Drawstring bags are a very simple and extremely versatile project. I love that they can be constructed in less than an hour and have a whole myriad of uses. Here are a few ways that I have found them to be especially useful:
1. Project Storage - I like to use a drawstring bag for each of the crochet projects that I am working on. They work great for this, because the yarn, hook, and work in progress can all be stored together right inside the bag. In addition, it is very easy to just pick up the bag and take it with you, making your project super portable.
2. Washing Crocheted Blankets - When you've finished your crocheted project, the drawstring bag makes a great gift bag for the finished product. Instruct the recipient to put the blanket inside of the bag when they wash it in the washing machine (assuming the yarn you used can be washed in a machine), the bag will protect the blanket while it is cleaned so that the strands of yarn don't get pulled or caught on anything.
2. Gift Wrap - I alluded to this above, but these bags work wonderfully as beautiful and reusable gift wrap. They are especially great if you have a gift that you are shipping to someone or if you are traveling somewhere for the holidays and need to bring gifts with you. The bags can be folded in your luggage and gifts can be wrapped in seconds when you arrive. Best of all, you won't have to worry about torn and crumpled paper or the possibility of your gift being opened during an airline bag search.
Now that you know how functional these bags are, it's time to make one!...
Two complementary fabrics (measurements in step one)
Cotton Cord - 2 pieces, each approximately 42 inches long
Rotary Cutter and Mat (optional)
Step 1: Cut your fabric into the following dimensions:
Main Fabric (teal) - 1 piece 30" x 16"
Contrast Fabric (coral) - 2 pieces, 16" x 9"
Step 2: Using a zigzag or overlock stitch, stitch all the way around the edge of each of the three rectangles to finish the edges. If you have a serger, you could use it instead of your sewing machine.
Step 3: Using a .25" seam allowance, sew the long edge of each of the contrast rectangles to each of the short ends of the main fabric. Once you have sewn these together you should have one large rectangle with the contrast fabric on either end and the main fabric in the middle. Press the seams open.
Step 4: Fold the large rectangle in half with right sides together. Make sure that the two seams between the contrast fabric and the main body fabric match up. You can either pin them in place, or sew a few stitches over the seams to keep them lined up.
Step 5: Using a .25" seam allowance sew up the two long sides of the folded rectangle. This will form the body of your bag. Press the side seams open.
Step 6: Keep the bag inside out and fold the top edge down approximately 4 inches, forming a cuff around the top edge of the bag.
Step 7: Stitch around the base of the cuff approximately 1.5 inches above the raw edge of the cuff, as shown below. Be sure to reinforce your stitching over the side seams.
Step 8: Stitch around the bottom edge of the cuff approximately 1.25 inches below the stitch line from step 7. Be sure to reinforce your stitching over the side seams.
Step 9: Turn the bag right side out! It's time to open up the holes and insert the drawstring cord. Use a seam ripper to open up the side seam between the two rows of stitching you made in steps 7 and 8. There will be two layers of fabric, you only need to open the seam in the outermost layer of the fabric. Repeat this step on the other side seam.
Step 10: Fold over the end of one piece of cord and secure a safety pin into it. Insert the pin in the side seam hole on one side of the bag and use the pin to feed the cord all the way around the bag until it exits the bag via the same seam where it entered. Tie the two ends of the cord into a knot. Repeat this step, starting on the other side of the bag.
Step 11: Admire your beautiful new bag!