Friday, 26 July 2013

Small Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial...

Drawstring Bag TUTORIAL... This tutorial shows how to make a small, lined, drawstring bag, just the perfect size for gifting a bar of soap ~ Threading My Way

Today's tutorial shows how to make a small, lined drawstring bag; one that's just the right size for gifting a bar of soap. Of course, it could be used for any number of purposes, as well as gift wrapping... jewellery storage when travelling, a makeup bag or even somewhere to keep sewing bits and pieces.

  • 2 pieces 16cm x 18cm (6.25" x 7") - main colour for the exterior of the bag
  • 2 pieces 16cm x 18cm (6.25" x 7") - contrast colour for the lining
  • 2 lengths of cord 51cm (20") -  drawstring cords


All seams are 1cm (3/8"), unless otherwise indicated. I didn't need to use any pins when I made this bag. If you find you need to pin the seams...
  • pin
  • baste (hand sew with a long stitch)
  • remove pins
  • stitch seam with machine
  • remove basting

Sewing the lining:
  1. With right sides together sew each side seam, continuing around the bottom corners.
  2. Leave a gap of 5cm (2"), across the bottom edge.
  3. Probably not necessary, but I neaten the edges. Open the bottom seam and sew separately, otherwise you will sew the opening shut.

Sewing the exterior:
  1. On both long sides measure and mark 4cm (1.5") and 5cm (2") from the top edge. This will be the opening for the drawstring casing. The width of the opening will depend on the width of the cord. If in doubt, make the opening larger rather than smaller.
  2. With right sides together, sew from the top edge to the first mark. Backstitch to secure.
  3. Backstitch as you start and sew from the second mark to the bottom.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 & 3 for the other side.
  5. Sew across the bottom.
  1. Neaten each side of the side seams separately by opening out the edges. I wouldn't skip neatening the edges for this step, as it will prevent stray threads from coming out with the drawstring cord.
  2. Secure the drawstring opening, by sewing back and forth a couple of times at both ends of the opening.
  3. Stitch the seam on either side down. With steps 2 & 3, you are basically sewing a square around the opening.

Attach the lining to the exterior of the bag:
  1. Place the bag inside the lining. ie: the right side of the bag is next to the right side of the lining.
  2. Line up the top edges of the lining and the exterior.
  1. Sew the top edges of the lining and the exterior.
  2. As you sew over the side seams, make sure the exterior and lining seams are facing in opposite directions to avoid bulk.
  3. Neaten the seam.

Turn the bag right side out:
  1. Put your fingers through the hole in the bottom of the lining.
  2. Gently pull the right side of the bag out through the lining.

  1. Edgestitch the gap in the lining closed, or you can hand stitch if you would prefer.

  1. Push the lining back into the bag.
  2. Press the top edge of the bag.
  3. Topstitch 3mm (1/8") from the edge, around the top of the bag, using a slightly longer stitch. I set my machine to 2.8

Drawstring Casing:
  1. Stitching through both the exterior and lining, sew around the bag, starting and ending at the top of the opening for the drawstring. Line up the the edge of the bag with something on the machine to help keep the stitching straight.
  2. Repeat step 1, starting and ending at the bottom of the opening for the drawstring. Line up the second row of stitching with the first row.

  1. Using a safety pin, thread the first cord through the entire drawstring casing. Both ends of the one cord will come out of the same opening.
  2. Repeat with the second cord and the second opening.
  3. Knot the ends of each cord.

The cord I used was a snug fit in the casing, so I used a bodkin (not threaded) to help. You could just as easily use a chopstick, tweezers or any long thin implement. Note the instructions at the beginning for sewing the exterior. The width of the opening will depend on the width of the cord. If in doubt, make the opening larger rather than smaller.

The cords might be a little hard to pull the first couple of times. If you find this happens, just pull and loosen a couple of times.

That's it. You've finished! This really is a quick and easy project, so I whipped up three little bags.

The first little drawstring bag has made its way across the country and has been given as a birthday present, along with the crazy patchwork pouch. And what did I put inside the drawstring bag... lovely handmade soap I picked up at local markets.

If you make a drawstring bag using this tutorial, I'd love you to add it to the Threading My Way ~ Sewn by YOU Flickr group. Feel free to add any projects made with Threading My Way tutorials.

I'll be adding this bag to the Drawstring Bags link party here at Threading My Way.

