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DIY Drawstring Backpack [FREE Pattern and VIDEO tutorial]

When you need a casual bag that can hold quite a few things, your best choice would be to use a drawstring backpack. Not the ones you can buy in shops, but a proper sewn DIY drawstring backpack.

It’s great for trips to the beach, pool, picnics, and any other occasion that requires light baggage. You can even use it for the trips to the store or the local market!

Making a drawstring bag might seem like it’s tricky, but it isn’t. It’s a fun and beginner-friendly sewing project. You can make it yourself in a short amount of time if you have the right instructions.

This tutorial is here to help you with that. Follow the steps and you’ll learn how to make a drawstring backpack with speed and ease!

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How to make a drawstring backpack

Supplies and tools

Before you can start working on this drawstring backpack tutorial, you will need to prepare the following supplies:

DOWNLOAD: drawstring backpack pattern  (Free PDF file)

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How To Sew drawstring backpack

Watch the diy drawstring backpack video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
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DIY Drawstring backpack VIDEO TUTORIAL


STEP 1: Prepare the pattern for use

Download the pattern and print it out in full size (print at 100%, no scaling on a US letter paper). Tape the three sheets together, cut it out accordingly and remove the excess paper.
You will get two pattern pieces. One for the bag and one for the cord tabs.

STEP 2: Cut out the fabric

Fold the main fabric in half so that the right sides are together, place the pattern on the fold and cut the fabric according to the pattern. Repeat one more time for the second piece. Cut one piece of fabric according to the smaller pattern piece for cord tabs.
You will get three pieces of fabric, two large and one small piece.

TIP: Wash and dry the fabric thoroughly and press it well with an iron before sewing. This will prevent the bag from deforming or shrinking after its first wash.

STEP 3: Prepare the cord tabs

Take the small fabric piece and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press flat on the ironing board.

Open up the fabric piece. Then fold lengthwise both from the top and the bottom to the crease in the middle. Take it to the ironing board and press.

Fold lengthwise one more time and press well with your iron.

You will get a thin strap of fabric with four layers. Pin it and stitch along the folds as close to the edge as possible. Cut it in half to get two tabs.

OPTIONAL: Repeat this step one more time if you are making a hanging loop.

BONUS TIP: You can make the drawstrings out of fabric if you don’t have cording. Use my paper bias ties maker template (pictured above) to speed up the process .

STEP 4: Finish the raw edges

Finish the raw edges of the main fabric pieces so that they won’t fray. Serge them if you have a serger or use medium zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.

STEP 5: Measure out the opening for the cord

Now you need to make the markings where the opening for the drawstrings will be.
Measure out three inches from the top on both sides. Mark this points with pins

STEP 6: Insert the cord tabs

Fold the cord tabs in half and insert them between the layers, about 1 inch from the bottom of the bag, matching the raw edges of the tabs with the raw edges of the bag. Pin in place.

STEP 7: Start sewing the drawstring bag

Sew around the drawstring bagpack, staring from one of the pins, along the side edge, all the way around the bottom, along the other side up to the other pin. Use a 3/8 inch seam allowance while sewing. Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seams.

STEP 8: Clip the corners

Clip the bottom corners so that they stay sharp when you turn the bag around.

STEP 9: Make the drawstring casing

Grab the top edge of one layer and fold it 3/8 inch inwards. Press flat with your iron and pin.

Press open the seam allowance on both side openings and pin it as well. Sew around the side openings.

Then fold the top edge inwards once again so that it meets the bottom of the side opening (about 1 1/4 inch). Press flat and pin.

Sew along the bottom of the fold. Strengthen the stitch by backstitching it.

STEP 10: Turn the drawstring backpack around

Turn the whole thing around and push the corners out.

STEP 11: Thread the cords

Cut the cord in half, each piece should be about 2 yd. Attach a bodkin or a safety pin to the end of one string and thread it through the cord tab, then the through one end of the casing and back through the other. Repeat the same with the other cord, just in the opposite direction and through the other opening. Tie the ends in a knot.

STEP 12: (Optional) Sew the hanging loop

Sew in the hanging loop at the bottom of the drawstring casing.

That’s it your drawstring bagpack is ready!

What do you think about the tutorial how to make a cinch bag? Did you find it useful? Try making a few DIY drawstring backpacks and let us know how they turned out in the comment section below! They’ll make wonderful presents for your loved ones. Have fun sewing!

Do you like this? Pin for later:

Drawstring backpack pin

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Eddie - August 21, 2020

What a fab and simple how to guide. My daughters love these bags for their PE kits for school.

Margy - August 21, 2020

Looks pretty simple, even without a sewing machine available. I got a similar kind of backpack free at a sports event and enjoy using it for carrying simple items. – Margy

    Helen - August 25, 2020

    It can be sewn by hand – it has just few straights stitches!

Michele Morin - August 23, 2020

I made some of these when my kids were little and at least one of them is still in service today!

Naush - August 24, 2020

That is such a fab tutorial. You make it seem so easy !
We are hosting Meraki Link Party at, this Monday and would love for you to join in too.
Much Love

Michelle - August 25, 2020

Very cute bag! Thanks for sharing with Creative Compulsions! I will be featuring it in this week’s Creative Compulsions.


Jennifer Dynys - August 30, 2020

Super cute! My girls would love to make this with me! Definitely giving it a try! Thank you for linking up at Embracing Home and Family!

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    Thank you Jennifer. Let me know how it goes! I would love to see your creations. You can tag me in social 🙂

Anne - August 17, 2022

Thanks for the pattern. The video made it so easy! Turned out great!

    Helen - August 18, 2022

    Awesome. I’m so glad to hear you liked it so much

Julie - May 5, 2023

A great tutorial, I love a good drawstring bag.

Esmé Slabbert - May 6, 2023

Thank you for sharing your link/s at SSPS 259. Please check back on Monday to see if listed under the top 15 or mentioned by a co-host or if I shared it on FB @BloggersShareCareInspire and IG @_esmesalon as the top 5.

Kerryanne - May 12, 2023

Such a handy pattern to have Helen.
Thank you for sharing your DIY drawstring backpack at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring this post at tonight’s party and pinning too.

Marsha Cooper - May 16, 2023

I’ve made many a drawstring backpack! For gifts, and too many to count for charity. I prefer making the strings with fabric over the cording.


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