I’ve often loitered longingly in the Liberty bath shop, but try as I might, I can never quite bring myself to splurge £50 on a fancy new wash bag. A clutch maybe, but a wash bag? It will just never happen. And so, this miserly streak got me thinking: why don’t I just make my own?
I have this thing you see, this gene that means I fancy myself as a jack of all trades. It’s the reason I ended up dismantling our entire under sink plumbing and how I managed to mildly electrocute myself attempting to mend the washing machine digital display… But how much harm can you really do with a wash bag? In fact, it turned out to be pretty damn simple, even if I do say so myself. Here’s how…
A piece of pretty fabric approximately 50cm by 40cm (waxed cottons work well as they’re also sort of waterproof)
Scraps of contrasting fabric to make a patch (optional)
A standard-sized laundry bag
One 8 inch heavy-duty jeans zip (size up or down according to your pattern)
Scrap paper to make a pattern
Threads in contrasting colours
1. Cut out your pattern from old magazine paper (I like ES because there are lots of lines on the page to follow so you’re less likely to go wonky). I loosely followed this tutorial from Laura Ashley which gives approximate measurements, but basically it’s a rectangle with the two bottom corners chopped out.
2. Cut out two pieces of your chosen fabric, as well as two sections of laundry bag ‘lining’. Make the lining pieces 1cm shorter than the outer fabric (on the top side), which will serve as a fold-down hem when you attach the zip.
3. If you want to add a contrasting applique swatch (Alexandra Mann style), tack this on by hand to the right side of one of your fabric pieces, making sure it’s roughly centred.
4. Now zig-zag stitch around the shape using a contrasting thread. Remove the tacking thread when you’re done.
5. Next, pin your zip into place. You’ll need to fold over the top 1cm of fabric over the top edge of the laundry bag lining, so when you open the bag up, the lining is held in place securely.
6. Using the zip foot on your machine, carefully sew the zip into place, leaving the ends loose to finish the corners of your washbag.
7. Now, with the right sides of the fabric facing, sew down the side seams of your bag leaving a 1cm seam allowance. Next, sew along the bottom seam, again leaving an allowance of about 1cm.
8. This bit is a little tricksy, I’ll admit. taking the inner corners of each cut out section, pull them taught and pin into place. This creates a sort of, erm, gusset, and allows your bag to sit flat. Once you’re happy with the shape of your bag, machine stitch in place, being careful to avoid the pins.
9. Finally, sew in all the loose ends, turn right side out and stitch up the two ends of the zip so everything looks neat and ready for the Liberty shop floor!
Photography: Bella Binns & Andy Hill