How to Make a Versatile Drawstring Bag in Under an Hour

Keep your wallet, keys, and cell phone safe in this quick-to-make bag.

Crafted from just two inexpensive materials (cotton fabric and cording) this versatile pouch is ideal for stashing your keys, phone, and wallet. Use it on its own, as a drawstring makeup bag, or toss it in your purse for added organization. The finished project also makes a great eco-friendly swap for paper gift bags. Instead of wrapping your presents with single-use paper, try making reusable drawstring gift bags. Once you've learned how to make it, customize your catchall with your favorite fabric, pattern, and colors. You'll need two fat quarter pieces (or half a yard of fabric total) to complete this easy sewing project. We'll show you how to make a drawstring bag in under an hour.

bathroom tray with fabric bag and products
Jacob Fox

How to Make a Cotton Drawstring Bag

Supplies Needed

  • Two fat quarters (18x22-inch pieces) of cotton fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (like this Brother XM2701 Lightweight, $130, Walmart)
  • Thread
  • 6-inch sewing gauge
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Two yards of cotton cording

Step-by-Step Directions

With a few basic sewing skills and these how-to instructions, you can create your own drawstring bag. You should be able to complete this sewing project in under an hour.

Step 1: Form the Bag

Cut two 10-1/2x8-inch rectangles and one 6 1/2-inch-diameter circle from each fat quarter. Join the short ends of one pair of matching rectangles, stopping each seam 1 inch from the same (top) edge, to make a tube. Sew a matching circle to the tube's bottom edge to make a bag. Join the short ends of the two remaining rectangles, leaving a 3-inch opening in one seam. Sew the matching circle to the tube to make the lining.

Step 2: Thread the Cording

Turn the bag right side out. Insert the bag into the lining with the right sides together. Sew around the upper edges with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, then turn right side out through the opening in the lining. Sew the opening closed. Use an iron to gently press the top edge and sew 3/4 inch and 1 3/4 inches from the edge to make a casing. Starting from opposite sides, thread two 1-yard pieces of 3/16 inch-diameter cotton cording through the casing; knot the ends of each cord and pull to gather the fabric. We used white cotton cording to create our bag with drawstring but try customizing your bag with a colored option (try this Drawstring Cotton Cord Trimming, $15 for 15 yards, Etsy). Make the most of your leftover fabric scraps and sew a DIY fabric bunting garland.

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