Drawstring Purse – Tutorial

Pattern Pieces:
Main bag: One piece 40 cm x 60 cm
Handles: Two pieces, both 4 cm x 58 cm

Cut out pattern pieces. I drew the pattern pieces since I was making two purses, but you can cut straight onto the fabric if you wish.

Cutting the pattern pieces

Fold the main piece lengthwise (as to get it 30 cm by 40 cm) and mark the center bottom (this can be done with ironing).

Marking the drawstring casing

Mark the drawstring casing at both sides. It should be 6 and 8 cm from the top. For the first purse I sewed the side seam first and then handstiched the drawstring “hem”, for the second one I stitched (by machine) the drawstring hem and then the side seam. They were both a bit tricky, so I can’t really favour one method over the other.

Leaving space for the drawstring

Sew the sides together, leaving a hole for the drawstring. I have made holes on both side seams, I suppose you can only do it for one side if you please.

The side seam folded towards the bottom

Fold the side seams towards your marked center bottom. You’ll get a corner. Sew a straight line 5 cm from the corner edge (where my marker is) and cut off the corner. It will be like below from in- and outside.

The corner sewn and cut – outside

Moving on to the handle pieces. I guess there are two ways of doing them. Either you can sew then as a tube and turn them inside out (I couldn’t do this due to the nature of my chosen fabrics). I folded each side to the center and then folded along the center, which gave me a four times folded handle.

Pinning the handles

After folding I stiched along the edge and the handle pieces came together. I was quite pleased with the stiffness of the handles that this solution brought.

Finished handle

Time to assemble the bag! Fold the upper (still raw) edge down so it covers your drawstring hole.

Hemming the top

The drawstring hole is marked by the horisontal needles; one seam will go below the hole, one above. Before sewing, the handles should be attached.

Putting the handles in place

I put the handles, quite arbitrarily, 8.5 cm from the side seam. Pin it so that it is covered by both seam, both the seam above and below the hole. Sew the two seams.


Your purse is now finished (in terms of sewing)! Pull ribbon or cording of your choice through the drawstring for closure. If you wish the purse can be embellished with other details such as a bow, a flower or something of your choice. Here I have pull ribbon through, but it won’t be red in the final version.

Happy sewing and feel free to ask me questions!


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