Sack That Opens Flat

About: I yam what I yam.

Intro: Sack That Opens Flat

This is a fairly simple and scaleable drawstring sack that provides easy access to its contents. This is an excellent sack for legos!
There is no need to pour the contents out and select what you need, just open the sack all the way and everything is accessable.

This same design can be used to make a gift bag or even a coin pouch. Pictured along with the tool sack is my Leprechaun pouch; a fun St. Patricks day accessory. Use it to pass out chocolate coins. Both sacks are made the same way. The differences between them is the type of material used and the green sack has a shorter string so it can not open all the way. 

After a moment of silliness I was intriqued and amused at the notion that one of my sacks nearly fit on my head and looked like a baby cap. There could be potential to turn this into some kind of baby cap.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Cardboard (for pinning)
Sewing machine

Rope, string, or ribbon. (depending on the type of sack you are making. )

Step 2: Determine the Size of Your Sack

Place the items that you want to contain onto the material so you may determine how much material to cut.  You want to have enough material so that it folds up around your items. This design also includes a small amount of extra material at the top of the sack which you will also need to consider. 

The finished sack contains two layers of material. Pictured is the material I am using for the inside of the sack. If you don't have a big enough piece of material you can sew pieces together like is shown in the picture. I recycled some pants legs to make this piece of material.

Step 3: Mark and Cut the First Layer

Once you have estimated the size of your sack, you will need to draw a circle on the material. To do this you will need: A surface to pin into, pins, string, and chalk.

Pin your material fast to the surface. I used a flattened cardboard box to push the pins into.

Tie a string to a piece of chalk. I also secured the chalk with duct tape.

Find the center of your material and determine the length of string you will need. When you have determined the length of string you will need then wrap some tape around the string at that point. You will put the pin through the tape and string, This will prevent the pin from slipping between the threads of the string.

Pin the string to the centerpoint of your material.

Draw a circle using the string and chalk.

Cut out the circle by cutting outside of the chalk line.

Step 4: Cut the Second Layer

You could just cut both layers of material together. I chose to cut them seperately in case one of them moved around.
I put my first layer on top of the second and just traced around it. The edges do not need to be exact since they will be trimmed later.

Step 5: Determine the Placement of the Drawstring Holes

This sack will have two drawstring holes and one string. You may just want one hole on a smaller sack, You might want four drawsting holes on a large sack so the string can be pulled out at multiple places. Modify the design as needed.

Place the interior material on top of the exterior material.

Fold the interior piece of material in half.

Where the material is folded, measure in about an inch(2.5 cm) or more on each side and mark where the drawstring hole will go.

Step 6: Create the Drawsting Holes

Follow my Reinforced fabric hole instructable to create the drawstring holes. The instructable can be found at

The holes should be at least an inch(2.5 cm) from the edge of your chalk circle. The chalk line is where the finished outside circle will be.
If there is an outside and inside to your material be sure to note this when making the drawstring hole. The Reinforced fabric hole instructable will explain which side of the material to sew. I prefer to have the material square on the inside of the material for this project.

Step 7: Sew the Layers Together

Place the two layers on top of each other. Put the front sides (if there is one) against the other material. The backside of both materials will be showing for this step.

Pin the layers together.

Sew along your chalk circle. If your circle isn't perfect it isn't a big deal. The design is very forgiving and the ruffled edge will hide any flaws. If you drew your circle on the other side of the material you can still sew the circle. If you had cut the material neatly, just sew in from the edge a little.

When you sew your circle you will need to leave a small opening to invert the material. Be sure to back stitch where the opening is so it doesn't come apart when you invert the material. This opening will be closed later.  You may invert the sack through a draw string hole if the hole is large enough. In that case you will not need to leave an opening when sewing the circle. I had done this on the green sack.

Trim the excess material.

Invert the sack through the opening.

Close the opening. You may need to sew this by hand.

Step 8: Create the Draw String Channel

Sew a circle with a diameter slightly larger than the outside edge of the drawstring hole.

Sew a second circle with a diameter slightly smaller than the inside edge of the draw string hole.

Step 9: Insert the Drawstring

There are some choices to make here:
If your sack is going to open all the way, then one loop of string pulled out of both holes is best. If two strings are used they will be too long once the sack is closed. If your sack will not open all the way then two loops of string are best. With two loops closing the sack is just a matter of pulling the strings away from each other. With a sack that does not open fully the strings will not need to be as long so they will not be too long when the sack is closed.

Tape a paper clip or safety pin to your rope, string or ribbon. You may not need this on a larger sack, the rope might be stiff enough.

Work the string through the drawstring channel. If the sack is to be opened flat, then open it flat when feeding the string so you pull through the correct amount of string.

Tie the ends together.

Step 10: Use the Sack

The sack is complete. Fill it with tools, legos, candy, a jar of jam(small sacks are great for this!), or whatever else your heart desires.



    • Tiny Home Contest

      Tiny Home Contest
    • Metalworking Contest

      Metalworking Contest
    • Fix It! Contest

      Fix It! Contest

    11 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Nice! The title just made me want to say this;
    "A sack that opens flat, goldfish" :)

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice sack. You might want to think of something else to store your taps and dies in though. It is not a good idea to let those hit each other.

    2 replies
    Todd Gehrispfred2

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, good point, I hadn't considered that. I will have to come up with a better solution.

    pfred2Todd Gehris

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If you made little paper tubes for all of your taps you might be OK. Just wrap them each in paper and tape them up. Or you could get a block of wood and drill holes in it to stuff them into. Typically tap and die sets either have routed recesses for each part, or a custom blow molded inner liner that each part sits in individually. Being glass hard taps and dies are fragile like glass is too.

    When I first saw your project my initial reaction was to find a kitten to strangle I was so upset! Not having a kitten on hand to make me feel any better I opted to leave a comment though instead.

    One final thought if you're good at sewing you can make wrap pockets inside your bag to hold the taps separately. That would be sweet! Like this but in the round

    A crude picture


    4 years ago on Introduction

    These are great. Hadn't thought of this in years. I had one of this as a kid for my Lego collection. Makes a clean up easy and also created an clean play-space. Wow, never thought to use it a toolbag. You might wan to add a small spring cord lock they're convenient and relatively cheap.

    Here's a tip for use with small parts or toys to ensure nothing drops out if the sack is turned over. As usual, pull the drawstring and tie it (secure it with the cord lock). Then, fold the top of the sack over. Finally, tightly wrap the excess drawstring below the drawn closure and secure with a simple knot.

    2 replies
    Todd GehrisRouverius

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I had the same bag for my legos when I was a kid! I loved that thing; think my parents did too! I was looking for spring cord locks, the ones I found were too small for the rope I used. I used something a little heavier because of the weight of the tools. Been trying to come up with a way to make my own cord lock. Sounds like another project to put on my list.

    pfred2Todd Gehris

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    While subject to loss because it is removable a paper binder clip might still make an acceptable cheap cord lock solution.

    Todd Gehrissunshiine

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you like it. I didn't come up with the design. I've been making these a few years. They are great for gifts. It looks really cool if you make a bag that closes around the neck of a mason jar. Great way to give out jam! I think I first saw this design via an online video but haven't been able to find it again.