Monday 10 February 2014

How to Sew a Small Drawstring Bag

A lot of the things I make for my Etsy Shop come in a drawstring bag: my baby shoes, my fairies and mermaids, my butterfly sets and shell sets. The bags are often not particularly fancy, but I think of them as part of the packaging. And if you have bought something special it is really nice to have a little bag to keep it in.

I have tried quite a few ways to sew a drawstring bag, and am going to show you what I think is the easiest method. If you are making a larger drawstring bag which you are going to use a lot I think it is better to have two strings that you pull at each side, and perhaps to sew french seams, but this is my tried and tested method for a small, simple bag.

First cut out your material. I am not going to give exact measurements for this, as it depends how big you want your bag to be. An easy way to calculate what you need is work out twice the width you want your bag, and add 2 x 0.5cm for side seams. For the length just work out how tall the bag will be, and add 2cm for the top cord channel and 0.5cm for the bottom seam allowance.

In my photographs I am using dupion silk, and have used iron-on facing which I find makes it easier to work with. For a small bag I recommend you use a fine material like cotton or silk.

Pin your material at both sides at the top of your bag as in the photo below. Sew this small tapered seam as close to the edge as you can with a short stitch.

Next fold the material at the top of your bag to make a channel for the drawstring. Sew this with a longer stitch, as this stitching will show as topstitching on the outside of your bag.

Then fold your bag in half with the right side on the inside, and with a shorter stitch sew across the bottom and up the side, stopping just before you reach your drawstring channel. Allow 0.5 cm for the seam, but keep in a straight line as you stitch up the side of the bag so you stop sewing exactly at the edge of your material and just below your cord channel. Trim the corners at the bottom diagonally, which will give a neater look when you turn your bag right side out.

Turn your bag right side out. Use a pin to turn the corners out neatly. Then cut a length of cord or ribbon for the drawstring. Make your drawstring at least four times the width of your bag. There is nothing worse than a too short drawstring. Attach a safety pin to one end, and thread this through the string channel.

Tie the ends of your ribbon together, and there you have it a simple drawstring bag to put something special in.

And if you want something a bit fancier you could experiment with your fabric choice, decorate your bag with a little embroidery, or even fasten a bead on the end of the drawstring. Now you just have to decide on something cute to put in your bag.


  1. The love you put into them is obvious. I wish I could embroider like you!

  2. Every thing you make is beautiful with those lovely details. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I so need a tutorial on drawstring bags, thank you so much.