Simple Drawstring Bag Tutorial





Well, to be precise, the cute newborn babies in the NICU at the Northern Hospital in Melbourne need you.

My Mum works for Ronald McDonald House at the Northern Hospital in Epping, Melbourne. She looks after the family room there, where families can relax and spend time together while caring for their little ones who are staying in the hospital.

The babies in the neonatal intensive care unit each need a cotton drawstring bag. This bag is where all their little gowns and jumpsuits are placed in order for the hospital to launder them. Once the babies are ready to go home, the family will usually take the bag home with them.

The problem…the NICU at the Northern has run out of bags! So we can help!



I’ve made a super quick tutorial according to the measurements provided by Mum.

This bag took me less than 20 minutes to make, it’s very quick and a lovely opportunity to sew for someone in a practical and useful way.

Here are the instructions –

You need:

  • 1/2 metre (or yard) of cotton fabric. (100% cotton launders best)
  • 1m or yard of ribbon or nylon cord for a drawstring
  • Rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • Quilting ruler (optional)



Using your rotary cutter, ruler and mat, cut two pieces of fabric, 15 inches wide and 17 inches long.



Using your overlocker (serger) or a zig zag stitch on your regular machine, sew along the top edge of your two fabric pieces. This will reduce fray as the bags will be washed often.



Place right sides together and stitch all the way around the 2 sides and the bottom of the bag. Leave a 2″ opening in the top right corner. You can see in the below picture I’ve marked it with a pin.



Using your overlocker or zig zag stitch, finish the seams you’ve just sewn.

Turn the bag right sides out.

Where the gap is in your top right seam, gently finger press the raw edges under and stitch them down. This will form the loop at the top where your drawstring will enter and exit the bag. (I should have used a coloured thread for this picture!)



Turn the bag inside out again so right sides are together.

Make the casing for the drawstring by folding the top of the bag over. Give it a press so that the gap in your top right seam is folded in half.  Sew the casing down along the edge where your overlocked / zig zagged stitches are.



Use a safety pin to easily thread the ribbon through the casing.



Turn your bag out.  Trim your ribbon and tie a knot.  Snip any stray threads.



That’s it! You are all finished!

If you decide to make a bag for the Northern NICU bubs, please send it here –

Bronwen Jackman

Ronald McDonald Family Room

Northern Hospital

185 Cooper Street, Epping 3076 AUSTRALIA.



Got any questions? Please ask! I’d love to see what you make – share a picture on instagram and use the hashtag #bags4nicubabies

Thanks for your support!

22 thoughts on “Simple Drawstring Bag Tutorial

  1. Hi Ros, this is such a fantastic idea, god bless you. I’d love to help out with bags for Melbourne but do you know if other Ronald McDonald Houses like in NSW would need the bags as well? Would your mum know who I could contact to find out? I currently make breast cancer drainage bags for a local hospital so would love to help out the little bubs as well. Will get some sewn following your tutorial and get them in the mail for you too. Regards Belinda

    1. Hi Belinda, thank you 🙂 Not sure about NSW – usually the RMH family rooms just assist each individual hospital with their needs. I can ask Mum and see if she has someone you could contact. Thanks so much for your support!

    1. Hi Jacqui, we’ve only just started this charity drive this week so we’d love anything you could contribute! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jeanne, this is a print I bought at ikea a few years ago – I’ve used it to back a few quilts and I still have quite a bit left!

    1. Yes please Jenny, the more the merrier, especially as they are gifted to families once their babies are ready to go home.

  2. Just wondering if you still need these? Looking for a sewing project – and a place that needs help!

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