Simple Sewing Projects
January 30, 2013 posted by littlewhitecottage

How to make a drawstring bag…

This is a very quick and simple bag to make that you can resize to make party bags, toiletry bags  and pump bags. (click here for my ‘Shower curtain pump bag/dap bag/swimming bag’ tutorial.) If you make them even bigger you can make Christmas sacks and sleep over sacks.

Here’s how you start…

I make quite a lot of drawstring bags as when a new child starts my Saturday sewing club they get a bag to put their sewing things in each week plus I make party bags for my sons parties and use them all the time in our home. Because of this I have a template that I made from a stiffened pieced of fabric but you could easily use cardboard to make one for yourself. The size I’ve made is 45cms x 34cms.

  bag 27

Put your template on your fabric and pin it in the corners.

bag 26

Cut round the template.

bag 25

Here’s your fabric ready to fold, pin and sew.

bag 24

Put the bag on the ironing board and looking at the rectangle you need to fold the sides (the shorter sides) over 1cms and then iron flat.

bag 21

Do the same to the other side. This picture shows the sides folded, ironed and pinned.

bag 20

Sew where you have pinned. I use the edge of the foot as a guide to keep the line of sewing straight.

bag 19

Here’s the sides sewn.

bag 18

Now you’re going to fold over the top edge a cm just like you did the sides. Iron flat. Don’t pin though as you’re going to turn it over again.

bag 17

Fold over the top again this time 2cms. Iron flat and pin.

bag 15

Pin your folded fabric.

bag 14

Sew along the folded edge like this.

bag 13

All sewn! I have used white thread so you can see.

bag 12

Fold the bag in half so the corners and edges meet and pin.

bag 11

You’re going to sew the bag up now. Make sure you start where I have pointed. If you start at the top you will sew the drawstring part and your bag won’t work! Sew on the inside of the 1st sewn line (to the left of the white sewn line in the picture) if you don’t then you will see this line when you turn the bag the right way round.

bag 10

All sewn!

bag 9

Use your zig zag stitch to seal the edges. I find I wash my bags quite a lot and this protects the seams from fraying.

bag 8

Here’s the bag all finished.

bag 7

Turn your bag out the right way. If the corners need help in turning then use a chopstick to push out the fabric or something else that’s pointed but blunt.

bag 6

To thread your bag use some tweezers and push the cord into the spring part. This will hold the cord as you push it through the channel in the bag. I don’t cut the cord until I’ve threaded the bag so I know I have the right amount. Don’t forget you can use ribbon too if you’d rather.

bag 5

Pushing the cord through…

bag 4

Once through trim the cord. I trim it so it’s only just longer than the bag. This is to make sure that once pulled the cord isn’t too long and also it’s safe for little ones as they can’t get it over their heads.

bag 3

Tie the knot.

bag 2

Your bag is now finished!

bag 1

Once you’ve got the hang of them they really don’t take long at all. We use them to hold jigsaw pieces, cars, bits of games etc. My eldest took his collection to school in it to play at playtime and my youngest called it his ‘busy bag’ when we went to friends for coffee and he would pack a few things to take to play with.

Have fun making them!

If you’re wanting something else to make why not try my ‘How to make a simple patchwork tutorial?’ Lots of people have and have made fabulous quilts for this friends, family and home. There are 6 parts and each part has the link to the next one so it’s very easy to follow.



  • Brilliant thank you

  • I think I will be making a lot of these,I think they are great,!!

  • Such a great tutorial thank you for sharing I have pinned it to my craft tutorial board

    • Thank you for sharing! I’m glad you found it helpful. Emma x

  • This looks great think I might give this a go for my little girl!

  • This is fab! I have just made one for my little boy’s party – only 13 more to do! Thankyou!

  • Thank-you! Excellent directions. I’m an absolute beginner and I’m delighted with my first attempt. The tweezer threading tip is great.

  • I already made one, it was pretty easy and fun to do. Thanks!

  • This is great, thank you. Just finished my first bag.

  • Great, I will also try and do one, expecting more tutorials.

  • Hi, thank you sooooo much for this…i made a beautiful drawstring bag for my little muffin ‘ethan aged 1.5yrs’ for his things.
    Very happy girl Jen from Portugal x

  • Thank you so much!!!

    • That’s okay, I’m so glad it was of use to you 🙂

  • Wow, what a great and yet simple bag!
    Thank you so much for posting it!
    (I have been making some all evening for party favours!)

    Maïlys from France!

  • Hi,

    What a great, easy and clear tutorial. Best I’ve found! Thank you so much. I am going to sew some up and sell them as a line in our childrenswear business.

    Kind regards

    From Downunder Australia!

    • Brilliant! I’m so glad you found it so useful 🙂

  • Just made one of these as Christmas wrapping. No more paper & mess for me!!!!

  • I am just about to attempt this tutorial what type of cording did you use,

    • Hi Alice

      I use 6mm piping cord but you can use whatever sze you like and also ribbon 🙂

  • Excellent tutorial. I was so proud of the results. Thank you for sharing.

  • Hi,

    This is perfect for a few little projects for a hen weekend I am planning! Do you think I could use hessian? Can I also ask how big this wee bag is?? I am looking for something to put sun glasses, some travel toiletries and a box with a miniture bottle of vodka and a small can of tomato juice!

    This might be cheeky too, just wondering if you had something similar for cotton tote! Like the cotton bags you get instead of carrier bags!!

    Sorry for all the questions!


  • You never thought to sew the top with the cord already under it then? So much easier than threading it through with a pair of tweezers

  • Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing. I am delighted with my bag.

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