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Tutorial: How to Sew an Easy Drawstring Bag – a Beginner’s DIY Project (2024)

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tutorialshow to make a drawstring bagReady to craft a stylish drawstring bag? This tutorial shows how to sew an easy and versatile DIY project!

Grab some cotton fabric and grosgrain ribbon, then let’s get stitching. We’ll cut precise rectangles, seam them together leaving an opening for the drawstring casing, and carefully insert the ribbon.

With a few folds and some straight seams, you’ll have a professional-looking bag that cinches closed with ribbons.

Got your supplies? Excellent!

Follow along closely as we guide you through each step—from cutting to the final knot. By the end, you’ll be an expert bag-maker…and who knows what clever creation awaits?

Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways

  • The tutorial covers how to sew an easy and versatile DIY drawstring bag, including cutting precise rectangles, seaming them together, and carefully inserting the ribbon drawstring.
  • The necessary materials include medium-weight cotton fabric, grosgrain ribbon, and basic sewing notions like scissors, thread, and a sewing machine.
  • The construction process involves sewing the fabric pieces together, folding and pressing the seams, inserting the ribbon drawstring through the casing, and finishing the bag by tying the ribbon ends.
  • The tutorial provides guidance on customizing the drawstring bag, such as experimenting with different fabric choices, ribbon styles, and adding embellishments for a personalized touch.

Materials Needed

Materials Needed
To sew an easy drawstring bag, you’ll need a 1/3 yard of medium-weight cotton fabric and 44 inches of grosgrain ribbon, along with basic sewing notions like scissors, thread, and a sewing machine. Make sure to have all the necessary materials ready before starting this beginner-friendly DIY project.

Medium-weight Cotton Fabric (1/3 Yard)

To create your drawstring bag, you’ll need a medium-weight cotton fabric. This type of fabric is sturdy yet pliable, making it perfect for this project. Choose a color or pattern that complements the grosgrain ribbon you’ll be using. The cotton will hold up well to the sewing techniques required to construct the bag.

Grosgrain Ribbon (44 Inches)

When selecting Grosgrain Ribbon for your drawstring bag, consider the color, thickness, material, and texture of the ribbon.

The ribbon’s pattern adds a stylish touch to the bag.

Additionally, gather a cord casing and cord stopper for the drawstring, and a safety pin to ease the ribbon insertion through the casing.

Avoid discussing details about the waterproof lining and quarter circle, as these will be covered in the next subtopic.

Sewing Notions

To complete your drawstring bag, you’ll need a few essential sewing notions.

Choose high-quality thread that matches your fabric.

Choose sharp scissors for clean cuts.

Choose a measuring tape or ruler to guarantee precise dimensions.

Pins or clips will help keep your fabric in place during construction.

With these basic tools, you’ll be well on your way to creating a stylish and functional bag.

Cutting Dimensions

Cutting Dimensions
To start, cut two rectangular pieces of fabric, each measuring 12 inches long by 9 inches wide; these will form the main body of your drawstring bag. Next, cut two pieces of grosgrain ribbon, each 22 inches in length; these ribbons will thread through the casing at the top to create the drawstring closure.

Two Fabric Pieces: 12 Inches Long X 9 Inches Wide

To create the main fabric pieces, cut two rectangles that are 12 inches long and 9 inches wide from your medium-weight cotton fabric. This size provides a nice, roomy drawstring bag that’s perfect for storing small items or using as a gift bag. Feel free to experiment with different fabric choices and personalize the bag with your own unique embellishments.

Two Grosgrain Ribbon Pieces: 22 Inches Long

Next, you’ll need to cut two 22-inch pieces of grosgrain ribbon. This sturdy, woven ribbon material comes in a variety of colors and widths, typically around 1/2 to 1 inch thick. The length allows for ample drawstring functionality once threaded through the casing. Carefully measure and cut the ribbon to guarantee a perfect fit for your handmade bag.


To begin construction, take the two fabric pieces and sew them together along the side edges, leaving a 2-inch opening at the top for the drawstring casing. Fold over the seam allowances on the sewn edges, press them flat, and stitch the folds down to neatly finish the seam allowances.

Sew Fabric Pieces Together, Leaving 2-inch Openings at Top

To sew the fabric pieces together, leaving 2-inch openings at the top, use medium-weight cotton fabric for durability.

Choose a seam finish suitable for the fabric type, such as a zigzag or overlock stitch.

