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How To Make A Drawstring Bag

How To Make A Drawstring Bag


How To Make A Drawstring Bag: Creating your very own drawstring bag is a satisfying and rewarding DIY project that combines both style and functionality. Drawstring bags are versatile accessories, perfect for carrying everyday essentials, stashing gym gear, or even gifting to friends and family. By making one yourself, you can personalize it to match your taste and needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of making a drawstring bag from scratch. Whether you’re an experienced seamstress or a novice, you’ll find this project approachable and enjoyable.

We’ll cover everything you need to know, from choosing the right fabric and measurements to sewing techniques and adding finishing touches. Whether you prefer a simple, minimalist design or a more elaborate pattern, you have the creative freedom to make it uniquely yours.

Additionally, drawstring bags are an excellent eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic bags, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle. By crafting your own, you reduce waste and minimize your environmental footprint.

So, gather your materials, prepare your sewing machine or needle and thread, and embark on this DIY adventure to create a practical and stylish drawstring bag that reflects your personality and serves as a useful companion for your daily activities. 

How To Make A Drawstring Bag

Are drawstring bags easy to make?

If you know how to sew, there’s no need to spend money on simple drawstring bags. Even beginning sewers can easily follow this tutorial and sew a drawstring bag in just an hour or two. Make them in any size you need; along with holding trinkets, drawstring bags make for clever wrapping for gifts.

Yes, drawstring bags are relatively easy to make, making them a popular choice for beginner sewers and crafters. Here’s a basic guide to creating a simple drawstring bag:

Materials you’ll need:

Fabric of your choice (cotton, canvas, or any desired material).

Sewing machine or needle and thread.

Fabric scissors.

Cord, ribbon, or drawstring material.

Safety pin.


Cut Fabric: Decide on the size of your bag and cut two identical fabric pieces, one for the front and one for the back. Ensure they are the same size and shape.

Sew Sides: Place the two fabric pieces right sides together (if applicable). Stitch along the sides and bottom, leaving the top open. Use a 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Reinforce Seams: To reinforce the seams and prevent fraying, consider using a zigzag stitch or an overlock (serger) machine if available.

Hem Top Edge: Fold down the top edge of the bag about 1 inch and sew a straight line along the fold, leaving a small opening for the drawstring.

Insert Drawstring: Attach a safety pin to one end of your drawstring material and thread it through the opening created in the hem at the top of the bag. Continue to push the safety pin and drawstring all the way around until it comes out on the other side.

Knot the Ends: Tie knots in the ends of the drawstring to prevent it from slipping back into the casing.

Final Adjustments: Ensure both ends of the drawstring are even, adjust the gathers as needed, and your drawstring bag is complete.

What size is a drawstring bag?

The typical size of a drawstring bag is around 14” x 18” (width and height). This will likely provide adequate storage space for trips to the gym, outdoor gatherings, and other common uses. For hefty loads, however, you might want a backpack with dimensions closer to 17” x 20”.

Drawstring bags come in various sizes to accommodate different needs and purposes, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to their dimensions. The size of a drawstring bag can vary widely based on its intended use. Here are some common size categories:

Small Drawstring Bags: These are typically around 6 inches by 8 inches to 8 inches by 10 inches in size. They are often used for small items like jewelry, party favors, or toiletries.

Medium Drawstring Bags: Medium-sized drawstring bags typically measure around 10 inches by 12 inches to 12 inches by 16 inches. They are versatile and can be used for carrying items like shoes, books, or gym clothes.

Large Drawstring Bags: Large drawstring bags can range from 14 inches by 18 inches to 18 inches by 24 inches or even larger. They are suitable for carrying bulkier items such as clothing, sports equipment, or beach essentials.

Custom or Specialty Sizes: Drawstring bags can also be custom-made to fit specific needs. For example, backpack-style drawstring bags are larger and suitable for school or travel.

Why are drawstring bags popular?

Drawstring bags make a brilliant gym or sports bag. Firstly they are flexible and easy to open and close. This means that you can pack all your necessary gear inside along with footwear and a towel, sling it over your shoulder and be on your way. As well as being spacious and malleable, they are also easy to wash.

Drawstring bags have gained popularity for several reasons:

Versatility: Drawstring bags are incredibly versatile and can be used for a wide range of purposes. They are suitable for carrying everything from gym clothes and shoes to books, groceries, and beach essentials.

