November 3, 2009

Linen Drawstring Giftbag Tutorial

So, Christmas is coming.  If you're like me, then you may normally say 'Meh. I have heaps of time.  I'll deal with that after I've done all of this'.  But wouldn't it be nice to cut back just a little on the last minute stress?   Start thinking about it a little bit sooner? Make at least something handmade?  Even if it's small?  Because handmade is cool.  And means a whole lot more.

So I started thinking about Christmas, made this little bag over the weekend, and thought I'd share how I did it with you.

Obviously, the method isn't that hard, or anything remarkably new.   I just wanted to share how I did it, and how you might like to do it too if you're not sure how.

So, here we go....


Sewing Machine
20 x 40cm piece of linen fabric for bag exterior (lightweight would be best)
20 x 40cm piece of lining fabric (I used Japanese cotton, but a vintage/thrifted cotton would also be lovely)
VIntage crochet doily (bear in mind the more open weave your doily is the harder it is to applique on)
Matching thread
Matching ribbon or string of your choice


1. Press all of your fabric pieces and doily.

2. Cut out your fabric.
  • You need to cut a piece of linen to the size you require for your bag.  Mine is 16cm x 38cm.  Make larger or smaller depending on the size of the gift you're giving.
  • Cut your lining to the exact same size.
  • You should have two rectangles like in the picture below:

3. Position your doily on your linen.
You have lots of options here.  You might like to cut your doily into individual flowers and scatter them over the fabric, you might like to halve your doily and position it on the side, or you might like to place it in the centre like I have. It's completely up to you.  I pressed my piece of linen in half so that I knew where to find the exact centre point.

4. Pin your doily in place.

5. Sew your doily onto your linen.

  • If your doily is not too open a weave, use your sewing machine to sew around the parts of the doily that might lift.  This will be the edges and anywhere else in the centre.  I sewed around each individual flower in this case using a straight stitch.
  • Additionally, I generally then hand-sew the crochet edge of my doilies down, so that they remain open and don't curl and lift on the edges.  In this case I have not, because the doily was already secure enough.
  • If your doily has a very open weave, you may need to hand sew the whole piece on.

After you've finished, the back of your linen should look something like this:

And the front like this:

6. Pin your lining and linen exterior with right sides together.  

7. Sew around the border
Make sure you leave a small gap for turning inside out.

8.  Turn your fabric inside out 

  • Trim the corners and turn the fabric piece out through the hole you left at the edge.
  • Push the corners out with your finger or a turning tool (like a chopstick)

9.  Close your open edge.
Press the raw open edge under and top stitch the hole closed very close to the edge of your fabric.

Now you should have one piece of fabric with the lining on one side, and linen/doily on the other.

10.  Create your casing for the drawstring.

  • Fold each of the short ends of your fabric down towards the lining by approximately 2cm.
  • Stitch close to the edge of the fabric (away from the folded edge) to create a casing.
  • Do this at both ends.

11. Sew the bag together

  • Fold the bag with exterior linen sides together and pin.
  • Stitch from your casing seam at one end down the side to the base of the bag.
  • Repeat this on the other side, making sure that you do not sew across the casing at the top of the bag.

12.  Turn your bag the right way out and press.

13. Thread your ribbon/string
Attach a safety pin to the end of your ribbon or string and thread it through your casing.You can choose to thread one piece through each side, and tie off both ends together as I have, or thread one piece through the whole casing, and tie only once on one side.

Once you've done this, your gift bag is complete!  Make these bags as large or small as you'd like.  The size I made is great for small items like jewellery or handmade sweets.  The best bit is you made it with love, and it's re-usable!  I'm sure you could think of lots of uses.


 [This tutorial is permitted to be used for personal use only and not for commercial purposes.  Please do not reproduce or re-post this tutorial in print or online without permission]


  1. Pretty, sweet and useful!
    Darling bag and tutorial.
    xo, Kali

  2. Thanks Gret - a lovely idea and I would like to think I could be so organised ahead of Christmas, but it's unlikely!! Do you have any tips on where to source linen, by the way? I am having trouble finding it.... I wish someone local had the Essex linen range!

  3. Great tutorial. You made it look so simple!

  4. Lovely bag!!

    Great tutorial ... lots of pictures help : ) Think I am going to make this for my Grandma!


  5. Thanks Gret! Great tutorial and perfect for homebaked goodies xx

  6. the bag is very cute. thanks for a great tutorial :)

  7. This is just lovely, I'll be trying this as soon as I dig out a suitable doily!

  8. Nice tutorial! I love your idea of using vintage doily! Thanks so much! :)
    I love to upcycle things and repurpose clothing too :)

  9. This is so pretty! I just love the doily. I can't wait to make a few of these for gifts. I'm so glad I clicked over from the CraftGossip link. I'd love to link to this if you didn't mind.

  10. very cute! I think I'll try it!


  11. I love the doily at the bottom. It makes it extra special!

  12. I loved making this. Thanks! I used all materials I had on hand. I love to use up stash!

  13. This is seriously the cutest project I have ever, ever seen! I'm making project bags for each of my gals in knitting group and various bag for Christmas. And of course, one for moi!

  14. For me this the cutest gift bag I've ever seen online so far!!! Delicate and romantic, thank you SO much for sharing this lovely idea!!!

  15. Where do you get your vintage doilies from? So pretty. Thanks for sharing. I'm thinking of making some now! :)

  16. I started making bags in a different way, I love the inside of the bag, and the dollie, I love dollies. Beautiful!

  17. It's perfect for a Valentine's Day gift! You did a beautiful job...thank you.


  18. This is awesome! I'm doing a rustic themed wedding and think I'll use this concept for the gift bags! :)

  19. love this! Stashing for my wedding files! hugs!

    hugs! Kim @ Party Frosting!

  20. wow superb your tutorial is .this bag is very cute i will make it as per the above guidelines.thanks for sharing with us.


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