Simplify Life

Sew Simple: Easy Drawstring Bag

Sew Simple_Drawstring Bag

Our little one has a thing for collecting rocks. Everywhere we go, she’s on the hunt. Gravel driveways: Beware.

She likes to shove them in her pockets, but quickly runs out of room after just a few minutes of collecting.

Then she’ll put them in pockets and other hidden crevices of our clothing. Of course, I don’t find them until it’s too late.

My poor washing machine has been taking a beating.

We were getting desperate for another rock collection solution. So when I came across this tutorial for sewing easy drawstring bags at Purl Soho, I knew it was worth a try.

Easy Drawstring Bag

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here

Sewing Level: Novice

I am no sewing expert.

In fact, these bags are one of the first projects I attempted on my sewing machine. To say a beginner can make these is an understatement.

And once you make one, you’ll want to make so.many.more.

Not only are they amazing for collecting rocks, I can dream up about a million other uses for them. You can make these in any size you can dream up. I’ve used them to store toys, cosmetics, cards, craft supplies, clean diapers. I’ve even used them for even wrapping gifts.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drawstring Bag Materials

  • Fabric (1/4 or 1/2 yard, depending on the size of the bag)
  • Trim (ribbon or other cord – I used clothesline)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Thread

Not pictured:

First: Figure out the dimensions you want to make. I made a size small bag today, but you can make these in any size.

I’ve made them in a few sizes so far. Here are the different dimensions and measurements:

  • Finished Dimensions: 5 1/2 inches wide x 3 3/4 inches tall x 2 1/2 inches deep
  • Materials Needed: 1/4 yard fabric, 2 yards trim
  • Cut fabric into a 6″ X 12″ rectangle, then fold together to make a 6″ square
  • Draw your line for the gusset 1″ up from the point of the corner
  • Cut a 20″ piece of trim
  • Finished Dimensions: 8 1/2  x 6 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches
  • Materials Needed: 1/4 yard fabric, 2 yards trim
  • Cut fabric into a 9″ X 18″ rectangle, then fold together to make a 9″ square
  • Draw your line for the gusset 1 1/2″ up from the point of the corner
  • Cut a 26″ piece of trim
Fort Kit
  • Finished Dimensions: 17 1/2 x 13 3/4 x 6 inches
  • Materials Needed: 1/2 yard fabric, 3 yards trim
  • Fabric Size: Cut fabric into a 18″ X 36″ rectangle, then fold together to make a 18″ square
  • Gusset: Draw your line for the gusset 3″ up from the point of the corner
  • Trim Length: Cut a 26″ piece of trim

Some of the measurements will depend on the bag size. These are in italics in this post. Some measurements are the same regardless of the size of the bag you choose to make.

Let’s Do It!

Today, I’m making a small bag, so I cut my fabric into a 9″ X 18″ rectangle. If you’ve chosen to make a different sized bag, simply substitute the measurements in italics for the measurements of the bag you want to make.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Fabric

Fold the fabric in half, hamburger style, with the pretty sides of the fabric touching each other. If you’re working on the small pouch, you should have a 9″ square now.

Now find where the two open sides meet. Measure 2″ from the edge where the fabric meets and draw a small horizontal line in pencil.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Line Draw

Be sure to draw the line up from where the edges meet. Don’t be like me and draw the line in every corner until you find the right one.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Fabric Drawn

Sew along the edge with 1/4 inch seam allowance. I line my fabric up with the edge of the presser foot, like so: Homemade Drawstring Bag Sewing Edge

You’ll want to slow down as your needle nears the line you’ve drawn.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Sew to Line

Stop once your needle hits that line. Use your reverse stitch button a bit to make sure your stitches stay in there.

Repeat on the other side – voila! Your edges are sewn.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Sides Finished

Once the two edges are finished, grab your iron.

Warm it up and start ironing a 1/4″ hem along the opening of the bag. I usually just eyeball it by by folding the fabric right at the stitches.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Iron Side

Focusing on just one side of the bag, the two sides get ironed first.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Iron Both Sides

Fold up a 1/4 inch hem along the bottom edge and iron again:

Homemade Drawstring Bag Edges Ironed

Once you’ve got the three edges ironed, fold your fabric up another 3/4″ and iron again. This will be the channel for your drawstring.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Ironed Drawstring

Sew along that edge. You want your line to be close to the edge of the folded fabric so you capture the ironed hem, but not too close to the edge. Your seam allowance should be around 1/6″.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Sew Channel

Woohoo! Channel complete!

Homemade Drawstring Bag Complete Side

Now, repeat the process on the other side.

Gusset It Up

What is a gusset anyway? I was nervous to make something so fancy, but trust me: it is so simple to do and it makes the bag seem that much bigger.

Simply fold the bag in half so that the sewn edges line up, like this:

Homemade Drawstring Bag Edges Aligned

Then fold the corner down so that it meets the sewn channels and creates a triangle.Homemade Drawstring Bag TriangleFor the small bag, measure 1.5″ from the tip of the triangle and draw a little mark. Then line your ruler up with the edge of the bag (hopefully better than I did) and draw a straight line across, making a triangle.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Triangle Line

Sew right along that line.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Triangle Sew

Cut off the excess material.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Triangle Cut

BOOM. You just made a gusset. Now do the same thing over there on the other side.

Thread the Cord

Now it’s time to thread the cording through the channel to create your drawstrings. Attach whatever cording you’ve chosen to a paperclip as best you can.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Paperclip

Push the paperclip through one channel, then back through the other. Leaving the tails about 5 inches long, snip the extra cord.

Homemade Drawstring Bag

Make a knot.

Homemade Drawstring Bag Flat

You can add another cord with a knot on the other side so your bag has two drawstrings, if you like. I’m trying to keep it simple for Baby Bear, so I stopped at just the one on this bag.

And, you’re done!

Easy Drawstring Bag Finished

Baby Bear is so excited to go rock hunting with her new storage bag.

What will you use yours for?

Simple step-by-step tutorial for an adorable drawstring bag at

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I love this tutorial. I’ve been making an even simpler version of this bag for a long time. I love how you did the top for the drawstring. Genius. Pinned for later.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      There’s an even simpler version?? Do tell…

      • Reply
        January 21, 2017 at 9:44 am

        You take a rectangle of fabric. You sew a channel along the top for your string. Flip it over and fold it in half from left to right so your channel remains at the top. Sew across the bottom and side. Thread your drawstring through. So no finished edges. I had gotten a booklet of velvet drape samples and they were the perfect size for making little bags and it didn’t fray.

        • Reply
          January 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

          Oh that is even simpler! I’m going to give that a try next time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    error: Content is protected !!