Ease of Use: These bags are user-friendly. The drawstring closure is simple and quick to open and close, making them accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Lightweight and Compact: Drawstring bags are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry when empty and convenient to stow away when not in use. This feature is especially valuable for travelers.

Customization: Many drawstring bags can be customized with various designs, logos, and colors. They are often used as promotional items, sports team gear, and event swag bags.

Affordability: Drawstring bags are typically affordable, making them an accessible option for people on a budget. This affordability, combined with their functionality, adds to their appeal.

Eco-Friendly Options: With the increasing focus on sustainability, drawstring bags made from eco-friendly materials like cotton or recycled fabrics have become popular choices for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

Fashion and Style: Drawstring bags have made their way into fashion trends. They are often used as accessories, adding a stylish and casual touch to outfits.

How much fabric do I need for a drawstring backpack?

One more great thing about this project is you can sew the backpack from all one fabric, or use 4 or more fabrics like I did. You will need about 1/2 yard for the exterior, 1/2 yard for the lining, and 1/4 yard for the drawstrings.

The amount of fabric you need for a drawstring backpack depends on the size of the backpack you want to make and whether you’re using a single piece of fabric or multiple panels. Here’s a general guideline for a basic drawstring backpack:

Single-Piece Fabric Backpack:

  • For a small drawstring backpack (approximately 10 x 12 inches), you’ll need a piece of fabric measuring about 20 x 24 inches.
  • For a medium-sized backpack (around 12 x 16 inches), a fabric piece of about 24 x 32 inches is sufficient.
  • For a larger drawstring backpack (roughly 14 x 18 inches), aim for a fabric piece that’s around 28 x 36 inches.

Multi-Piece Fabric Backpack:

  • If you’re sewing a backpack with multiple fabric panels (front, back, and bottom), calculate the size of each panel and add seam allowances (usually 1/2 inch on each side) to determine the total fabric needed.

Lining Fabric: If you plan to line your backpack, you’ll need a similar amount of lining fabric.

How To Make A Drawstring Bag

What materials are needed for a DIY drawstring bag project?

To embark on a DIY drawstring bag project, you’ll need a set of basic materials and tools readily available at most craft or fabric stores. Here’s a list of the essentials:

Fabric: Select the fabric of your choice for the bag’s exterior and lining. Cotton, canvas, linen, and muslin are popular options. The quantity will depend on your desired bag size and any additional pockets or embellishments.

Thread: Choose a strong, coordinating thread color for sewing your bag. It should match or complement your fabric.

Sewing Machine (optional): A sewing machine speeds up the process but isn’t essential. You can hand-sew the bag if you prefer or don’t have access to a sewing machine.

Needles: If hand-sewing, a set of sewing needles suitable for your fabric type is essential.

Scissors: Sharp fabric scissors for cutting the fabric accurately.

Pins or Clips: These help secure fabric layers together during sewing.

Ruler or Measuring Tape: Essential for measuring and cutting your fabric to the desired size.

Iron and Ironing Board: For pressing and setting seams neatly.

Safety Pin or Bodkin: Necessary for threading the drawstring through the casing.

Drawstring: Select a cord, ribbon, or twill tape for your drawstring. Its length should be approximately twice the width of your bag plus some extra for tying.

Cord Lock or Beads (optional): These can be used to secure the drawstring and adjust the bag’s closure.

Embellishments (optional): If you want to personalize your bag, consider adding buttons, appliques, or fabric paint.

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

Choosing the right fabric for your drawstring bag is essential as it impacts both the bag’s appearance and functionality. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the fabric:

1. Purpose: Determine the primary use of your drawstring bag. If it’s for everyday carry, lightweight cotton or canvas is a great choice. For heavy-duty purposes like gym bags, opt for a sturdier fabric like nylon or polyester.

2. Durability: Consider the durability of the fabric. Fabrics like canvas, denim, or ripstop nylon are known for their strength and longevity. They can withstand wear and tear better than delicate materials like silk.

3. Aesthetic: Think about the look you want to achieve. Cotton comes in various prints and patterns, making it ideal for decorative or themed drawstring bags. If you prefer a sleek and modern appearance, solid colors in nylon or polyester work well.

4. Texture: Some fabrics have unique textures that can add character to your bag. For example, a rougher canvas texture provides a rustic feel, while satin or silk exudes elegance.

5. Weight: Consider the weight of the fabric. Lighter fabrics are suitable for lightweight items, while heavier fabrics are better for carrying bulkier or heavier loads.

