Tutorial: Reversible drawstring bags


Welcome Megan Dye of Meg's Monkey Beans to The Swatch & Stitch! Today she's sharing her cute drawstring bags, a wonderful and eco-friendly way to wrap up your gifts this holiday season.


• Fabric for bag and lining (I used Retro Christmas by Cynthia Frenette and Kona Cottons)
• One 1.5” strip of fabric for casing (double the width of your bag minus two inches)
• Cording/drawstring (double the width of your bag plus a few inches)
• Two small pieces of fusible hem tape (optional)
• One spring cord lock
• Sewing machine, thread, pins, rotary cutter, and mat

A note about size: These bags can be made any size you wish! I enjoy using charm packs or charm size squares (5 inches) because they provide a nice variety of prints while making it extra easy to go up or down a size. Just add or take away rows of charms! An easy way to cut your lining fabric is by simply laying your outside fabric piece on top of the lining fabric and cutting to size.


If you have never seen one before, this is a small spring cord lock. Most fabric and craft stores will have them with the trims, cording, and webbing.

Remember: All seams are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

For a basic mid-size bag, I like to use a nine-patch of charms. The two nine-patches are then sewn together horizontally making a piece of patchwork that measures six patches across and three patches tall. Again, you can use a single fabric or any kind of piecing you like. (Orphan quilt blocks, anyone?)


A reminder that your casing strip should allow for a one inch difference at each end of the top of your bag.


Take your casing strip and lay one of your small pieces of fusible hem tape at one end.


Fold the end over and press in place. If you don’t have fusible hem tape, then you can do a small double fold and stitch it.


Fold in half, wrong sides together, and press.


Now lay out your outer fabric right side up and find the center. Find the center of your casing strip as well. Match the center points so that the raw edge of the casing is lined up with the top (raw) edge of the outer fabric.


Next, take your inner/lining fabric and lay it face down (you should have right sides of the two bag fabrics facing each other) and pin in place. You will have a nice little sandwich of outer fabric, casing, and inner fabric. Stitch along the top edge securing all three layers.


Open your fabric out flat and fold in half in the other direction, right sides together.


Be sure to line up the seam where the casing is stitched because this will be the top of your bag. I always start pinning there because that’s where matching the seam is most important. Pin all the way around and stitch, leaving a small opening in the lining/inner fabric for turning.

Clip the corners.  Turn right side out and tuck in your lining. Press the top edge all the way around taking care to keep the inner and outer fabrics from creeping up around the casing.


Top-stitch all around the top of the bag. Hand stitch the opening left for turning. I prefer a ladder stitch because it is the least noticeable. Just remember to keep it pretty! If you ever want to reverse your bag, this stitching will be visible.


Thread one end of your drawstring through the spring cord lock by pinching the lock and passing the cord through the hole. Taping the ends of your cording can help with fraying, if needed.


Attach a safety pin to the other end of your cord and thread it through the casing.

Once you are all the way through, remove the safety pin and thread this end of cord through the spring lock. Again, you’ll need to pinch the lock open and guide the cord through the hole in the lock.


Tie a knot in each end of the cord to reduce fraying and clip off the taped ends.

You did it! Happy holidays!