Today I am sharing an easy and quick tutorial with a free printable drawstring bag pattern.
These are simple bags with a myriad of uses.
Making this pattern into creative projects is fun by varying the bag size, fabric, and type of drawstring cords.
The construction is so basic that you really do not need a template, but if you like to keep one handy, download the bag pattern in three sizes from my free library.
Subscribe here to access the FREE library.
Let’s face it, life is just a bunch of obstacles preventing you from sewing.– Norton House Quilting
Pattern for Beginners Sewing
This drawstring bag is perfect for a beginner’s sewing skill level.
You will easily complete this sewing project if you can sew a straight line on your machine. Bonus if you know how to use an iron! 😉
Drawstring Bag with French Seams
This bag’s simple design is one you’ve undoubtedly seen and used before, but the thing that sets it apart from a sewing perspective is the construction.
It has french seams, also known as enclosed seams, which means that the raw edge of the fabric, where you have cut, is held within the seam.
Therefore, you will not need a bag lining because the edges are neat and finished-looking.
What is a French Seam?
French seams prevent fraying and provide a clean finish without using another method to finish the raw edges of the fabric, such as an overlock or zig-zag stitch.
So while this project does involve an extra step, it takes your no-frills drawstring bag to a more professional level.
Selecting Fabric for your Bag
I recommend light to medium-weight fabric for this bag.
You probably do not want it to be see-through, nor do you want it to be thick and cumbersome.
Cotton prints are easy to find, available in a variety of fun prints, and easy to sew.
For example, you could use a colorful mix of fat quarters, inexpensive remnants, or odds and ends from your fabric scraps.
Other fabrics to consider are cotton canvas, t-shirt fabrics, or lightweight corduroy.
10 Ways to use Drawstring Bags
- Reusable Christmas gift bags
- Tooth fairy pouches
- Organization bag for suitcase
- Laundry bag for a college kid
- Storing reusable plastic bags
- Pillowcases and sheet sets storage
- Toy storage bags
- Kid’s gym bags
- Casual backpack
- Special occasion purse
There are so many creative ways to use this simple sewing project.
Make the bags different sizes, and they make wonderful gift-giving (reusable) sacks for holiday or birthday gift bags.
Create them in child-themed prints, bright colors, or pastels; add a pocket, and you have a tooth fairy pouch.
For storage solutions, how about a cute laundry bag for travel or for your kid at college?
Drawstring bags work great as a caddy for storing and reusing plastic bags.
Organize your supplies and crafts in color-coded project bags.
And I plan to make larger ones and use them to keep my linens (pillowcases and sheet sets) organized. Goals! 🙂
Use them for your family’s portable activity bags, kid’s gym bags, or as suitcase organizing pouches (travel bags).
A larger bag would be the right size for a casual backpack or a quilt market bag with additional straps.
Lastly, use it in an upscale, fashionable fancy way, and create a small pouch with a high-end fabric selection.
Use it for a night out, a special occasion purse, or a handbag.
Free Printable Drawstring Bag Pattern
This bag uses just ONE rectangular pattern piece. Easy peasy!
Subscribe here to access the patterns in the FREE library.
The Three Example Bag Sizes
Below are the pattern sizes for my three drawstring bag examples (pictured).
Most bags will require less than 1/2 yard of fabric.
See more ideas below under “Drawstring”
Remember, you can make these bags and the drawstrings any size and length you desire.
First, I will show you what I did. Then you can adjust and customize it to your preferences.
Large Bag Pattern
Finished Bag Size is 13 inches wide x 15 inches long/tall
Pattern Piece/Fabric should be 14.5 inches wide x 34 inches in length
Buy or make 2 drawstrings, each with a finished length of approx. 36 inches long
(or your personal preference).
Medium Bag Pattern
Finished Bag Size is 9 1/2 inches wide x 12 3/4 inches long/tall
Pattern Piece/Fabric should be 11 inches wide x 28 inches long
Buy or make 2 drawstrings, each with a finished length of approx. 29 inches long
(adjust as desired).
Small Bag Pattern
Finished Bag Size is 6 1/4 inches wide x 8 1/4 inches long/tall
Pattern Piece/Fabric should be 7.5 inches wide x 21 inches long
Buy or make 2 drawstrings, each with a finished length of approx. 22 inches long
(adjust to your preference).
Custom Bag Sizes
Do you want to make your bag a different size?
You can create these bags in any dimension and proportions you want!