Consider grosgrain ribbon as it’s sturdy and available in various colors for embellishment options.

Make sure the seam allowance is neat to maintain the bag’s integrity and longevity.

Evaluate the bag’s potential uses based on its design and purpose.

Fold and Press Seams

After sewing the fabric pieces together, it’s time to fold and press the seams.

Use your presser foot to guide the fabric as you gently press the seams open.

This will help the bag lay flat and create a crisp, professional look.

Take care not to stretch or distort the fabric during this step.

With your sewing machine and a sharp seam ripper, you’re well on your way to a beautifully constructed drawstring bag.

Sew Down Folds

When stitching down folds in the drawstring bag construction, make sure the folds are neatly pressed before stitching to create a clean, professional look. Use these steps to sew down folds effectively:

  1. Iron the seams to make them crisp and defined.
  2. Secure the folds with careful stitching to maintain a tidy appearance.
  3. Double-check the alignment of the folds before sewing to ensure evenness and precision.

Fold and Press Top Edge Twice

Next, fold the top edge of the bag down twice, pressing the folds flat as you go. This will create a clean, finished top hem with a small seam allowance. Use your iron to press the folds, then machine stitch along the top edge to secure the hem in place.

Fold Width Press Flat Top Hem
Fold the top edge down twice Press the folds flat with an iron Create a clean, finished top hem
Seam Allowance Machine Stitch
Leave a small seam allowance Sew along the top edge to secure the hem

Inserting Ribbon

Inserting Ribbon
To insert the ribbon drawstrings, first pull apart the bottom seam of the bag body about 2 inches from each corner and sew across, creating small openings. Trim the seam allowance to 3/8 inch, heat-seal the ends of your 22-inch grosgrain ribbon pieces to prevent fraying, then feed one ribbon through the casing opening from each side.

Pull Bag Apart at Bottom, Sew 2 Inches From Corner

To insert the ribbon, first pull the bag apart at the bottom. Sew a line 2 inches from the corner to create an opening. This will allow you to thread the ribbon through the casing you created earlier. Be careful not to sew too close to the edge, as this could weaken the fabric.

Trim Seam to 3/8 Inch

Next, trim the seam to 3/8 inch. This will create a clean, professional finish as you prepare to insert the grosgrain ribbon. Be sure to trim the seam evenly all the way around the bag bottom, taking care not to cut too close to the stitching. This small step will make inserting the ribbon much easier.

Heat-seal Ribbon Ends

To heat-seal the ribbon ends for your drawstring bag, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the ribbon by trimming it to the required length.
  2. Use suitable heat-sealing methods, such as a fray check or heat tool, to secure the ends.
  3. Guarantee a neat finish for your drawstring bag by properly sealing and attaching the ribbon, ready for further embellishment.

Insert Ribbon Through Casing From One End

Now that you’ve heat-sealed the ribbon ends, it’s time to insert the ribbon through the casing. Gently pull the bag apart at the bottom and sew a 2-inch seam to create an opening. Trim the seam allowance to 3/8 inch. Carefully insert one end of the ribbon into the casing, guiding it through until it emerges from the other side.

Insert Other Ribbon Through Opposite Side

To insert the other ribbon through the opposite side of the drawstring bag:

Heat-seal the ends of the ribbon for durability.

Guide the ribbon through the casing on the opposite side.

Ensure it’s of equal length to the first ribbon, maintaining symmetry for a balanced closure.

Depending on the fabric choice and the bag’s size, choose an appropriate drawstring length and style of ribbon.


To finish your drawstring bag, tie the ribbon ends together in a knot or bow. This will allow you to cinch the bag closed by pulling the ribbon ends.

Tie Ribbon Ends Together

To finish your drawstring bag, tie the ribbon ends together in a secure knot. This will allow you to easily pull the ends to close the bag. Choose a ribbon length, material, color, and style that complements your fabric. You can even add embellishments like bows or tassels for a personalized touch.

  • Tie a sturdy knot to secure the ribbon ends.
  • Experiment with different ribbon lengths, materials, and colors.
  • Enhance the look with ribbon embellishments like bows or tassels.

Pull Ends to Close Bag

To close the bag, simply pull the ribbon ends tight. The medium-weight cotton fabric and sturdy seams will hold the shape, while the ribbon closure allows you to adjust the size as needed. Feel free to experiment with different ribbon lengths or add embellishments like bows or tassels for a personalized touch.

