I can’t be the only person who, when the weather got hot a few weeks ago, automatically thought “WOOOOO – I can hang the washing out!”.
As a household with one toddler, one crafty mum, one can-be-messy dad and no tumble dryer, getting the washing done can feel like a battle against the elements sometimes. And to be perfectly honest if it wasn’t that our neighbours have a downstairs flat attached the washing machine room I’d have started putting it on from 7am on the saturday morning and gone through the whole weekend doing everything I could possible get through.
As dramatic as that sounds with everyday clothes, gym kits, bedding and towels, sometimes fitting it all in through the week, when you have to account for drying time and space too, can be tough. But why I am telling you that?! I’m well aware I’m not the only person who faces this, but hopefully you now get why a few days in a row of dry weather, with no plans or commitments, seemed too good to miss!
Unlike last year when I could hang the washing out while T wriggled around a picnic mat this year she immediately made a bee-line for the basket of clean washing and the fun colourful pegs that were the best toy in the world, ever, for a good 15 minutes. Something needed to be done and while I couldn’t avoid having the washing in a basket I could get the pegs out of reach. There was only one thing for it – I needed a peg bag!
Of course I could buy one, but where’s the fun in that? And actually I immediately thought of the perfect fabric that I had in the stash which could make me a colourful and useful peg bag.
So here it is!
This tutorial is for a peg bag with a circular opening. It also has a lining to the inside back of the bag. This was to make it a little stronger, and while there is no lining to the front it would be easy enough to adapt the method and pattern if you would like one. I haven’t counted this as one of my 1-hour quick crafts as, depending on how complicated you want to make it, it could take longer. But if you just want a simple peg-bag rest assured this isn’t a long process and could definitely be done within an hour.
What you’ll need:
- Fabric: 3 rectangles measuring 30cm x 37 cm. 1 piece for the front, 1 for the back, and 1 piece for a lining. I would use these measurements as a minimum for easily holding 1 pack of 36 pegs. If you’ve got more I would increase the length, not the width.
- Hangar – I used a baby clothes hangar as I’ve got quite a few hanging about. You could obviously use a standard adult hangar and if you measure how wide the arms spread just adjust the width of the fabric accordingly and add at least 1cm at each side for the seam allowance.
- Bias binding: approx. 44cm for the opening and 2x 30cm strips for the front and back piping. The bias piping where the fabrics meet is a nice detail but it is optional.
- Paper (A3 size) and pencil.
- Sewing bits: Just the standard bits and bobs like scissors (including pinking shears if you have them)/rotary cutter/cutting mat, pins, tape measure/ruler, vanishing pen/chalk for markings, thread, iron and ironing board, and [my beloved] sewing machine.
- And don’t forget to get some lovely new pegs to go with your lovely new peg bag!
I drafted my own rough pattern as I wanted to get going (it was golden toddler-nap time) and I didn’t want to wade through all my books to see if there was one in there. There are loads of patterns on the internet too, of course. I’m so easily swayed once I start ‘researching’ so as I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look I could just going.
Rather than do the whole bag out of one fabric I split mine, mainly so I still had a good amount of the patterned fabric left over as I really love it. Because of this the pattern picture below shows 3 pieces, but obviously these can be joined together if you wanted to use just one.
Instructions (pics are below)
- Place your hangar towards the top of the paper with the hanging hook on the page edge and trace its outline from the hook stem to the end of the arm. Then draw a line straight down from the end of the arm to your desired length. NB: Mine was 37cm which included the extra seam allowance in the middle for joining the two fabrics.
- If you’re using 2 fabrics mark the line where you want them to divide.
- Mark where you want the opening, only drawing half and using the edge of the paper as the centre line.
- You should then have your 3 pattern pieces ready to cut out from the paper.
- Fold your fabric with the right sides together and place your newly drafted pattern pieces on the fabric lining up the paper’s edge with the fold. Using the 3 pieces you will need to mark the following pieces on the fabric: *1 x Front, top section including markings for the opening; *1x Front, bottom section *1x Back, top section *1x Back, bottom Section *1x Full length piece to line the inside back.
- Cut out your pieces!
- Next up is neatening the edge of the opening. Using binding not only strengthen’s the opening but also neatens the edges and by top stitching it down also means there’s less for the pegs to get caught on. Start by pinning the binding to the right side of the fabric, easing it round the circular shape. Once pinned tack (or baste) it down to stop it slipping and remember to tuck in the edges so the join is neat. Once tacked, fold the binding to the inside re-pinning as you’re going. Having gone all the way round you can either tack it again or go straight to the machine, top stitching the biding about 4mm from the binding edge.
- If using 2 fabrics now is the time to join them. Placing right sides together pin (and tack if you want) the edges together. If you’re adding a piping detail make sure that your piping is sandwiched between the two pieces, with all the fabric edges meeting. The edge of the piping should be around 2/8th of an inch or 6mm from the edge of the fabric. Repeat for the back of the bag.
- Once both sides have had their bottoms attached to their tops iron them with the rough edges facing towards the bottom. If you have pinking shears you can also cut off the edge of the excess fabric to help limit the fabric fraying. Be careful not to cut through the stitching though!
- The next step is to attach the back lining to the back piece. With the wrong sides together place the single lining piece onto the back piece and pin. Then carefully stitch the two pieces together all around the edges about 5mm from the very edge.
- One the lining is sewn in place turn down 1cm at the top of the bag, where the hangar will come through and sew straight across. Then do the same to the bag front.
- Place the back piece onto your table with the right side is facing up and then place the right side of the front on top, lining up the edges and the piped seams (if applicable).
- Place two pairs of pins at the top of the bag, indicating where not to sew so there’s a gap for the hangar. Then pin all around the edges, making sure you have enough pins to keep the fabric really steady as you’re going.
- Once it’s all pinned sew all around the bag 1 cm from the edge.
- Once sewn neaten up any edges that might need it, using your pinking shears if you want to.
- Finally turn it out through the opening and wiggle the hangar into place.
- You’re done! Fill with your lovely new pegs and hang somewhere soyou can admire your handywork.
I hope it’s useful, and that it gives your washing line an added extra bit of you-style too! If you do have a go make sure you take some pics, and even tag me on Instagram (@sewgertie) to show-off!
PS – The Fabric I used is called Meadow Blooms Butter and is from the first Treasure colour group from the Violette collection by Amy Butler. In all honesty I can’t remember who I bought it off as I’ve had it for quite a while but if you go to www.amybutlerdesign.com she has a ‘where to buy’ button at the top. The other fabric I used was basic calico and the binding was again a stash find, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the standard 1/2″ ones from Hobbycraft.