Easy Fat Quarter Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Summer is such a great time for teaching kids to sew. This summer I’m hoping to work on some simple sewing projects with my kids, so I’m always on the lookout for creative ideas and tutorials to use.
Which is why I love the Simple Fat Quarter Sewing Series at Ucreate. There are some really great tutorials for some fun and creative sewing projects, perfect for light summer sewing, all using one of those fabric staples: Fat Quarters. (Are you wondering what is a Fat Quarter? This will explain!) Fat Quarters are such a great way to collect some of your favorite pieces of fabric, without having to invest a lot of money. I love that Kari and Becky started this series to show of lots of great ways to use them.
easy learn to sew drawstring bag pattern
Today I am sharing a tutorial for a super-simple draw-string bag made from one fat quarter and 25″ of ribbon as part of that series. These bags come together SO fast. They’re perfect for teaching kids to sew – or anyone else for that matter.
Start by trimming any selvage edges off the fat quarter. You will be left with a roughly 18″ x 22″ rectangle of fabric.  (It’s okay if it’s not exact.) Fold down the top edge about 1/2″, press, and sew in place.
Fold the fat quarter in half width-wise with right-sides-together. Sew bottom and side edges together using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Stop and backstitch about 4″ from the top.
Press side seam allowance open, including 4″ portion that is not sewn together. Carefully sew those edges down, starting at the top of one side, pivoting about 1/4″ below the opening and backstitching once, then up the other side.
Fold top edge down 2″ and pin in place. Sew this flap down to create your casing. I just stitched right on top of the stitching for the hemmed edge. Go all the way around the bag. 
I then stitched around the top edge of the bag about 1/4″ away from the edge to give it more of a finished look.
This is how it will look. You can go ahead and add the drawstring now, if you like. 
I added a quick gusset (fancy way of saying boxed bottom) to give my bag a little more shape. This is purely optional. But it’s super easy if you want to do it. Take the bottom corners of the bag and fold them so that the side and bottom seams run down the center, creating a point. Measure down 2″ from the point, mark, and draw a line perpendicular to the side seam.
Sew right on the drawn line and trim away excess fabric 1/4″ away from the seam. Repeat with other corner.  If you want your gusset more or less boxy, you can measure more or less than the 2″ away from the point and mark and sew accordingly. The options are endless…  
Turn bag right side out. Put a safety pin at one end of your ribbon to help thread it through your casing.
Tie the ends of the ribbon in a knot. And you’re done. It’s seriously that easy!  

This bag finishes at about 13″ long by 10″ wide. In addition to altering the gusset, you can change the length of the bag by trimming some of the fat quarter length before you start sewing. I promise after you’ve made one, you’ll be able to start whipping them out quickly. They’re great for holding craft projects, birthday presents, Legos, you name it.

Here are a few other simple Fat Quarter projects. These projects are perfect for beginning sewers and once again, would be good summer sewing projects with kids too.

I’m also giving away a fat quarter bundle of Ann Kelle prints from Robert Kaufman you can use with all of that sewing inspiration. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Giveaway open until Friday, June 28 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winner: Karrie SmithJune 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Thanks for the tutorial! and for the chance to win 😉
Online Sewing Class
And while we’re talking about sewing ideas, did you know that Craftsy has lots of FREE mini-classes including free sewing and free quilting patterns? You might want to check them out too!


  1. says

    I must start my little kiddies off on learning to sew something. My little girl of 3.5 wants to so i gave her some fabric, needle and thread and she cannot do it. She said she doesn't want the thread. I said, well it wasn't really sewing then!

  2. says

    I have a couple of pretty FQs and wasn't sure what I'd use them for – these bags look perfect! Excellent for carrying around small projects.

  3. says

    I make something similar and use them as shoe bags when I travel. I also have a light one and dark one to keep unmentionables when traveling, the light bag has clean, the dark has dirty. I make them as gifts too!

  4. says

    What a cute idea! I should do that with my daughter. She would love that. She is always asking to sew with me, but she can sit on my lap and use the machine I would think. I will have to check out your tutorial.

  5. says

    Wow! Those really do look quick and easy! Can&#39;t wait to try one for my niece! The drawstring will be so much easier for her to use than a buttoned or zippered bag.<br /><br />Those Anne Kelle fabrics are great!

  6. says

    Thank you for the tutorial. I have been thinking about where to start with teaching my son to sew. Right now he just loves icing out fabrics for me.

  7. says

    My family uses these as gift wrapping bags and this is a great tutorial to put some little ones learning to sew to work on more.

  8. says

    I am so loving this project! Just picked up a TON of fun fat quarters on a quilt shop hop. I&#39;m going to beat the heat today and make a few of these.<br /><br />tori w.

  9. says

    This morning my three year old grandson asked me If i could make him a &quot;jake the pirate &quot; bag for his colloection of Jake toys. Thanks for the tutorial and chance to win this lovely fabric!!

  10. says

    My son has been wanting a small bag for his Ninjago mini-figures and this would make a great bag for him! Thanks for the tutorial and chance to win some new fabric!!

  11. says

    I made similar bags for my daughter who travels a lot, she uses them to pack her shoes in, and a laminate one for anything wet. My grandbabies will turn 2 in July (triplets) so have a few years to wait until they learn to sew

  12. says

    You can never have too many bags, I like to have a few for last minute gifts,pop in a few toiletries or chocolates and instant present.

  13. says

    Thanks for this post. I&#39;m teaching my 2 daughters and a couple of their friends to sew this summer and I was just looking for something else easy to make besides pillow cases! Thanks…and thanks for having the giveaway.

  14. says

    I have some students at school that I mentor. This would make a great project for them to work on! Thanks for the idea. (and the chance to win the fabric to get them started!!)

