Fourth and final installment of strap posts!
Today's is all about drawstrings and drawcords.
My oddly compartmentalized brain has always categorized drawstring bags as more casual than other bags with "proper" straps and "proper" closures. I feel bad for having forever held on to this impression because drawstrings offer one of the easiest and most versatile means of strapping and closing a bag. If you've been following this blog for a while, you might have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of drawstring-style gathered-opening bags and pouches I've turned out. For good reason: they're fun and crafty-looking and simple to make. Whenever I have to mass-produce any kind of bag, these are almost always my go-to pick.
Because they are such a prominent feature, any bag with a drawstring opening is usually automatically called a drawstring bag, regardless of its shape, function or structural category. Do not be distracted by its obviousness, though - remember that it isn't a type of bag on its own. Rather, any bag can have drawstring straps, or a drawstring closure. See:
This bucket-tote style pouch has drawstrings.
So does this darted tote-style pouch:
And this flat tote:
meaning this bag also moonlights as a backpack/knapsack):
Repeat after me: "A drawstring bag is just a (pick one) flat tote/darted tote/gusseted tote/wrapped tote/bucket tote/blocked tote with drawstrings that close the bag. If these drawstrings make short loops, they are handles. If they make long enough loops, especially if they are anchored elsewhere onto the bag, they are straps".
Now let's look at some different ways of attaching those drawstrings.
1 External channel
A strip of fabric is sewn onto the RS of the bag body
and the drawstring, when threaded through the channel, stays on the outside of the bag.
The channel has the added function of being decorative.
2 Internal channel (fold-over hem)
The bag above has a drawstring channel made by folding the top edge over to the WS/inside of the bag to make a hollow hem. The drawstring, when threaded through the channel, lays on the inside of the bag.
3 Channel Between Layers
Lined bags have the drawstring channel between the bag layers. Holes left in the side seams allow the drawstring to emerge. The channel itself is made by sewing two parallel lines of stitching around the circumference of the bag to contain the drawstring. This channel can be situated as high or low as you prefer. The channel of this bag is about 1.5" from the top edge,
producing a ruffle effect when the bag is closed.
The channel of this bag is at the very top,
producing a more ah... sphincter-esque look.
Here is another drawstring channel at the top of the bag, with a single drawstring cord and cordstop
and an opening on both the outer and lining sides of the bag, to allow it to be reversible.
Note that you can also use grommets to make a pathway for a drawcord. Very popular in beach bag and swimming bag designs. But that's wandering into hardware territory and I want to avoid that in this series.
With that, the section on straps is complete - four entire chapters devoted to my favorite part of a bag. Find the other straps here:
In the next post, we will be dissecting layers and discussing how to design reversibility into a bag. See ya soon!
Chapter 3A: Open-ended straps
Chapter 3B: Closed-ended straps
Chapter 3C: Integrated straps