Handy Dandy Pouch – Skinny Drawstring Bag Tutorial

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Sew an easy drawstring bag that’s long and skinny! It is the perfect size for spectacles, a tooth brush and toothpaste, pencils, or even make up brushes. These pouches are so handy and pretty –which is the essence of ‘Zakka’, a Japanese design aesthetic that combines usefulness with beauty. I love the style!

Hi, it’s Sedef Imer here, from Down Grapevine Lane ! I’m thrilled to be here today and share with you an easy tutorial to make these sweet and useful drawstring pouches.

These lined pouches finish at approximately 3” x 9” – I made the original one for my crochet hooks (as I keep misplacing them all over the house).

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Here are some tips for sewing this easy drawstring bag:

  • RST means right sides together

  • Use a ¼ “ seam allowance when joining pieces

  • Press all seams open before continuing on to the next step


  • 2 rectangles 3 ½ “ x 7” pieces (pouch body) – A

  • 2 rectangles 1 ¼ “ x 3 ½ “ pieces (cord casing) – B

  • 2 rectangles 2” x 3 ½ “ pieces for (pouch top) – C

  • 2 rectangles 3 ½ “ x 9 ¼” pieces (lining) – D

  • 2 pieces of narrow cord or ribbon, 12” long

  • 2 wood beads (optional)

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1. Sew together the A, B, C and D pieces as shown. Make two.

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2. Place the two units from step 1 right sides together, and pin together, making sure the seams are lying precisely on top of each other.  Sew all the way around with a ¼” allowance, leaving three gaps unsewn as shown – two gaps where the cord casing (B) pieces are and a 1 ½” gap at the short end of the lining piece. When sewing secure all beginning and end stitches well by sewing back and forth a few times. Clip the corners as shown to reduce bulk, making sure you don’t get too close to the stitch line.

3. Turn the pouch inside out through the 1 ½ ” gap at the end of the lining. Push out the corners with a blunt instrument or turning tool. Carefully press the pouch, making sure the seams on all sides are lying flat.

4. Tuck in the seam allowance at the opening by ¼” and press it, then blind stitch or whip stitch the opening closed by hand. Push the lining into the bag, poking the corners into place with a blunt instrument. Then press the top edge and top stitch it for a neat finish.

5. We next need to stitch along the top and bottom edge of the cord casing to secure it to the lining. You can do this by machine, although it can be quite fiddly due to the narrowness of the pouch opening. I stitched mine by hand using a simple running stitch, with No 8 Perle Cotton so it’s a decorative touch also. You can also use regular thread in a coordinating colour if you don’t want your stitches to be too visible. When you are stitching, make sure you are only catching the lining and not all the way through the pouch (or you will sew the pouch opening closed).

6. Take a piece of cord and using a safety pin carefully thread it through the cord casing, starting on one side, going all the way around the bag and coming out again on the same side. Repeat with the other cord piece, starting and finishing on the other side of the pouch. Pull and adjust the cord ends until they are all the same length. Thread the cord ends on one side through a wooden bead (if you are using them), tie a knot at the end and cut off any excess cord. Repeat for the other side.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and use it to make your own pouches.

Sedef Imer is a British sewing blogger and fabric designer with a distinctive style that is “sweetly modern.” She blogs about sewing, quilting, embroidery and crochet on her website, Down Grapevine Lane and is a regular contributor to sewing and quilting magazines worldwide. She lives in sunny South Australia with her husband and their two children.

Please visit her over on Facebook and Instagram for free tutorials, patterns, and general sewing inspiration.

Happy sewing!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