Tutorial ~ 15 Minute Fat Quarter Drawstring Bag

by Destri on October 9, 2010

This is the easiest, fastest, funnest little bag ever.  I had just bought my son’s little friend this set of blocks and knew from experience that the little tub they come in wouldn’t last long.  I had made the same bag for my kids’ blocks and thought it would be a nice addition to the gift.  Plus when he opens it he doesn’t have to wait an hour for mom to get the package open, that’s the worst.  And when he is done playing, they already have a home for easy pick up and storage.

I was able to be the first one to get my hands on a fox applique from my sister, super cute and super easy.  It is a free template from Izzy n Ivy Designs, the same place I got the cute hedge hog.  I think it added the perfect little touch to the bag.  Keep in mind the bag itself only takes about fifteen minutes, the fox took a little more ;).  So I don’t want any emails!

Here is how to do it:

Easy Drawstring Bag Tutorial


  • fat quarter of fabric.  You can use any size, but for this tutorial that is what I used.
  • all your sewing stuff
  • 1 yard of cord or something like it

Measurements and Cutting:

If you have a pre-cut fat quarter you’re set.  Most fat quarters come in at 18 x 22, but any size will do.  If you have a bigger piece of fabric, you will just have a bigger bag.  As far as cutting just make sure your piece is nice and even, that will make for faster sewing.

With a 22 inch side at the top, press and fold over each side with a hot iron.  You only need it to be about 2½ inches long.

Now sew each fold just down the center and off the side just like the fold.  Is there a more legit way to do this?  Why yes, yes there is – but we’re talking fifteen minutes here folks.  I promise, it’ll look good :)

Press the same 22 inch side over a quarter inch with an iron.

Then fold over again about ¾ inch and press again.  This will make both the folded corners on the end, making a nice finish where the draw string will be.

Sew a straight stitch along the inside fold, making sure to leave enough room for your string to pass through easily.

Fold in half right side in, with the 18 inch sides together and sew a straight stitch with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Make sure to start just below the drawstring opening and back stitch.  Zigzag the edge.

Repeat on the bottom and finish with a zigzag.  Now you should have a cute rectangle.

With the right side still in, quare off the bottom and sew the corners like shown.  I eyeballed it, but you could pull out a ruler if you want to. Repeat on the other side.

Then cut off the ends and sew a zigzag on the edges.  The bottom of the bag should look like this, still inside out.

Stitch a little bit just on the seam for the top fold.  This will just secure the opening.

Thread your cord through and you are done!  See it looks nice and sharp.

With a kid friendly way to close up shop.

Cute and easy, and so versatile.  Any size will do, and after one I bet they only take you 14 minutes to make ;).  Gift bags, toy storage, little mini gift card holders, favor bags, laundry bags with a full yard…endless possibilities.  And you can always dress them up with appliques or paint.  Just add the embellishment before you sew.

Here is the fox again, isn’t he cute?  You really have to go see all the appliques and free tutorials Izzy n Ivy Designs has, cute stuff!  I am making Eleni the 3 tier skirt (free pattern)…I shall report!

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia October 10, 2010 at 7:13 am

This looks so cute. It reminds me of the art supply bags we were required to have when I was in elementary school – a long time ago. My mom couldn’t sew, so I had to use a pillow case. I was so embarrassed.


Anne October 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Awesome tutorial! Drawstring bags are so easy to make, and sooo useful! I love the plain fabric with the cute applique!

I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:



PaperFlora October 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm

cute idea and you made it look easy :)
going to go try one of my own!


jaya October 11, 2010 at 1:43 am

i just made a drawstring backpack and wow! you explain it so well!
i’m writing up a post now, so check back later if you have time :)


Shelley October 11, 2010 at 10:17 am

So simple & so versatile! Stopping by from Made by You Mondays to say hi & check out your tutorial.


Pati @ A Crafty Escape October 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Awesome, I’ve been wanting to make some for a while. I love your tutorial.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog!


Christy December 9, 2010 at 6:08 am

thank you! I was looking for the fastest tidy looking little bag to mass produce and use as gift bags this year. Tired of wrapping presents and buying wrapping paper each year just to throw out. Will make and reuse for our immediate family from now on. It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas


Anastasia November 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

Great and easy tutorial!
I’ve used it today to make my drawstring bags.



Marlene December 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Oh my goodness!!!! I have been tearing my hair out, trying to make something like this. I am NOT creative on my own , and am not much into sewing. I want to be terrific at it , but when I struggle so badly , it makes it SO not fun. Now , with that said , I came across this tutorial , how I don’t even KNOW , and attempted to make one. I am STUNNED. I actually made an adorable drawstring “overnight bag” for my dog! LOL Paw print material and ribbon for the cord that says I love my dog … and it looks GOOD!!! Thank you SO MUCH for a tutorial that even IIIIIII can understand!!!!! LOL I look forward to doing a LOT with this quick , easy bag!! Thank you!!!


Destri January 30, 2012 at 5:55 am

Yay! I know exactly how that feels :) So glad you liked it, have you tackled any new projects?


