Thursday, April 24, 2008
Clothespin Bag Tutorial
Note: If you want to buy clothespin bags, please visit my Etsy Shop. But, feel free to make your own from this tutorial!
This "Laundry Themed" fabric has clothespins, irons, soap, smiling sunshines and tiny hearts pinned on a clothesline on it. Perfect for a clothespin bag! Here is the fabric and the matching lining fabric.
If you would like to make your own bag for clothespins, recycling grocery bags or other storage, these are the instructions:
The first step is to cut one each of your outer fabric and lining fabric in two sizes. The first will be 14 inches wide by 30 inches long and the second is 14 inches wide by 6 inches long. If your fabric doesn't have a directional print to prevent you from cutting it sideways on the fabric, you can cut both pieces from the fabric on the fold and still have a little piece of fabric left over for future projects. (scrap quilt maybe:o)
The longer piece will be used for the back and part of the front of the bag. By folding the bottom end up to meet the top piece you will form the bag.
This tutorial uses a child size plastic hanger, but you can use any size or kind you wish. An adult size plastic hanger would make a bigger bag or a wooden hanger that is straight across would be great. What ever hanger you choose, use it for a pattern to make the shape of the top of both pieces like this. Of course, if you use a bigger hanger, you'll have to make your fabric pieces wider.
Then put right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam all the way around leaving an opening for turning. Very carefully trim the seam and clip corners to reduce bulk. Don't trim the seam where you left the opening. Do this for both pieces. I leave the opening for turning on the larger piece on one side. This opening will be sewn up later when you are sewing the pieces together. I leave the opening for the smaller piece on the straight edge on the bottom. The opening will be sewn up as you are sewing on the ribbon later.
Turn the pieces right side out and using a knitting needle or other tool, very carefully push the corners out. Press well, making sure to get the seams flat.
You don't have to embellish the opening of the bag, but I like to sew ribbon, ric rac, etc. on there. If you do, now is the time to sew it on. You sew it on the straight end of the two pieces. You can zig zag about two inches from each side which gives it a nice finished look and keeps the opening from gapping open, but its not necessary. If you wish to do this, now is the time to do that too.
Another kind of embellishment for the opening uses your own fabric and is sewn on similar to a quilt binding. This makes a very nice looking bag and you can just use the fabric you already have on hand. This kind of opening ends up looking like this:
To make this kind of opening cut two strips of coordinating fabric three inches wide and 14 inches wide (or the width of the bag you are making)and fold them in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together. With raw edges together sew the folded strip across the two edges of the fabric that form the opening of the bag. Then fold the strip over to the back, press and machine stitch straight across from the back. From the front it is about 1/4 inch from the seam. I did this for both edges of the opening before sewing the bag together. Then I zigzagged about 2 inches on each side. After that I continued on with the normal construction of the bag.
This is a clothespin bag I made with this style of opening:
After you finish embellising your opening, put right sides together like this, start sewing at the bottom and go up to the top, stopping where the handle of the clothes hanger will go through. Leave an opening about 2 inches wide for this. Then sew the other side, making sure to close up the opening you left earlier, for turning, as you sew. Turn it right side out, pushing out the corners and seams.
Here is the finished bag. I love the way the checked lining peeks out through the opening.
There are many ways to use these bags, even if you don't have a need for a clothespin holder. They can be used to store plastic grocery bags, small toys, socks, anything. They can be made in colors to match your kitchen and would make great closet organizers. Just make them the size you need.