Outer Fabric: 1 FQ

For the outer fabric, choose a fat quarter (18 x 22 inches) in your desired color or print. This provides ample material to work with while keeping costs low. Consider coordinating colors, complementary prints, or even upcycled fabrics to give your drawstring bag a unique, personalized touch. The options are limitless regarding fabric selection and embellishments.

Wadding: 1 FQ

When completing a drawstring bag, the wadding, a layer of padding, adds softness and structure.

Wadding is typically made of polyester and is 200 GSM white.

Its composition guarantees durability and thickness, providing a quilted feel to the bag.

While polyester wadding is a popular choice, alternatives such as cotton or bamboo wadding can be considered based on preference.

Multiple suppliers provide wadding appropriate for quilting and upholstery projects.

Lining: 1 FQ

The lining fabric is an essential component of your drawstring bag project. Choose a lining material that complements the outer fabric, such as a coordinating color or pattern. Lining options include cotton, polyester, or even a lightweight interfacing for added structure. Experiment with different lining colors and patterns to create a unique and personalized bag.

  1. Select a lining fabric that enhances the overall design.
  2. Consider the weight and texture of the lining material.
  3. Explore various lining color and pattern possibilities.

Cord Casing: 1 FQ

1 FQ

The cord casing is an essential component that gives your drawstring bag its unique look and functionality. When selecting the fabric, consider the cord length, fabric thickness, and desired casing width. A 2-inch wide casing works well for most standard-sized bags. Be sure to fold and press the casing neatly before attaching it to the bag.

Bag Size Cord Length Casing Width
Small 25 inches 2 inches
Medium 30 inches 2 inches
Large 36 inches 2.5 inches


To finish your drawstring bag, you’ll need the perfect cord. Choose a length that allows the bag to cinch closed comfortably. Pick a color that complements your fabric. Natural fibers like cotton or linen work well, but you can also get creative with embellished cords. Just be sure to heat-seal the ends to prevent fraying.

Cord Stoppers

To finish the drawstring bag, utilize cord stoppers to secure the cords neatly.

Choose cord stoppers based on the cord length and durability required for your project.

These stoppers are available in various colors to match your cord or add a pop of contrast.

Make sure the cords pass smoothly through the stoppers, allowing for easy adjustment while enhancing the bag’s functionality and aesthetics.

Template Material: Empty Cereal Box

To create your template, simply use an empty cereal box. Measure 8.5 inches from the corner and mark dashes at regular 8.5-inch intervals to form a quarter circle shape. This template will help you precisely cut your fabric pieces for the bag’s assembly. Remember to align the straight edges with the folded fabric for accurate placement.

Measurement From Corner: 8.5

When crafting your drawstring bag, verify that the exact measurement from the edge of your template is 8.5 inches.

This precision is essential for obtaining the proper form of the quarter circle.

Employing a cereal box as your template substance offers sturdiness and facilitates cutting.

Align your template precisely with the folded fabric borders to guarantee a balanced and well-suited quarter circle.

Dashes: 8.5 at Regular Intervals

To create the dashes, simply mark 8.5-inch intervals along the straight edges of your folded fabric. This will help you visualize the quarter circle shape you’ll be cutting out. Be precise with your measurements – these dashes will serve as your guide for accurate template placement. With a little care, you’ll have perfectly spaced dashes in no time!

  • Measure 8.5-inch intervals along folded fabric edges
  • Mark dashes at each interval using a pen or pencil
  • Make sure dashes are evenly spaced for template alignment

Shape: Quarter Circle

To complete the quarter circle drawstring bag, confirm that the template matches up with the folded fabric edges for accuracy. Position the cord casing strip correctly along the edge and pay close attention to the seams. This focus on details improves the bag’s structure and look. Stitch the circumference carefully with a 1/8 seam allowance. These steps ensure a professional and polished finish to your bag.

Aspect Importance
Template Alignment Critical
Cord Casing Placement Key
Seam Treatment Essential

Fabric Folding: Half, Then Half Again

To prepare the fabric, first fold it in half width-wise. Then, fold it in half again to create four layers. This will help you align the straight edges of the fabric with the template when cutting out the pieces. Remember, you can experiment with different fabric options, ribbon types, and even add embellishments to customize your drawstring bag.

  1. Fold the fabric in half width-wise.
  2. Fold the fabric in half again.
  3. Align the straight edges with the template.

Template Placement: Straight Edges Aligned With Folded Edges

With your fabric folded in half and then in half again, it’s time to place the template.

