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How To Make A Drawstring Backpack


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Eadith Mohler



Are you in need of a stylish and functional backpack for your day-to-day adventures? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating your very own drawstring backpack. This versatile and trendy accessory is perfect for carrying your travel essentials, whether you’re exploring a new city, hitting the gym, or simply running errands.


Creating your own drawstring backpack allows you to customize the design, size, and fabric to suit your personal style and needs. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding DIY project that doesn’t require advanced sewing skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced crafter, you’ll find this tutorial easy to follow and enjoyable to complete.


Not only will you end up with a unique and practical backpack, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself. So, gather your supplies, set up your sewing machine, and let’s get started on creating your very own drawstring backpack!


Supplies Needed

Before we jump into the step-by-step process of making a drawstring backpack, let’s gather all the supplies you’ll need:

  • Fabric of your choice (cotton, canvas, or nylon)
  • Matching thread
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins or clips
  • Drawstring cord or ribbon
  • Safety pin or bodkin (optional)
  • Embroidery thread or fabric markers (optional)

It’s important to select a fabric that is sturdy enough to withstand daily use and can be easily washed. Consider the weight and durability of the fabric, as well as the desired aesthetic for your backpack. You can choose a solid color, a pattern, or even a printed fabric that reflects your personal style.


When it comes to the drawstring cord or ribbon, consider the thickness and flexibility. Paracord or cotton rope are popular options for a more rugged look, while satin or grosgrain ribbon adds a touch of elegance. Choose a length that allows for easy opening and closing of the backpack, typically around 1-2 yards.


Keep in mind that these are the basic supplies needed for a simple drawstring backpack. If you want to add extra features like pockets, zippers, or embellishments, you may need additional materials such as zipper pulls, interfacing, or decorative buttons.


Now that you have your supplies ready, let’s move on to the next step: cutting the fabric!


Step 1: Cutting the Fabric

The first step in making your drawstring backpack is to cut the fabric pieces. Start by measuring and marking the following dimensions on your fabric:

  • Main Body: Cut two rectangles measuring 16 inches wide and 18 inches tall. These will be the front and back panels of your backpack.
  • Drawstring Casing: Cut two rectangles measuring 2.5 inches wide and the same height as the main body pieces. These will be the casing for the drawstrings.
  • Drawstring Channels: Cut two strips measuring 1.5 inches wide and the same height as the main body pieces. These will be used to create channels for the drawstrings on the casing.

Once you have marked the dimensions, use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut out the fabric pieces. It’s important to cut the pieces accurately to ensure that they align properly during the sewing process.


Before moving forward, it’s a good idea to iron the fabric pieces to remove any wrinkles or creases. This will make the sewing process easier and result in a neater finished product.


Now that you have your fabric pieces cut and pressed, it’s time to move on to the next step: sewing the main body of the backpack.


Step 2: Sewing the Main Body

With the fabric pieces cut and pressed, it’s time to start sewing the main body of your drawstring backpack. Follow these steps:

  1. Take the two main body pieces and place them right sides together, aligning the edges. Pin or clip the sides and bottom edges to secure them in place.
  2. Using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, stitch along the sides and bottom of the fabric, leaving the top open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams to secure them.
  3. Trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk, and press the seams open or to one side. This will help the backpack lie flat and make it easier to sew the drawstring casing.
  4. At the top opening of the backpack, fold over the raw edge 1/4 inch towards the wrong side of the fabric, then fold it over again 1 inch. Press the fold in place.
  5. Stitch along the folded edge, around the entire top opening of the backpack. This will create a clean finished edge and provide stability for the drawstring casing.

Once you have completed these steps, the main body of your drawstring backpack is complete. Take a moment to admire your sewing skills and get ready for the next step: adding the drawstring casing!


