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A modern reproduction of a medieval turn-shoe with a drawstring
Chalk bags with drawstrings
Hoodie with drawstring

A drawstring (draw string, draw-string) is a string, cord, or rope used to "draw" (tighten) or tie closed an opening in fabric or other material. Typically, the drawstring is loose when not being used, and tightened when needed during use.


Drawstrings are used in clothing like outerwear such as jackets (Anorak, hooded sweatshirts--or "hoodies", etc.), trousers (breeches, pajamas, scrubs, etc.), tracksuits, hats (berets) and bags (pouch, sleeping bags, stuff sacks, money bag, book bags, backpacks, garbage bags, etc.), and shoes (as a shoelace).

On clothing and bags, an aglet is usually (but not always) at the end of a drawstring to prevent unravelling, and a cord lock can be used on a drawstring to keep it taut. A safety pin, bodkin, or crochet hook can be used to pull a drawstring through a hole.


In 1996 the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued guidelines for drawstrings on children's upper outerwear to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on the neck and waist drawstrings of upper outerwear garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts. Drawstrings on children’s clothing are a hidden hazard that can lead to deaths and injuries when they catch on such items as playground equipment, bus doors, or cribs. From 1985-1999, the CPSC received reports of 22 deaths and 48 non-fatal incidents involving the entanglement of children’s clothing drawstrings.[1] In 2006, the CPSC issued a letter to manufacturers, retailers, and importers of children’s upper outwear garments, urging them to make certain the garments do not have hood drawstrings that can pose a strangulation hazard to children.[2] Several product recalls due to possible strangulation hazards have occurred in recent years.[2]

Similarity in nature[edit]

In biology, a type of protein in the Rho family of GTPases heals wounds by contraction, much like a draw-string being pulled to close a bag.[3]

Ojime (緒締め), a marking on a kohaku (an ornamental koi/carp fish), is named after the Japanese word for the drawstring of a pouch or purse.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guidelines for Drawstrings on Children's Upper Outerwear, Consumer Product Safety Commission (retrieved 21 August 2010)
  2. ^ a b Drawstrings, American Apparel and Footwear Association (retrieved 21 August 2010)
  3. ^ Brock J, Midwinter K, Lewis J, Martin P. (1996). "Healing of incisional wound in the embryonic chick wing bud: characterization of the actin purse-string and demonstration of a requirement for Rho activation". J Cell Biol 135 (4): 1097–107. doi:10.1083/jcb.135.4.1097. PMC 2133375. PMID 8922389.