Quick Pillowcase Drawstring Bag Tutorial

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today I'm sharing a super quick and easy drawstring laundry bag tutorial! Perfect for storing your dirty laundry while you're traveling. This tutorial uses a vintage (or new) pillowcase, so most of the work is already done for you. This can be tackled by sewers of all levels, even beginners. You could make it even easier by using ribbon or string, but I think the handmade "string" we'll be making adds a nice touch.

Sewing Level: Beginner Friendly

Materials:
- 1 pillowcase
- 1/8 yard of coordinating fabric or 1 1/4 yards twill ribbon
- Thread 
- Marking pen
- Safety pin

If you'd like to learn more about working with vintage sheets, check out my post: How to Identify, Shop for and Sew with Vintage Sheets.

Instructions:  
*Use a 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted*

If using ribbon instead of handmade drawstring, skip to step 6.


1. Cut (1) 2.5" x WOF from coordinating fabric.

2. On each short end, fold over 1/2" and press.

3. Fold entire strip in half lengthwise, pressing as you go.

4. Unfold strip and fold both edges into the center fold line you just created, press.

5. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Topstitch along the open edge, stitching close to the edge. Backstitch at start and end.

6. Grab your pillowcase, and find the seam on the hem.

7. Measure your hem (mine was 3.5"), divide that number in half, this is your center. Mark a line .5" on either side of the center, giving yourself a 1" wide space.

8. Using your seam ripper, carefully rip the stitches between the two lines.

9. Depending on the seam allowance used by the pillow's manufacturer, you may need to flip under the seam allowance to create a clear opening. Use a pencil or turner (fancy word for a clean chopstick) to help. Pin in place if need be.

10. Extend your marked opening lines around the entire pillowcase. Use the top of the hem as a guide, using your cutting ruler and your marking tool of choice.

11. Sew on the line all the way along, backstitching at the start and end. Repeat on the second line.

12. Attach a safety pin to one end of your handmade "string". Insert the safety pin into the opening you created.

13. Wiggle it through all the way around to the opening.

14. Even out your ends and tie together in a tight knot close to the ends.

Voila, you're done!

Happy Sewing!

124 comments :

Unknown said...

Oh thank you so much for the tutorial...I am going on a crazyquilt retreat at the end of September and this would be a wonderful bag to take along. I will take a spin at it...Thanks again. I am currently working on a bargello tablerunner....
Your blog is wonderful, I love all the color.
sgriff57@comcast.net

Heather D. said...

I'm never so fortunate to find nice vintage things at our local thrift stores so I just love seeing the things that you come up with. I'm currently working on a twin size quilt for my 8 year old son's bed. I've been working on it for months and months, ran out of steam a bit because it was trickier than I thought it would be, but I got it out again last night and it was fun to get back at it.

My email is heather.degreeff AT gmail DOT com

Tennjenny said...

I love this print -- I just found it the other day! great tutorial. Today I'm assembling an embroidered quilt. thanks!

Karen said...

What a great idea! I love the pillowcase you used too - seems like I may have had a set of sheets close to that at one time. I am between any new projects, (working on the farmers wife though) and focusing on quilting some tops. That way I can start more right?

Sharon Pernes said...

Great tutorial, thanks for the chance to win.
I added this to my giveaway bloglist
http://craizeecorner.blogspot.com/p/blog-friends-giveaways.html

Marieke said...

I'd love a chance of winning, thank you! A laundry bag would be great. If I don't win, I'll make one myself. I could really use one to take my office laundry home. Right now I'm working on an apron for a friend. Got a lovely pattern from etsy and some pretty red polka dot fabric. She loves red polka dots.

thelittleforest@hotmail.nl

Julie said...

These are wonderful. I am going to Utah in September and these would be great to have my kids put there dirty clothes in.
Right now i am workingon finishing my daughter's quilt for her bed.
thanks so much Julie
jhuntsman17@gmail.com

Marianne said...

What a cute idea. This looks like something even I could do! Love your blog!

www.randomthoughtsdoordi.com said...

That's a quick and easy project. Perfect for this time of year when the college kids are heading back to school and now they will have something to bring their laundry home to mom! Ha! This is a wonderful tut. Thank you!

