Simple drawstring bag with vinyl window

drawstring bag with a view

Hi, Stephanie from Swoodson Says – a new year brings renewed organizing and decluttering energy so I have the perfect tutorial for you! The older my son gets, the more small toys we have building up, so I sewed up a drawstring bag with a vinyl window. I've found kids love seeing things peek out at them – the most played with toy in our house is this camera softie, it has a vinyl “view-finder” on the back!

I put the drawstring on the outside so it is a little more durable, enclosed all the seams so it's neat and pretty, and added a loop on the back so it can be hung up. The animal fabric I used goes perfectly with his log slice pouf – you can see more pictures of that project here.

Are you ready to sew some organizing bags for yourself? They'd be great for makeup too!




Use 1/4″ seam allowance, unless otherwise indicated. Use a press cloth when pressing vinyl portions.


1. First, we will assemble the front panel. Cut a vinyl rectangle measuring 7.5″ wide by 6.5″ tall. Cut two cotton rectangles, one 7.5″ wide by 8″ and one 7.5″ wide by 3″.


2. Sew the vinyl and smaller rectangle, wrong sides together. Trim 1/8″ off of the seam allowance.


3. Push the seam allowance down, finger press, and place right sides together and sew.


4. Press the encased seam allowance down, away from the vinyl. Top stitch. Repeat the same french seam process for the top rectangle, creating the final front panel.


5. Cut a second fabric rectangle, measuring 7.5″ wide by 14.75″ tall. Place wrong sides together with the front panel you just created, sew along all three sides leaving the top open. Trim the bottom corners and trim 1/8″ off the seam allowance. Flip inside out, press the seams, and sew again, repeating the same french seam procedure. Turn right side out and press.


6. Press the raw edges on the top 1/2″ down, and then 1/2″ down again, encasing the raw edges and pressing the seams towards the back of the bag, away from the vinyl window. Top stitch and press.


7. Cut two rectangles, measuring 12.5″ wide by 2″ tall. Sew them right sides together, leaving a 2″ opening to turn. Trim corners, turn right side out, and press.


8. Cut a piece of twill tape 3.5″ long and sew it in a loop at the middle of the rectangle.


9. Sew your rectangle 2.5″ below the top edge, 1/4″ from each long edge and leaving the short ends open, roughly 3/4″ apart from each other. Cut a 22″ piece of twill tape, knot each end, and use a bodkin or safety pin to thread it through, tying in a knot to close!

PicMonkey Collage

Ta-da! You now have the perfect bag to stow toys, trinkets, game pieces, makeup, or toiletries.

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I love when I can hang things up – off the floor is always better in my book. If you're thinking of giving this as a gift and looking for ideas to fill the bag, check out my monster finger puppets or woodburned matching game!

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I'm Stephanie and I blog at about sewing and crafts for myself & my toddler son. I love upcycling, using up scraps,  and having the freedom to make what I can't find or afford in stores. I spend way too much time online - you can connect with me on twitter/pinterest/facebook/instagram !


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One Response to Simple drawstring bag with vinyl window

  1. Lynda Fournier says:

    This bag was fun to make. It did take me a few minutes to figure out just how the French seam was suppose to work! When I put the rectangle on, I pin it around so it ends at one seam and then I mark on the rectangle where the other seam is. I put a button hole at that mark and then sew the rectangle on. I like a pull string at each side seam because it pulls together easier and more fully closes.

What do you think?