Align the straight edges of the template with the folded edges of your fabric.

This guarantees your bag pieces are cut precisely and evenly.

Contemplate the size you want your finished bag to be, and adjust the template accordingly.

You can also add a gusset or adorn with ribbons or other trims for a personalized touch.

Cord Casing Strip Dimensions: 2 Wide

Next, cut a 2-inch wide strip from your fabric for the cord casing. This width will allow enough room to easily thread the cord through without being too bulky. Be sure to account for the seam allowance when cutting the casing strip. The casing width and gusset size can be adjusted to suit your preferences and the overall bag design.

Seam Treatment: Pressed Open

After pressing the seams open, you’ll have a clean, flat finish on the inside of your drawstring bag.

This seam treatment works well with medium-weight cotton fabrics, helping to maintain the bag’s shape.

The open seams also provide a smooth surface for the ribbon to glide through the casing.

This versatile bag can be used for a variety of purposes, from carrying small items to gifting.

Cord Casing Folding: Half and Half Again

Next, fold the cord casing strip in half and then in half again to create a narrow casing. This will guarantee the cord or ribbon you insert later has a secure fit within the casing, regardless of the fabric thickness or width of the casing. Be sure to use a durable ribbon or cord for the best results.

Casing Pin Placement: Central Point and Four Quarters

To ensure the cord casing’s alignment, insert pins at the central point and four quarter marks around the bag. This guarantees the casing’s even spacing and security. If you choose to add an optional gusset, modify the pin placement as necessary. Explore variations like adjusting the gusset size or bag length to personalize your drawstring bag design.

Sewing: Circumference of the Bag, 1/8 Seam Allowance

To finish the drawstring bag, start by sewing around the entire circumference of the bag, ensuring a precise 1/8-inch seam allowance for neat edges. Consider altering the size of the gusset, and explore various embellishment options such as ribbons, buttons, or other decorative elements. The finishing touches will add a personal touch to your drawstring bag, making it uniquely yours.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to stitch a drawstring bag?

For instance, sew two 12 x 9 fabric pieces together, leaving a gap. Fold and press seams down. Attach casing to the bag’s top. Run ribbon through it—you can now cinch the bag shut.

How to put the string in a drawstring bag?

Cut 2 lengths of cord or ribbon double the desired finished size. Flatten bag’s open top, creating a casing. Thread one cord through each side casing opening, using a bodkin or safety pin. Secure ends with overhand knots or cord stops.

How to make a drawstring out of fabric?

What will it be—a long self-tie or fixed casing? With contrasting fabric, cut strips twice as wide and sew into tubes. Fold long edges to center, press, and sew. This fabric drawstring heightens your creativity!

How to make a drawstring bag from a pillowcase?

Cut the pillowcase’s closed end off. Fold the open edges inwards twice to form casings, press, and sew. Thread ribbon through the casings. Voila! Your drawstring bag is ready.

How do I choose the right fabric for my drawstring bag?

Choose a medium-weight cotton, linen, or canvas fabric with a firm drape. Avoid anything too lightweight, like voile or lawn, that won’t hold the bag’s shape well. Consider the bag’s purpose—sturdy fabrics like denim or canvas work great for everyday use.

Can I use a different type of closure instead of ribbon?

Yes, you can absolutely use a different closure. Try grommets, toggles, or buttons for a unique twist. Get creative and have fun personalizing your drawstring bag!

What are some design variations I can try for my bag?

You could try different fabrics for contrast, add pockets or appliques, play with the bag shape, or let your creativity shine with embroidery or beading. The possibilities are endless – make it your own!

How do I ensure my bag maintains its shape over time?

To maintain its shape over time, you’ll want to interface the bag with a lightweight fusible interfacing material. This will help prevent wrinkles and sagging while allowing the fabric to breathe.

Can I make this bag in different sizes for different uses?

Yes, you can adjust the bag’s dimensions for different uses. Experiment with various sizes and proportions to find the perfect fit for carrying items like cosmetics, craft supplies, or a laptop.


And there you have it! With unwavering dedication and an iron will, you have conquered the tutorial on how to make a drawstring bag.

Revel in your newfound expertise, for you are now a master of the drawstring arts.

Bask in the glory of your creation, a symbol of your sewing prowess.

Who knows what other textile triumphs await those willing to heed the call of the needle and thread?

The world is your oyster, dear crafter!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.