Michele said...

I'm working on a flimsy of house blocks today. Cute idea!

Katie B said...

Well this is almost too cute for dirty laundry! I'm working on hand-quilting a wall hanging, among other things.

Tricia C. said...

I usually either take a plastic bag for dirty laundry or just stick them in one part of my suitcase. This is a great solution! I'm trying to get away from using plastic as much as possible so this is a wonderful alternative. I'm always looking for ideas that reuse materials I already have. I'm currently working on the binding for a quilt started many years ago. It will be for my father for his 80th birthday next month. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

Yes said...

I love this! I will be making three for everyday use; they will be so cute in little kid's rooms. :) Thanks for the tutorial and the giveaway.

anna{AT}lawrencegirls.com

aneela said...

Such a pretty idea! Need to make a few of these to keep the laundry off the floor...

Kimberly said...

I love how easy that is. Thanks for the tutorial. I am currently needing to quilt and bind my son's quilt. The top was finished in March so I really would love to be done with it soon. Thanks for the giveaway!

midnight hysteria said...

great tute ... love your vintage sheets/pillowcases .... would love to win ... darlene

mybricole said...

You always have the cutest vintage sheets! This is perfect use for an extra pillowcase. Looks great!

JustPam said...

What a pretty laundry bag for a girl going back to college. I am working on a ruffled clutch.

ColleenaMareena said...

I love it! I always kinda wonder what do do with the dirty laundry when traveling, so this is great! And thanks for the giveaway!

I'm currently actively working on three things: finishing up hand-quilting a green & yellow quilt for a friend, piecing the backing for a Parisville baby quilt for another friend, and piecing the top of a FFA2 baby quilt for another friend. One day, I will finish them all, I swear! :)

Pontos da Flávia said...

Nice laundry bag... I am working on a patchwork bed cover using Kate Spains new collection Terrain!

Laurish88 said...

That looks so easy! I work with kids in an office setting and often they have siblings along with them that won't fit in the therapy room! This would be perfect as a "waiting room activity bag" full of toys! I love the use of vintage fabrics :) I will have to go rummage saling. I'm currently working on log cabin placemats (first real quilting foray!).
laurish@telus.net

Christina Lane | The Sometimes Crafter said...

<3!!! Awesome job! Love it. I definitely need one of these for my suitcase.

Jessica said...

I'm working on finishing a baby quilt, and some stuff for my upcoming blogaversary giveaway :) Great tutorial!

Kate said...

Cool project! I actually have an entire set of the avocado green striped sheet you used for the drawstring. My mom got them for a wedding present in the '70s and I use them on my bed now. Right now I'm working on the Habitat challenge sponsored be FreeSpirit fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild. Having a blast! akmajor (at) gmail (dot) com

Kimberly said...

Thank you for the great tutorial. I'm new to sewing and this would be a fun and easy project to build confidence!

klbmayo@gmail.com

Fran said...

What a great idea! This would also be great for quilt storage or transport.

cardenfran@gmail.com

Patti said...

What a great use of a pillowcase and the tute was just so easy. Thanks for the giveaway. I'm just about to start a hexagon quilt!
I also just received my order from you...fabulous!!! Thanks.

Victoria Paige @ Boutique Uniquely said...

Great tutorial, Great giveaway! Right now I am working on organizing my sewing space and then I hope to finally finish my dream on quilt and get started on Aubrielle's alphabet eye spy quilt.

Jenny Gastler said...

What a great tutorial and thanks for the giveaway! Right now, I am working on quilting my Nicey Jane quilt top. The fabrics from this collection remind me a lot of your vintage sheets. I love your vintage style and enjoy reading about your latest projects!

Crafty Newbie said...

Perfect timing! My daughter just started her first week at the university. This will be perfect for her when she brings her laundry home!

Thank you!

Anita in Florida said...

Great tutorial! I am currently trying to finish up a game/quilt...just need to square it up and bind and add a label. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

This is a great tutorial...love all of the pictures. I just got done making pillowcases (how funny is that?) and now I am starting to make a case for my husband's iPad and one for my Kindle. Thanks for the giveaway! ~Ashley

ashleymjones@live.com

Gill said...

