In this post I’d like to share one of my favorite projects with you – a stylish and useful laundry bag. This project is great for practicing applique and free machine embroidery and, if you customize it with your family’s names – you might even get them to put their laundry in it!
Make this fun laundry bag in any colour or size you want. If you want to make one for everyone in the family, why not personalise it with their names?
Washday Laundry Bag
You Will Need
1/2m strong cotton fabric
Fabric scraps for washing appliqué
Fusible web for washing appliqué
Machine embroidery and polyester thread in black
2m cotton cord
A range of hand-dyed cotton fabrics are available from www.time4me-workshops.co.uk/shop.
All seam allowances are 1/2” (1.25 cm) unless stated otherwise.
A 2.5mm stitch length is used throughout except for the addition of appliqué images.
A standard zigzag foot is used throughout unless otherwise stated.
To Make Your Laundry Bag
Cut Your Pattern Pieces
1 From the cotton fabric, cut 2 x rectangles 19” (48cm) x 16” (41cm).
2 From the remaining cotton fabric, cut 2 x strips 2” x 20”.
Appliqué your Front Panel
3 Choose one of the rectangles to be the front panel and lay it on a flat surface with one of the shortest edges at the bottom.
4 Measure 8” from the bottom edge of each long (19”) side and mark these points.
5 Using a dressmaker’s curve or curved ruler and some tailor’s chalk, draw a curved line between these points. This will be the position of the washing line.
6 On the paper side of your fusible web, draw an assortment of clothing or soft toys you might find on your washing line. These do not have to be artistically correct – have fun!
7 Roughly cut out each shape.
Note: If the recipient has a favorite toy, pyjamas or t-shirt, you could make one, or two, of the pieces a similar shape and color.
8 Choose the colors of your washing items from your fabric scraps and iron each piece.
9 Referring to the instructions for the brand of fusible web you are using, fuse each clothing shape onto the wrong side of your chosen fabrics and carefully cut out.
10 Arrange your washing with the top edges just slightly below the curved line until you are happy with it.
11 Fuse in place.
12 Refer to your machine instruction manual and set your machine up for machine embroidery, fit an embroidery or darning foot and thread the top with black embroidery thread and the bobbin with black polyester thread.
13 Hoop your fabric, so a number of complete washing items are encircled (this will depend on the size of your hoop). Ensure your appliqué is on the recessed side of the hoop.
14 Embroider around each article of clothing, adding details as required.
15 Add pegs to each clothing item or toy.
16 Refer to your instruction manual and set your sewing machine for normal stitching. Fit a standard straight stitch/zigzag foot to your machine and using a 3mm length straight stitch, stitch several times over the line marked earlier for the position of the washing line.
Add your Writing
17 Using a ruler and tailor’s chalk, draw a straight line connecting the two ends of the washing line.
18 Mark the central point of the line and from this point, draw a box 7” x 3”, so the bottom 7” edge of the box rests on the line. Your embroidered word, whatever you have chosen, should fit inside this box, but if you are using a longer name or several words you may need to increase the size of the box accordingly (and the size of your hoop!).
19 Now, on a sheet of paper, draw out the 7” x 3” box and write the word you are intending to embroider inside in a neat copperplate. Try to ensure there is an equal amount of space above and below the word.
20 Once you are happy with your word, trace over it a number of times with your finger as described in the previous section.
21 Place your front panel in the hoop, centralising the box as accurately as possible.
22 Set your machine for free machine embroidery as before, and embroider your word. Don’t worry if you go off a little here and there, this will only add a little homemade charm!
Assemble your Laundry Bag
23 Place the bag front and back panels right sides together and pin round the two sides and the bottom.
24 Set your sewing machine for a 2.5mm straight stitch and stitch round the three sides.
25 Diagonally clip the two bottom corners.
26 Press open the side seams.
27 Turn over ¼” all round the top of the bag and press.
28 Turn over another ¾” and press again.
29 Place some pins at 90 degrees around the top of the bag and stitch close to the lower fold. Turn the bag right way out, pushing out the corners.
30 Now stitch together the two 2” strips along one of their short ends and press the seam open. Trim the length of the strip to 32”. This strip will be your cord casing.
31 Turn in ½” on each short edge of the strip and press.
32 Turn in ¼” on each long edge of the strip and press.
33 Using tailor’s chalk, mark a line 2” below the top edge, all the way round the bag.
34 Starting at the right hand side seam (with the front panel facing you) pin the pressed strip, with the raw edges facing the bag, all round the bag, finishing back at the side seam. Try and place the seam, in the pressed strip, at the rear of the bag.
35 Stitch all round both long edges of the cord casing about 1/8” from the edge, working a few reverse stitches at the beginning and end of each seam to secure.
36 Apply a piece of sticky tape to each end of your cotton cord to prevent fraying while threading it through the casing.
37 Using a large safety pin, fastened to one end of the cord, thread it through the casing and knot the ends together securely. Remove the tape as fraying is limited by the position of the knot.
The bag looks better filled, so get your family to fill it with their laundry!
This project is from my eBook ‘How to Get Started in Machine Embroidery’. If you’d like to buy the book, which has all the instructions you’ll ever need for free machine embroidery as well as more projects and ideas, Here’s the link: