Up your gift wrap game. These reusable drawstring gift bags will save you money and time, while helping the environment.
I designed these bags to sew up quickly, and provide a durable, long-lasting alternative to wrapping paper and paper gift bags.
Sew a bunch all at once, or just sew a few each year, until you have enough to cover your needs.
Once you make the switch, wrapping gifts will no long be a tedious, time-consuming task. Just slip a gift into the right size bag; pull the drawstrings to cinch it shut; and you’re done!
Here are the five sizes that I recommend making:
X-Small: 3″ x 4″
Small: 6″ x 8″
Medium: 9″ x 12″
Large: 12″ x 16″
X-Large: 18″ x 24″
And here are my easy-peasy instructions.
Drawstring Gift Bag Tutorial
What You’ll Need:
- A ruler
- Sewing pins or sewing clips
- A sewing machine (This is the machine that I have)
Optional (but nice to have):
- An air or water-soluble marker
- A self-healing cutting mat
- A rotary cutter (This is the one I have)
- A bodkin
- Stop fray
What You Do:
Cut out two pieces of fabric for your drawstring bag. Here are the cut sizes for each bag size:
X-Small: 4″ x 5.75″
Small: 7″ x 9.75″
Medium: 10″ x 13.75″
Large: 13″ x 17.75″
X-Large: 19″ x 25.75″
To prevent fraying, zig-zag stitch or surge along the two long edges and one of the short edges of both pieces of fabric. Position the unstitched edge at the top.
To create the channel for the drawstring, fold the top edge over 1/4-inch. Then, fold it over another inch. Repeat these steps on the second piece of fabric.
Zig-zag stitch along the bottom of the drawstring channel on both pieces of fabric.
Then, pin the fabric pieces, right-sides facing, and sew a 1/2-inch seam around the bag, starting just below the drawstring channel on one side, and ending just below the drawstring channel on the other side.
Flip the bag right-side out, when you’re done.
For the drawstrings, you’ll need two pieces of ribbon that measure twice the width of the bag, plus eight inches.
Attach the end of the first ribbon to a safety pin, or a bodkin. That’s a bodkin in the above photo. It’s just a super-bendy piece of plastic that makes quick work of threading drawstrings. It has teeth at the end of the eye that grip the ribbon tightly, so it doesn’t slip out.
I favor the Clover Flex ‘n Glide Bodkin because it fits in tight channels.
To put the first drawstring in your bag, insert the ribbon into the front channel at one end of the bag.
Then, feed it through, until it comes out the other side.
Now, insert your safety pin, or bodkin, into the back channel on the same side …
and feed the ribbon through, until it comes back out on the side you started.
Tie a knot to join the two ends of the drawstring, so they can’t slip out. Then, repeat the process, starting on the opposite side of the bag. You may want to put a bit of stop fray on the ends of your ribbon to keep them from fraying.
Here’s what your bag should look like when you’re done.
When you pull on both drawstrings at the same time, it cinches up the bag.
Tuck a gift inside, and you’re done!
I had a big stash of ribbons that I had saved over the years, so I was able to use those as drawstrings for a lot of my gift bags, but I eventually ran out.
Rather than spend money on ribbon, I sewed up a bunch of drawstrings from scrap fabric. It’s easy enough to do. Just cut strips of fabric (I cut mine two-inches wide), and fold them like double-fold bias tape. Then, run them through your sewing machine, to sew the open edge shut.
If you have store-bought bias tape in a suitable color, save yourself a few steps, and use that. Then, you’ll just have to sew it shut. Easy!