Home Bags How to Make a Drawstring Bag

When it comes to my home, I dream of a clean and uncluttered space with well-curated artistic pieces and lots of books. Only problem is…my two young boys also live with me. Inevitably, their toys have taken over much of our home despite my best efforts to keep things tucked away and organized. In my most recent attempt to organize and de-clutter I purchased fabric-lined baskets and sorted the toys into the baskets. And still somehow, more toys wandered into the house and the baskets overflowed into a mess. Argh! My solution was to make a custom-fit drawstring bag to hold one particular toy set taking up lots of space.

Doesn’t that look nice? Or, at the very least, better:

final basket bag

Here is how you can make a custom-fit drawstring bag for yourself: First, measure the toys by placing piling them up on a cutting mat (commonly used for sewing) or with a tape measure. Be sure to pile up the toys on top of each other because that is how they would sit in a bag.

measuring toys

Once you have approximate measurements you will add 1 inch to width and 8 inches to the height. Using those measurements, cut two pieces

of fabric

. cut fabric

Face the fabric with its right sides together (the pretty patterned sides facing each other) and sew a stitch along both long sides and one short side leaving only one short side open. If you want to, sew a zigzag stitch at the end of the fabric to prevent it from unravelling.

sewn sides

The bag should look basically like a pouch at this point. Keeping it inside out, fold the top of the bag down 3 inches. measuring fold over

Using a measuring tool, mark lines at 1 inch down from the folded top and 2 inches down from the folded top all the way around. Sew on these lines and sew a third line 3 inches down as well for a total of three lines. Your third sewn line will be stitching next to the raw edge of the fabric. It should look like this:

After stitching

You will notice that the stitches 1 inch and 2 inches down from the folded top have formed a tube, this will be the casing you use to insert the drawstrings. In order to make this casing, turn your bag right-side out and use a seam ripper to remove the seams from both sides of the bag in the area between these two stitches. If you want to, you can make a small zigzag stitch at the top and bottom of these seams to keep the area secure.


seam ripping

You are ready to insert your drawstrings! Begin by measuring the full length around the top of the bag and add eight inches to your measurement. Cut two ribbons or pieces of twill tape to the size of what you have measured. Secure a safety pin on the end of one of the pieces. Use the safety pin to insert the twill tape into the casing your created and work it along the whole length of the casing you created. Work your way, moving the safety pin with your fingers one full circle around. Wherever you inserted the twill tape, it should also come back out.

inserting twill tape

Repeat with the other twill tape. This will mean that you have one piece of twill tape going into and out of the left hand side opening and another piece of twill tape going into and out of the right-hand side opening.


When you tug on these they will tighten and close the bag!

drawstring bag

Enjoy your organized toys! (For a little while, at least!)


–Melissa Q.

Melissa runs ‘A Happy Stitch’ blog and is a crafter through and through. She has been sewing since she was just twelve years old when her mother decided to get her a sewing machine to keep her occupied at home.
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1 reply to this post
  1. I love this! Wonderful tutorial, Melissa! We are in desperate need of keeping our toys nice and tidy. I will definitely have to make one or two or three of these. : )

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