Making Templates for the Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Welcome to the first post of the Lined Drawstring Bag Sew Along! We're kicking things off with a post all about making templates!

I'll be updating the Sew Along Page each week with all the posts so that you can easily catch up or reference these posts after the sew along ends!

I hope you'll sew along with us! Sew from the tutorial or the patterns:
Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial
Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern
Lined Drawstring Bag Expansion Pattern

Before we dive into today's post, let's quickly chat about our to-do for week 1 of the sew along!

This week's task is to plan your bags! It's time to decide how many bags you'd like to make, what sizes, and pick out fabrics. A few things you might find helpful when tackling this:

- I've got a post full of tips for choosing fabrics, specifically for drawstring bags. It includes a bunch of sample fabric pulls too. Find it here: Tips for Choosing Fabrics for Drawstring Bags

- This post is specifically about making drawstring bags for wrapping gifts. I've got some gift ideas for each size, to give you an idea of what would fit in all the different sizes: Tips For Using Drawstring Bags to Wrap Gifts

- Still looking for fabric combination ideas? I'd recommend checking out my Lined Drawstring Bag Pinterest Board and well as the #lineddrawstringbag hashtag on Instagram. You'll find lots of finished bags to take inspiration from!

Unlike a lot of bag patterns, my Lined Drawstring Bag Patterns and tutorial do not use templates for the cutting. All of the cutting is done with a rotary cutter. There are a few reasons for this:

1. The main reason is because all of the pieces required for all the different sizes are rectangular, which means they don't have any curves or special shapes that couldn't be cut simply with an acrylic ruler and rotary cutter.

2. I've written the cutting instructions so that it's nearly impossible to cut directional fabrics incorrectly for the exterior pieces.

3. It would be incredibly expensive to include templates for all 8 sizes in the pattern. It would make the pattern too pricey for this type of design, and I want it to be afforable.

If you're comfortable using a rotary cutter, cutting out pieces for this pattern shouldn't be too difficult. If you feel like you need a bit of guidance on the cutting, I highly recommend checking out the video tutorial I made last year that covers cutting out an Everything Bag all the way through to finishing! You can find it here: Lined Drawstring Bag Video Tutorial

Making your own templates for the pattern is easy and can be really useful! They're great if you don't know how or don't want to use a rotary cutter to do the cutting. Also if you're planning to make a large number of bags of the same size and want to speed up the cutting process. They're also nice for cutting quickly from scraps.

I made a video tutorial showing exactly how I made templates from poster board, which you can watch here. Or follow the written instructions below.

Step 1: Choose Your Template Material

The first thing to do is to choose your template material. There are a lot of materials that would make good templates, depending on how you plan to use them and how durable you need them to be. Here are a few options:

- Posterboard: This is my personal favorite material for templates. It's easy to find, inexpensive, and works well for cutting with scissors, or you can put a ruler and rotary cutter right on top of it. The main disadvantage is you can't see through it. It also may not last super long.

- Cardboard: Potentially a free option! A bit difficult to cut through neatly and you also can't see through this. More durable and long lasting than the posterboard.

- Template Plastic: This can be found at many craft stores, and is meant for making templates. The main advantage of this materials if you can see through it, which can be handy! It is the most expensive option and it doesn't come in super large pieces. It will be really durable, can be a bit difficult to cut through though.

- Wrapping Paper or Kraft Paper: I would only recommend this if you have nothing else on hand. It's not going to be durable beyond a few bags unless it's on the thicker size. One advantage though is that it's nice and wide!

Step 2: Determine Your Template Sizes

You'll want to make three templates, one each for the Exterior Main, Exterior Accent and Interior. Above you can see a photo of a portion of the cutting instructions in the pattern. On the second line of each cutting instructions you can see the piece size you'll need highlighted. All these measurements are listed as height x width.

It's the same for the free tutorial size, see below example.

From Exterior Main Fabric:
- Cut (1) 9”x21” strip
- Subcut into (2) 9”x10.5” pieces

From Exterior Accent Fabric:
- Cut (1) 4”x21” strip
- Subcut into (2) 4”x10.5” pieces

From Interior Fabric:
- Cut (1) 12.5”x21” strip
- Subcut into (2) 12.5”x10.5” pieces

These are the sizes you'll want to make your templates.

Step 3: Measure and Mark Cut Lines

I'm going to assume for this step that most folks making templates do not have acrylic rulers or a rotary mat. If you do, feel free to use them! You'll need a long ruler, a pen or pencil, some scissors that are appropriate for your material, and a large flat surface. Measure out your pieces and cut out carefully with scissors. Mark templates with pattern information and fabric direction.

Step 4: Use Your Templates

Place templates on fabric in desired orientation. Trace around template with a marking pen or pencil and cut out pieces with scissors. Alternatively, place acrylic ruler directly on top of paper template and cut pieces out with a rotary cutter.

I hope this post is helpful! I can't wait to see your projects! Please share them with me on instagram @jenib320 + #lineddrawstringbag or via email (jenib320 @!

Happy Sewing!


  1. Great directions and I will be following along. Thank you . from Doris

  2. Template material: thin clear plastic cutting boards from the dollar store come two in a pack. If you want more durable templates for the most used size of bag, this is a reasonable alternative. It would get expensive if doing many sizes or many from the expansion pattern.


Thanks for keeping this blog a positive place, I appreciate the time you are taking to leave a comment! I will answer any questions here in the comments section.

All comments are moderated to filter out spam. Your comment will appear after it has been approved.