Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get A Grip-Drawstring Bag Tutorial

A friend of mine asked me to make her daughter a grip bag.

My response?

"Sure!"..."What's a grip bag???"

That's the great thing about crafty, you're always learning something new.

Grip bags are used by gymnasts to hold their grips, tape and other supplies they may need for their meets. Essentially they are small drawstring bags.


  • Fabric-about 1/2yd. I recommend home dec. weight over cotton. Cotton would work, but will be thin and this bag doesn't have a lining.
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Coordinating thread
  • Cord or ribbon for the drawstring (I used cotton cord that I had leftover from my Clothespin Frame project)
  • Iron
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Water soluble pen (optional, but nice to have)


  • Determine what size you would like your bag to be, remembering to account for seam allowances. I used a tutorial from The Purl Bee (If you're not familiar with The Purl Bee you MUST check out their site. There are so many wonderful projects, ideas and tutorials). You will be cutting out one piece of fabric and folding it in half. My fabric was 13in x 26in. Once folded I had a 13in x 13in square. No matter what size your bag you will still follow all the directions below. I also used my embroidery machine to put a name on my bag. You could also put on an applique or freezer paper stencil. If you are going to embellish your bag I would recommend doing it BEFORE any sewing.
  • Fold your fabric in half-RIGHT SIDES FACING-matching the two 13 inch sides. You should now have a 13 inch square.
  • Starting at the fold, sew along the right and left sides of the bag, stopping 2 inches from the top on each side. I used a water-soluble marker to mark where I needed to stop
  • Since there is no lining, the raw edges are exposed on the inside of the bag. I used my pinking shears to make it look pretty and keep the edges from fraying.
  • Using your iron, fold over the edge on the right-hand-side of the of the bag 1/4 inch and press. Repeat on the left-hand-side.

  • Fold over the top of the bag 1/4 inch and press.
  • Fold over 3/4 inch and press. You have now made the casing on one side of the bag.
  • Sew along the bottom edge with a 1/6 inch seam allowance. Repeat on the other side of the bag. 

  • You should have two separate casings.
  • With the bag still inside-out, lay the two side seams together. 

  • Using a ruler and water-soluable pen, make a line perpendicular to the seam, 2 inches from the point of the bag.
  • Sew on top of the line you just made. Using your pinking shears cut the corner of the bag off, careful no to clip any of the stitches you just made.
  • Repeat on the other side of the bag. You have now made your gussets.
  • Attach a safety-pin to one end of your cord/ribbon. Thread it through then end of one of the casings and back through the other side so that both ends of the cord/ribbon are on the same side.
  • Repeat, starting on the other side. You should have two ends of cord/ribbon on each side of the bag. Leave about 6 inches on either side and tie the ends into a knot. Cut off the excess cord/ribbon.
  • When you pull on the cord/ribbon the bag will cinch closed.

It's also fun to experiment with different fabrics. I'm thinking that I need to make a few that are lined with rip-stop nylon to put our dirty boots in after riding lessons.

I saw these cute alphabet rocks on I Am Momma-Hear Me Roar the other day. Put them in a drawstring bag and you've got a fabulous and unique gift.
You can make your own pretty shoe bags.
Looking for more of a challenge? Check out this tutorial for the Bagsket by Foofanagle. So cute!

So many possibilities!

So much fun!

As always...I'd LOVE to see what you make so send pictures my way!!!


  1. I think that would make a great "car travel" bag. My boys like to bring toys/books/crayons with them when we spend time in the car. I like that you can pull it closed!! i might have to make a few of these for this summer!!

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