Marlene January 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I have!! :) I have been sewing my little pea pickin’ heart out LOL I made several of the bags , I have been making some E-reader covers and canvas tote bags , I love doing those! A few aprons , I’m actually starting to get good at some of this stuff!!! I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine though. Bleh. If it weren’t for issues with that , I think it would be next to impossible to pry me away from my sewing area!!! :-) Just signed up for your newsletter too! Woot :)


Nikki H December 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I followed someone else’s tutorial first and it looked terrible. Next I found this one, and now my drawstring bag looks aMAzing :D …well considering my skill level anyway! I know with a few more attempts it will look like yours. Thanks for the help!


Sarah December 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the great tutorial! I really appreciate the pictures. I have just about banged out 20 bags for Christmas presents today. I made them from a lightweight cotton without the square bottom (for bulk items at the grocery store). They’ll be part of my “zero waste grocery shopping kits” for my family. Thanks again!


Sarah December 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Ooh and I’m making a couple of square bottomed toy bag for my little guy’s new Duplos and my daughter’s new doll clothes too. I’m on a roll!


valerie February 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I just made one for my little nephew! Thank you so much for the tutorial, I’ll be using this again and again!

It turned out great:




Joanna Spotts March 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

So Easy! Although not 15 minutes for me, I use a 1975 Kenmore and it’s kind of tricky to get it to zigzag.


Marie Desjardin March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hi – I have a question. Is it necessary to zig zag stitch the edge for the side and bottom? I am a novice and just wondering what the purpose is. Thanks for posting this!


Destri March 29, 2012 at 4:36 am

Hi Marie,

The zigzag stitch is used to finish the seam, keeping those raw edges nice and clean. That way you don’t end up with any fray which comes with use and washing.
I have a complete tutorial on how to finish seams with a sewing machine.

Really, it is the best way to give your handmade sewing goods a professional finish and worth the little effort!

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!



Marie Desjardin March 29, 2012 at 4:55 am

Thank you so much for the information! I made three yesterday for my daughter, neice, and nephew. They turned out so cute. They are not perfect but it is great practice. Once I make a few more I just might be ready to try another sewing project.


Lauren July 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I cut the size in half and made a drawstring treat bag for my dog Huck. I also added a little loop to the seam to use for slipping on his leash. This was the PERFECT pattern for this and it really did only take me fifteen minutes!!! I am so happy with the way it turned out. I am going to pin it and I will include your link! THANKS!


Destri July 21, 2012 at 5:42 am

Oh what a good idea! You could sell the heck out of those….just sayin’ :). Thanks so much for letting me know, makes my day!


Dominique July 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Thank you soo much!! I have been looking for a small bag for me to put my gym clothes in because I don’t like bringing a huge bag to the gym. I’m just starting to sew with a sewing machine but I will try to figure it out! Thank you so very much for this idea!!!! I really appreciate it


Destri July 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

Oh that is a great idea! You’re welcome and let me know how it goes. This is really a great project to start with!


Dee August 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

Thanks for the great pictures & tutorial. I made my first one very quickly. I’m planning on making some as treat bags for a party.


Destri August 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

You’re welcome! Love that you’re using it for treat bags – such a great idea. I know my kids love bags to put treasures in!


Ting August 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thank you for this tutorial! I cut a few corners, so probably only took me 13 minutes!,,


Destri August 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Yay! I am the queen of cutting corners with projects like these – it’s refreshing after garment sewing :). Thanks so much for letting me know!


chicken dream green zine August 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

This was so helpful, thanks! I designed a camouflage fabric, had it printed at spoonflower and now I can make these little sacs for nature exploration workshops I teach. I hand-stitched the bag while on a road-trip, so it took me longer than 15 minutes, but still, the instructions made it so simple for me. It was rugged enough to throw in the backpack for camping/hiking and so useful. http://chickendream.com/2012/08/20/supply-bag/


Megan December 15, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I made small sets of blocks for Christmas this year, and I wanted to make drawstring bags to put them in. Since I am making six of them, I wanted something fast and easy. I have four done already and should finish the remaining two tomorrow. Then I can check another project off my list. Thanks again!



Kacey December 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Cute! How many blocks did you fit in there? I just mod podged a set of 9 and am wondering if a bag this size would look too empty when I gift it :)


Destri December 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

So sorry, I just saw your comment. For that amount of blocks, you could cut it down some. Just take the fabric and fold it in half until it looks to be the right size, cut and sew per tutorial!


Ren March 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Hello, VERY thanks for your tutorial.
Especially:”press and fold over each side with a hot iron. You only need it to be about 2 1/2 inches long.” and “sew each fold just down the center and off the side just like the fold.”!!
This advice was very helpful to me, I made a drawstring bag with a lining.
Thank you from Japan, sorry my poor English.


Jenna March 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

Wonderful tutorial, great idea for a block bag! Unfortunately as a total novice the instructions for squaring off the bottom were very confusing to me, and I was unable to finish the bag the same way that was shown in the tutorial. I ended up just making a very very simple drawstring bag with no squared bottom and will try this again once I have learned more. It was great practice!


Ali September 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I am a beginner and found the instructions easy to follow (although it took me an hour to complete…). Just finished the cutest PE bag for my son, who starts primary school in a few days!


Destri September 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

Love the idea of this being used for a PE bag! It will get easier and quicker each time!


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