Making a drawstring laundry bag is a great sewing project where you can learn new skills and end up with a useful, attractive result. Here’s a tutorial from Empisal, where you can learn how to make a laundry bag on your EMPISAL EES 50 or other sewing machine and develop your channel stitching skills.

Materials you need to sew a drawstring laundry bag 

1.9m fabric that is 115cm wide

10cm of grosgrain ribbon that is 4cm wide

Sewing thread to match the fabric and ribbon

With these measurements, the bag will be 48cm wide, 74cm tall and 11cm deep. Gingham or another robust fabric is a good choice, as it will stand up to heavy use while keeping its shape without wearing out.


Cut front and back panel at 50cm x 93 cm each.

Cut two side panels at 13cm x 93 cm each.

Cut bag base at 13cm x 50cm.

Cut two strips for drawstrings at 5cm x 175cm.

Step one: Fold drawstring strip in half on wrong side and iron flat. Open strip and fold 12mm towards the centre on each long edge and iron. Fold in half along length with borders inside and iron to make a 12mm wide path for the drawstring. Cut each end on the diagonal and topstitch along long end of the drawstring to close. Repeat for other drawstring.

Step two: Stitch the bag pieces together. Pin long edge of the front panel to the long edge of the side panel, leaving a 1cm seam allowance and marking a seam opening 60 – 65cm from the bottom edge (this is where the drawstring will be). Starting 1cm from the bottom edge with a 1cm seam allowance, stitch the panels together. Repeat with other side panel, remembering to leave the same opening for the drawstring. Stitch the base on with a 1cm seam allowance. Iron all seams open and press seams on the drawstring allowance.

Step three: To make the drawstring channel, turn 1cm to the wrong side around the top of the laundry bag, iron and pin, and then topstitch. The, fold 17cm of the top of the bag to the wrong side. Iron this at the fold at the top and tack into place along fold and hem. Stitch around the whole of the bag 10 cm from the upper folded edge and work another line of sewing 5 cm below this.

Step four: Insert the drawstring by attaching a large safety pin into the channel and threading it through. Repeat with the other drawstring going through the opposite half of the bag. Knot the ends of the drawstring.

Get the best value for your money with Empisal sewing machines and equipment

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, overlockers, steam presses and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years.

Whether you’re learning to sew or a professional, Empisal has the right sewing machine for you. With the  EES 50 SEWING MACHINE, you’ll be able to take on new projects with ease and get the most out of your sewing skills.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.