How to Make Lined Drawstring Handbags

Written by donna eigen
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How to Make Lined Drawstring Handbags
Drawstring bags come in handy for a variety of uses. (bag image by Jan Will from

An extra bag is almost as good as an extra pair of hands when you're shopping or running errands. A fabric drawstring bag is lightweight, washable and can be folded and tucked into a purse or suitcase until you need it. The lining makes this bag stronger, and you can mix and match patterns and colours for added interest. Use a drawstring bag to take your towel and a good book to the beach, or use it in your closet to store extra sweaters or accessories. Stitch an oversized bag to hold stuffed animals or throw pillows, or organise wrapping paper supplies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for outside of bag
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for lining
  • 1-1/2 to 2 yards of cording or ribbon
  • Large safety pin
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread

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  1. 1

    Cut a 25-inch by 15-inch rectangle from both pieces of fabric. With the wrong side facing you, press the short ends of both pieces down 1/4-inch.

  2. 2

    Make four 1-inch buttonholes in the outside fabric near each corner, about 1-1/2 inches from the folded edge and 1 inch from the sides. If you do not have a sewing machine with a buttonhole attachment, sew a tight blanket stitch around the edges of the holes and apply anti-fray glue.

  3. 3

    Fold the fabric in half with the right sides together and the bottom and top buttonholes aligned. Pin in place.

  4. 4

    Stitch along each side from the bottom through the folded top edges. Remove pins, press the seams open and turn right-side out.

  5. 5

    Fold the lining fabric in half, pin the side seams in place and stitch. Press the seams open. Do not make buttonholes or turn right-side out.

  6. 6

    Insert the lining into the outside fabric and align the top folded edges. Top stitch the edges together.

  7. 7

    Create the casing for the drawstring: Stitch around the bag along the top and bottom of the buttonholes so they are between the lines of stitching.

  8. 8

    Fasten a safety pin to one end of the cording to help thread it through the casing. Thread the cording in one buttonhole and along the casing, then out of the other buttonhole on the same side. Wrap the cord around the side of the bag and then into the buttonhole on the other side, through the casing and out of the hole at the end where you started. With the bag open, make a knot next to each hole to prevent the cord from slipping through. Make another knot at the end of each cord. Pull on the cords to open and close the bag.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose solids or prints that look good in any direction so you don't have to worry about which way the pattern is running when cutting the fabric. Choose a light or bright colour for the lining fabric to help you see things in the bag.

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