How To Make A Drawstring Bag
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How To Make A Drawstring Bag: Easy Sewing Pattern And Tutorial in 5 Steps

You will learn how to build a drawstring bag with a “window” made from mesh fabric and a zipper at the bottom by following the instructions in this sewing tutorial. Due to the mesh fabric, it is an excellent choice for keeping things that require enough ventilation. I intend to utilize it as a storage space for onions. You can also see what’s inside the bag without having to open it up thanks to the mesh window, and the bag’s zippered opening at the bottom makes it simple to get to whatever you’ve stored within it.

Making a bag with a drawstring closure is an excellent first sewing project. Drawstring bags that you make yourself are not only useful but also environmentally responsible (they are not made of plastic! ), and they are simple to personalize so that they complement your sense of style. You can make a one-of-a-kind drawstring bag in a matter of minutes, and it will come in useful for a wide variety of purposes, from transporting shoes to carrying groceries.

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What you’ll need for making the drawstring bag

A Person Holding a Drawstring Bag
  • Fabric: Quilting cotton is recommended for its durability and ease of sewing.
  • Mesh Fabric: For the “window” part, which allows for ventilation and visibility.
  • Ribbon or String: Two pieces, each 35 inches long, for the drawstring.
  • Sewing Machine: Essential for stitching the bag.
  • Zipper and Zipper Presser Foot: A 10-inch exposed zipper works well. The zipper foot is usually included with your sewing machine.
  • Basic Sewing Supplies: Thread, scissors, pins, etc.
  • Drawstring Bag Pattern: You can create your own or purchase a pattern. A paper for drafting your pattern if you choose to make your own.


  1. Fabric Selection: Choose a quilting cotton fabric for durability. Match it with a complementary colored mesh fabric for the window.
  2. Zipper Preparation: Ensure you have the zipper and the zipper presser foot ready. The zipper foot usually comes with your sewing machine and is essential for attaching the zipper neatly.
  3. Sewing Machine Setup: Prepare your sewing machine with the appropriate thread and set it up with the regular presser foot. Have the zipper foot handy for later use.
  4. Pattern Preparation: If you don’t have a pattern, you can easily draft one. Decide on the size of your bag and draw a rectangle to these dimensions, adding seam allowances. Don’t forget to include an extra section for the mesh window and the zipper.

Steps to Make the Drawstring Bag:

  1. Cut the Fabric: Based on your pattern, cut the quilting cotton to size. Also, cut the mesh fabric to fit the window section.
  2. Sew the Mesh Window: Attach the mesh fabric to the designated window area on the cotton fabric. This can be done with a simple straight stitch.
  3. Install the Zipper: Using your zipper foot, sew the zipper into the bottom of the bag. An exposed zipper not only adds functionality but also a stylish touch.
  4. Assemble the Bag: Sew the sides and bottom of the bag, leaving the top open for the drawstring.
  5. Insert the Drawstrings: Thread the ribbon or string through the top hem of the bag to create the drawstring closure.
  6. Finish and Test: Ensure all seams are secure, and test the drawstring and zipper for functionality.

Prepare the zipper as well as the presser foot for the zipper (this is a standard foot that often comes packaged with a sewing machine). In most cases, the presser foot for the zipper will be found in your accessories box.

Prepare your sewing machine by threading it with a thread of the same color, adjusting the tension using a scrap of fabric, and so on.

Step 1. Making a DIY Drawstring Bag Sewing Pattern

  1. Choose Your Pattern: You can either draw the pattern yourself on paper or purchase a downloadable PDF pattern from a shop, which includes detailed assembly instructions.
  2. DIY Pattern Dimensions: If creating your pattern, here are the necessary dimensions:
    • Rectangle 1 (Main Body): 14 3/4″ x 18 3/4″
    • Rectangle 2 (Lower body front): 8 3/4″ x 3 1/4″
    • Rectangle 3 (Top body): 5 3/4″ x 13 3/4″
    • Rectangle 4 (Mesh insert): 8 3/4″ x 12 1/4″
    • Include seam allowances of 3/8 inch in these measurements.
  3. Materials for Pattern Making: For drafting the pattern, medical paper is a good choice due to its lightweight and ease of use. You’ll also need a broad quilting ruler with straight angles and a pencil.
  4. Drawing the Pattern: Use the quilting ruler to draw rectangles on the paper according to the provided dimensions.
  5. Cutting Out the Pattern: Once drawn, cut along the pencil lines to create your paper pattern.

Step 2: Cut All The Pieces For The Drawstring Bag

  1. Quilting Cotton Pieces:
    • Cut two pieces of Rectangle 1 (Main body) by splitting the first rectangle in half.
    • Cut two pieces of Rectangle 3 (Top body).
  2. Mesh Fabric:
    • Cut one piece of Rectangle 4 (Mesh insert).
  3. Grainline and Selvage Alignment: Ensure the grainline of the fabric (the line running parallel to the longitudinal threads) is perpendicular to the selvage (the tightly woven finished edge of the fabric) before cutting. Remove selvages at the beginning of your project.
  4. Cutting the Fabric: Use a rotary cutter for straight lines and efficiency, especially for multiple pieces. Fabric shears are also suitable, especially for fewer cuts.
  5. Securing the Pattern: To hold the pattern in place on the fabric, use pins or fabric weights for stability while cutting.

