September 17, 2011

Lannis: Schnazzy Cheapo Clothespin Bag!

I am very busy and important. 

OR, I'm busy with The Enormous Visit, and am having too much fun to write anything. But Lannis isn't.

Isn't too busy, that is, not isn't having fun. 

Although she might not be. But - knowing her - she probably is.

* * *

And now for something completely different — a quick and dirty sewing tutorial!

Yes, you read that correctly.

Today, I’ll show you how to make this —

From (get this!) a dollar store tea towel and a repurposed baby clothes hanger!

(Hm... frugal and quick, so maybe not as different as I think?)

Anyhow. Quick backstory. While browsing on Pinterest, I found a lovely clothespin bag sewing tutorial, and I got all heady and inspired. (No, I wasn’t drunk. Maybe.) Just look at it (photo courtesy of —

Adorable, yes?

My own clothespin bag was a hideous drawstring bag whose previous incarnation had been toting indoor shoes to and from work.

And, like the doofus I am, the drawstring that held the bag closed up tight was also the one it hung from at my clothesline.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “the weight of the clothespins inside would consistently pull the drawstring closed.”

Where were you years ago when I decided this was a good idea?

Or when I passively moved it from the old house to the new one and still didn’t correct that annoying opening?


Every time I’ve hung laundry in my own household (::coughcough::about eight years::cough::) I’ve fought with that stupid drawstring. Yep.

I needed a new bag! And here I’d found a lovely little drindl bag tutorial online —

But then, I remembered: I’m me.

If I could muster up the ambition to do it in the first place, it wouldn’t turn out the way the picture shows, because nothing I sew ever looks the way it should.

Shortly thereafter, I was browsing at the dollar store and inspiration struck. No, no permanent injuries, none that I’m aware of. Yes, I’ve always been this way. Wait, was that an insult?

Onward. For this project, you need:
- 1 tea towel
- 1 clothes hanger
- the ability to sew a straight line

Note on the clothes hanger: It will need to fit within the width of the tea towel, when the towel is folded in half lengthwise. I used a repurposed baby clothes hanger, but a clip-style hanger for pants would work. Or cutting a plastic hanger to size would work, too.

Note on sewing a straight line: Nobody’s checking your work, I swear.

Start by spreading the tea towel length-wise on the table (nice side up), and folding the ends in to meet at the center (nice side now hidden inside).

Pin that center edge, and sew from the top down, leaving a gap in the middle as the opening into the bag. It should be a large enough gap to comfortably fit your hand and to be able to easily store your clothesline spacers.

Check it:

I recommend reinforcing your seams by sewing everything twice, just in case.

Then! Then, you pin the ends flat, and sew the bottom straight across. When you sew the top across, leave a 2 cm gap for your clothes hanger’s hook to stick through.

(Why the hell are clothesline and clothespin considered words but “clotheshanger” isn’t? Grr.)

And now the sewing part’s finished! Just turn your project right-side out, and thread your hanger through the opening so it is inside the bag and its neck rises out of the tiny gap in the top seam.

All done!

And yes, it fits all this!

Not too shabby for $2, eh?

Oh, and did I mention that $2 bought two tea towels and a dishcloth? Yep. I heart the dollar store. That’s where that pitiful matching bow came from — it had tied the whole bundle together. And now my clothespin bag looks like the most miserable kid in the school yard, but it’s functional!

My math’s not as spiffy as the Mrs’ but I *think* that means this entire project cost me less than $1, a repurposed hanger, and about 10 minutes of sewing time.

The hardest part? Hauling out that damned sewing machine...

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.