How to make a round drawstring pouch

Written by kathy arellano
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How to make a round drawstring pouch
Tuck a special gift into your beautiful handmade bag. (Money bag image by yang xiaofeng from

Drawstring bags have been around for centuries but became popular as a fashion accessory in the Victorian era. Dubbed the reticule, it was a small, heavily embellished pouch that was either carried or worn at the waist. Made from tapestry fabric, leather, crocheted fibres or chainmail, the purses became an early form of wearable art. Some reticules had metal frames and some were simple, lined drawstring bags like the one you can make with the following instructions.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sewing machine (with buttonhole feature)
  • Sewing kit
  • Round object (8 to 12 inches in diameter) for pattern template
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Fabric, 1/2 yard each layer
  • Cording, 2 yards (1/8 to 3/16 inches wide)
  • Safety pin, 1/4 inch wide head (to pull cording through casing)
  • Flat work surface

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  1. 1

    Choose patterned or solid-colour fabrics that have an even weave and a medium weight. Lay each fabric face down on the work surface; position the circle template and mark a pencil line around the perimeter--cut on this line.

    How to make a round drawstring pouch
    Choose contrasting fabrics for visual appeal. (satin spiral image by Christopher Ursitti from
  2. 2

    Mark a 1/4-inch seam allowance on the back side of the fabrics; mark placement for buttonholes on the face side of the outer layer (two 1/4-inch vertical buttonholes sewn 1/2 inch apart and 1 1/4 inch down from the seam line), the first set at any point on the circle, the second set directly opposite; form buttonholes according to machine instructions and then cut open.

    How to make a round drawstring pouch
    Mark casing stitch lines and buttonholes lightly. (Colour pencil in a hand image by Oleg Guryanov from
  3. 3

    Sew along the seam line, leaving a 1 1/2 inch opening for turning. Cut shallow V notches into the seam allowance every 3 inches around the circumference, taking care not to cut through the seam. Turn the project right side out, press the seam and then stitch the opening closed. Mark, then stitch two parallel casing lines at 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches in from the finished edge.

    How to make a round drawstring pouch
    Use a medium-length stitch. (sewing image by Yury Shirokov from
  4. 4

    Thread the cording through the casing by inserting a safety pin through a knot tied at one end of the cording; direct the safety pin into one buttonhole and push it--and the cording--through the casing and out the partner buttonhole. Draw the cording 2 inches out and pin; repeat the process with the opposite set of buttonholes. Gather the pouch edges up by taking the ends of the cording--a pair in each hand--and pulling until the pouch closes. Trim the lengths of cording as desired and then tie a sturdy knot in each pair.

    How to make a round drawstring pouch
    Satin cording comes in many colours; triple the strands for a colourful drawstring. (scoubidou image by Claudio Calcagno from

Tips and warnings

  • Line the bag with a contrasting fabric or choose a contrasting cord colour for more visual interest.
  • Add embroidery, applique or other embellishments to the layers before stitching them together.
  • Make bags as wedding party gifts; use colour-coordinated fabrics and trims and fill with potpourri or small gifts.
  • Keep all sewing tools and supplies out of the reach of small children and pets.

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