Thanks for a great tutorial!
I'm making pincushions and needlecases at the moment

pcflamingo said...

That is SO much cuter than the plastic garbage sack that I usually take to sewing camp! I think I will make a few of these for my sewing friends :D

Anonymous said...

At this moment I'm working on trying to finish up my bee blocks!

pcflamingo said...

Forgot to mention that I just finished a child-size quilt that incorporated "vintage sheets" (OK, good quality sheets in good shape from the Goodwill). I had some poke-your-eyes-out brights that had been donated to our quilting group that I mixed with some soft florals, sashed with barely there yellow and it turned out very nice. It will be a charity donation quilt. I am a total sheet stalker at Goodwill and Value Village now.

Andrea said...

love this! right now i'm working on tackling quilting my first quilt!

Katie said...

Great tutorial!!! I'd love to win so I can make this bag :)

memmens said...

Oh I love your vintage fabrics - it is so hard to find anything here in the UK, I scored one sheet in the last year! I need to quilt a Kaffe Fassett handkerchief quilt for my little boy which has been on the go for quite a few years but other than that it is school holidays so little time for sewing!
thanks for a lovely giveaway I would be sooo delighted to win!

Michele T said...

Thanks for the tute - you make it look so easy... I'm betting I could make one and I know that my daughter would absolutely love one too! Thanks!

Shanea said...

So pretty! I love the case you used. I am working on not crying because my summer is officially over tomorrow am :)

Ashley said...

Love this tutorial! I'm currently working on a half square triangle quilt using flea market fancy!!

Anonymous said...

Cute bag! I am currently working on a quilt for my daughters' bed!

Candice said...

Gotta try :) You've inspired me to start collecting vintage too :) Thanks!!

Katie R said...

I am currently making a cat shaped pillow- change the locks and put in a programable thermostat yesterday, fixing the house and being crafty, a fine line :) Thanks for the tutorial, it will be a good off to college gift :)

annabelle said...

It looks so easy, thanks for the tut :) and thanks for sharing a kit. I'm currently working on finishing a quilt for our c.bee and just finished today a gift set for a friends 2nd baby on the way...an owl softie, a tote, and a baby sheet with app 'ls' for his name....it was sew fun to make ;)
-annabelle

SoSarahSews said...

I'm working on some blocks for my first bee! And finishing up a king sized quilt for my bed.

robin said...

Thanks for the giveaway - vintage sheets make a great laundry bag! :)

annemarie said...

I love this laundry bag - right now I am working on a sock monkey - do not laugh - it is fun!!

Unknown said...

Such a clever idea! It would be great for college students in the dorm as well! I am currently trying to clear my table by sewing through all the unfinished projects piled there :)

Anna said...

darling darling! i love it. :)

Ellyn said...

cute idea! I would love to win. RIght now I am working on a tshirt quilt for a customer.

Tamie said...

I'm working on getting my college aged daughters' stuff out of my quilting room so I can get back to work.

sandra said...

I don't know where you find your vintage linen but anytime I look I just find junk. anyway good tutorial I just might whip one up this week. sandra

Dawn said...

What a great way to make dirty laundry look attractive! :)
I just moved to Japan and am currently without my sewing machine and fabric until my household goods arrive, so I'm knitting myself a shawl

Miss. Genevieve said...

I always love seeing the vintage linens you uncover! I am currently working on The Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt done in 1930's reproductions! It's turning out quite beautiful!

kiley said...

Fun tutorial! I'm not working on sewing...boo! I'm working on unpacking in our new home...yeah!

Kathy said...

Hi Jeni. I am currently working on a lazyboy chair cover using the broken dishes quiltalong. I am also involved in FOUR other quiltalongs! Whew. My son will be in preschool for four hours per day soon to sew and I can get all caught up on the two that are behind. Thanks for the giveaway.

SewSara said...

great tutorial - i love your blog! :)
hope i win the giveaway ... thanks!!

Ange Moore said...

I was busy over the weekend finishing up a quilt top and back for my M-I-L's 60th birthday so it could be professionally quilted. I also have to tackle a spruce-up of my sewing room so that it can be an acceptable guest bedroom for a couple of weeks in September!

