How to make drawstring bags

Updated April 17, 2017

Drawstring bags can be made in many different sizes and used for many different purposes. A larger drawstring bag can be used as a reusable grocery bag or a tote bag to carry knitting and other craft projects. It can also be used as an overnight bag. Medium bags can be used as handbags and small ones can be used for evening purses or children's purses. All the sizes can be used as gift bags. Besides the versatility of drawstring bags, they are also easy to make. A beginning sewer with basic sewing skills can make them. In fact, it is an excellent first sewing project.

Purchase and prepare your supplies for a large drawstring bag. You will need 1/2 yard of sturdy cotton fabric with thread to match. Also, purchase 3 yards of matching cord. Wash your fabric through a medium heat cycle in the washing machine and then dry it on medium; this will allow for shrinkage before you start your project.

Cut your fabric. You will need two pieces of fabric, 13 inches wide and 17 inches long.

Pin the two sides and bottom of the drawstring bag fabric, right sides facing. Leave a 1 1/4-inch open area at the top of each seam on both sides of the bag. Sew over the pinned area with a 1/2-inch seam.

Turn the bag right sides out. Press the seams open with a steam iron.

Press 1/4 inch under on both top sides, wrong sides facing. Press another 1 inch under, also. Pin both sides in place.

Sew both top areas over the pins, close to the inside fold. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side for extra strength. This will form two tubes that will hold the cord (draw string).

Cut the purchased cord in half. Each half should measure 1 1/2 feet. Attach a large safety pin to one end of a cord piece. Use the safety pin to guide the cord through one side of the fabric tube. Even out the cord and tie them together over the top of the drawstring bag. Repeat with the opposite side.


The drawstring can be made with ribbon, shoe strings or fabric. The drawstring can be tied at the sides from one strand of the front and one of the back. Each drawstring can be tied with knots at the end leaving four loose cords.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Cord
  • Straight pins
  • Safety pin
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
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About the Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.