Step 3: Adding the Drawstring Casing

Now it’s time to add the drawstring casing to your drawstring backpack. Follow these steps:

  1. Take one of the drawstring casing pieces and fold it in half lengthwise, with the wrong sides together. Press the fold to create a crease.
  2. Open up the folded casing piece and place it right side down on one side of the backpack, aligning the top edges. Pin or clip the casing in place, making sure to leave a small gap on each side for the drawstrings to pass through.
  3. Repeat the process with the second casing piece on the opposite side of the backpack.
  4. Stitch along the top edge of the casing, about 1/8 inch from the edge. This will secure the casing to the backpack.
  5. Next, fold the casing down towards the front of the backpack, covering the raw edges. Press the fold in place.
  6. Stitch along the bottom edge of the casing, close to the fold, to create a channel for the drawstrings.

With the drawstring casing added, your backpack is starting to take shape! Take a moment to ensure that the casings are aligned and even on both sides. If necessary, make any adjustments before moving on to the next step: attaching the drawstrings.


Step 4: Attaching the Drawstrings

Now it’s time to attach the drawstrings to your drawstring backpack. Follow these steps:

  1. Measure and cut two pieces of drawstring cord or ribbon, each measuring twice the width of your backpack plus a few extra inches for tying. For example, if your backpack is 16 inches wide, cut the drawstrings to be around 36 inches long.
  2. Thread one end of the drawstring through the gap in the casing on one side of the backpack. You can use a safety pin or a bodkin to help thread the drawstring through the casing.
  3. Continue threading the drawstring through the casing, making sure it passes through both the front and back of the casing.
  4. Repeat the process with the second drawstring on the opposite side of the backpack.
  5. Even out the drawstrings on both sides and gently pull them to gather the top opening of the backpack. Make sure the gathering is even and adjust if needed.
  6. Tie a secure knot at the ends of the drawstrings to prevent them from slipping back through the casing. You can also add decorative knots or tassels for a personalized touch.

With the drawstrings attached, your drawstring backpack is almost complete. Give them a gentle tug to make sure they slide smoothly through the casings and provide a secure closure for your backpack.


Now it’s time for the final step: adding any finishing touches to your drawstring backpack!


Step 5: Finishing Touches

Congratulations! You’re in the final step of creating your very own drawstring backpack. It’s time to add some finishing touches to complete the look. Follow these steps:

  1. Examine the backpack and make any necessary adjustments or corrections. Trim any loose threads and ensure that all seams are secure.
  2. If desired, you can add extra embellishments to personalize your backpack. Consider sewing on patches, adding embroidery designs, or using fabric markers to create unique patterns or designs.
  3. Gently press the drawstring backpack to smooth out any wrinkles or creases one final time.
  4. Admire your finished drawstring backpack! Try it on and make sure the size and fit are comfortable for your needs. You can now use it to carry your travel essentials, gym clothes, or everyday items with style and ease.

Don’t forget to snap a photo of your creation and share it with friends or on social media. Your handmade drawstring backpack is sure to impress!


Now that you’ve completed all the steps, take a moment to appreciate your craft and the satisfaction of creating something functional and fashionable. You now have a unique drawstring backpack that reflects your personal style and is ready to accompany you on all your adventures.


Thank you for following this tutorial, and we hope you enjoyed the process of making your own drawstring backpack!



Congratulations on successfully creating your very own drawstring backpack! This DIY project has allowed you to unleash your creativity and showcase your sewing skills while providing you with a practical and stylish accessory.


By following the step-by-step instructions in this article, you have learned how to cut fabric, sew the main body, add the drawstring casing, attach the drawstrings, and add the finishing touches. Throughout the process, you had the opportunity to customize the design and fabric to match your personal style.


Your drawstring backpack is now ready to accompany you on all your adventures. Whether you’re traveling, going to the gym, or running errands, this versatile accessory is perfect for carrying your essentials in an organized and trendy way.


Remember, this tutorial is just the beginning. Feel free to experiment with different fabrics, colors, and embellishments to create more drawstring backpacks for yourself or as thoughtful gifts for friends and family.


Now that you’re familiar with the process, you can also explore more advanced techniques such as adding pockets, using decorative stitches, or incorporating waterproof materials for added functionality.


We hope you enjoyed this DIY journey and found it rewarding. Making your own drawstring backpack not only saves you money but also allows you to express your creativity and showcase your unique style.


Thank you for joining us in this creative endeavor. Happy crafting and enjoy your new drawstring backpack!