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Sew drawstring storage bags: free sewing pattern

Drawstring bag created by Sarah Moore

I love the idea that there can be beauty in utility. Why hide staple ingredients away when, with just a bit of fabric, ribbon, and a needle and thread, you can turn them into items worthy of display? Use these bags to store spices, sugar or flour in their packaging or poured straight in, with a label and best-before date in the pocket.

You will need

• Strong cotton, ticking or twill fabric, plus small scraps for the pockets
• Ruler, scissors, pinking shears
• Sewing machine and thread
• Iron, pins
• Ribbon for drawstring
• Large safety pin
• Needle and thread


1 Cut your fabric into rectangles, using a ruler to ensure each bag is made out of pieces that are the same size. Use different materials for the back and front sections, if you wish. For small pouches, ideal for storing spices, cut shapes 15cm x 12cm in size, while for larger bags, for items such as sugar or flour, 24cm x 20cm dimensions work best.

2 From your scrap fabric, use pinking shears to cut out a suitably sized square to make a pocket. Secure this on three sides to the material that will form the front panel of your bag, making sure both the right sides are facing up, then hand- or machine-sew in place. If you don’t have pinking shears, hem all the edges of the pocket fabric first.

3 Iron and sew a 1-1.5cm hem on the top edges of your rectangles, leaving a channel that will be wide enough to thread your ribbon through to create a drawstring.

4 Lay the front and back panels, right sides together, and pin the sides and bottom edge in place. Sew, removing the pins as you go, starting and stopping just below the hem through which the drawstring will run.

5 Attach a safety pin to one end of the ribbon to thread it through the channel. Tie the ends of the ribbon together, turn the bag the right way out, then press. To neaten up the edges of the drawstring hems, tuck the fabric in and finish with a couple of hand stitches.

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