I'm going to show you how to make a drawstring bag that looks like it was purchased from the stores. Here are the items that you need:
Fabric (I purchased 1 yard red cotton canvas 58/60" wide for 12.49)
2x 1/2 inch grommets w/ grommet press ($10.27 from home depot. but spent $50 on ebay for a grommet press to apply the same exact pressure for each grommet)
Any type of rope. I used 550 Paracord for durability. ($9.49 for 100 feet)
Sewing Machine that has zig zag stitch.Optional but recommended (silk screen paint, vinyl cutter, vinyl adhesive)
Cutting the Fabric and Making the Zipper Pocket
Using your yard of fabric. cut two matching large rectangles. For the third one, cut one with the width the same as the first two but cut the height two inches shorter. Ex: if you have two 14" x 22" sheets, third sheet should be 14" x 20".
Set your sewing machine to the zig-zag stitch setting. The zig-zag stitch is an alternative for using a serger to prevent fraying of the fabric.
Sew all the sides of the fabric with the zig-zag stitch. there should be a total of 12 sides you need to stitch.
Fold the edges about the width of the zig-zag stitch.Use a straight stitch and sew all the folded edges. To prevent the folds from unfolding, use masking tape to hold them down and peel them off once you finished the stitching. You now only have to fold 3 sides of each fabric. Note the following:
If you want the bag in a portrait orientation, fold and sew the two longer edges and one shorter edge. If you want the bag in a landscape orientation, fold and sew the two shorter edges and one longer edge.The edge that is not folded and sewn is the bottom of the bag.The front side of the sheet(s) should be clean. No folded edges should be visible.
Using the shorter sheet, take your zipper and align it to the width of the sheet. If it's too long, trim the zipper. If you accidentally trim off the zipper stopper, use a needle and thread and sew over the teeth a few times making sure that's where you want the zipper to stop.
Using the zipper's back side, align it the bottom half of the zipper to the top edge (back) of the fabric making sure you don't cover the teeth.
When you find the ideal position, use masking tape and tape the zipper to the sheet.
Flip it to the other side and make sure it's not covering the zipper's teeth. Sew the zipper and sheet together using the straight stitch. To make it easier to sew, use a zipper foot. You can sew over either side of the zipper teeth without having the zipper foot sitting on the teeth.
Take one of the two larger sheets and draw a line two inches from the top using a fabric pencil marker.
Using the front side of the zipper align the line you just drew to the middle space between the zipper's teeth and top edge of the zipper
Fold the top edge down over the top edge of the zipper. The top edge should also align with the line that you drew. Use tape to secure the fabric in place. Sew them all together.
You should now have the zipper sewn on.
To make the pocket, sew the remaining sides of the shorter sheet of fabric to the longer sheet of fabric.
Making the Bag
Take the remaining sheet and again mark a line two inches from the top.
Fold the top edge down and sew it together.
You now have the two pieces to make the bag. Note: You will be inverting the bag once the sides are sewn together. What's shown on the outside will be the inside and the inside will be on the outside.
Place one sheet over the other where both of the front sides of each fabric will be on top of each other.
Align them together and sew the sides and bottom.
You may have one side longer than the other. Since you're going to invert them it'll be hidden away. But if you want all the sides to be even, you can trim the edges.
Flip the bag inside out. Push from the bottom and then flatten the edges.
Adding Grommets, Rope, and Image
Measure about three inches from the bottom and three inches from the sides
Draw a diagonal line and sew along the lines.
Find the center from the corner to the diagonal line and mark it.
Use an awl or a sharp object to pierce through the sheets of fabric where it was marked.
Take a grommet and push it through. If it doesn't fit, carefully use a scissor and make small snips until the grommet can fit through.
To put an image on the bag, place the bag on the back side. Look inside the bag. The back side should be side where the zipper is located. Skip to inserting the rope if you don't plan on adding the image.
Use a vinyl cutter and cut out the image you want to paint.
Center and place the vinyl adhesive on the front side of the bag.
Put a silk screen over the vinyl adhesive and cover the areas you don't want to paint with painter's tape
Using a silk screen squeegee and silk screen paint, run the paint over the image. For best results, run the paint over the image 3 — 4 times.
Carefully lift the silk screen up.
Let the silk screen paint dry and carefully peel off the vinyl adhesive. For smaller pieces of vinyl, use a needle or a pick and carefully remove them.
Cut two six feet ropes. I used 550 paracord.
You should have two paths to feed the rope through. The front and the back.
Take one end of the rope and feed it through the left side of the front path until it comes out on the other side. To make it easier, tape one end of the rope to a long wire so you can pull it through.
Next, feed the same rope through the right side of the back path until it comes out the other side.
You should now have two strands of rope. Even out the rope and feed it through the grommet.