Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Creative, Money Saving Ideas for Drawstring Cords in Bags

Drawstring bags have so many uses and can be made from scraps of fabric. Today I'm going to show you some of the items I have used for the cords, effectively bringing the cost down, in some cases, to next to nothing. 


Shoe laces - I found a couple of unopened packets of brown shoe laces at the back of my wardrobe.

Calico Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Ribbon from presents - in this case, originally on a box of chocolates.


Offcuts from deconstructed clothes - French seams are especially good if you cut close to the seams. There'll be some fraying, but this just adds to the look.

Calico Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Jelly Roll Ties - Jelly Rolls are often tied with cotton tape.

Drawstring Bag for Clothes Dividers

Cotton Twill Tape - you'll have to purchase, but it's not expensive.


Bias Tape - another one to purchase, if you don't have any lying around. I'm slowly working my way through packets and packets of store bought bias tape. Sew in half to hide the raw edges.

Drawstring Shoulder Bag Tutorial

Rounded Bottom Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Make your own cords - can be as wide or thin as you wish, and doesn't need to be cut on the bias. Click on the two pictures above to take you to the tutorials.

Drawstring Gift Bag

Drawstring Cord from pants or shorts - the ends might be a bit tatty, but just cut them off. I dislike drawstring cords in pants, so take them out as soon as I get them home from the shop.

Patchwork Bag Tutorial

Cotton Piping Cord - I buy this by the roll. It comes in different widths and is quite cheap per bag.


Ribbon - most of us have a ribbon stash to draw from.


Fabric Offcuts - zig zag the edges or leave them raw. These offcuts are the white edges from Spoonflower fabric.


Nylon / Polyester / Synthetic Cords - another one that needs purchasing. I have to say that I prefer cotton cords and once my stash of synthetic cords are used up, I won't be replacing.

Calico Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Piping Cord from Cushions - takes a while to unpick, but the cord is usually in good condition, even when the cushion cover is past its used by date.


Lace - again from the stash. Not as robust as other cords, but works if you choose the right type and the right recipient.

Drawstring Gift Bag Tutorial

Stretch Cord and beads - I can't even remember what the purple cord came from, but I found it in my box of cords that have been salvaged from one place or another.

I have a shoebox full of cords of varying colours and sizes. Some started life as cords in garments, bags or home decor. They're an obvious choice to keep for future use in drawstring bags. Others were originally intended for something totally different, but with a little vision, it's easy to see how they can be adapted and turned into cords. They all sit in my shoebox, waiting for just the right drawstring bag to be threaded into.

What do you like to use for the drawstrings in bags - whether it be something that's salvaged, bought or repurposed?

... Pam




19 comments:

  1. I like rattail - it feels nice and silky, and slides easily in bags. I buy it on Ebay because they have all kinds of colours, and I can get 100 yard spools of my favourite colours. I also get it at Hobby Lobby in the States, when it's on sale. I like repurposing the ribbons that come on pre-packaged FQ sets and other sewy fabricy items, and as you've probably noticed, when someone cleans out/organizes their sewing room and gifts the "extras" - there are generally several items that can be used for tying things, that are totally different than anything we might have in our own stash :D Sharesies for the win!

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  2. Great ideas! I don't have enough of a fabric stash to have a lot of this, but wouldn't selvages/selvedges be useful as drawstring? (Guess that's similar to your fabric cutoffs.) And I've always found that paracord is relatively inexpensive to buy at discount stores.

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  3. Some great ideas here. Kinda like thw frayed look. Have to say that I love the bags in the Buddha fabric. That would have been perfect for my meditation room cushions. Shall have to go searching for some of that fabric!

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  4. Wonderful! I bought some cording that ended up being too big and never considered using it for drawstrings for bags since my intention was a drawstring for a skirt! Thank you so much. It's nice to have options to keep the cost down. It defeats the purpose of sewing sometimes if you have to spend a lot to make something.

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  5. you have certainly made lots of draw string bags and such variety too, some great ideas you have shared.

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  6. Great ideas! I especially like the chocolate box ribbon idea. Now I am not throwing away anything :)

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  7. That's a great selection of strings. I mostly use ribbon or cord but I love your lace and fabric offcuts :)

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  8. A great round-up of ideas Pam! I usually use ribbon or cord but I shall look through my stash with a whole new purpose now :)

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  9. I recently made a drawstring bag with my daughter. We started at 9pm because she wanted to take it on a field trip the next day! The only thing I could think of at that hour was some extra clothesline we had in the cellar. It worked pretty well! I had seen your post so I wanted to come back here and look for more ideas.

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  10. Brilliant ideas, I'm guessing your lace and ribbon stash is probably as big as mine (never knowing throw away something you could use!) The only thing I can think to add is the cord from old curtains - it seems to last for ever even when curtains have fallen apart from sun damage.

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  11. I make bags lots of drawstring bags for charity. I just plait oddments of wool from my stash.till it's long enough. Thick wool, 3 strands maybe, or 9-12 together for thinner wool

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    1. Plaiting wool is such a good idea, Jenny. Thanks! Something I can do in front of the TV.

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  12. Great ideas and a pretty exhaustive list! : ) I suppose you could also use certain types of yarn, or straps from camisoles/etc. (if you were to repurpose the rest of the fabric for something else).

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    1. Camisole straps are a great idea, Katherine. I've successfully used the straps from aerobics costumes.

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  13. So many alternatives, thank you for sharing. I love reusable gift bags and these are just perfect. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

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  14. The variety of colors, fabrics, and designs in your drawstring bag collection is quite impressive! These look like they're so useful for a multitude of purposes. The variety of drawstring materials and sources is frugal and creative. Re-using strong, colorful ribbons and other cords is so clever!

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  15. These bags are beautiful. Thank you for sharing all these alternatives. #Trash2Treasure

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  16. Each bag looks unique and different, I love all your fabrics and the ideas for the drawstring. I'm guessing an old thin scarf would work too, or I could go really rustic on the farm here some baler twine! You've got me thinking now. Great inspiration in this post.

    Thank you for sharing on #Trash2Treasure

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