Saturday, 3 August 2013

Drawstring Bag Tutorial

As promised, here is a little tutorial of how to make a drawstring bag which is the perfect size to become a mini nappy bag. It should fit a disposable nappy or two, a packet of wet wipes, some nappy bags and a tube of sun cream snugly, and can then we used for other things once a little one has moved onto potty training. I adapted the instructions from a tutorial in Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, changing the bag dimensions and using ribbon instead of handmade ties. Apologies for the slightly dark photos - I took most of the pictures at night!
 What you will need:

  • Two pieces of fabric measuring 30cm x 25cm
  • Two small offcuts of the same fabric
  • Two lengths of Matching Ribbon (I always grab something out of my ribbon box but two lengths of 50cm will be plenty).
  • Thread
What to do: 

1 / Take your two rectangles of fabric and place right sides together. Pin the two long sides and the bottom short side, then sew a 0.5cm seam along these three edges, going back over the thread at either end to secure it. If you want to add a little label to your bag, now is the time to sew it into your seam.
2 / Press your seams out flat and then fold the bottom corners of the bag in on themselves (like the photo above) so the two seams are aligned. Draw a pencil line 1inch up from the corner of the bag and sew along this line, securing the thread at both ends. Repeat on the other bottom corner.
3 / Now snip off this corner, leaving a 0.5cm seam.
This will create a boxed bottom to the bag.
4 / Fold the top edge of the bag over (to the wrong side) by 0.5cm and iron this down. Then fold the top edge of the bag over again (to the wrong side) by 1inch and iron this down. Now sew two lines around the top edge of your bag, as seen in the photo above. This will create a channel for your ties to go through.
5 / Turn your bag the right way out. Using a zig zag stitch on your machine, reinforce the places where the two lines of stitches you did in Step 4 meet the side seams. Now use a stitch unpick to open up the stitches in the side seams inbetween where you have reinforced the seam.
6 / Take your first piece of ribbon and attach a large saftey pin to one end. Use the safety pin to guide the ribbon through the hole and channel you have created. The ribbon should go in a full circle round the top of the bag and come back out of the same hole it went in to. Then repeat this with the other length of ribbon but starting and ending with the hole at the other side of the bag. You now have a working drawstring.
7 / Taking two little offcuts of fabric, create little flaps to go over the ends of your ribbon (the sizes will vary depending on what ribbon you choose). Take little rectangles of the fabric, iron down the edges and then fold in half and iron again. Place these flaps over the ends of your pairs of ribbons and sew round to make them secure.
The little bag finished here was sent as a gift to good friends of ours on the arrival of their beautiful daughter. We filled it with Burts Bees baby toiletries, the cutest baby leggings and an Owl puppet. Happy sewing and do let me see your creations if you run this tutorial up.


  1. Hi Mrs Biddle, I made this recently as a present for my niece. It was my first ever sewing project on my old singer (will send you a pic) and was really pleased with how it turned out, so many thanks for your clear instructions, even a novice like me could work it out :) My next project is the dribble bib, wish me luck! Holly