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Made by Me Monday – Easy Drawstring Bag {tutorial}

2014 February 11

Yet another Valentine’s project? Maybe… or maybe not?! You could also use this easy bag as a gift bag, or fancy it up and make your little lady a dress-up purse. I made this bag with Valentine’s in mind, but the idea came from my Halloween post in October when I promised to make a tutorial for these bags. It was part of my daughter’s Izzy costume.

I made this with the simplest construction in mind. Of course if you have some experience sewing, you can sort out how to add a lining, outside pocket – or something else I haven’t thought of yet! You could really have a lot of fun embellishing them – perfect for party favours even. (And thank goodness they are fast and simple to make!)

You will need:

  • 2 pieces quilting cotton outer fabric 9″ x 12″ (or your desired size)
  • 2 pieces contrasting fabric 1 1/2″ x width of your outer fabric (for the drawstring casing)
  • 1 piece contrasting cotton for applique
  • 1 piece Steam-A-Seam or similar fusible web (size of applique)
  • 2 pieces 1/4″-3/8″ wide ribbon for drawstrings – length: outer fabric width x 2 + 8″ each
  • scissors, pins, glue stick, water soluble fabric pen, normal sewing gear

Here we go:

Step 1: (a) Fold the right side edges of your contrasting casing fabric into the center and iron them. Do this with both pieces. (b) Fold each end of your casing fabric in 1/2″ to the wrong side. Pin or use a glue stick to hold the ends down. Set casings aside.

Step 2: (a) Fold both outer fabric pieces in half wrong sides together so the side edges are touching. Use a round object to trace a rounded corner onto your fabric. (b) Cut along your rounded line with all pieces folded together. This will make sure they are all the same when you are finished.

Step 3: (a) Turn and iron the top edges of your outer fabric pieces down 1/4″ and then 1/4″ again. (b) Stitch across the bottom edge of the folded fabric to hem the top of your bag.

Step 4: (a) Measure 1 1/2″ down from the top edge of each outer piece of fabric and pin your casings in place. Make sure they are centered side-to-side. (b) Stitch close to each casing edge. Do not stitch over the ends!

Step 5: (a) Cut out your applique shape with fusible web on the back and iron your applique on the front outer fabric. (b) Use a small zig-zag to stitch around the edge of your applique.

Step 6: (a) Place the two outer pieces of fabric right sides together and pin. (b) Stitch around the un-hemmed edges (sides and bottom) with a 1/4″ seam. (c) Trim the seam allowance with pinking shears or zig-zag stitch the seam allowance to neaten the edges.

Step 7: (a) Turn the bag right side out. Thread one ribbon through the front casing, then around the bag and through the back casing. I like to use a safety pin to do this more easily. (b) Tie your ends in a knot. (c) Thread the second ribbon through the front and then back casing, but this time make sure to start on the side without the ends from the first ribbon. (d) Tie these new ends in a knot. When you pull on the ribbons the drawstrings will close the top of the bag. If they don’t, check the photos and try re-threading the ribbons through your casings.

Finished! Fill ‘er up with yummy treats, a nice gift, or some spare change for your little lady’s new purse.

As always, I’d love to see your handiwork! You can share your projects on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #alongforthreadride, or post them on the Thread Riding Hood Facebook page. And, of course, if you have any questions please be sure to contact me on any of the above or email I’d love to hear from you! (And, as usual – this tutorial is for personal use only! Thanks.)

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. February 11, 2014

    Oooh, that is sew very cute. Great tutorial!
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  2. Laura permalink
    February 11, 2014

    It’s so cute and I love the rounded corners. And I see you’re appliquéing more and more :) Love it!

    • February 11, 2014

      Hi Laura! I love the rounded corners too – makes it look a little more fun. I’m finding the applique easier – like you said, must be the practice. One day I will be as good as you! :)

  3. February 12, 2014

    This is a great tutorial. It really DOES look that easy. I’m stopping by from the Do Tell Tuesday link-up.
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    • February 13, 2014

      Thanks Dee – it really is as easy as it looks :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Brenda permalink
    June 12, 2017


    Thank you very much for the tutorial. I have had trouble finding a drawstring bag pattern I liked. Your pattern was easy to follow, and my 6″ by 8″ bag looks very cute – I made one yesterday. I have an antique booth, and I like to put a small bag with lavender in items, such as handbags.

    Brenda – Carmel, IN

    • June 16, 2017

      Hi Brenda. I’m so glad you like it and it worked well for you. Great idea with the lavender! It sounds lovely :)

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