There’s something really comforting about carrying around a bag made just for you and your essentials. I’m going to show you how to sew your own lined drawstring bag in this DIY. It’s totally simple, though it can be a little time consuming, so you might want to have Netflix Instant or some YouTube videos on deck. Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:

what you'll need

  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Two pieces of fabric big enough to cut into 12-inch × 22-inch squares
  • A needle and thread (or a sewing machine and thread)
  • Two two-yard pieces of cord, which, surprisingly, tends to be cheaper in hiking supply stores than craft stores.
  • Straight pins
  • A safety pin

How to do it:

Step One:


Measure and mark a 12-inch × 22-inch square on each piece of fabric, and cut both pieces to that size.

Step Two:

Lay the two pieces of fabric on top of each other, with the sides of the fabric that you want to show on the outside of the finished backpack touching each other, and the other sides facing outward/toward you. Use the straight pins to pin the 12-inch sides of the two pieces of fabric together a half inch from the outer edges (the pins will guide your stitching lines):


On both 12-inch sides, stitch a straight line a half-inch from the outer edge. Take the pins out—your fabric should make a hoop now!

Step Three:


Turn your fabric “hoop” inside out and flatten it out on your work surface. At the seam where you sewed the two pieces of fabric together, make a new line/guide of pins. About three quarters of an inch from the seam, sew another straight line. This will make “tunnels” for your cords.

Step Four:


Take the pins out, then fold your fabric in half, bringing the pieces that you want to show on the outside of the finished backpack together so that they’re facing each other (like the insides of a sandwich) again. The sides of the fabric that will be the lining should be facing outward/toward you (like the bread part of a sandwich). Line the edges of the pieces up as evenly as possible.

Step Five:

step 6

Hook a safety pin into one of your strands of cord, about a half inch to three-quarters of an inch from the cord’s end. Use the safety pin to guide the cord through the first tunnel, kind of like you’re gently leading a worm. When you’re finished, the strand of cord should run all the way through the tunnel and hang out the tunnel’s opposite side. Repeat these steps with the second cord in the second tunnel, like this:

step 7

Step Six:

step 7

Stuff the cords (your backpack’s straps!) inside the fabric, which at this point is making a kind of pocket. There are two sides of your backpack now that don’t have any stitching on them: Use your straight pins to make guides on both sides, like the one shown in the photo above, on the right. On each side, there will be an end of cord sticking out—pin that to the fabric, too.

Step Seven:

step 8

On each side, stitch a straight line over your pin-guide, and stitch over the cord, too! (You might want to make some extra stitches over the cords, to make them more securely fastened.) When you’re done, it should look like so:

step 8-5

Step Eight:


Take the pins out and turn the whole shebang inside out. Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a new, cute li’l backpack. ♦