F Artful Thursday – Easy Drawstring Bag Tutorial | tamdoll's workspace

Artful Thursday – Easy Drawstring Bag Tutorial

December 23, 2010

This is a super easy and quick project… it’s taken me longer to photograph and write up a how-to for this blog post than it did to create this bag.  I whipped up a bunch a few nights ago to wrap some presents in and find it’s a great way to use the mounds of fabric that seem to multiply around here (t-shirts are fabric, too!).  These an eco-friendly way to wrap presents – no paper filling up the recycling bin and they can be washed and reused (how about: a travel bag for shoes;  toy pouch; makeup bag; lingerie bag; storage… how many ideas can you come up with?).

 Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 10

What you’ll need:

  • Knit fabric – it doesn’t unravel or fray at the edges. (t-shirts are great!)
  • Needle, thread, scissors – sewing by machine or hand – for machine sewing you will need a ball-point needle – essential to sew through knits smoothly.
  • Ribbon, cord, shoelace, heavy yarn, etc… for drawstring.
  • Safety pin or bodkin to help thread the drawstring.
  • Embellishments optional – ribbon, embroidery floss, appliqués, fabric paint, etc. – whatever you can think of.

I’m not going to tell you how much fabric you’ll need since I don’t know what you’re wrapping.  How to figure it out?  If you were going to wrap it in paper, that’s about how much fabric you’ll need– you will need some of the overlap for your seams and the drawstring part – so it’s an easy estimate to just lay your item on your fabric and cut away,  no rulers necessary.  Same goes for cording and embellishments – they all go according to the size of the bag you’re making.

How To:

Cut out fabric:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 1

Create drawstring casing - fold over one long edge so that your drawstring will fit inside and stitch close to the edge:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 2 I went back and did another row next to that line of stitching to make it extra-sturdy.

Turn to the right-side and embellish your bag:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 3 Here I used ribbon** from my etsy shop.

Now fold, right-sides together and stitch around three sides – starting just below your casing:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 4 I trimmed all edges with pinking sheers when I was done.

If you like, you can fold up the bottom edge and sew across the two corner triangles that are formed.  This will create a cute flat bottom for your bag.  You can make very large triangles, too, if you want to make a wider bottom for your bag (it all depends on what the bag is for.) Bottom inside-out view:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 5 Next, you can trim off those pieces on the corner so they’re not lumpy in your bag:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 6

Turn right-side out:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 7 Sorry about the smudge mid-picture… I thought I was getting sun-glare.  Turned out I just needed to clean the lens of my camera.  Must have been from yesterday’s snowy pictures – guess I wasn’t as careful as I thought I was protecting it from wetness.

Almost done!Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 8

One more thing is to thread the cording.  In the past I’ve used a safety pin or a pair of hemostats, but I picked up this “Elastic Pull-Thru” by Dyno at an antique store and it’s been super-handy.  I found something similar online:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 9

Threaded, knotted, gift added, cinched and now it’s ready to go:Tamdoll Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial 10

Let me know if you make any of these, and add a link in the comments to share.

Happy Artful Thursday! 

**I’m kind of tired of selling ribbons in my shop – if anyone wants all the yardage that I have left (it’s not all listed)– make me an offer, please!


  1. that's so cute! And it looks so soft!

  2. A very cute bag! Thanks for showing us how to make it.

  3. I love the plastic thingy you used to insert the drawstring. I'm using a flimsy Clover thingy which doesn't always work.

  4. Dearest sweet sweet tammy, this is such a cute bag and the tutoria is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing! Wishing you JOY and LOVE for a wonderful Christmas my sweet friend..thank you for all the blessings you have given me this year! Love to you!

  5. very cool! I love the ribbon circling the bag & being used as the drawstring :)

  6. What a great idea for wrapping gifts.

    Happy Holidays.

  7. Dearest sweet friend, coming over to wish you JOY and LOVE for a wonderful NEW YEAR my sweet friend. Thank you for all the blessings, love and support you have given me this year. Have a lovely merry happy last week of 2010! Love to you!


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