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Drawstring Bag for OCC Shoebox Gift ~ From Upcycled Upholstery Sample

Upcycled upholstery sample drawstring bag pattern & tutorial made for Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

This simple-to-sew drawstring bag is just the right size for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift--it will fit easily and all of the goodies from the shoe box should be able to tuck inside for the child to carry them all.  This one is made from an upholstery sample so it is really heavy duty.  Any fabric would do though.

Square Bottom Drawstring Bags How-to Instructions


Approx. 13 x 17  Perfect size for a shoe box child to fill with all the goodies from their shoe box or a nice size for us for carrying a few library books home.


Scrap Fabric—two pieces 18” x 13” or any size you want or have; I had access to an upholstery fabric sample so mine was based on that piece.  [This gave me an idea that perhaps furniture stores throw out their samples when the fabric is no longer available—may be a source to check into. They could be used to make all kinds of goodies for shoe boxes.]

Drawstring approx. 2 yards; can be thin rope, crocheted chain, cording—anything you would like or have on hand, be sure and allow two times the width plus 1/2” more than the size of your drawstring for the casing; the heavier the fabric the heavier the drawstring needs to be; thread

Wide bias tape.  Or you can make a casing out any matching or contrasting fabric—or just fold down a casing from the pieces of the bag [allowing extra when you cut it out].  I used the tape because I had been given lots of it and it was easy to grab and nice in thin. Since my fabric was so heavy I needed something thin to be sure it could draw up & close well.


Press as you go—if you sew it, press it.

Edge finishing:  use pinking shears, a serger, or a zig zag stitch.

Use 1/2” seams unless otherwise noted.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.


NOTE:  I am having publishing issues with my images so I am sticking them all at the bottom of the post--sorry about that.
  1. Cut fabric – two pieces

    1. 18” x 13”; or to choose a size – add 1/2” to both sides, to the bottom and to the top of the finished size desired
  2. With right sides together sew bottom seam.  Finish edges.
  3. Lay open and finish edges all around.
  4. Cut two pieces of Bias tape the same width as the top.
  5. Open out the edges near the end of the bias tape and fold back 1/2” on both sides; press down and re-press the top and bottom edges [illustrated below]
  6. Press under 1/2” along edge from the top down 1” of all four sides of bag pieces. [illustrated below]
  7. Right sides together, pin bias tape to front and back pieces along top—keeping the pressed under parts from #4 and #5 flat. [illustrated below]
    1. Upcycled upholstery sample into drawstring bag.
    2. For thick fabric, like my upholstery fabric, allow approx. 1/8” to stick above the bias tape.
  8. Stitch along bias tape fold line (be sure to backstitch very well at the beginning and the end.
  9. Fold the bias tape towards the inside with as much of the fabric as necessary for TWO pieces of the drawstring plus an ease of 1/4 to 1/2” between the drawstrings and the stitching (mine was about 3/8”).  [Lay the drawstring (two thicknesses) on the back and fold the bias tape as instructed above right over them to check as described above—round drawstrings take more room than flat ones.  Remove before pinning.]  Pin.
  10. Mark where the bottom of the bias tape touches the edge.  Remove end pin from both sides. [illustrated below]
  11. Fold front to back with right sides together.
  12. Stitch sides from point marked where bias tape edge hits to bottom.  Be sure and back stitch well at the top.
  13. Press seams open.
  14. OPTIONAL:  I like to “box” the bottom of my bags.  To do this, turn the bag inside out.  Fold bottom to side matching seams, pin bottom seam to side seam, stitch across to make a triangle.  Stitch 1 3/4” from the corner seam in towards center of bag.  Or whatever size you want for your type and size of bag. [illustrated below]
    1. Press the triangles flat. 
    2. Turn right side out and press the two seams flat.
  15. Re-pin the ends of the bias tape.
  16. Stitch across the bottom of the bias tape approx. 1/8” up from edge—again, back stitch well at beginning and end.
  17. Cut drawstring into two even pieces.  If the ends fray easily, like on my cording, wrap them in masking tape.
  18. Draw one drawstring in one end of back of bag pulling so approx. 5” hangs out the starting end.  Now draw that same end that just came thru into the side of the front casing opposite where it came out.  The two ends should be on the same side when finished.  Do the opposite side with the other drawstring. [illustrated below]
  19. Finish the edges of the drawstring as necessary for the type you are using and tie together on each side.  For mine I zig-zagged where I was going to tie them together so the stitching would keep them from unraveling totaling and also would be hidden beneath the knot.  Then I unraveled the ends to make like tassels. [illustrated below]
  20. Pull the two ends of the drawstring and draw up your bag.








Design and instructions copyright Simply Shoeboxes.  Please enjoy using this design for your personal use and for gift giving.

Threading My Way offers an ongoing link party for drawstring bags--a great place to find ideas and patterns.

We have several more drawstring bag patterns and tutorials just right for tucking in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  Here are some you may like:


Pam @Threading My Way said...

Upholstery fabric would make a very sturdy little bag. This is a great little bag!!!

Unknown said...

My son works for a large furniture warehouse store and has given away dozens of sample books every few months to a group that makes quilts for disabled veterans. Great to see this idea for the bags and I'll be asking him for sample books!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

How great, Sherry!

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