Wednesday 9 November 2011

Project: Reversible Window Drawstring Bag


I've wanted to try making one of these for ages. The girls have oodles of little bitty toys that are currently grouped in snaplock bags to maintain some sort of order and tidiness... The plan is to replace the bags with
lovely fabric ones but I kept getting hung up on not being able to see what's in a bag without opening it. Hence the need for there to be a window.... I just had to get my head around how to do it. So the thinking cap came on and here's what I did: 

I drew up a plan that consisted of:
- 2 x 22cm squares
- 8 x 17x7cm rectangles
- 1 x 44x5cm strip
- 1 x 12x12cm plastic square
(Note: I always include 1cm seams all around.)
- Ribbon

First sew the rectangles together to form a square:

This forms the "frame" of the window. Do not however sew right to the "frame" edge. Allow about 1cm to fold in as a seam.

It would be a good idea to press these folded edges down with an iron to keep them in place.

The next part is a bit hard to explain or photograph as the plastic is clear but...

With the wrong side of one 'frame' facing you, place the plastic square over the hole.  It should cover the opening and go to the edges of the inside seams.

I dotted some craft/fabric glue in each corner to keep it in place. (I know, I'm super high tech...)

Then place the second frame on top of (again I dotted a bit of glue on each corner to hold all 3 layers together).  Line them up nice and squarely.  Pin along the outside edges to help hold it together.

Sew close to the edge around the plastic to secure it.  Window panel done.

Now we attached one of our large squares to one of the window panel.  Right sides together pin one square to the window panel.  (The window panel has two sides now of course, so I pinned up the side that I wasn't sewing onto for the moment.)  You can see the right side of your large square through the window :)

Sew along the the sides and bottom but leave the top open for now. *

Before we do the other side we attach the long narrow drawstring strip.

Turn the bag inside out.  I don't have a great photo for this next step but fold each end over twice (1cm in and then again), press. fold the strip down the middle of it's long side and press again.  

Now pin the strip around the opening of the bag.

Sew the strip on allowing for about a 1cm seam.  (My photo shows it smaller but don't do as I did, do as I say :) This was a learning process after all.)

Turn the bag inside out again.  Now we're going to attach the second square to the other side of the window panel like before. (see * above)

You will end up with what seems like two bags held together in the middle by the window itself. Trim the 4 bottom corners and turn the bag inside out again.  

Almost there.  The drawstring strip will be attached all the way around to one side of the bag and we need to join all the layers together.  Turn the seam for the inside layer in.  Match it with the bottom of the seam for the drawstring strip - in doing so the edges should line up with that of the outside layer (this is why we attached the drawstring strip at the normal seam allowance).

This may be easier to do if you press the outside layer/drawstring seam.  Once you've turned the inside seam inwards and pinned it down, you might want to press again to stop the fabric from moving once you start sewing.  (Be careful when you do any ironing to stay well clear of the plastic!!)

Sew all the way around the edge.  Tidy up any loose strands.

Decide which way round you would like it.

Knot the end of some ribbon or rope, feed it through the drawstring tube, knot the other end, fill it up and...Tada!

I'll be trying this again but with much bigger bags and am contemplating a zip for the top.  If you have a go I'd love to see your results!  Or if you have any questions please ask!  Sharing is caring :)

Joining up here.



  1. You are so clever - these would make great toiletry bags too for my teenage nieces

  2. What a great idea! And a fab tutorial. Thank you so much for this. I now need to go find me some clear plastic.

  3. great idea, thanks for the tutorial.... I need some of these too

  4. Wonderful tutorial. Love that it's reversible.

  5. Brilliant idea!! And such a lovely clear tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  6. A very cute solution to an untidy problem. :)

  7. Such a great idea! I think I will have a go at making some to correl the middle child's obsession with trains.

  8. What a great tutorial and idea!

  9. THese are great. Love them. I made some toys with windows this year and rice with treasures for searching for.

  10. this is an awesome project! adding plastic to my shopping list for today...

  11. Thanks for sharing the tutorial, got oodles of plastic, so may have to whip some up.


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