How to Sew a Drawstring Casing Without a Free-Arm Sewing Machine

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Happy Thursday! A few weeks ago, I taped two short videos to accompany my Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern + Tutorial, I'm excited to share those with you today!

In the first video, I'm sharing an alternative method for marking the drawstring casing (step 11). Instead of marking lines all the way around the top of the bag, you can make yourself a tape guideline on your machine to use while sewing the casing. (Some 1" wide masking tape is super helpful here!)

The video I really felt was needed is how to sew the drawstring casing without a free-arm sewing machine. A free-arm sewing machine is one that has a removable section on the bed of the machine, that allows you to easily sew small circumference items like sleeves and small bags. My machine and many others don't have this option, but it's still easy to sew those small circumference items. For the drawstring bag, this comes into play with the drawstring casing. This technique is especially necessary for the smaller bags in the pattern (snack and tiny sizes), even if you do have a free-arm sewing machine.

Basically, you allow the circular item to loop above the machine bed instead of below the machine bed. I find this is easier to do when turning the bag inside out and sewing "inside" the loop. Hopefully the video will make more sense!

I've included these videos in the Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial and links to them within the pattern for easy reference, and this post will be added to the Lined Drawstring Bag Variations and Tutorials post.

Here are two pin-able images for you too:

Happy Sewing!


  1. Thank you! I have a free arm sewing machine but have never used it when sewing the casing. It just never seemed to be that big a deal. However, I love your tip of using tape as a guide for the casing without marking. Perfect!! Why didn't I think of that? Actually, I think it will probably be more accurate than marking - and without the hassle. :D

  2. This is such a perfect pattern, I can't tell you how many I've made as gifts and for myself. Very best project to get your sewing mojo back if you find yourself in a sewing slump. I use one inch masking tape, but in a different way. I attach it right to the bag where the casing goes and sew along both edges of the tape. Presto, the most perfect casing. I'm going to give your technique a try on this and other projects.

  3. Hey Jeni! I've been meaning to drop you a line to thank you for the great tutorial for the lined drawstring bag! I made 30 of these in the past few weeks for all the ladies at my guild's upcoming retreat! I used your alternate method of sewing the casing and they all turned out perfectly! I love them all and can't wait for an opportunity to make more! They are so fun and your directions are perfect! Thank you so much!


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