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How to Hand Sew a Rounded Drawstring Bag

A Beginner Friendly Hand Slow Stitched Bag Project with Pattern Pieces

If you're new to slow stitching and hand sewing and ready to jump in and make something, this rounded drawstring bag is just the ticket! It's a complete project that allows you to get hand sewing and create something both beautiful and useful.

There's also a video to accompany this step by step that goes into even more detail. Let's get started!

two hands hold a green and yellow drawstring bag

First, download the PDF with the pattern pieces, and gather your supplies. You will need:

  • a base (I use felt)

  • fabric scraps

  • scissors

  • drawstrings (I used t-shirt yarn)

  • a needle of choice

  • colourful threads (I used Embroidery Floss and Pearl Cotton)

  • erasable marking pen (optional)

yellow and green fabrics arranged into a collage

After cutting 2 base fabrics (front and back) and 2 pieces of felt using the pattern pieces, create a collage on one or both sides. Baste using thread or pins.

hand hold bobbins of colourful thread up against fabric pieces

Choose coordinating threads. This is a fun step if you have a stash of embroidery floss. But don't worry if you only have a few colours - it's surprising the results you can get just using black or white thread or even a few basics - one shade of red, blue and yellow or one of each colour of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Bobbins of embroidery floss arranged in a circle

If you're looking for colour ideas for starting or expanding an embroidery floss collection - feel free to download my "Essential 30 Floss Colours Guide" that is part of the welcome email when you sign up for my micro-newsletter (sign up is at the bottom of any page on this site).

two hands hold partially slow stitched project

Now it's time to stitch! Surround all the collage pieces with stitching. This will secure the pieces down and add the first layer of colour and texture.

You can choose floss that matches the fabric or choose completely different colours - it's all allowed. Have fun. Don't worry about perfect stitches either - just relax and trust that the finished bag will look great.

a hand points to a slow stitched fabric collage

The next step is to cover the entire piece with slow stitching lines. This stitch is called the Running Stitch where several stitches are stacked onto the needle before the needle is pulled all the way through the fabric. On this piece I varied the direction of my slow stitching lines. Anything is allowed here, just cover the entire piece.

hands holding green fabric and hand sewing

On the second side, the one without collage, I decided to slow stitch circles. I used an erasable marking pen to mark the lines. After stitching the circles, I stitched straight lines to connect the circles.

pieces of partially completed slow stitching project

The next step is to make channels for the drawstrings. Make the channels slightly shorter than the front and back pieces to allow for seam allowances. Line them up in the middle and stitch the channel pieces in place. See the video embedded below at 15:33 for even more detail on this step.

hands folding back edges of slow stitching project in progress

Now it's time for the lining. Use the lining pattern pieces to trace the stitching lines and cut the lining pieces out slightly bigger on all sides to allow for seam allowances. Stitch on the lines you marked to attach the lining to the back of each piece.

hand sewing pieces of yellow fabric together

Now it's time to stitch the two pieces together, clip and fold the raw edges and enclose the seams. This step is starts at 21:31 of the how to video.

hands holding yellow drawstrings and a stitched pouch

After turning the bag right side out, take a moment to appreciate your work. Amazing isn't it?

There is just one final step - adding the drawstrings. You can use yarn, string or even shoelaces for the drawstrings. I made mine out of a t-shirt. There's a quick how to on making your own drawstrings from a t-shirt in the video starting at minute 25:28.

hands threading drawstring through pouch channels

Take the drawstrings and thread them into your bag and voila! A beautiful bag. Yay!

two hands holding a completed slow stitched bag

There are so many possibilities with this bag pattern in terms of colour and stitch so feel free to let your creativity loose. Watch the start to finish video below for even more step by step detail.

I hope you are inspired to give it a go and make your own bag. I believe in you, you can do it!

Happy Stitching ~ Jo


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