How to sew a drawstring bag

How to sew a drawstring bag

The creation of a simple cotton cloth drawstring bag is often used in sewing classes as an easy first sewing project for a child or teen. Instructions and patterns for these simple bags vary, but with simple instructions, they can be seen in any size suited to the needs of the novice sewer. To complete this project, you will need a straight stitch sewing machine, typical sewing tools, a length of flexible cording, and an iron with ironing board.

Begin by choosing a fabric of medium-weight cotton or cotton-polyester blend, as these woven fabrics are easy to work with and will not stretch out of shape as you sew. Choose a plain fabric or one with a small, random pattern, rather than complicated patterns such as stripes or plaids which need to be matched while cutting and sewing. Depending on the size of the bag you want to sew, you might be able to save money by choosing a pre-cut fabric remnant from your local fabric or craft store.

If you haven’t already decided on the size of your bag, you must decide before you cut it. Sizes can range anywhere from a small, purse-like bag size to a large book bag size. When you have decided on a finished size, add approximately a inch to your measurements on all sides.

Now, place your two fabric pieces on a flat surface with the printed, or right, sides together. Carefully pin your fabric so the pieces do not move apart. Using a tape measure, draw your measurement lines with a fabric pencil, using a wide ruler to make sure your lines are at right angles to each other. If you desire, you might want to create a pattern from the newspaper, and cut your fabric around this pattern. Don’t forget to make sure all your corners are straight and your edges are lined up with the edges of the fabric.

Now, you must sew your drawstring pockets. First, make a narrow hem, zigzag, serge, or otherwise finish the upper hems on each fabric piece. On the upper end of each of your hemmed fabric pieces, fold a wide margin over of around two inches, more or less relative to the size of your fabric. Don’t forget to carefully measure, mark, and pin all seams. Iron your fold.

Sew your first seam close to your hem, through both layers, and iron again. Sew a second and third seam in half-inch increments, gradually moving towards the upper end of your fabric piece. Repeat this process so that both fabric pieces have identical seams, carefully comparing them as you sew. Be sure to iron all seams for a well-presented finished product.

Next, your tasks is to sew your bottom and side seams. Place your fabric pieces with the sewn pockets right sides together and pin. Sew a 5/8 inch seam across the bottom of your fabric pieces, to make a bottom hem. Sewing your side seams is a little more complex. Begin with the same seam width at the bottom edges of your fabric, but only sew until your reach the first seam of your sewn drawstring pocket. End your seam there.

Continue your side seam by sewing between the top edge of your fabric pieces and your sewn drawstring pocket seam that is the closest to the top edge of your fabric pieces. This leaves your drawstring pockets free to thread your cording and leaves a small finished top edge to give your bag a more attractive design.

When your seams are completed and ironed, make small diagonal clips from the bottom corners in the seam allowance, ending close to your bottom corner where your side and bottom seams meet. This will allow your corners to peak more smoothly. You may wish to trim and hem, zigzag, serge or finish your side hems before or after sewing your seams, for a longer-lasting product, being sure to leave the drawstring pockets open.

You are now ready to turn and iron your bag. Carefully turn your bag so the right sides are out, paying special attention to your drawstring pocket seams and lower corners. Iron your bag fully.

To complete your drawstring pockets, first, cut your cording in two pieces. Each piece should be double the width of your finished bag, adding on approximately four inches to your measurement for finishing and knotting. Depending on the type of cording you are using, you may wish to finish your cut edges; many can be left raw effectively.

If so, you may want to treat the end with a de-fraying product. Thread one piece through the upper pocket using a large safety pin attached to your cording for ease in threading, and one-piece through the lower pocket. Knot each piece of cording carefully and tightly.

To gather your now completed drawstring bag, pull the upper drawstring to one side and the lower drawstring to the other, making up your carrying handles.

You can now decorate your bag with fabric paints to personalize it; or, if you are not concerned about safe washing, you can use a variety of craft items to enhance its appearance. Carry this sewing project with pride. A well-constructed fabric bag can last a lifetime.

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