  15. says

    I&#39;m always looking for patterns that use fat quarters and I have some that I&#39;ll be using to make some of these little bags for gifts this year. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win.

  16. says

    Those Anne Kelle are beautiful! I would love to make a quilt from those. I have been intending to make a black and white one…touch of red and yellow would be perfect! Thanks for the chance.

  17. says

    Yes, I know the &#39;Call the Midwife&#39; show. Can you watch an episode without a tear? I loved it so much when it was shown on TV that I bought the DVDs, and I recently bought the first of the books it is based on for a friend.

  18. says

    Thank you very much for the tutorial, the craftsy tip and the give-away!<br />Esther<br />esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com<br />Ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com<br />

  19. says

    Super cute little bags! These are perfect little project bags or even gift bags as well. Thanks for the tutorial!<br /><br />Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.<br /><br />usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com<br />

  20. says

    Great idea! I&#39;m hoping to get my daughter sewing this summer–this may be her first project. Thanks for sharing!

  21. says

    wow those fabrics are really lovely! I &lt;3 Craftsy! I&#39;ve done a couple of the mini classes myself and have quite a few paid ones in my queu that I need to tackle!<br /><br />Fawn

  22. says

    A drawstring bag is the first thing I learned how to sew – it stored all my sewing things in it for classes after that. My favorite part was picking out the fabric from the entire store! :) <br /><br />The Ann Kelle prints make me think of a summer picnic, love it!

  23. says

    Thank you for this great pattern. I volunteer at our local Ronanld McDonald House teaching the kids how to sew, this will be great and I was really getting tired of helping them make pillowcases. Thank and please keep these great easy itdeas coming.

  24. says

    I just made four zipper pouches from one of those Craftsy classes…really awesome pattern! Thanks for the chance on the giveaway!

  25. says

    It&#39;s hard to resist a little gift bag. I like to make them and take them to my book club meeting filled with little goodies! This is a sweet little tutorial (and a lovely giveaway) – thank you!<br /> – sunshdws at yahoo dot com

  26. says

    Ohhh! Those colors in Ann Kelle prints! I just love Red, White and Blue and this is popping great! Thanks for the tutorial. I love your blog and all your projects–my style, thank you!<br />

  27. says

    Your bag is so cute and handy, too. Thanks for the tutorial and giveaway. The Ann Kelle fabrics are gorgeous. <br />k.castanette@hotmail.com

  28. says

    Love Anne Kelle fabrics and especially these colours. A quilt made out of these would look fab in my daughters bedroom. Thanks for the chance to win.

  29. says

    Love Anne Kelle fabrics and especially these colours. A quilt made out of these would look fab in my daughters bedroom. Thanks for the chance to win.

  30. says

    The Color Me Retro is adorable. The possibilities for a quilt are running through my head. What a great giveaway – many thanks. I had fun just looking at all the fabric.

  31. says

    I am an advisor for a sorority and lots of the girls want to learn how to sew so i&#39;m always looking for simple projects they can do. And those fabrics are cute too! Thanks for the chance to win – i&#39;m really enjoying your blog and so glad i switched to bloglovin and found you as a &quot;featured&quot; or popular blog for diy/crafts/sewing.

  32. says

    Super, super cute! I&#39;ve been wanting to teach my 11 year old granddaughter to sew and this bag is perfect! Gotta go…off to Joanne&#39;s to get couple yards of cute fabric…much cheaper than fat quarters ;). Thanks Amy!

  33. says

    Hi Amy! I just wanted to drop a note on this post to let you know that I came across this tutorial, whipped up one of these bags, and loved them so much that I decided to make 55 of them for The Stash Bash goodie bags! What a great tutorial. Thanks :-) I miss you and hope you are well. Thank goodness for social media.

  34. says

    this tutorial was so easy to follow and fun to make. i just adjusted the height of the bag for what i was making and it turned out perfectly. thanks

  35. says

    I just made six of these as project bags for my knitting. All different sizes. I am usually one to fight with my sewing machine, but this pattern really helped me out a lot. It only took a few hours and they look much better than I thought I was capable of. Thanks!!<br /><br />Stefanie

  36. says

    Thank you so much for this easy to understand tutorial! I just finished a bag made from puppy dog print for a special one year old to put his new building blocks in. It turned out perfect! :)

  37. says

    I think you recently published a tutorial on a tote bag that used linen and had inset strips made from pre cut strips. Now can&#39;t seem to find it….can you publish reference?? or the name of tutorial?? Thanks AMY!!

  38. Miranda koontz says

    Hi…I am looking for a tutorial to make a tissue box cover with a drawstring closure…I haven’t had any luck :(

    Do you think this tutorial would work?? It looks like it will…but I wanted to ask you first!!! So…if you get a chance to let me know that would be great!! I know you’re busy!!! I appreciate it!!!


  39. Miranda koontz says

    I can usually follow the directions on your tutorials…much better than some other tutorials from other sites!! You have taught me how to make a quilt…half square triangles…Christmas stockings…borders…binding…scrappy table runners…and pumpkin table runners!! So…that’s another reason why I was hoping the drawstring bag tutorial would work as a tissue box cover…I can understand your instructions!! 😉

    • says

      Well thank you! I’m glad they’ve been helpful. I have to say, I’ve never made a tissue box cover, so I don’t know to make one – but I hope this is helpful. Let me know how it goes!

  40. Beth says

    Years later but I just found your tutorial on Craigslist and gave it a shot! I’m a very very beginner sewer, just got my machine for Christmas. This was by far the easiest tutorial I have found so far and was able to make one of these cute bags in about 30 minutes! Thanks for sharing!

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