Free Drawstring Bag Pattern And Tutorial 4

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How To Make A Drawstring Bag

Free Sewing Tutorials By Sewing Bee Fabrics


This drawstring bag pattern is perfect for a school sports bag or swimming bag because of it’s easy pull string top and it’s waterproof lining. To find out how to make your own easy drawstring bag pattern, and how to sew it together you can either watch the sew-a-long video tutorial or scroll down for full step by step instructions.


You will need:

A lining fabric – I used Polyurethane Laminate Fabric

An outer fabric – I used Patterned Cotton Fabric


It is also helpful but not essential to have a knit foot/walking foot/Teflon foot. Check out our guide to see more tips on how to sew PUL fabric. You can also see our sewing machine feet range or our guide on sewing machine feet.


Drawstring Bag Pattern

To make your pattern, you first need to decide how big you want your bag. Mine was 35cm (14 inches) high by 30cm (12 inches). It was made for a 5-year-old, so for an older child, you may need to make a bigger drawstring sports bag for them. Simply increase these sizes as required. Then add a tab on top which is approximately 5cm high (2 1/2 inches) and 1cm (1/2 inch) narrower on each side than the bag width.

free drawstring bag pattern and tutorial for a school sports bag

How To Sew A Drawstring Bag

Cut out 2 in your lining fabric and 2 in your outer material. Place them as an outer bag and a lining bag with the pattern sides together and sew around the outer edge of the outer cotton layer ignoring the tab. To turn the corners, stop your machine with the needle down, lift the presser foot and swivel the fabric before lowering the presser foot and continuing.

how to sew around the corner of the drawstring bag pattern

Repeat with the lining fabric leaving a gap at the centre of the bottom but ideally switch to a knit foot or walking foot or Teflon foot if you are sewing PUL fabric with the laminated sides facing outwards. The lamination tends to stick to a normal sewing machine presser foot, causing a slight drag. This causes a slight stretch as you sew on the top fabric layer causing the top and bottom to move out of synch. You can still use a universal needle and straight stitch as this is a much more stable fabric than the likes of jersey (which would benefit from a double needle and/or zigzag stitch). In a lining position under a non-stretch cotton, the polyurethane laminate fabric will not be subjected to stretch in it’s day to day function either.

sew PUL pull string bag pattern layer

Now turn your lining layer the right way around and place it inside the outer cotton layer so that both of the patterned sides face each other. This time we are going to join together the tops of the 2 bag shapes by sewing the outer edge of the tabs to each other.

sew PUL and cotton top together to make a drawstring bag

If you sew the fabric with the polyurethane layer facing downwards, then you can use a standard presser foot.

sew PUL and cotton top together to make a DIY drawstring bag

Because the cotton fabric is prone to fraying, a zigzag stitch or overlock stitch around the edge will prevent this. If you have an overlocker (aka serger) then brilliant, use it. If not, an overcast foot lets you sew along the edge of your fabric keeping a perfect zigzag over the fabric edge. If you don’t have this either you can sew a zigzag stitch near the edge instead.

How to overlock the edges of the drawstring bag pattern

Next, turn the bag through the hole so the patterns face outwards, making sure all corners are poked fully out (a chopstick works well for that!).

how to turn the drawstring bag sewing tutorial

Then sew closed the hole – a hand-sewn invisible stitch aka ladder stitch will hide your hole the best.

how to hand sew drawstring bag lining hole closed

Poke your PUL lining half back inside the outer cotton fabric and flatten it out.

how to make a lined drawstring bag pattern turning the lining

Fold down the top tab on each side and pin in place before stitching the edge of the tab down – do not sew the sides of the tabs down – we are creating a tunnel for the drawstring.

how to sew down the top of the drawstring bag pattern

Next, tie your pull cord to a safety pin and pass it through the tunnel. The safety pin makes it much easier to grab the end and move it along.

how to pull string through the tunnel at the top of the drawstring bag

Once you have been through both sides and made a big loop, tie the cord at the desired length then snip off the ends. I prefer to poke the knot into the centre of the tunnel out of sight.

cut pull string to size on free drawstring bag pattern for school

Then you are done and ready to show everyone your DIY drawstring bag.

Free drawstring bag pattern DIY pull string bag sewing tutorial help by Linda Forager

If you have made a drawstring bag, I would love to hear how you made it and what your favourite use for drawstring bags are.

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