Below is the custom formula to determine what size fabric piece (pattern piece) to use to start your bag.
Custom Size Bag Equation
Desired Finished Width of Bag + 1.25 inch = Pattern Piece Width
Desired Finished Length of Bag x 2 + 5 inches = Pattern Piece Length
Here is a list of materials you need for this easy sewing project! Some of the materials are not pictured above.
(affiliate links are products in teal color.)
Ruler or Tape Measure
Sewing Scissors or
Safe Cutting Surface
Large Safety Pin
Drawstrings ribbon, twill tape, cord, or
DIY Fabric Ties tutorial or
DIY Knit Ties tutorial
Below are instructions to make your bag. Let’s get started!
Prewash your Fabric
Once you have your fabric home, wash it.
You want the fabric to shrink before you cut it out. This will prevent unwanted shrinking in the future.
Use the drying technique you plan to use going forward. (air-dry or machine-dry.)
I also recommend ironing the fabric, so it is easier to work.
Cutting your Fabric
Cut out the one and only bag fabric piece. The bottom of the bag will be on the fold.
Confirm that your pattern is facing correctly before cutting the fabric if it has directional prints.
Also, pay attention if there are pattern markings on the material you want to show up or center on the front or back, etc.
Sewing the Bag
The Body of the Bag
1 With the wrong sides of the fabric together, fold the rectangle in half lengthwise.
Measure 2.5 inches from the top on both sides, and mark it with a pin, marking pen, or pencil.
Stitch both side seams of the bag, starting at the 2.5-inch mark and stitching down to the bottom of the bag.
Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch, leaving the top and upper sides open. (The top and upper sides will be the drawstring casing.)
2 Clip both bottom corners at an angle to reduce bulk. Be careful not to get too close to the stitching.
3 Next, press. I also like to iron the side seams open.
Turn the bag wrong side out. Press again.
4 Now, the right sides of the fabric are together.
Stitch a 3/8″ seam on both sides of the bag, starting from the bottom and going up to the 2.5″ point.
Creating the Drawstring Casing
5 Finally, turn the bag’s right sides outward again.
Fold both of the side raw edges inward, towards the wrong side of the bag, approximately 1/4″ fold, and then fold, tucking 1/4 inch again.
(A slight twist will be at the bottom of the fold, which is normal and will not show later.)
Topstitch, both side “hems” closed—Backstitch at the start and end to strengthen edges.
6 Fold down the top raw edges of the bag 1/4-inch and 1/4-inch again. Press with your iron.
7 Next, fold the top of that fabric inward to the 2.5-inch initial mark you made.
8 Finally, topstitch the casing shut at the bottom of the drawstring enclosure.
The free arm on your machine may come in handy to stitch the top of the bag.
A free arm is a feature of your sewing machine that allows you to sew smaller openings, like small bags, sleeves, etc. It is a small base arm that can fit into these smaller projects.
Making a Drawstring or Fabric Tie
Purchase a drawstring or ribbon. Or you can make easy custom fabric ties out of any fabric you have.
Another option is to buy a 1/2-inch wide double-fold bias tape and sew the open sides together.
You’ll need two separate drawstrings.
Adjust the drawstring length to suit the size of your bag proportionally.
Each drawstring should be two times the width of your bag and two times the tail length you want on both sides.
I like to leave approximately 3-6 inches on each side to tie or grab but use your own preference.
Threading Your Drawstring
9 Push the first drawstring through the casings from one side using a safety pin or drawstring threader.
Thread it all the way around back to where you started.
10 Then, starting from the opposite side of the bag, do the same with the second drawstring.
11 Finally, stack and then knot the two ends of the drawstring cord together on both sides of your bag.
12 Okay then, cinch your bag, and you are ready to roll!
Full video tutorial coming soon!
Free Sewing Patterns
Discover how to make beginner sewing projects following the posts below.
Printable Free Hobo Bag Pattern
Easy DIY Dog Bandana (Free Printable Pattern)
Free and Easy DIY Crossbody Bag Pattern
Easy DIY Elastic Waist Skirt Pattern
DIY Easter Basket Liner Ideas (with Pattern)
DIY Drawstring Backpack Pattern or Lined Drawstring Bag
Learn how to make all kinds of fun projects with these sewing tutorials below.
This project is fun, fast, and rewarding, especially if you are new to sewing!
Let me know how your new drawstring bags turn out in the comment box below!
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