How to Make a Drawstring Bag

Item # X-HT-300603

This DIY sewing project is as clever as it is fun to make! This round bag lies flat so you can fill the center with kids’ toys, dog toys, makeup, toiletries or whatever you want to keep stored and organized. Then just cinch it up using the drawstring rope and carry it by the webbing handles. It’s never been easier to keep your home organized — or to quickly pack what you need for a day at the park or beach. Let’s get started with this fun and easy DIY drawstring bag.

DIY drawstring bag

You can use any home décor fabric for this bag DIY. With so many colors and patterns to choose from at Sailrite®, you can make a bag in each of your kids’ favorite colors. Make a series of neutral bags as go-to baby shower and birthday gifts. If you're using a printed fabric with a right and wrong side, you’ll want to make sure you mark and layer the fabric accordingly. Don’t worry — we cover this in the video as well as in the written instructions at the end of this blog.

Our finished drawstring bag measures approximately 30 inches across. If you want a smaller or larger bag, you will need to adjust your materials accordingly. Here are the supplies you’ll need to make your own drawstring bag.

Please Note: Do not leave the bag unattended around young children as the lengths of rope could pose a potential strangulation hazard. Always store the bag out of reach of children when not in use.

Materials & Tools Needed:

  • Home Décor Fabric (We used Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric) — 1 yard
  • Lining Fabric (We used Nimbus™ Cotton Duck Fabric) — 1 yard
  • 3-Strand Polyester Rope 3/16" (5mm) #21301 — 15 feet
  • 1" or 2" Webbing — 3 feet
  • Wonder Clips (50 pack) #121902
  • Chalk Pencil Cartridge Set #121669
  • Flexible Curve 18" #122445
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Flexible Tape Measure
  • Metal Ruler
  • Sewing Machine

Watch the video below to learn how to sew a drawstring bag.

DIY Drawstring Bag Instructions:

If you’d rather follow written instructions instead of watching the video, or if you like a mix of both visual and written instructions, follow the steps below to measure, pattern and sew your drawstring bag.

1. Cut two 30-inch squares, one from each fabric. Layer the squares together and fold them in half twice so you have a smaller square.

2. From the folded corner, measure out 14 inches. This is the radius. Continue measuring out 14 inches from the corner and mark every few inches with the chalk pencil. Use the flexible curve tool to connect those dots to form a curved line. Cut along the line to form the bag’s circle shape.

3. With either of your fabrics, create two 6-inch by 41-inch strips. These strips house the rope that will open and close the bag. You might need to sew several fabric pieces together to achieve each strip’s total length. Hem each end of both fabric strips by 1 inch.

4. Place your outer bag fabric right side up. Fold the circle in half twice and mark the center corner as well as the two outer corners — these are reference points for a later step.

5. Cut two 18-inch strips of webbing. Pin the webbing handles to the edge of the fabric approximately 4 inches apart on either side of the circle.

6. Take one fabric strip and pin it around the circle, starting 2-1/2 inches from the middle chalk mark. Make sure the hems are facing up as you pin so that when you sew the bag together the hems will be hidden.

7. Pin the second strip in the same manner, starting 2-1/2 inches from the mark on the other side. Both openings should be 5 inches apart.

8. Cut 15 feet of rope in half. Drape one length of rope around the fabric strips with both ends exiting the same 5-inch opening. Repeat for the second length of rope, with those ends exiting the other 5-inch opening. Fold the fabric strips over the rope and pin the strips with long sides together, creating a 3-inch-wide tube that houses the rope lengths.

9. Once the rope casing is pinned in place, pin the lining fabric on top of the assembly with the wrong side facing up. Take your bag assembly to the sewing machine and sew around the circle’s perimeter with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving a 5-inch opening to turn the bag right side out. When you reach the webbing, sew back and forth over the webbing a few times to secure the handles in place and reinforce the stitching.

10. Turn the bag right side out and pull the rope ends out of each side. Fold the 5-inch openings inward and pin to secure the layers. Sew a top stitch all around the perimeter of the circle. Finally, knot each end of the loose rope ends. Your drawstring bag is complete!

We hope you enjoyed this fun and easy bag tutorial. Please share photos of your finished bags with us! Post on social media using #Sailrite so we can see what you’re making.

What other fun projects would you like to see us make? Post ideas in the comments section below and they might become future videos and blogs on our website. Happy sewing!