DIY: Nylon Drawstring Bags

Written by jane smith
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DIY: Nylon Drawstring Bags
Adding grommets to the corners of this bag allows you to use the drawstrings as straps. (change bag image by timur1970 from

Nylon ripstop fabric makes durable drawstring bags that can go everywhere: short hikes, beach trips, the gym and the grocery store. Reusable bags help eliminate the need for plastic and paper grocery sacks. Grommets in the bottom corners provide added strength, while braided cord serves as backpack straps. Although not as comfortable as a standard backpack, a drawstring bag can hold a days' rations and a first aid kit for short hikes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1 yard nylon ripstop fabric
  • Folded towel
  • Steam iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Hammer-type grommet setting kit and two 3/4-inch diameter grommets with washers
  • Rubber mallet
  • 10mm nylon cord, 10 feet long
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Turn the nylon ripstop fabric so that the 36-inch side is facing you and the long sides are at your right and left, right side down. Fold the 36-inch edge farthest from you down two inches. Lay a folded towel over the fold and press with a steam iron on low to create a crisp edge without melting the nylon.

  2. 2

    Fold the 36-inch edge closest to you down two inches. Lay a folded towel over this second fold and press with a steam iron on low.

  3. 3

    Leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch across the 36-inch sides at each end of the fabric to make the casings for your drawstring bag.

  4. 4

    Fold the fabric in half along the 36-inch side, with the "right" sides on the inside. Lay the folded towel along the 36-inch fold in the fabric and press along the fold.

  5. 5

    Leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stitch from the 36-inch fold to the seams of the casings along the right and left sides of the fabric. Backstitch four to five stitches when you reach the casings to ensure that the seam will not come loose later.

  6. 6

    Move your needle over 1/16-inch toward the centre of the bag and make a second seam from fold to casing up the right and left sides of the bag. This double seam will help ensure that your bag does not split open along the seams when full.

  7. 7

    Turn your drawstring bag right side out. Use the hole punch that comes with your hammer set grommet kit to make a hole in the bottom right and left corners of the bag, about 1/2-inch from the sides and bottom.

  8. 8

    Using a grommet setter, set a grommet in each bottom corner of the bag. Set the grommet by putting it through a hole in the fabric. Linda Sparks of Farthingales advises that you place the washer on top of the grommet with the fabric sandwiched in between and use a rubber mallet to tap the grommet firmly five to six times. (Reference 1)

  9. 9

    Lay the drawstring bag with its bottom facing you and the casing at the top facing away from you. Cut the 10mm nylon cord into two sections, five feet long.

  10. 10

    Lay the cords side by side and pull them through the grommet at the bottom right corner of the bag. Make a knot large enough to keep the cords from coming back through the grommet.

  11. 11

    Thread one cord through each casing from the right side of the bag to left. Pull both cords through the remaining grommet and make another large knot. Stitch across each corner about 1/2-inch from the grommet, on a diagonal line, and around the edge of each corner in a triangle. This adds stability to the corners, making the grommets less likely to tear loose during heavy use.

Tips and warnings

  • To make the most environmentally friendly drawstring bag, use nylon ripstop fabric made from polythene terephthalate, the clear plastic used to make soda and water bottles. (Reference 2)

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