Upcycle shirt into laundry bag



Thanks to Edward for finally clearing out his aging shirts. The less lovely patterns will be used to line projects but this shirt is worth using on the outside

I decided to keep the placket (learnt that word from Sewing Bee) so just chopped off the collar and sleeves leaving equal rectangles. (I unpicked a dart on the back but this really wasn’t necessary).

I then cut two matching rectangles from lining material (I am finally making headway into the old duvet cover that is flattering up my fabric stash/jumble).

To make a drawstring tube, I cut two strips of fabric from the remnant about 10 inches by 4, hemmed the short ends and ironed under about an inch on the long sides before stitching the long ends a couple of inches down from the top of the outside of front and then back of the shirt

With right sides facing I hemmed the sides and bottom of both shirt and lining (leaving a gap for turning in the bottom of the lining. I boxed the corners with a 2 inch box cut out but this isn’t necessary.

I then turned the lining right sides out and sat it inside the shirt bag. I pinned the tops of the bags together, matching the seams and smoothing out any wrinkly bits before hemming all the way round.

I pulled the shirt through the gap in the lining, stitched the gap shut and then pushed the lining back inside the bag.  I ironed and top stitched around the top hem before threading cord loops through the drawstring.

This is an easy project as the shirt front does all the style work needed. I didn’t even stitch the two sides of the front together, just left them buttoned up. This means the user could tuck things between front and lining if desired. And that’s in addition to the original shirt pocket on the front. I did put fabric tabs over the cord ends to use up some of the little remnants but it’s really not required.

Perhaps this is too good for a laundry bag!

On another version I tried using the sleeves to shape the bag by cutting just inside the shoulder seam. It made the bag slightly wider but a bit more fiddly and saggy when finished.



Curved zips and French seams

A learning project.

following the instructions from a borrowed fat quarter project book this was designed to be a pencil case but will now hold sewing notions as it isn’t quite good enough to give

the zip was hand basted to the curved seams and should have been hem stitched but I cheated and top stitched it with my zipper foot, I then put bag inside the lining and attempted to top stitch again over the same line, no joy but it doesn’t show tooo much

the box bottoms were French seamed which makes sense for this sequence of construction – and for the intended pencil case use and abuse of the lining, but can’t see myself abandoning my simpler form of zip bag making permanently

and the fabric was a page from an upholstery samples book that was scavenged for me, if just cotton might have needed quilting or stabilising

Wallpaper gift bags

I wanted to present some of my mountain of hand made cards so I made gift bags using a roll of wallpaper (I buy 50p remnant rolls of the more ornate papers when I see them). This is sturdier and more pliable than paper or card.

method: cut a rectangle of paper about 34cm wide by 20 high ie just bigger than A4, this will hold 8 ish A6 cards and envelopes

fold about 3 cm down and towards you to make a cuff with the reverse of the paper showing, then score down over the cuff at 3 cm, 16 cm, 19 cm, 32 cm  – all the way to the bottom

then fold under about all the way across about 3 cm from the bottom to make your base

cut up the score lines from the bottom to that last across score line to make the bottom flaps and cut out the tiny rectangle bottom right

fold the score lines to form the bag shape

stick double sided tape on the right hand down strip and bottom flaps to fix bag

punch matching pairs of holes in the cuff front and back, I used an office hole punch which fit inside the bag neatly. Thread ribbon or cord through the holes and tie knots inside the bag to fasten

if needed cut a piece of card to fit inside the bottom to reinforce the base, wallpaper seems strong enough for a light package though

You can pinch the side panels to give the impression of a side gusset and embellish or label as well..


Sewing failure…

imageWho said “mistakes are the portals to new discoveries”?*

well a few doors should be opening for me right now…

usually when I follow a ‘sew very easy’ tutorial on you tube it goes well but this project was a big fat failure.

The interfacing wouldn’t manipulate, it was tough to seam and top stitch so the end project won’t be the intended ‘designer clutch bag’ but just another lingerie holder living in a drawer.

I do like the darts to form the curved shape though and will one day try again

On to the next crafting project then

  • I looked the quote up, james joyce apparently

Patchwork drawstring bag


A frugal project to make an elegant bag for wet stuff, toiletries or …


three sheets from a pattern book donated, lining from a shower curtain, ribbon from my stash

cut fabric into equal shares and patch together to size required for front and back. Sew around leaving gap for drawstring channel about 3 inches from top on either side seam . Cut lining three inches shorter than outer then seam round leaving gap in bottom for turning. Slip outer inside lining, right sides facing, and match seams with clips. Sew around all the top. Turn through gap in lining then top stitch gap closed. Push lining down so that the top of the (taller) outer folds over and top stitch above and below the channel gaps to create a ‘tube’ through to thread ribbon from either side. When ribbon has gone all the way round, knot the ends and you are done

Bag and purse combo

imagea simple tote with webbing for handles, interfaced and lined with a pocket inside and a decorative bow on the front – thanks to Debbie Shore videos for techniques

when boxing the bottom of the bag I had eight little squares which I turned into a patchwork square (adding another square to make the ninth piece) as the front of a matching zippered purse

too good to give away?