Geta Grama from the Romanian Quilt Studio shop and blog is an expert quilter and bag maker. Geta designs quilts and patterns, and she enjoys sharing her passion for sewing with others.

Geta shows you how to make an easy, professional drawstring bag. This basic design is great for favor bags or gift bags! You can get to work now to stock up for the holiday gift giving season, and you can also share a photo of your bag for a chance to win a new sewing machine in our Teach a Friend to Sew series!


Sewing this drawstring bag doesn’t take more than 20 minutes. The bag doesn’t have lining, but there is no raw edge exposed. It is professional-looking, with strong seams and a clean look. It’s easy to make it in any size.

These bags are so easy to sew, you could make a bunch to use as gift bags for Christmas!

Finished size: 8½” x 10″

Materials:

  • Top fabric: Two pieces 10″ (wide) x 8″ (If you use directional prints, be sure the pattern is going the correct direction.)
  • Bottom fabric: One piece 10″ x 10″ (Do not use directional prints for this piece. I used quilting weight cotton fabric.)
  • 3/4″ wide ribbon or tape: 2 pieces 9″ long (for the casing)
  • 1/2″ wide ribbon or tape or cord: 1 piece 20″ long (for the drawstring)

Step 1:
On the bottom panel draw two lines ¾” away from two edges as shown (see the black marking lines). Draw on the right side of the fabric. It’s fine to use a permanent marker.

Step 2:
We will attach the top panels to the bottom panel as shown. If you use directional prints, here is how you place the two top panels.

Place the bottom panel and one of the top panels wrong sides together. Sew on the drawn line. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Press the seam open.

Step 3:
Trim ½” from the seam allowance of the piece that has the marking on it. Using a ruler, draw a line ½” away from the edge (see the black marking line) and cut on it with scissors. Do not cut anything else.

Step 4:
Press the bigger seam allowance over the small seam allowance.

Step 5:
Fold the wide seam allowance over the narrow one, aligning its edge with the drawn line.

Here is a close up view.

Bring the fold toward the opposite side and press then pin as shown. The narrow seam allowance is completely enclosed now. Stitch through all the layers, close to the folded edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Here is what the seam looks on the right side of the fabric; the topstitch adds a very nice detail.

And here is the clean look of the seam on the back. This type of seam is called “flat-felled” seam. It is usually used on jeans because it is smooth on the inside.

Step 6:
Repeat all these steps and attach the other top panel to the other edge of the bottom panel. Your pieced piece should look like this.

Step 7:
Hem the top edges. Turn down ½” of each top edge and finger press. Turn down ½” again to create the double hem. Use pins to keep the hem in place and stitch close to the bottom fold.

Step 8:
Prepare and attach the casing. Fold the raw edges of the wider ribbon ½” under and sew.
Repeat for the other ribbon piece.

Place the ribbon 1½” away from the top edge and center it widthwise. Stitch close to the top and bottom edges as shown (see the black marking lines), leaving the side edges open.

Repeat with the other wider ribbon.

Step 9:
To finish the bag, fold the piece in half as shown, with the wrong sides together; keep the edges aligned.

Sew along the sides, ¼” away from the edge (see the black marking). Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Trim off the seam allowances to about 1/8″.

Repeat all these steps for the other vertical edges.

Step 10:
Turn the piece wrong side out and press the seams. Pin to keep the layers in place and sew 3/8″ away from the edge. The seam allowances on the right side are now enclosed into the seam.

This seam is called “French seam”. Repeat and sew the other edge.

Step 11:
Turn the bag right side out and press the seams. Using a safety pin, push the ribbon or cord through the channel created by the wide ribbon then tie each end in a knot.

Your drawstring bag is finished.

Notes:

  • You could use any type of fabric depending on your needs, from silk or quilting cotton to home décor. Avoid fabric that stretches. Since there is no lining, if you want a pretty look inside your drawstring bag (where the wrong side of the fabric is visible), use a woven fabric with two sides.

  • If you want to make the bag with only one fabric, you need a piece 10″ x 23″. Do not use directional prints.
  • If you want to use directional prints, cut two pieces 10″ x 12″ and join the bottom edges with a French seam.