Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY Clothes Pin Bag

I have a habit of nervously crafting to reduce anxiety.  Over the years, I have embroidered stacks of pillowcases before leaving for work (back in the day that I worked in university administration full time), crocheted afghans and pieced quilts while Mr. FC&G was out of town on business, and made drawers full of fleece socks and yoga socks.  Around here, idle hands are anxiety's workshop.

This all started the year I graduated college and was looking for a job.  I made straight cotton skirts by the closet-ful while waiting for the phone to ring.  One of my favorites was probably not office-appropriate, but it was just right for casual wear for a 20-something:  white with pretty country-pink flowers all over it.  It had a Laura Ashley quality I just loved, and I wore that thing to death.

Fast forward to ten years ago, when I needed a clothes pin bag.  I hated the idea of buying one of those twee little commercial versions that cost $25 for something that looked like a dress on a hanger.  I just wanted a pretty bag, for heaven's sake!  So, I grabbed that old skirt, which was no longer wearable, and I remade it into a clothes pin bag for free!  This is one of my favorite projects, and you can see the results above (plus, you can see Mr. FC&G in the background in a sort of poor man's Where's Waldo?).

Because I did this project a decade ago, I do not have step-by-step pictures for you, but I think you can figure it out from written instructions.  The beauty of this is that it requires only two seams, and no hemming if you do it right.

DIY Clothespin Bag

1 old straight (pencil or mini) skirt (it can have darts over the tummy area, but don't use anything gathered)
1 sturdy hanger

1.  Cut the entire front panel off the skirt by cutting straight up the front near the side seams.  Leave the hem and the waistband in place.  Save the back -- you can get a couple of quilt squares out of the thing, too.

2.  With right sides together, fold the hem up to near the waist band, leaving a waist-band-width of plain fabric as a single layer.  Basically, you are making an envelope.  The body of your envelope is the skirt panel folded up with hem touching a single layer of fabric; you are left with a waist band and a waist-band-width swath of fabric as your envelope flap.

3.  Sew the side seams up the envelope body panel.  Don't forget to lock in your stitches at the top of the envelope where the skirt hem is.  Your hem will be giving your bag some stability.

4.  Turn the bag (or envelope) so the outside is out.  Now, with the inside of the flap facing you, place a sturdy coat hanger inside, fold the waist band over the gap that you left, and sew a channel horizontally across to hold the coat hanger in place.

5.  Bingo!  Nearly-instant clothes pin bag out of your favorite old skirt!

The Analysis

Fast:  I think this whole project took 45 minutes, but, if I remember correctly, part of that was finding a hanger.

Cheap:  Free?  Yep.

Good:  That silly bag makes me smile every time I wear it.  Not too shabby for an extra ten year's of "wear" out of one of my favorite skirts.

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