Drawstring Keepsake Bag Made From a Vintage Pillowcase

Even though I make a lot of new things with my vintage linens, my stash never seems to get any smaller. Hmm, it could be because I can’t pass up a great deal when I see one. 😉 The deals are usually great because I’m not picky about stains or tears. I just design around them. If its a primitive project, I may incorporate the imperfections into the design.


This drawstring keepsake bag was made using a pillowcase that had the sweetest decorated cuff. Doesn’t the embroidered image remind you of a simpler time? This bag is authentically vintage. The fabric used to complete the bag was picked up at an estate auction.

Do you wanna make one too? Assuming your answer is yes, the following is my simple tutorial. One pillowcase has enough fabric to make at least two bags. You can also alter the project dimensions to make smaller bags with the remaining scraps.

Things You Will Need:

Vintage pillowcase


Measuring tape

2 different fabric scraps

Straight pins

Sewing machine


1 2/3 yards 1/8-inch-wide ribbon

Safety pin


Step 1

Lay a vintage pillowcase on your work surface. Cut off the decorative cuff, or decorative end of the pillowcase and set aside. Note: This cuff needs to be at least 6 inches long. Cut two 10-inch squares from the remaining portion of the pillowcase. From two contrasting fabrics, cut two 2-inch-wide by 10-inch-long strips from each fabric.

Step 2

Cut off 2-inches from one edge of the 10-inch squares. Set the 2-inch strips aside. You are left with two 8-inch-wide by 10-inch-long pieces from the pillowcase.


Step 3

Sew the two fabric strips and the 2-inch-wide pillowcase strip to one long edge of the 8-inch-wide by 10-inch-long pillowcase, with the pillowcase strip attached last. Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance to attach each strip. Repeat with the remaining cut pieces.

Step 4

Press all the seams open. These are the two sides to your drawstring bag.

Step 5

Place the bag sides with the right sides together. Pin the long edges and one short end. The short end is the end with the 2-inch strip of pillowcase. Sew the pinned edges using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You now have the body of the bag.


Step 6

Fold the open edge 1/4-inch to the wrong side and press. Fold over 1-inch more, press and pin. Sew the pinned edge to create a casing. Sew around the casing once more, as close to the outer edge of the casing as possible.

Step 7

Lay the decorative end or cuff of the pillowcase on your work surface. Cut two strips 6 inches wide by 10-inches long with one 10-inch edge being the finished or decorative edge of the cuff.

Step 8

Place the strips with right sides together. Pin the short edges together. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You now have a fabric ring. Fold the cut edge of the ring 1/4 inch to the wrong side and press. Fold over 1/4 inch more, press and pin. Sew the pinned edge.


Step 9

With the hemmed edge at the top, slip the ring around the drawstring bag. Position the hemmed edge just below the casing and pin. Top stitch the ring to the bag.


Step 10

Open the side seams between the casing lines using a seam ripper. Cut 28-inch lengths of 1/8-inch-wide ribbon. Attach a safety pin to one end of one ribbon. Insert the safety pin through the one of the opened seams. Continue to thread the ribbon through the casing, around the top of the bag and out the same opening. Adjust so that the ends extend equally from the opening. Thread the remaining ribbon through the opposite seam opening and through the casing. You will now have two ends of ribbon extending from the casing on each side of the bag.


Step 11

Bring one pair of ends together and tie in an overhand knot 1/2-inch from the end. Repeat with the other pair. Pull the knots to draw the bag closed.

For embellishment, add buttons, beads or charms to the drawstring ribbon ends.

Enjoy! :)

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