I love to sew. I don’t get the opportunity very often, but Christmas is around the corner and there is nothing better than a personalized gift. If you’re not very crafty, consider buying a nice gift and then throw caution to the wind and make a personalized drawstring gift bag. They are not expensive and you can decorate them to suit your personality or the contents.
Here’s how to make a small drawstring bag:
Buy inexpensive muslin at the fabric store. I recently bought a bolt of unbleached muslin so I could line some curtains I’m making. There is plenty of leftover fabric, so I’ve used some to make the bag pictured.
Your bags can come in any size. You might wait to make one until you’ve purchased the gift. Measure the size of the gift and add three (3) extra inches to both the height and width. Add more if your gift is FAT.
Cut two pieces the same size. The bag pictured started out as two (2) 8 inch wide by 9 inches tall pieces. I’m making them to hold several gift items.
Putting the right sides together, sew three sides—and not the top, but do not bring your stitching all the way to the top of the two sides. Leave one inch unsewn on both sides. Backstitch to keep the sides from unraveling. HINT: mark one inch down from the top on both top edges so you know where to stop stitching. Use chalk or some sort of washable marker. You don’t want your marks to show later. These bags can be sewn by hand if you do not have a sewing machine. Just use small stitches.
Now, with the bag still inside out, iron it flat. Trim the two bottom corners diagonally so when you turn it inside out you have a crisp corner. Don’t cut too close to the stitching. Turn in the side seams of the 1” unsewn seam allowance so it lines up with the sewn part of the bag. This will ensure you have no ragged edges for your bag.
Fold the top edge ¼ inch to the inside of the bag and press. Turn it down another ½ inch and press again. Sew all around the top of the bag, ½ inch down, just catching in the ¼ inch seam allowance. Remember, you must leave a pocket for your drawstring.
The size of your drawstring depends on the size of your bag. You can use twine if you really want to save money, or buy cording or ¼” ribbon. You can also use yarn. For this bag I used Parachute Cord purchased at Hobby Lobby near the leather works section.
Using a safety pin or a needle with a large eye, secure your drawstring and feed it through your drawstring pocket. Go all the way around the bag and out the same side from which you started. Tie off the two ends with a decorative knot, or decorate the strings with beads, as I did. This is the easiest drawstring for a small bag. You simply pull both strings at the same time to draw your bag tight.
If you wish to make a larger bag, do the above step but cut a second drawstring and start feeding it through the other side of the bag. Go all the way around and tie off that drawstring. You now have two drawstrings, so you can pull them from opposite directions to draw the bag tight. IMPORTANT NOTE: for two drawstrings you need a larger drawstring pocket. Allow 1.5 inches for the fold down area, not 1 inch, and turn down a full inch for your pocket. Otherwise, frustration.
Now it’s time to decorate, and you don’t need to be an artist to jazz these up. Use your creativity. I have decorated these with rubber stamps and fabric ink. You can also glue on rhinestones or tye dye them. The possibilities are endless. Just enjoy!
And if you don't want to make your own, you can buy them here. Have a merry Christmas.