last minute drawstring bags

It’s Sunday and the twins have a party to go to.  I’m all out of gift bags, wrapping and my appliqued calico bags that I usually use for parties. I do have loads of fabric. Loads. And I needed something to wrap it all up. And since drawstring bags are on my to do list for the school fete I thought I’d whip one up, share the tutorial and have the present wrapped all at once. That and since moving my sewing machine to the dining room I’m getting more sewing done…..

The fabric really steals the show so pick something perfect for the occasion. This is Country Girls by tasha noel for Riley Blake Designs and it is perfect!

Here is what you will need

Rectangle of fabric larger than your present or a fat quarter is perfect

2 1/2 inch strip of fabric or premade binding or ribbon ( 2x the width of finished bag)

your usual sewing supplies and sewing machine

how to make

Cut out a rectangle of fabric (or two square pieces) of fabric that are larger than the gift or what you want to use the bag for. Or just use a fat quarter which is a nice rectangle size in itself. I used my rotary cutter, mat and ruler. Quilting supplies are great to have in your sewing room but you can make a paper template to ensure you cut out neatly or draw in pencil on the wrong side of your fabric and cut. It’s up to you. Here was our party gift so we made sure it would fit in the bag.

Now zig zag/overlock your edges. We do this first to make the opening for our drawstring easier to work with.

Take your fabric to the iron (I hate ironing so often wonder why I have a craft that requires ironing). With the wrong side of your fabric facing up, fold over one side edge a little bit over for about 2 inches from the top of your fabric and press down.

We are creating a seam for our drawstring opening because we need our side seams for the bag to stop just before our drawstring opening. Repeat on the other short edge of your fabric. You are helping create a neat drawstring opening that will look like this at your machine later on.

Back to our ironing, fold down the top edge of your rectangle by a little bit and press.

Fold down again more than the width of your ribbon/tie/whatever you are using for the string part of your bag.

Back at your machine with the wrong side of your fabric facing you we are going to open up the folded over edge and on each side sew close to the folded over edge of your fabric (remember we pressed down about 2 inches to create a neat opening). Now fold back over and it should look like this.

Now you are going to sew close to the folded over edge with a neat row of stitches. I find sewing on the wrong side means I don’t miss any of the fabric out as I’m sewing.

Let’s sew our side seams. With right sides together fold fabric together, pin the side and bottom of your bag and sew together with your preferred seam allowance. I use 1/2 inch and remember to stop when you get to the opening. What I like to do is go back and forth over my end stitches at the top to reinforce the opening. If you do sew over your opening don’t worry. Unpick and you won’t do that again. It’s like sewing pants together the wrong way…you’ll only do it once.

cut your ribbon/tie/string a bit longer than twice the width of your bag

You can put a pin on one end and a big safety pin on the other or tie one end into a knot and safety pin on the other and we are going to thread our tie through the opening.

To finish the ties I like to tie into a knot near the end and trim the excess. It looks neat and is easy.

Now admire your bag…and put something in it! Perfect for a beginner sewer, to make for a kids party, fete or craft stall or to have a stash when you want to give a little gift. Have fun…..any questions just ask!


  1. Kath Leddy says:

    Hi corrie
    I love the idea
    Do you buy this fabric online ? Is there any particular company you buy it through?

    • I buy my fabric everywhere:) this came from my nearest store which was closing down. I love fat quarter shop in the states and have used them for about 8 years and if I’m after something in particular like a russian doll fabric or a hard to find then I’ll go to etsy and search on supplies. You can also find so many good ones at spotlight in the quilting section or so long as its all cotton in the dressmaking fabric section of the store. They have come a long way. Quilting stores/fabrics are great because they are 100% cotton and really go the distance compared to poly/cotton fabrics.

  2. That’s so sweet – I think a sewn bag is so much better, as it becomes part of the gift :-)

  3. That really is the sweetest fabric and I love the drawstring fabric which compliments it beautifully. Such a nice idea and so lovely of you to take the time. Gifts such as these are always the best :) xo

  4. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the instructions Corrie, drawstring bags have always been something I would like to make. I finally made one for dd friends birthday today. I’m more excited than I should be because I don’t need to buy library bags or wrapping paper anymore :) my eldest has requested a hello kitty library bag so I will be making that this week. I normally buy Lego, puzzles, craft supplies as presents so love that the child can pack the kit away in the bag as well.

Leave a Comment


Optionally add an image (JPEG only)