How to Make a Lined Drawstring Gift Bag

Allison O'Dell
by Allison O'Dell
3 Materials
30 Minutes

This year, I'm DETERMINED to make a BIG impact with LESS waste. One way I'm doing that is by making reusable gift "wrappings". The first type are lined fabric gift bags. They're essentially drawstring pouches that are super easy to make (perfect beginner sewing project), can make a BIG impact (objective A), and can be repurposed after giving (objective B). Not only can they be reused as gift bags, they also make fantastic dust covers (shoes and purses), travel laundry bags, packing cubes, hobby pouches, hair brush holders, and more.

Did I mention how easy they are to make?

Note: to calculate the fabric measurements, take a look at my post title "How to Calculate Fabric Dimensions to Make a Drawstring Gift Bag". You'll also see my post on how to make an UNLINED drawstring gift bag there too!

The supplies ...

Most of this you may already have around the house. Take some fabric and ribbon scraps. Get your normal sewing tools. The one thing you might not have on hand is two-sided fusible tape. I like Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II. Here's the list:

  • Two patterns of coordinating fabric
  • Ribbon or cording
  • Thread
  • Scissors and rotary cutter
  • Quilter's ruler (optional)
  • Sewing pins
  • Marking pencil and/or pen (dependent on color of fabric)
  • Safety pin
  • Fusible Tape (optional)
  • Seam Ripper
  • Typical sewing tools and supplies
  • Iron and Ironing board
Choose 2 Coordinating Fabrics

For the lined drawstring bag, you need to have both an interior and exterior fabric. Sure, they can be the same fabric BUT it's a great visual look to have coordinating fabrics for the bag. If you add a ruffle, the interior fabric will poke out above the cinched ribbon. It's really cute!

To calculate the measurements, you can check out my post on how to get these measurements for step-by-step calculations. OR just use these equations.

Panel Width = [2 x (Gift Width + Gift Depth)] + Width Extra Room + (2 x Seam Allowance)

*If you need to use two pieces of fabric, stitch them together to equal this panel width. This is explained more in my post about getting the calculations.

Panel Height = Gift Height + Gift Depth + Ribbon Width + Ruffle Height + Height Extra Room + (2 x Seam Allowance)

Sew the Top Edge

Take the interior and exterior panels and line them up right-sides facing each other. Pin the top edge and sew with your preferred seam allowance (I like 1/2").

When done, press the seam down and then press seam allowance toward the exterior fabric.

Enclose Side Seam

Fold in half with the right-sides together.

Pin the seam line to match and sew raw edges of sides together with your seam allowance.

Decide Where You Want Your Bow

Press the side seam open. You now need to decide if you want your drawstring bow to be in the front center or side. This is where you need to line up your side seam.

In this example, I'm putting the bow in the front center. I've lined up my seam accordingly.

Add Fusible Tape to Secure Seam Allowance in Ribbon Channel

When your bag is complete, the ribbon or cording will be pulled as the bag is opened and closed. In doing so, it will rub along the seam allowance. Therefore, while optional, it's a really good idea to secure the seam allowance down in the area that it will have friction with the ribbon or cording.


To so this, start by finding the top seam and lining up where your ribbon will go. If you're not having a ruffle, then the ribbon will go right along side the seam. Measure how far down your ribbon width will go (make a mark). You'll then add the fusible tape from the top of the seam to just past the mark, on both the interior and exterior panels.


IF, however, like our example you've decided to add a ruffle, you'll need to measure down the ruffle height (make a mark) and then down the ribbon width (make another mark). Add fusible tape just wider than these two marks.

Follow the instructions for your two-sided fusible tape. The iron does all of the hard work!

Stitch the Interior Panel Bottom Seam

As you can see, for now the right-sides of the fabric are facing. At some point you'll need to be able to turn the back so the right-side is facing out. That's what this step prepares to do.

First, pin the center. If your bow will be centered (as in our example) then this is exactly where your vertical seam hits. If your bow will be on the side, then line up the vertical seam on the side and just pin approximately center.

Now you need to mark a line for the bottom seam, leaving your desired seam allowance.

To this line, you're going to make a square that has dimensions equal to HALF the depth you want your bag to have. Maybe a little math will help.

Square Dimension = (.5 x Gift Depth) + (.5 x Width Extra Room)

Align your square to the bottom seam line you marked and the side edge (or seam line if using a side bow). Mark this position.

Now, make two marks on each side of your centered pin that leaves enough room to get your fingers (small bag) or hand (larger bag) in to pull the right side of the bag through.

Now you're going to sew a straight line across the bottom, reinforcing each start and stop with a couple back-and-forth stitched. Start as the square edge and go as far as one of the marks for turning the bag. Do the same from the other mark and across to the second square.


Completing the bottom stitch for the Exterior Panel is much the same. The only difference is that you don't need to leave a gap for turning the bag inside-out. You can just stitch straight across from one square to the other.

Cut Your Gusset Corners

With the bottoms stitched up, you can now cut the squares you drew on the bottom.

Sew the Gusset Corners

To close the corners, you'll pull apart the bottom seam and the side of the bag. This will line up your bottom seam to the middle, which is the side of the bag.

If you decided on a side bow, then you need to carefully line up your side seam line to the bottom seam line.

Pin in place and sew across leaving desired seam allowance. Complete on all four corners.

Press Open the Bottom Seam

Head back over to the iron and press open the bottom seam. You see in the photo that the gusset corners are stitched closed.

Turn the Bag Right-Side Out

Using the gap in the bottom of the interior panel, pull the exterior panel through the hole to turn the bag right-side out.

Stay at your iron and press the top edge flat.

Mark Your Drawstring (Ribbon) Channel

From the top edge of your bag, mark a line that is the height of your ruffle (if you are having one). If you're not, you'll leave a 1/8" for an edge stitch.

Mark a second line that is the width of your ribbon from the first line, or the top edge plus 1/8".

Flip the bag over and repeat on the other side so you have stitch lines marked all around your bag's perimeter.

Sew the Drawstring Channel

Sew a straight stitch along the lines you drew. When you're crossing the vertical seam, take an extra moment to go back and forth once or twice. This is important to reinforce these intersections.

Open the Vertical Seam

To pull your ribbon or cording through the drawstring channel you just made, you need to open the vertical seam between the two horizontal seams you just made.

Be extra careful not to go past the two horizontal seams AND not to rip the fabric. Just open up the stitches of the vertical seam.

Pull the Ribbon or Cording Through the Channel

Attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon or cording you're using to serve as the drawstring. Pull it through the channel.

Leave at least 12" of tail on each end for tying the bow.

You Did It!

Your fabric gift bag is now all set to be filled. Look at how pretty she is. There are all sorts of options for making these bags unique.

You can vary the height of the ruffle. Use interesting fabric.

If your gift has multiple parts and one is a little thingamajig, then you can add a little patch pocket to the interior or exterior panel to hold the little part. What a fun surprise that would be!

Adding applique, embroidery, fabric paint, HTV, or any trims you like are also great details to personalize this project once you get the hang of it.

If you want to add any of these details, do it before Step 1, just after you've cut your exterior panel.

Great job!

If you want to see how to make an unlined fabric gift bag, check out my other projects on HomeTalk! You can also find projects from American School of Charm on FoodTalkDailylcom,, and

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Allison O'Dell
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