Drawstring Bag

 These little bags are perfect for all kinds of things and can be made in a variety of sizes.  I use them for evening bags, to hold gifts (they are a gift in themselves if you embellish them prettily), to hold tarot cards, jewelry while traveling, the list goes on.Sometimes I simply hang it on the wall because it’s just lovely art.


Is this yummy or what?  Part of the fun of any project is pulling together the perfect bits and bobs to compliment each other for a harmonious whole.  Yuuum – mmmmmy.  Collect all the materials you will need to complete your bag. Shown here is the pouch fabric, drawstring cord, embroidery threads, beads for the drawstring tassels (separate tutorial, coming soon), applique pieces. Not shown here is the lining and additional applique pieces.

Layout of Embroidery Design

If you are going to embroider the cover of the pouch, do this now. Shown here are the applique pieces in place for embroidery.

Cut Cover and Lining

Determine the size needed for your pouch. In my case used a pack of tarot cards to determine the size. This pouch will be 7″ by 9″. The pouch folds on the bottom so what I need is fabric 7″ x 18″. Be sure to add seam allowances to top and sides for a total fabric size of 8″ x 19″. Cut one piece from your outer fabric and one piece from your lining fabric. I like to press the fold.

Sew Cover

Sew the cover up both sides leaving 2″ gap at top.

Sew Lining

Sew the lining leaving 2″ from the top on both sides as you did for the cover. NOTE: Only sew part way down one side, leaving a 3″ gap so that you can turn the pouch right side out later.

Pin Cover to Lining

Turn cover of pouch right side out and insert into lining. Pin edges making sure to match up the side seam corners.

Sew Cover to Lining

Sew cover to lining in a [ shape so that you create sewn corners. See detail below.

Sew Cover to Lining Detail

Here you can see the little corner I’ve sewn in.

Clip Corners

Clip the corners so that you reduce the bulk of the seam allowances.

Turn Right Side Out

Bring the pouch cover through the 3″ gap that you left in the botton side of the lining.

Finger Press Seams

If using linen you can finger press the linen seam allowance so that it stays open. Note near my thumb how the linen lies flat and towards the corner of the lining it is puckery. Linen can be “ironed” with the heat and pressure of your hands and fingers. Silk won’t behave so well but has it’s own lovely properties.

Pointy little Corners

I use a rounded tip chopstick to make my corners pointy. Anything sharper has a tendency to poke through the fabric and can ruin your corner.

Sew Drawstring Channel

You can do this step using a sewing machine but the wool and linen is less forgiving than velvet so I prefer to hand sew the channel. I use a stab stitch or a straight stitch. It is similar to a running stitch but it allows you to have the stitches closer together. See below to note that I stab the needle in and out instead of sewing with the needle.

Sew Drawstring Channel Detail

Detail of the Stab Stitch.

Completed Drawstring Channel

Two rows of Stab Stitching. If you are uncomfortable sewing free hand, please use a water soluble marker and draw in your stitching lines. The marker will leave a turquoise line that, when sprayed with a heavy mist, disappears. I use it on many projects and have never had it ruin my work. If you can iron your work, you can spritz it is my opinion.

Completed Drawstring Channel Detail

Note that I have stitched over the gap at the top of the bag several times before continuing around the pouch. This reinforces the location of the most stress and keeps it from tearing when you pull the drawstring open or closed.

Close Lining Opening

Now to close that 3″ gap.

Hidden Stitch

I use a hidden stitch where I catch one side, then catch the other side. This hides the thread pretty well. You can use a whip stitch if you like.

Hidden Stitch Detail

Here you can see I’ve made several stitches and how nicely they disappear.

Insert Drawstrings

You need two cords. Two cords allow you to more easily close the pouch. When pulling from both sides the pouch closes easily plus you get two tassels and it just makes for a more lovely, balanced result. Note that the drawstring has tape on the ends. This keeps the cord from fraying. It also stabilized the end of the cord so that I can insert a safety pin into the cord without unraveling it. Once you have your safety pin (or you could use a bodkin) insert it into one side of the pouch channel. The pin/bodkin is solid and it gives something to grip through the fabric as you inch your way through the channel. Run the cord around the entire pouch so that both ends exit the channel in the same place. (see below) Insert the second cord into the opposite side channel run it completely around the pouch.

Drawstring Detail

One cord strung through

Complete Pouch

Here you can see both cords exiting on their own sides. I have not finished off the cord ends. You can simply knot the ends if you like and remove the tape and the cord make it’s own little tassel when it unravels. Or you can wait for my tassel tutorial. 😉

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