Easy Going Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Over the years, I've had a number of readers ask for a simplified version of my Lined Drawstring Bags. It hit me recently that I should turn it into a variation tutorial. This version of the bag uses a single fabric for the interior and exterior, and removes the accent on the exterior. These come together even faster because there's less cutting and less sewing!

In the tutorial below you'll find cutting and measurements for the Everything Size Bag, which is the same as the tutorial size. Beyond that I've included calculations and instructions for determining the cutting size and drawstring placement for the other sizes included in the pattern, plus fabric requirements for those bags. I'd recommend avoiding directional fabrics for these bags. Since the same cut is used for the exterior and interior, a directional fabric would be upside down on the inside!

Side note: If you'd like to make a bag with a single exterior fabric, but still have a different fabric for the lining, never fear. Simply cut four pieces the same size as the lining (two from exterior fabric, two from lining). Then use the method outlined in this tutorial to measure for the drawstring openings.

Sewing Level: Beginner
Finished size: Approx. 10" tall, 7" wide, 3" deep

- 3/4 yard of fabric
- 2 yards of 1/2" twill, or 1/8 yd fabric for ties.

Looking for supplies? Check out my Pattern Supplies and Resources post.

From fabric:
- Cut (2) 24.5"x10.5" pieces*

If using fabric for ties:
- Cut (2) 32"x2" strips

If using twill for ties:
- Cut (2) 32" pieces

*If you'd rather cut one long piece, cut a strip 48.5"x10.5". This would be a good use for those long strips of extra backing when making a quilt!


*Use a 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted*
1. Place fabric pieces right sides together. Sew together along one short end, to create one long strip, backstitching when you start and finish. Don't press seam.

2. Leave pieces right sides together. Place a pin on each long edge, 14" from the open edge. Make a mark a 1/2" on either side of both pins. These two 1" sections will be left unsewn, creating an opening for the drawstrings. Pin around the sides and open edge, leaving a 3" opening at the center of the open end, for turning later.

3. Sew around the three open sides, backstitching when you start and finish. Don’t sew between the 1" opening you marked on both sides or the the 3" opening on the end. Be sure to backstitch before and after each opening.

Follow steps 6 - 20 of the tutorial or pattern to complete your bag.

Instructions for Making Other Size Bags:

If you're working from the Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern and want to make "quick" versions of the other sizes, calculating what size pieces to cut is really simple! First, fabric requirements for the other sizes. Additionally you'll need 1/2" twill/fabric for the ties as called for in the pattern.

Fabric Requirements for Other Sizes:
Tiny Bag FQ or 1/4 yd
Snack Bag FQ or 1/4 yd
Everything Bag 3/4 yd
Project Bag 3/4 yd
Artist Bag 1 yd
Laundry Bag 1 3/4 yd
CD Bag FQ or 1/4 yd
DVD Bag 1/2 yd

Calculating Cutting Measurements for Other Sizes:
Now, to calculate what size pieces to cut for the other sizes. I'll walk through the math for the Everything Bag Size (same as the free tutorial size) as an example.

Example: Everything Bag Size
Height of unfinished Exterior Main piece = 9"
Height of unfinished Accent piece = 4"
Height of unfinished Interior piece = 12.5"
Width of all pieces = 10.5"

First, we need to calculate what size pieces to cut. The width of the pieces will be the same, in the case of the Everything Size that's 10.5". Let's figure out the height of the pieces:

Height of unfinished Exterior Main piece + Height of unfinished Accent piece + Height of unfinished Interior piece - 1" = Height of single piece

9" + 4" + 12.5" - 1" = 24.5"

Cut (2) 24.5"x10.5" pieces*

*If you’d rather cut one really long piece instead, multiply the height by 2 and subtract .5": (24.5" * 2) - .5 = 48.5", cut (1) 48.5"x10.5” piece.

Calculating Drawstring Opening Placement:
In both the tutorial and pattern versions, the Accent piece seams are used to measure the placement of the drawstring openings. Since these bags don't have those, we need to figure where those go.

((Height of unfinished Accent piece - .5") ÷ 2) + Height of unfinished Interior piece - .25" = measurement to center of drawstring opening

Okay, I promise that's not as bad as it looks! Just remember, order of operations: first we'll do that math inside the parenthesis and then move outwards.

((4" - .5") ÷ 2) + 12.5" - .25"
(3.5" ÷ 2) + 12.5" - .25"
1.75" + 12.5" - .25" = 14"

So, the center of the 1" drawstring opening is 14" from the open end of the bag.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Share your progress and finished project photos using the #lineddrawstringbag and  #jenibaker hashtags on social media!

Find all lined drawstring bag variations and tutorials here: Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorials and Variations.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Maybe less cutting and sewing but certainly no less useful and attractive. Thank you!

  2. Oh, this is great, Jeni!! I've been wanting to make these out of a single fabric, and now I can!! Thank you!

  3. This is really nice Jeni - thank you! I'm made your pattern many many times - in all the sizes! - but it's nice to have this option too. So thanks for sharing!

  4. I have made so many of your little bags in various sizes, I can't even count! I just love your patterns!!!

  5. My mum just gave me some fabric from a skirt she loves which is not cotton. I was going to try and work out how to make the outer part one piece. Thanks so much. It looks great and the timing is perfect.

  6. I have your full bag pattern and have made many bags from it. This will be a wonderful addition to it.
    Thank you.

  7. I purchased your bag pattern pack a while ago. I will add this information to the package for easy reference. Thank you!

  8. Thank you Jeni.
    These are so cute. I am going to make a bunch of tiny ones for my grand babies.

  9. What great timing for me! I'm planning to make travel bags for shoes and dirty clothes, and a single fabric is really all they need to be. I love this pattern so much! Thanks, Jeni!


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