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How to Sew a Reusable Drawstring Gift Bag

Reduce waste and save money by sewing drawstring gift bags for the holidays and any special occasion. After making these luxurious bags once, you will be able to reuse them over and over again through the years.

These reusable gift bags can be made with any color or pattern of fabric. While I made Christmas gift bags, you can choose colorful fabrics for birthdays, orange and black fabric for Halloween or pastels for Easter.

Unlike most handmade bags, these gift bags have a decorative liner inside. When the recipient opens the bag, the inside will be just as beautiful as the outside.

Other types of handmade gift bags would have the wrong side of the fabric visible inside and rough seams. These small drawstring bags and round pouch are examples of bags without liners.

Helpful Tips for Sewing Reusable Gift Bags with a Liner

  • Wash and dry the fabric before sewing if you think that the bags will be laundered after gift giving. Fabrics can shrink after washing, which could pull the seams.
  • I used thick, wide velvet ribbon for a fancy gift bag. The velvet works great with the bags because it slightly grabs the inside of the fabric channel.
  • Sizes can be customized. While I made larger gift bags with a yard of fabric, you can use less fabric for smaller bags.
  • Thinner ribbon requires a smaller channel. Otherwise, your ribbon will be lost inside a 1.5 inch channel for the drawstring.

You might also like these easy sewing tutorials:

snowflake fabric gift bag with navy ribbon

How to Sew a Drawstring Gift Bag

This sewing tutorial will make 4 drawstring gift bags.


  • 1 yard outer fabric
  • 1 yard liner fabric
  • Coordinating thread
  • About 2 yards of ribbon, ideally 1 or 2 inch wide
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins or sewing clips
  • Large safety pin
  • Rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • Iron
  • Fray check (optional)


Step 1

Iron the fabrics first, if needed.

Then, make sure that each of the fabrics is the same size.

Step 2

Place the fabrics, the liner and the outer fabric, with the right sides together.

I like to align the factory edges of the fabric with the rights sides together, if possible. That way I know that I have a straight edge on one side.

The factory edges usually have small holes in them or frayed edges as seen in the photo below.

Pin together to keep straight, if needed.

Step 3

Using a simple straight stitch, sew along one of the long, wide sides.

I always follow with a zigzag stitch to add extra strength to the seams, but you don’t have to.

When you lay the yard of fabric out after sewing, you will have the outer fabric and the liner fabric joined together in one large rectangle that is a yard long.

Step 4

Now it is time to cut the fabric into four equal sections.

I decided to make four bags that are each the same size. Each was about 9 inches wide.

If you wanted to make wider or smaller bags, you can do that now.

Each of the four bags will have the bottom side sewn together after cutting.

With your cut pieces of fabric, pin the un-sewn sides together, leaving about a 3-inch opening on one of the long sides so you will be able to flip the bag right side out after sewing.

Step 5

Straight stitch all three of the seams around each of the bags.

If you would like, add a zigzag stitch on the sides for extra durability.

Step 6

Flip each of the bags right side out via the small opening.

You can use the tip of a chopstick or pencil to push out the corners to make them crisp, if needed.

Iron the seams to be flat.

Step 7

Fold in the edges of the 3-inch opening that you used for flipping the bag inside out. Make sure that they line up to be even with the rest of the seam.

Iron the edges down to stay flat.

You now have a long rectangle that is almost completely sewn closed (other than the 3-inch section) and the right sides are facing out.

Step 8

Place the fabric in front of you the long way. Fold the long side inward about 1.5 inches, just like you would fold down the top sheet of the bed. Be sure to fold the outer fabric under and not the liner fabric.

This folded part will be what the ribbon for the drawstring will go through.

Pin or clip the fold down on the fabric.

If you have wider ribbon, you can make a wider fold. If you are using thinner ribbon, you can adjust this fold to be more narrow.

Step 9

With the liner fabric folded over, sew along the edge of the fold on the bottom. Sew as close to the edge as possible to have enough room for the ribbon to go through the opening.

I sewed two straight lines on the edge to be decorative, but you can choose to sew just one.

Step 10

Fold the cloth in half, meeting the short sides together at the top. Have the primary fabric sides touching and the liner on the outside.

Align the edges from the folded top down. You need to leave a 1/2 inch below the bottom edge of the ribbon channel free and not sewn so that the bag will lay correctly.

Step 11

Pin the fabrics together. Then do another straight stitch down the long sides.

Step 12

Turn the bag right side out. Push out corners with the pointed chop stick or pencil again.

Step 13

Measure out your ribbon. You want it to be twice the length needed to go through the bag to make sure it stays in place and will not easily slip back into the bag.

Attach the safety pin to one end of the ribbon and feed it through the ribbon channel.

Step 14

Remove the safety pin and cut a clean edge on both ends of the ribbon.

Step 15

If you want to make sure that the ends of the ribbon will not fray, you have a couple options.

You can sew the edges of the ribbon under with a very narrow seam if you would like.

Or you can use Fray Check liquid to apply to the ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying.

If you like making pretty gift bags like these, be sure to see more of my sewing crafts. This double-sided minky blanket is also luxurious and easy to sew with a curtain panel!


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

thank you for showing the items in BOTH picture form and written instructions; very helpful. I'm making several, and maybe one for me too :)


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Thank you, Marie! I do know that both pictures and photos are really essential for a DIY project! Enjoy!!! (And make yourself something beautiful, too!)