the cut rope to guarantee it doesn’t fray, and you are good to go!
See, learning how to sew a drawstring bag really isn’t that hard – even for a beginner, right?
After you finish your DIY drawstring bag project you’re going to be able to all different kinds of other crafts using the skills and techniques you’ve mastered here.
For starters, just learning how to work with fabric – how to pin it up, how to create the right stitching at the right point in time, and the order of operations to knock out a project like this – is going to prove to be immensely valuable moving forward.
You’ll never have to worry about putting the wrong sides together in the future when you’ve put together a couple of simple drawstring bag or pouch options!
Secondly, the boxed bottom is always going to come in handy when you’re working on other sewing projects – especially another outer bag lining.
Creating a simple drawstring channel (using the inside info above, freehanding it without a pattern) will have a bunch of different applications later down the line, too. There are all kinds of projects out there that you’ll want to slide a drawstring closure channel into.
Put together a couple of these as a gift bag for someone close to you and you’ll have drawstrings down perfectly in no time at all!
At the end of the day, this project may not look super involved or all that challenging – and truth be told, it’s not the most complex thing in the world.
But will help you become a better crafter, there’s no doubt about that!
Tips and Tricks to Help You Master Drawstring Bags
- If you really want to add a little more structure to your drawstring bag tutorial/sewing tutorial, consider taking advantage of “fusible interfacing” to the primary fabric that you are using and things will have a lot more structure
- Patchwork panels as your primary outer fabric can add a lot of character to a DIY drawstring bag, and you don’t necessarily even have to make that side of the bag yourself, either
- You don’t necessarily have to stick to the dimensions for the lined drawstring bag project above if you don’t want to. You can expand or contract dimensions as you see fit, working to turn the bag right for your needs – making it larger or smaller, whatever makes the most sense for you
- Embroidery can really take things to the next level, as can a luxury lining fabric. Think about using different lining pieces, materials, or accents to really dress your new diy drawstring backpack up a bit.
- Be sure that you are taking advantage of safety pins and other fabric pins to get a handle on setting up your casing pieces. You’ll want to make sure that raw edges are lining up, that the top edge in specific is picture-perfect, and that one side isn’t cockeyed
- If you ever have a lot of left over material available to work with, consider knocking out a couple of bags whenever you have some downtime. These skills are always immediately transferable (not just to other bags, either). At the very least, you’ll get a whole lot more familiar with your sewing machine set up.
If there’s really one thing to take away from this guide, it’s to remember to have fun with this!
There’s no right side or wrong side and there’s no ultimate way to learn how to make a drawstring bag. You are always in the driver seat with this kind of project!
Unleash your creativity, play around with different styles and different fabrics, shrink or enlarge and the bags that you’re creating to your tastes, and really try and make your next drawstring backpack your own.
The whole point of a project like this is to submit those core fundamental sewing skills you’ll use every time you fire up your machine moving forward!