Sewing Tutorial: Swimming out of the craft pile – a fish drawstring bag!

I wanted to make a drawstring bag as a gift, but wanted to make something a little bit different to usual, so while thinking few some ideas I came to think about the possibility of making something ocean themed and from that I came to the decision to make a fish themed drawstring bag. I had also thought of a octopus or squid theme but the thought of all the legs put me off a little….maybe something for another time!.

I added a little eye detail to the bag to make it really stand out but I think it would good without the eye if you didn’t want to be looked at!

Fabric was gifted by The Craft Cotton Company.

Fish Drawstring Bag Tutorial:

You will need:


  • One colour for the main bag.
  • One colour for the bag lining.
  • One colour for the strip of fabric for the drawstring top section.

Ribbon for the drawstring (50cm).

White felt for the eye.

Grey felt for the eye.

To Make the bag:

  • Draw a fish body template (with the top edge 22cm wide, and 30cm long) and a separate wide paper strip (24cm long by 7cm wide).
  • Cut out 4 fish body pieces (two in each of the 2 colours so you have two main bag pieces and two lining pieces) and 2 pieces of the fabric strip with a 0.5cm seam allowance.
  • Take the wide strip of fabric fold in the side edges by 1cm and fold in half with right sides facing outwards.
  • Take one the of fish body pieces and place the raw edge of the folded fabric strip against the raw edge of the top of the fish body and sew along to secure.
  • Fold out and press.
  • Place the two fish body pieces right sides together and sew around the edges to secure leaving the top edge and the fabric strip section unsewn. Turn out the right way.
  • Take the two lining pieces, place right sides together and sew around to secure. Do not turn out. Fold the top edge over by 1cm.
  • Place the lining inside the main bag so the top edge of the lining is just below the drawstring fabric strip and sew around to secure.
  • Cut out 2 circles (4cm diameter) from the white felt for the eye, and 2 circles (2cm diameter) from the grey felt.
  • Take one white and grey circle and sew the grey circle onto the white and then sew onto the bag. Repeat with the remaining 2 circles.
  • Take the ribbon and thread through the drawstring section.

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