Ideas for Those with Limited Time, but Unlimited Passion for Sewing

Drawstring Bag Tutorial

After watching several videos and blogs on different techniques to make drawstring bags, I decide to try out my own version. Several years ago I made most of my sons’ crib sheets. As you know, when you make the sheets, you have to cut out four of the corners. All these scraps were in my stash and so what better time than now to use them.  I always loved this print, so I decided to make my first pouch using one of their Christmas crib sheet scraps.  The measurements for the scraps are roughly 8 and 3/4″ squares. xmas fabricI laid the four pieces in order. Depending on your pattern you need to get the pieces in the right direction. You will sew your interior piece to the exterior piece, then the next exterior piece to the other interior piece. If you have a one directional pattern it should look like this:


Pin and sew all pieces together with a 1/4 seam allowance. If you are not serging, make sure that you backstitch at the beginning and end. Then press all three seams open.

Fold right sides together and match-up seams on both sides and pin near the four corners. At the top where the interior pieces meet, find the middle and then move over 1″ and pin to the left. Go back to your middle and then move over 1″ and add a pin the right or just move over 2″ from the left pin. Importance is making sure that you have enough room to pull the fabric through once you finish sewing all the sides. You can use a ruler and just mark with a washable ink and pin all around this area.

interior seam opening xmas drawstring bag

This is what the top interior pieces will look like once you sew them. There should be 2″ of opening, so that you will be able to easily pull the bag through.

Next go to where your exterior pieces meet. Measure down 2″ and then mark with a washable pen or mark with a “stopping” pin. Then go down another 1″ and mark or pin.   This will be where you will sew the channel for the drawstrings to go through. It should look like this:
sidelines xmas drawstring bag

Sew or serge from the left bottom(do not sew the bottom of the bag where the two exterior pieces meet) to the first “stopping” pin or mark of the channel opening. Start again at the second “stopping” pin or mark at the top of the channel opening and continue to sew up and around the top of the interior piece until you reach the “stopping” pin or your mark for the 2″ opening. Start sewing again at the second “stopping” pin or mark of the interior opening and all around the rest of the joined interior pieces until you reach the first “stopping” pin of the channel opening on the right side of the exterior piece. Start sewing  the last part of the right exterior piece from the second “stopping” pin or mark down to the end of the right exterior piece. DO NOT sew the bottom of the bag.

finished sides xmas drawstring

This what the exterior piece sides will look like after you sew around the channel openings.

Now it is time to box all four corners. In order to box, start with the left exterior corner. Line up the seams like this:
boxed corner xmas drawstring

In order to make sure that your seams are lined up evenly, you can hold the fabric up to a light and/or test by sticking a pin through the seam and making sure that it comes out on the other side through that seam. Once you have it lined up, lay flat and pin it. Measure 1  1/4″ down and mark with a washable pen or “stopping” pin. If you need to, draw a line all the way across and make a triangle. Repeat this on the other exterior corner and both interior corners. If you did not serge, cut off the triangles for all four corners.
cut boxed corner xmas drawstring
Clip strings and then pull bag exposing the right sides out through the opening at the top of the interior pieces. Press interior piece opening using 1/4 seam allowance and sew closed. You can hand-sew it for an invisible seam if you wish.  I opted to just sew it with my machine.  Make sure that you backstitch at both ends.


Even up the edges where the exterior and interior fabric meet. Press down with your iron all around. The bag should look like this:upright bag

Now it is time to close the channel. Starting on the left side of bag with the top opening, position your sewing machine needle about 1/4 an inch before the side seam. It will be easier to sew if you take off the side arm on your sewing machine, if this is possible. Instead of drawing a line around the bag, I just lined up my fabric with my needle plate. See below:
sewing first line of channel xmas drawstring

Slowly sew all the way around the bag.  Make sure that you go across the top of the right channel opening on your way around the bag.  Once you get back to the left side, backstitch to secure the stitches.   Now move your sewing needle 1/4″ from the side seam at the bottom of the channel opening on that left side.  second channel line xmas drawstringI placed a piece of tape as my marker so that I would keep my stitching even as I sewed all around the bag again. Remember to make sure that you stitching line goes evenly across the bottom of the right channel opening.  Once you get back around to the left side, backstitch and then clip all your thread.  If you are nervous about this, use your washable marking pen and ruler to mark your lines all around the channel.

The next step is making the drawstrings. Cut a piece of cotton fabric that will accent your bag. The dimensions for this size bag should consist of two pieces of fabric that are each 2 inches wide and 25 inches long. You can make the length shorter if you do not want the drawstrings to hang out as much once they are pulled tight. Fold over the end of both pieces and press. Fold each piece in half so that it is 1″ across and press. Open it up and then fold on each side to the pressed line. It should look like this:
drawstring xmas bagBasically, you want to make sure that no raw edges are exposed.  Sew from folded edge, all around to the other folded edge. sewing drawstring xmasdrawstring sewn
Press the drawstrings. two drawstrings finished Insert a safety pin at the end of the first drawstring. IMG_0728 Insert the first drawstring into the left channel with the safety pin attached and move it all the way around, pass the right channel and back out the left channel, then make a knot in both ends. IMG_0730Ties for xmas drawstring bag

The last step is to insert your second drawstring into the right channel with the safety pin attached.  Move it all the way around, pass the left channel and back out the right channel, then make a knot in both ends.  Your bag is now complete!

finished drawstring bag

If you have any questions, please email me at or post your questions.

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