6. Lining: If you plan to line your bag, choose a lining fabric that complements the exterior. Cotton, silk, or polyester linings are commonly used.

7. Care Instructions: Check the care instructions for the fabric. Ensure it’s easy to clean and maintain, especially if the bag will see frequent use.

8. Budget: Your budget may influence your fabric choice. Some materials, like designer fabrics or specialty textiles, can be more expensive than basic options.

What sewing techniques are used to assemble a drawstring bag?

Assembling a drawstring bag involves several fundamental sewing techniques. Here’s an overview of the key steps and sewing techniques required to make a drawstring bag:

Cutting: Start by cutting your chosen fabric into two identical rectangles for the bag’s main body and two smaller rectangles for the drawstring casing. Ensure they are the desired size, leaving seam allowances.

Seaming: With right sides facing each other, sew three sides of the main body rectangles together using a straight stitch. Leave one edge open for the bag’s opening. Repeat for the lining if you’re using one.

Box Corners (Optional): To create a squared bottom for your bag, pinch the bottom corners and sew across them, forming triangles. Trim the excess fabric.

Hemming: Fold the top edge of your bag (the opening) down about 1 inch and sew it in place, creating a hem. Repeat this step for the lining if applicable.

Casing: Fold the smaller rectangles for the drawstring casing in half lengthwise with right sides together and sew along the long edge. Turn them right side out and press them flat.

Attaching the Casing: Pin or sew the casing near the hemmed edge of your bag, leaving both ends open. Ensure it’s evenly distributed around the bag’s opening.

Drawstring Tunnel: Sew another line below the casing seam to create a tunnel for the drawstring. Leave a small gap at the seams for threading the drawstring.

Inserting the Drawstring: Use a safety pin or bodkin to thread the drawstring through the tunnel, going in one side and out the other. Make sure the drawstring is even on both sides.

Finishing: Knot the ends of the drawstring together, and you’re ready to cinch your bag closed.

Are there different closure options for the drawstring?

Yes, there are various closure options for the drawstring on your DIY drawstring bag, allowing you to personalize the bag’s functionality and appearance. Here are some common closure options:

1. Basic Cinch Closure: The most common and straightforward closure method is to simply pull the drawstrings tight to cinch the bag closed. This is ideal for quick and easy access to the bag’s contents.

2. Cord Locks: Cord locks are small devices that you can slide onto the drawstrings to secure them in place. They are easy to operate and provide a reliable closure, especially for bags that need to stay closed during active use.

3. Toggle Closure: Toggle closures are larger than cord locks and can be more decorative. They work by threading the drawstrings through the holes in the toggle and then pulling them tight to secure the bag.

4. Button and Loop Closure: Sew a button on one side of the bag’s opening and create a loop with the drawstring on the opposite side. Pass the drawstring through the loop and button it for a charming and secure closure.

5. Magnetic Snap Closure: For a more sophisticated option, consider adding a magnetic snap closure to the bag’s opening. This provides a discreet and secure way to keep the bag closed.

6. Velcro Closure: Sewing Velcro strips to the bag’s opening allows for a quick and adjustable closure. It’s a practical choice for bags that need frequent access.

7. Zipper Closure: If you want a more traditional bag with a secure closure, you can add a zipper to the bag’s opening. This requires more advanced sewing skills but provides a durable and complete closure.

How To Make A Drawstring Bag


Crafting your own drawstring bag is a satisfying and practical DIY project that allows you to exercise your creativity while producing a functional accessory. Throughout this journey, you’ve learned about selecting the right fabric, mastering essential sewing techniques, and exploring various closure options for your drawstring bag.

By choosing the appropriate fabric, you’ve ensured that your bag aligns with its intended use, whether it’s for everyday essentials, sports gear, or special occasions. You’ve honed your sewing skills, from cutting and seaming to creating a drawstring tunnel and adding finishing touches like hems and embellishments. This newfound expertise empowers you to create drawstring bags tailored to your unique style and needs.

Furthermore, the variety of closure options explored offers flexibility and personalization. Whether you prefer a simple cinch closure for quick access, cord locks for security, or decorative toggles for flair, you have the tools to make your bag truly your own.

Each drawstring bag you create is a testament to your growing skills and creative expression. So, seize this opportunity to design and craft drawstring bags that suit your lifestyle, showcase your style, and provide practical solutions for organizing and carrying your belongings. Enjoy the journey of making and using your handmade drawstring bags with pride and satisfaction.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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