Ducks 'n a Row: How To Make A Drawstring Bag From A Pillowcase

27 June 2016

How To Make A Drawstring Bag From A Pillowcase

Drawstring bags are a simple means of transporting and/or storing things. Pirates used them to carry their gold doubloons and other treasures- or at least they do in the movies. Cowboys and gold miners did in the Wild West, too, didn't they? Maybe their moms made them! LOL

Whether it is a nesting place for children's toys or a quick way to get assorted items from "here" to "there," drawstring bags are easy to make and do come in handy. 

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Babies, babies, BABIES! Of all the celebrations, I love welcoming BABIES into the world. Our family has had three babies born in the past 6 months -all boys. They are still out numbered by our little girls 4-1, though.

We had a shower recently for one of the little lads and i decided to make a baby gift basket with "mommy grab 'n go" bags inside. They were filled with essentials that mom might need when out and about with her little ones: diapers, baby wipes, bib, receiving blanket, pacifier and a trashbag to wrap up soiled diapers and wipes while on the road. 

how to make a drawstring bag, sewing tips

The mommy grab n go bags are quite easy to make, even for novices.  I decided to buy some vivid blue and white pillow cases to make mine - since the baby was a boy. The wide border at the top of the cases is already a channel for the ribbon or drawstring to run through. Much less work!  

How To Make a Drawstring Bag
Tools you will need: scissors, pins, sewing machine, thread, needle (for hand sewing,) iron (optional), 2 pillow cases, ribbon.

I will walk you through it detail but, in short, here are the steps:

  1. measure the pillowcase for size
  2. cut the pillowcase in half (for two bags, you will have leftover fabric*)
  3. pin each pillowcase in half, lengthwise, inside out.
  4. pin along the bottom
  5. using a sewing machine, sew across the bottom and up one side.
  6. STOP sewing as you get to the channel. DO NOT sew it closed.
  7. finish the edges of the open channel, by hand.
  8. turn the newly sewn bag rightside out.
  9. iron it.
  10. attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon and feed it through the channel.
  11. remove the safety pin.
  12. fill it with "goodies"
  13. done!
*Notice that I used some of the leftover fabric to make a matching bow for the outside of the gift basket.

You can get two bags out of one pillow case with ease. Since the receiving blanket and multiple diapers would take up the bulk of the room,  I laid them on top of a pillowcase to get a feel for just how big they should be. You may want to do the same, assuming you know what will be stored in yours.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Tip: Lay a straight piece of paper on the fabric to use as a guide to cut the bottom of the bag in a straight line. 

Cut all the way across the bottom of the pillowcase for the bottom seams of the bags.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Now, cut each side seam all the way down. You now have TWO separate pieces of fabric, each with a ready-made channel for the top where the ribbons will be run through. 

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Fold each bag in half, inside out, with the channels meeting each other. Remember NOT to sew that end shut. It has to be left open, edges finished off by hand, to run the drawstring ribbon through.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

This is what the channel looks like.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Pin each bag and, using a sewing machine, sew across the bottom and up the side up to, but not including, the channel.

Turn the bag rightside out. Hand-sew the edges of the channel, folding the edges inside the channel, to make a nice neat piece.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

 Iron them.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

The ribbon or cord that you will use for the drawstring should be several inches longer than the channel on each end when the bag is laying out flat. You need substantial ends to be able to pull and tie them. I decided to use a pretty blue ribbon that would be tied in a bow.

Take a safety pin and attach it to the end of your ribbon. Now, thread it through the channel, leaving some of the ribbon hanging on one side and more on the other.

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

Fill the bags with all the goodies!

DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

How to make a drawstring bag from a pillowcase!

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DIY, gift, baby shower gift idea, crafts

What other uses can you think of for drawstring bags?
Any thoughts on what else we can put in a mommy grab 'n go bag?


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