Pillowcase to Drawstring Bag – Tutorial

More of a mini-tutorial – this is a really quick project.

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The story behind it is that the other day, the cheap plastic ikea laundry hamper that I had in Lucy’s room lost its leg. No idea how, the leg just fell off. So I needed something to keep all those dirty little clothes in while they wait for their turn in the wash. A drawstring bag was a perfect choice, because it can be hung on the hook on the back of Lucy’s bedroom door.

You need
– a pillowcase (mine is a pretty vintage one I thrifted for 50c – score)
– 1 metre of ribbon, I used 1cm wide white grosgrain
– seam ripper and other basic sewing supplies

Take your pillowcase and turn it inside out. Use your seam ripper to split one side seam 5cm (2″) from the top. This split creates the opening to thread your ribbon through to make the drawstring.

If your fabric is a bit raggedy on the edge, just fold the edge in and press it down. Stitch it if it continues to misbehave. It will be enclosed in the drawstring casing.

Fold the top of the pillowcase over 2.5cm (1″) and press. Stitch all the way around to create your casing. 
 Each side of the pillowcase will look slightly different because one side will have that extra envelope of fabric. Once it is turned right side out, you won’t see that and it makes no different to your casing.
 Take your ribbon and use a safety pin to thread your it through the casing.
Turn your pillowcase right sides out.  Tie your ribbon to the desired length. You are finished!
You might find that the bag is a bit too long for your liking. Just turn it back inside out, and stitch across the bottom of the bag at the desired length. Cut off any excess.
As I mentioned earlier, mine will be used as a laundry bag for Lucy, but it can be used for anything! Old pillowcases are often very soft due to be washed so often, which makes them a great choice for a lingerie bag. I also like to pack a bag like this when I go on a trip – it is handy to keep dirty washing separate from the clean items in your bag or suitcase.
If you make one, please share it with us over at my Flickr group!

17 thoughts on “Pillowcase to Drawstring Bag – Tutorial

  1. I'm so making some of these – keeping my eyes peeled for pillowcases at the op shops from now on!

    Thanks for the great idea

  2. I've been wanting to make some of these to put wine bottles in for gifts. Those wine bags are so expensive and this would be a quick and easy project to use up some smaller scraps.

  3. Thank you so much! I recently made a fort kit for my son and used this tutorial to make a bag to keep everything in. Thank you!!!

  4. Duly printed off to help me make scrubs bags for NHS staff…..(April 2020). Thank you, simple to follow and helpful instructions.

  5. Can I just check please, when you say to fold over the top of the pillowcase, to stitch for the drawstring, do you mean the short edge or the long one that had been “de-seamed”? The picture looks like we stitch the top but then if you follow the instructions the long side would still be open. I’m so confused! Thanks

  6. The instructions say the long edge should only be “de-seamed” about 2″. The top edge (the opening) should be folded over to make the drawstring casing.

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