Monday, December 19, 2011

Sewn-up Christmas: Part 3 - Handmade drawstring linen laundry/shoe bags

For the last of my "Sewn-up Christmas" gift ideas, here are some drawstring bags that manage to look pretty impressive notwithstanding that they were really easy to make (remember this is early days for me in the adventures of sewing).

They can be used as laundry bags (especially useful for keeping handwash items separate from the rest of your laundry) or a shoe bag, for taking your nice shoes to work without spoiling them (and your back) on the city streets.

To make each bag, I cut a piece of fabric approximately 90cm by 45cm. I pressed the edges with an iron to form a single hem of about 7mm (ie just folded over once) and machine stitched this hem all the way around the fabric. At each short edge of the fabric, I folded over about an inch of the fabric (this will need to be big enough to fit your ribbon/tape/string) and sewed this down on the wrong side of the fabric, using a zig zag stich for a bit of interest. I then threaded the ribbon through both ends, sewed the ends of the ribbon together (leaving about 20cm on each side of the bag) and then turned the bag to the wrong side and sewed up the sides before turning back to the right side. It was that simple.

For the design, I drew a botanical pattern on a piece of A4 paper, then cut it out using a scalpel and a cutting mat, to leave me with a stencil. Holding it down carefully (and this was quite an intricate stencil, so I must admit, I did use my husbands fingers as extra holding-down tools), I used a sponge to apply white fabric paint over the stencil and then carefully lifted it off the paper to reveal my design.  To fix the paint, I placed an old cloth over the design and ironed over it for a few minutes to fix the paint.  The bag is now ready to use and washable up to 40 degrees!

For Part 1 of my Sewn-up Christmas gift ideas, see Handmade Linen Coasters

For Part 2 of my Sewn-up Christmas gift ideas, see Handmade Pears and Apple Tea Towel


  1. Really nicely done Lia! I'm so impressed that you started with such an intricate pattern. It turned out beautifully!

  2. Brilliant idea and I love your delicate design. Thank you so much for your tutorial...might give this one a try:)