What?! Some unselfish sewing?!

I like to think I’m a generous, giving kind of person, but when it comes to sewing I turn into a selfish cow. I like to wear what I make – after putting all that effort in I think it’s a good thing to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labour. However, if friends and family have requests, I’ll certainly consider them. One of my latest projects (I am trying to clear a blogging backlog at the moment) was a special request from my friend Sophie. You might remember that I made her new daughter a mini Geranium dress a few months ago. Sophie had been searching Not On the Highstreet for a laundry bag for Alice but found that they were all mega-expensive. Could I make her one? Well, I’m a sucker for a baby gift, so yes, yes I could.

Sophie offered to pay for the materials, but knowing the cost of quilting cotton I said she may as well have bought her own finished bag anyway. Luckily, I had just the right combo of scraps in my stash, which were coincidentally left over from the bunting I made for her wedding three years ago (and featured in my very first blog post!). I like it when things come full circle – it’s like the sewing equivalent of saving the top tier of the wedding cake for your first-born’s christening.


Check out my super neat appliqué!

Anyway, I could have made a standard drawstring bag – like the kind you used to use for your PE kit in primary school – but I decided it was high time I had a go at a project from my library of sewing books. I found instructions for a lined drawstring laundry bag in Sewing in No Time by Emma Hardy, which I had been given for Christmas a few years ago. The sample used in the book is pretty hideous (fabric choice goes a long way to sell a project), but the shape looked good and the instructions seemed easy to follow so I thought I’d give it a go.


And the back. So good to get rid of some of those scraps. They’re all a bit girly for my tastes so they were only going to be used for gifts.

I followed the instructions pretty closely, apart from the outer shell. You’re supposed to sew three strips into a tube, but I didn’t have enough complete fabric so I had to do some patchwork, which involved a little bit of headscratching as I worked out the right dimensions to produce same-sized squares. I also wanted to personalise for that Not On the High Street look which meant using a larger panel in the middle so I could fit her name on nicely in felt appliqué. The inside is a single length of a blue/green ditsy print cotton, so that was nice and easy to put together.



I’m really pleased with how the machine appliqué turned out. I used a square notepad to make templates for the letters, so I could be sure that they’d turn out in proportion. I pinned the letters to the shell and I made sure to slow reeeaaallly slowly so I could be as accurate as possible – and it paid off! So neat!

Probably the hardest part of sewing the bag was threading the drawstring as it ended up being quite a tight fit. I used some spotty bias tape I had in my stash but if I was doing this again I’d use proper cord as threading it through resulted in a fair bit of stretch (of course it would, it’s bias tape…).

In all though, I’m pretty pleased with the finished article. It’s a great stashbusting project and I’m particularly happy to get rid of some of those scraps of quilting cotton I’ve been hanging onto for too long! It was a nice, easy project to get on with over a couple of evenings and doesn’t take a lot of thought. It’s now in the post on the way to Sophie, so I hope she likes it!


Stuffed with a couple of hoodies to give you an idea of shape.

PS. I notice that Emma Hardy has a new book out and has been promoting it in some of the sewing magazines. The projects featured in those magazines also featured in Sewing in No Time with the same photography and everything. Is it the same book under a different name??


7 thoughts on “What?! Some unselfish sewing?!

  1. Naomi says:

    Love your wedding cake comparison! I too am a selfish sewer – while not being a selfish person in real life (I hope!) – but making gifts is so much fun and especially for little people.

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