... Pam


  1. I need to make a few handfuls of these for little gifts:)

  2. What a darling bag! Wouldn't it be cute as a little girl's purse?! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  3. You can't go wrong having a supply of pretty, nicely made (i.e. no raw edges, and finished nicely) gift bags in different sizes and prints. I've been buying fun yarns @ the thrift store to plait (braid) ties for mine - a bobbly drawstring makes even a plain bag look fancy! I even bought, a while ago, a lucet to use to make drawstrings - if I could find it, I could use it on some of the fun yarn I've found recently, and I could get cracking on some Christmas gift bags :D

  4. Lovely little bag and a great tutorial, Pam! Thanks for sharing!
    Have a fabulous week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  5. thanks for the tute i may make one

  6. Are you kidding me? On my "to google" list is instructions to make a bag just like this! As always, Pam, you are fabulous! xoxo

  7. Cute little bag Pam, and another great tutorial!

  8. Replies
    1. How have I become a no-reply blogger??? How do I fix this?

  9. Great to read about small lined drawstring bag & Great tutorial.

  10. Hi! dear Pam. My name's Nina, portuguese and craft addict.
    I met you in a Brasilian blog and I'd love if you want we follow each other.
    Please, come to visit me, decide, and let me know your decision.
    I wish you a very pleasant weekend.

  11. These little bags would be perfect for small gifts! I'm thinking they'd work a treat for treasures to take home from a birthday party too.

  12. Pam, these little bags are wonderful looking and have wonderful possibilities. Thanks so much for the great tutorial. You did a beautiful job on the bags and on the tutorial. I tried to pin it, but something has gone whackey with my Pinterest Boards and nothing seems to go through when I try to pin anything.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. Not sure why it didn't pin. Have you tried using the Pin It button at the bottom of the post?

  13. Hello. Having a little trouble understanding this step (I copied and pasted since each step starts its own set of numbers):

    Attach the lining to the exterior of the bag:

    Place the bag inside the lining. ie: the right side of the bag is next to the right side of the lining.
    Line up the top edges of the lining and the exterior.

    I'm not getting it with the picture. I purposely made my lining a solid color and the outer side print. I can attach a pic on your face book page (since blogger isn't set up for pics in this format). I'm jc smitty on face book. Thanks.

  14. My sons about that age where he wants to carry his things in a bag. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  15. This little bag is so cute!! I will remember this one for those 'special' gifts. :) Thanks for a great tutorial!!

    1. Thanks, Gina. I'd love you to add photos to the Flickr group if you make any.

  16. Thank you for sharing this charming bag at Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  17. Many thanks for this tutorial, already made one bag, now to get ready for the present giving season. Regards Maria.

    1. Glad you found the tutorial helpful. I'd love to see photos!

  18. Finally got a chance to make this! I made one to coordinate with a diaper bag that I sewed for a friend. Great tutorial!!!

  19. Great tutorial. I used masking tape to mark the sewing lines for the drawstring casing. The tape was 1" wide so it was perfect for cording I was using.

    1. Using masking tape is a GREAT idea! I'd love to see a photo.

  20. What is the actual size of the finished bag? Is it big enough for a little girl purse/bag?

    1. The finished bag is about 5.75" x 6.5". It would be quite a small bag for a purse.

  21. This tutorial was awesome and I love my new bag. I wasn't sure how to add the photo to the flicker page thing so I thought I would post a link to what I made here.

    1. Thanks so much for sending me the link, Katherine. The bag looks great... love the floral fabric contrasting with the green! I'd really like to show your bag to my readers in a future roundup. Would you mind if I used your photo, of course linking back to your bag?

  22. Thank you so much for the instructions!

    1. Glad you found them a help. Would love to see pics if you make a bag.

  23. I love this bag. Thank you for your very easy to follow instructions! I repurposed some old Lilly dresses to make gift bags for a bridal shower. They are beautiful! I can't wait to make some more.

    1. I'd love to see photos, Nancy. Glad you found the tutorial helpful and thanks for letting me know.

  24. Pam, this is so cute I had to try it. I made a Christmas bag! I put a picture of it on your Flickr group page. :) Thanks for the pattern and tutorial!

  25. Hello Pam, I bought a pattern to learn to do this. Cut all those pieces and stared at them for days before I gave up and found you. Boy am I glad I did! Finished one in about an hour. Excellent tutorial. Thank you!


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