Monday, September 13, 2010

Clothespin Bag Tutorial

Bag made with a girl's shirt with open arms.
While doing the most mundane of daily tasks we should not be stuck using products that are merely utilitarian in nature. They should make us feel good about using them, even though we may not feel good about doing our chores. Case in point, clothespin bags. These are super easy to make and so cute they make you smile. Trust me. You will.
For this tutorial there will not be step-by-step pictures as I think the instructions are easy enough to follow without them.
Start with a button up toddler shirt. (The size shirt depends upon the size of your family. For a larger family, use a larger shirt. Just two of you? Use a smaller one.) Hitting local yard sales is the best way to acquire these unless you have a toddler who's outgrown some clothes.
First, button the shirt up and sew it together up to the third or fourth button from the top. This step depends upon the size of the shirt you choose. Do what works best.
Then, turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom together. If the bottom of the shirt is straight just sew it together. If not, use a ruler to draw a straight line and sew along the line then trim the extra off.
You may then choose to sew the arms shut, or not, it is up to you. I have done bags both ways, arms shut or arms open. Either way just depends upon the shirt you use.

This is how a finished bag looks inside out.
For the sewing, I do recommend using a serger, if you have one. Otherwise, sew along the bottom a few times for a stronger seam and then finish the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch upon trimming the excess shirt off. 
Turn the shirt right side out, insert a hanger and fill with clothespins!
Completed bag from a boy's toddler shirt.

Now, should girlie looking things be more you, just use a girl's shirt OR a toddler dress. Dresses that button up the back are ideal but those with a large enough neck will work, too. Or use a cute overall style dress. 

Back view of a bag made from a dress.

Front view of the same bag, though the flash shows this view
with the true color of the dress.

With a little creativity, the sky is the limit with these. Should you find a long sleeve shirt that you love? Cut the sleeves off. Pajama set that is way too cute? Sew the top and bottoms together then sew the legs closed. You get the idea.

Now you may be saying to yourself "What a good idea, IF only I hung laundry outside." Well, let's think outside of the box again. One could be used for sock storage for a toddler/child. My mother uses the one I made for her to store the little bits of ribbon she accumlates from completed projects. They'd make great little overnight bags for Grandma's house. Hang one in the kitchen to hold dishclothes, or in the bathroom to hold washclothes. The list could go on and on. Basically, these bags can have as many different uses as you have need...AND they also make great, unique gifts. (Think Christmas)

Once you have completed your own bag, I'd love to hear from you...and do share a photo, please!

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