DIY Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Mother is the necessity of invention, right?  Well, I’ve had a lot of necessities lately!  I noticed last week that my favorite makeup bag had a hole in it.  AND since we are going on a family vacation soon and I needed bags for my kids to shove their stuff in to keep them entertained on the plane trip!  So voila – the DIY Drawstring Bag Tutorial was born!  I call it the “Stuff” bag because you can put all kinds of stuff in these and use them for all sorts of purposes!  Mine will be for makeup, but you can also use them for trash bags in your car, quiet bags in church, snack bags for on the go… the possibilities are endless!

DIY Drawstring Bag

DIY Drawstring Bag Tutorial Supplies / Dimensions

Here’s how I made mine.  The measurements are approximations and will vary depending on the size of the bottom of your bag and how tall you want it.

Notions: quilting cotton, cording, fusible fleece, lace locks, a bowl, clips/pins, mesh (if you’d like mesh pockets), Fold Over Elastic (if you use mesh pockets), scissors, thread.  I highly recommend using Frixion pens for marking on your fabric for the pockets.  The ink disappears when you iron over it!   Note that my seam allowance is 3/8″.

The pieces you will cut will be a top panel, main panel, bottom circle, lining, lining bottom circle and a pocket strip (optional).

DIY Drawstring Bag Tutorial Steps

Start  by laying a bowl upside down on your bottom fabric.  Trace around it with a Frixion pen and cut that out.  Measure the circumference.  The width of your top and main panels will be the circumference of the bottom panel plus .75″ (for seam allowance).

So if my bottom circumference was 20″, then the width of my top and main panels would be 20.75″.  The height of the top and main panels can vary and can be completely customized!  My top panel measured 5″x20.75″ and my main panel measured 7.5″x20.75″.



Let’s start the construction!

With RST, sew the top panel to the main panel along the top edge.  Flip the top panel up and press seam allowance towards the main panel (you can press either way, really).  Topstitch 1/8″ away from the seam.



Now cut your lining.  Make it the same height and width as the outer portion (top/main) you just sewed.  Cut a piece of fusible
fleece the same dimensions as your lining piece and fuse it onto the back of the lining fabric following manufacturer instructions.


If you’d like pockets, cut a strip that’s the same width as your lining and whatever height you’d like.  My pockets measured 5″x 20.75″.  If using woven cotton for your pocket, serge/overcast stitch the top edge.  Then fold the top edge down 1/2″ and topstitch.

Woven pocket

Hem the woven pocket strip

If using mesh for the pockets, cut a piece of Fold Over Elastic (FOE) about 2″ shorter than your pocket strip.  Attach it to the top edge of the mesh, stretching slightly as you sew.

Mesh Pocket with FOE

Align the pocket strip along the bottom edge of the lining, matching raw edges.  Baste along sides of pockets to hold in place.  Individual pocket widths can vary.  Use your Frixion pen and a ruler to draw vertical lines marking the width of each pocket.  Topstitch along the lines, backstitching several times when you start at the top of the pocket.  Press to remove Frixion pen marking lines.

Mark vertical pocket lines


Grab your outer (top/main) portion.  Fold it in half so the short edges meet.  With your Frixion pen, make a mark 1.25″ down from the raw edge and another mark 1/2″ below that mark.   This will be the hole for your drawstring cording.  Sew along the short side but NOT between the marks you just made!  Fold the lining in half aligning the short edges and stitch along the short edge.



With RST, clip/pen the bottom circle to the outer portion and then do the same for the lining bottom circle and lining.  You may need to ease it a bit to fit.  Sew bottom circles on.


With the lining right side out and the outer portion wrong side out, slide the lining inside the outer portion.  Stitch 3/8″ from the top raw edge, leaving a 3″-4″ gap for turning.


Turn the bag/lining right side out.  Push the lining inside the outer and press the top edge well.  Topstitch 1/8″ away from the top edge, taking care to close the hole you had from turning the bag.


Now create the casing for the cording.  Topstitch all around the bag approximately 1/2″ below the stitches from the previous step.  From that point, mark 3/4″-1″ below and topstitch around the whole bag (make sure that your drawstring opening is between your casing!).  Now you will have a casing through which to pull your drawstring.  Feed the cording through the casing using a safety pin or bodkin.  Once through, slide a lace lock over each end of cording.  Make a knot on each end of the cording so it does not come out of the lace lock.


Now grab as much stuff as you can find to shove in your all new Stuff Bag!!!  A few ideas for customization would be vinyl/embroidered names for personalization, adding piping between the top/main panels (I did for one of my bags), adding an exterior pocket, adding internal zippered pocket, creating removable pockets using Velcro.  I can’t wait to see how you customize yours!

Thank you for stopping by and viewing our DIY Drawstring Bag Tutorial. If you enjoyed this you might also like our Messenger Bag Tutorial. If you need help with a sewing project, make sure to join our Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Facebook Group.

DIY Drawstring stuff bag

4 Responses

  1. I was searching for something to make for my grandkids ( there are 6 of them!) that wasn’t a toy. These bags are great! I’m getting some over the door hangers as well so toys can be put away in their bags. Thanks so much for such a cute and easy pattern.

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