Step 3. Sew An Exposed Zipper For The DIY Drawstring Bag

  1. Preparing the Exposed Zipper: Choose an exposed zipper that complements your fabric. This zipper type is decorative and functional, adding a stylish element to the bag.
  2. Sewing the Zipper:
    • Fold the seam allowances of the cotton (part 2) and mesh (part 4) pieces to the wrong side, slightly wider than usual (5/8″ instead of 3/8″).
    • Iron the folds to create a crisp edge.
    • Position the zipper between the folded edges of the mesh and cotton, ensuring a small gap (about 3 mm or 1/8″) between the fold and zipper teeth. Pin in place.
    • Test the zipper to ensure it opens smoothly.
    • Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to stitch close to the zipper teeth on both sides, removing pins as you go to avoid damaging the lace.
  3. Zipper Positioning: Align the zipper teeth close to the fold in the mesh fabric, ensuring it lies flat and even.

Step 4: Sew The Other Seams Of The Drawstring Bag

  1. Attaching the Front to the Main Body:
    • Place the front section with the zipper onto the main body piece, aligning them correctly. Pin the side seams together.
    • Switch back to a universal presser foot.
    • Sew the side seams with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.
    • Trim the excess zipper lace on both sides.
  2. Pressing the Seam Allowances: Press the seam allowances towards the main body of the Drawstring Bag for a neat finish.
  3. Centering the Mesh Insert: Ensure the mesh insert is centered and the left and right fabric widths are equal.
  4. Bottom Seam: Sew the bottom seam of the Drawstring Bag and press it.
  5. Top Body Parts:
    • Sew the side seams of the top body parts, leaving a 3/4-inch gap on each side for the drawstrings. Press open the seams.
    • Finish the seam allowances with topstitching.
  6. Attaching the Top Body to the Drawstring Bag:
    • Align the top body piece with the top edge of the Drawstring Bag, ensuring the side seams match.
    • Sew and pin in place.
    • Press the seam towards the top body.
  7. Finishing the Top Edge:
    • Turn the upper edge of the top body piece 3/8 inches to the wrong side and press.
    • Fold the top body in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, aligning the folded edge with the stitch line. Pin and topstitch to secure.
From above view of simple cotton zero waste bag with drawstrings placed on marble table in light room

Step 5. Insert The Drawstrings

  1. Creating the Casing:
    • Turn the Drawstring Bag to the right side.
    • Use a fabric marker to draw two straight lines between the holes on both the front and back of the drawstring Drawstring Bag These lines will serve as guides for sewing the casing.
    • Sew along these marked lines to create the casing for the drawstrings.
  2. Threading the Strings:
    • Attach a bodkin or safety pin to one end of a string.
    • Thread the string through one of the casing openings, pulling it through so that both ends of the string are on the same side of the bag.
    • Repeat with the second string, but start from the opening on the opposite side. This will ensure that both ends of each string are on opposite sides of the bag.
    • Adjust the strings so that the ends extend evenly on both sides.
  3. Securing the Drawstrings:
    • Tie the loose ends of each string together. You can experiment with different types of knots to find one that suits your style.
    • Consider adding beads or other embellishments to personalize your drawstring bag.
  4. Final Touches:
    • Adjust the drawstrings to ensure they operate smoothly and evenly.
    • Your drawstring bag is now complete and ready for use!

This video is more helpful to know about How To Make A Drawstring Bag:

This Video Is Taken From Sewing Tutorials by Fabric YOUTUBE channel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need advanced sewing skills to make this drawstring bag?

No, this project is suitable for beginners with basic sewing knowledge. The steps are straightforward, and you can simplify the process by skipping more complex features like the exposed zipper.

Can I use any type of fabric for this bag?

Quilting cotton is ideal due to its durability and ease of sewing. However, you can experiment with different types of fabric depending on your preference and the bag’s intended use.

What is the purpose of the mesh window?

The mesh window provides ventilation, making the bag perfect for storing items that need air circulation, like onions or garlic. It also allows you to see what’s inside without opening the bag.

Is it necessary to include a zipper in the bag?

No, the zipper is optional. It provides convenient access to the contents from the bottom of the bag, but you can omit it and simply sew the parts together if you prefer a simpler design.

How do I choose the right size for the drawstrings?

The length of the drawstrings can vary based on personal preference. Generally, each string should be long enough to comfortably open and close the bag when threaded through the casing.

What is the best way to thread the drawstrings?

Using a bodkin or a safety pin attached to the end of the drawstring makes it easier to thread through the casing.

Can I add embellishments to the drawstring bag?

Absolutely! Feel free to personalize your bag with beads, embroidery, or other decorations on the drawstrings or the fabric.

How do I care for my drawstring bag?

If you use washable fabrics like quilting cotton and washable mesh, you can clean the bag in a gentle wash cycle. Avoid washing if you’ve added non-washable embellishments.

Can I adjust the size of the bag?

Yes, you can easily modify the dimensions of the bag by altering the size of the pattern pieces. Just make sure to adjust all parts proportionally.

What if I don’t have a fabric marker?

You can use a regular pencil or tailor’s chalk for marking, as long as the marks can be easily removed or are hidden within the seam allowances.


crafting a drawstring bag with a mesh window and an optional zipper is a versatile and enjoyable sewing project that is suitable for sewers of all levels. This DIY bag not only serves practical purposes, such as providing ventilated storage for produce, but also offers an opportunity for creative expression through fabric choice and customization.

The addition of a mesh window and an exposed zipper adds both functionality and a stylish touch, making the bag more than just a utility item. Whether you’re a seasoned sewer or a beginner, this project is a fantastic way to create a unique, eco-friendly, and functional item that reflects your style. With the basic skills and guidelines covered, you can easily replicate and adapt this design to create a variety of drawstring bags for different uses.

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