Quilting, Sewing, Tutorials

Pattern Hack – Personalised Lined Drawstring Bag

Welcome to my first pattern hack for the Lined Drawstring Bag

The inspiration

A few weeks back I joined in #payitforwardhandmade on instagram. The basic concept is that you receive something handmade from another crafter and then send something handmade on to others, who (hopefully) carry on the activity. I was very lucky to receive a beautiful scissors cady from @patchwork_gecko , and then it was my turn to create. I’ve been a big fan of both the Lined Drawstring Bag by Jeni Baker and Quiet Play’s letter foundation paper piecing patterns by Kristy so I decided to combine the two, to make a little gift that was both personalised but also useful.

Darrel Rob Drawstring bag pattern hack
The finished #payitforward lined drawstring bags

What follows below are the details of how to adjust the bag pattern to accommodate the paper pieced letter.

Pattern Hack

Step 1 – Create your personalised feature panel.

Quiet Play’s Cursive Script letters are perfect for this kind of project as each letter has great style on it’s own. Start by following the instructions in the pattern to great your letter of choice. As you can see I needed the letters d, k and a. I pieced them using a tone on tone white star pattern and a mix of prints from Emma Jean Jansen’s Eureka line.

Normally the letters finish at 6.5 inches square. (As pictured)

You need to trim your block down so that it is 6 inches square. This includes a quarter inch seam allowance. (Ie once inserted in the bag it will be 5.5 inches square)

Tip : Short letters : If you are working with a ‘regular letter’ like the letter a then simply trim a 1/4 inch off each edge.

Tip: Tall letters – If you are working with a tall letter like ‘k’ trim a 1/2 inch off the bottom and a quarter inch from the left and right sides. The adjustment for the tall letters is necessary to keep a nice space between the top of the letter and the top of the panel in the bag.

Tip: Long letters – The same applies to long letters but in reverse, If you are working with a long letter like ‘y’ trim a 1/2 inch off the top and a quarter inch from the left and right sides.


Step 2 – Add the edges

The personalised panel piece will end up being one of the “front exterior main fabric” pieces as defined in Jeni’s Drawstring tutorial. So you need to end up with a piece that measures 10.5 inches wide and 9 inches high.

plan for hack
Original notes for this plan hack!


To that end, you need to cut the following pieces from your contrast fabric:

  • Top: 10.5 inches wide x 1.25 inches tall
  • Bottom : 10.5 inches wide x 2.75 inches tall
  • Sides: 2 lots of 2.75 inches wide x 6 inches tall






Join the side panels first, then the top and bottom pieces, just as pictured below.










If needed square up your panel being sure it measures 10.5 in x 9 in.

Step 3: Finish as normal

At this point you can revert to the regular lined drawstring tutorial and just treat your pieced panel as a single piece of fabric.

The drawstring bag is a great project, quick, effective and useful. The basic tutorial is free but you can purchase a version for all different sized bags. I find the free version is excellent as a project bag for knitting, sewing and crochet. Or as a present bag!

Having now made quite a few of these bags, my number one tip is to add fusible fleece.

Fusible fleece is perfect to add stability

I have made the bag with and without fusible fleece and I must say I prefer the shape and stability provided by the fleece. It also gives you a chance to add quilting details. On these bags I quilted once around the inside of the square in white and once around the outside of the letter panel in navy. It created a simple but effective picture frame type effect.

Quilting using the panel as your guide
The bags when all pieced together
Adding the drawstring track
Inside view











And the final product:









And here’s my #payitforward parcels all finished.