Quick DIY Drawstring Bag | Madam Sew

Quick DIY Drawstring Bag

This is a super easy beginner project. You just need fabric– cotton, linen or canvas work best– and some (para)cord, ribbon, leather strips, or thick twine for the drawstring. I’m making relatively small bags, but it is very easy to change the size of these bags.

You can use drawstring bags for so many different things and different occasions. They are so versatile and customizable: Little organizers, candy bags, gift wrappings, produce bags, laundry bags. When you attach the drawstrings at the bottom corners of the bag, you get a little lightweight backpack. They are great because they don’t take up much space when they’re empty, and they are very easy to make.

drawstring bag

I’m making these little drawstring bags for The Pachamama Project, to hold the reusable sanitary pads for refugee women around the world. If you want to know all about this charity project that MadamSew is supporting in 2021 and you want to get involved, check out our Pachamama Project Page here. One bag can hold 4 to 6 pads. A finished bag measures about 8 x 10 ½ inches. For this size, you need 1 piece of 18 x 12 inch and 2 pieces of 30 inch long ribbon. The pieces of ribbon should be at least 3 inches longer than twice the finished width of your bag.


1. Cut out a rectangular piece of fabric: 18 x 12 inch.The bag can be as big or little as you want, but always cut the fabric an inch larger than you want your bag to be.

Fold in the edges half an inch, wrong sides facing, on both upstanding sides and press. These folds are the marks for your side seams.

2. Optional: Finish all the edges all around with a serger, with an overlock stitch on your regular sewing machine, or with pinking shears. If you’re finishing the edges with pinking shears, you can wait until after step 6 and trim the seams and the top edges together.

rectangular pieces

3. Iron the fabric. I’m ironing the following folds to make the sewing easier afterwards.

a. Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together. Press the fold that will be the bottom of your bag.

b. Fold in the edges half an inch, wrong sides facing, on both upstanding sides and press. These folds are the marks for your side seams.

c. Fold over the top edge 1 inch for the drawstring channel. Do this on both top edges and iron flat.

To measure and press at the same time, I’m using the MadamSew Hot Hem Ruler.

iron the fabric
iron folds
fold the edges
fold top edge

4. Open all the folds. Fold the fabric back in half, right sides together, and sew the 2 side seams closed from the fold until you reach the fold of the channel. In order to avoid sewing over the channel, stop 2 inches from the top edge. This way you can tuck in the edges neatly.

open folds
fold until you reach the fold channel
fold in half
stop 2 inchees from the top edge
sew the 2 sides

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5. Trim the 2 bottom corners of the seam. This is useful for the next step.

trim 2 bottom corners

6. Iron the 2 seams open. Also fold open the edges of the channel. The seams of the channel are not sewn.

iron 2 seams open
fold open the edge

7. Now fold over the channel “hems” and sew the 2 channels closed horizontally: Sew along the edge of the hem all around. Don’t forget to do a reverse stitch at the beginning and the end.

fold over the hems
sew 2 channels closed horizontally

8. Trim all thread ends and turn right side out.

9. Inserting the 2 pieces of ribbon: pull one piece of ribbon all the way through the 2 channels and tie a knot. For the other ribbon, you do the same thing but you start and end on the opposite side. Now you have a knot on both sides.

inset 2 pieces ribbon
pull one piece
pull 2 channels and tie a knot
2 knot tie ribbon

10. Just pull the 2 knots to close the bag and loosen them again to open the bag.

2 knots to close
loosen them again

The bag is ready!
Open close open close open close… how satisfying! :-)))

Any questions? Shoot an@madamsew.com

Happy Sewing!!!

Download the PDF of the instructions here

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Nice give away

Michele L Hansen

This looks great for Tarot cards. I’m going to get right on this.


A group in Everett Washington makes these fir the homeless women in our area. They use waterproof fabric and ad a package of baby wipes and tampons and hand sanitizer too. They are 12” by 12 inches finished and they string them with a cord.


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