Sewing an 18th Century Drawstring Bag

After my dogs attacked my prized Pottery Barn duvet cover in the dead center of it (rendering it completely useless as bed clothes), I cut the bottom lining off to use for other projects and saved the decorative top for…whatever may come up.  Turns out I have super educated and talented friends who spotted the pattern as Indienne, a fabric pattern popular between 17th and 19th centuries.   So I cut down a quarter of the duvet cover for an 18th century jacket (coming soon to the blog) and used some scrappy areas for a stomacher (also coming soon), pockets (see the pockets build here), and with what little was left…I made a small drawstring bag inspired by a bag carried by Claire from Outlander in season 2 (see the pin here).



I couldn’t find a pattern for a drawstring bag so I made one (download my PDF pattern here).  Printing on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper limits the size but it could be scaled to any size.  Instructions are below.



18th Century Drawstring Bag How-To

  • Cut 2 pattern (outside), 2 contrast (lining), and 2 fusible interfacing
  • Iron interfacing to wrong sides of patterned fabric
  • With right sides together, stitch pattern to liner at top
  • Repeat with other pattern & liner
  • Turn right side out and iron top seam



Optional Step

  • Position extra-wide double-fold bias tape where drawstring will be inserted on both patterned fabric (I’m using linen here, which frays like a mofo)



  • With right sides together, stitch both patterned pieces together around curve
  • Trim excess
  • Turn right side out and iron flat



Optional Step

  • If using bias tape, stitch top and bottom all the way around bag (to keep bias tape in place)



  • Cut slits through bias tape, patterned outside, and liner as shown in pattern and picture below
  • Insert string or closed bias tape weaving in and out between slits
  • Tie loose ends in knot
  • Carry around wrist



Optional Step

  • Fill a flask of whisky and insert into drawstring purse…slàinte!



Coming soon…the rest of the 18th century clothing items made with the fated duvet cover, including jacket, stomacher, stays, and hat trim.  Check back for links here!