| | | |

How to Sew a Drawstring Gift Bag

This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

How to Sew Drawstring Gift Bags

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

Christmas Fabric

What You’ll Need:

Optional (but nice to have):

What You Do:

Cut Fabric for Drawstring Gift Bag

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″

Zig Zag Stitch or Surge Around Three Sides of Fabric

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.

Fold Top Down One-Quarter Inch Then Another One Inch

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 Bottom of Drawstring Channel

Zig-zag stitch along the bottom of the drawstring channel on both pieces of fabric.

Sew a Half-Inch Seam Around Bag

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.

Use a Bodkin to Insert Drawstring

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.

Insert the Drawstring in the Front Channel on One End

To put the first drawstring in your bag, insert the ribbon into the front channel at one end of the bag.

Pull the Drawstring Out the Other End of the Front Channel

Then, feed it through, until it comes out the other side.

Feed Drawstring Into the Back Channel on the Same Side

Now, insert your safety pin, or bodkin, into the back channel on the same side …

Ribbon Drawstring Threaded All the Way Through the Top of the Bag

and feed the ribbon through, until it comes back out on the side you started.

Tie a Knot in the End of the Drawstring

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.

Finished Drawstring Gift Bag

Here’s what your bag should look like when you’re done.

Top of Drawstring Bag When It's Cinched Up

When you pull on both drawstrings at the same time, it cinches up the bag.

Drawstring Gift Bag With Gift Inside

Tuck a gift inside, and you’re done!

Pile of Fabric Drawstring Gift Bags

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.

Handmade Drawstrings for Fabric Gift Bags

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!

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you soooo much for all of these project ideas. Look forward to making for Christmas…Curious what else you have been doing to make money (Doubt you had many craft show, but maybe I am wrong) with everything going on (found out Thurs that I Am losing my job of 24 years as of 12/31/20…6 month severance and $12k toward cobra, but given my age…56…am looking for ideas for making money…have my bachelors degree, but not sure what’s available

  2. I made a ton of these last year! It makes gift wrapping so easy and quick. Also, they were fun to sew because I just made all different sizes based on the fabric I had. I used ribbon for the drawstrings, but that is kind of expensive, so I made my own drawstrings with fabric.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.