Great tutorial - and I adore all your vintage linen finds - you are so lucky (or very diligent)!

Kelsey said...

How cute! You could use these to store so many different things :)

I'm working on some home sewing projects like new pillows, but when the hubs starts back to school I'm going to start a quile

Karen H said...

Thanks for the chance to win! Great job on the tutorial.... I definitely need to make some of these for my sons that are away at college. Maybe not a flowered print, but a stripe would work great. Thanks again!

MaryAnnB said...

Thank you for the tutorial and the give away! I am currently working on a diaper bag for my daughter to use for her twins and two year old combining a few tote pattern ideas, and quilting the babies quilts! I would love this laundry bag to use when I go visit for a few days! and I love vintage linens!

Paskiaq said...

I'm working on a market tote (and planning to start my first vintage sheet quilt!) :)

Cindy said...

Great tutorial and my kind of project! :) Thanks for sharing! I'm currently working on a table runner for my Mom! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

i am finishing up a baby quilt, its the first one i have done the quilting on. Its turned out so cute, i hate to give it away

dkbnyny at gmail dot com

Sewing In CT said...

Dear Jeni! What a great useful project. I'd love to give it a try!

Deb said...

I'd love to win your giveaway. I'm working on a fall leaf wall hanging.

Lynn said...

i'll be giving this a try-thanks for the tutorial and giveaway! i'm finishing up a messenger bag for my son from the One Yard Wonders book.
thanks!

Robin said...

Currently using vintage sheet charms as leaders/enders to make the Warm/Cool Quilt.

Michelle D. said...

Ah pure genius! What a cute tutorial and giveaway! Can't wait to get started and try one,thanks. :)

'Manda said...

Great and quick and easy! I'm working on a baby quilt for my son. He's 8 months this week and its still not finished!
Amanda
tingey2@yahoo.com

Sallie said...

Great tutorial. I'm working on the binding on 2 quilts, and piecing 9-patches for a baby quilt. Thanks for the giveaway!

Jill said...

Love this laundry bag idea. Thanks for the tutorial! You're right, the homemade drawstring is adorable. Right now I am working on spray painting frames white and choosing family photos for a photo wall in our hallway so we can see all of our relatives every day! Thanks for the giveaway!

Minx's Den said...

what a great idea!!! your laundry bag looks great!
Lauren
minxden@gmail.com

Amber said...

Funa nd easy idea....love it! I am finidhing up a dress for my daughter to wear to her 1st of 3 yo preschool.

Anonymous said...

I'm working on some ipad cases I'm designing right now. Its so hard not to be influenced by all the other great inventive products out there. Thank you for the giveaway!

Angie
maddymaze (at) earthlink (dot)net

Paige said...

Great tutorial, thank you. I'm working on 3 quilts at on time...a modern miniature, a lap quilt for a wedding gift and a guild challenge with lots of piecing and applique.

Lesley said...

What a great idea! Thank you very much for sharing the tutorial. I'm working on purses/bags at the moment. I shared my vintage fabric stash on my blog today http://frooganddoog.blogspot.com. my email is froog.and.doog (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks for the giveaway!

Pétra said...

Love the laundry bag!! I am just starting a new quilt I can't wait to get going!

Chelley said...

What a cute tute! :)

Gina said...

fun, easy tutorial... thank you!! i need to finish the binding on a stroller quilt that i embroidered on too and have started on bumper pads for my baby's crib. i also have a nightgown cut out for one of my daughter's that i need to sew up

Caroline said...

Oh wow, I really like it! I have to agree with memmens, it is SO SO hard to find vintage fabrics - in Jersey I think it is impossible ! We dont have thrift shops, well in Jersey I can just find charity shops which dont have any! Sorry, tangent over ;) Recent projects..well yesterday I made myself an Ipod case ! Thanks for the giveaway and your lovely blog :)

Teresa @ Aurea's Kitchen said...

Hi:
If I were lucky...

Well, I have to finish some envelopes cushions for my mom, an spanish log cabin, sew some mug rug from scraps, a shirt for me... and so on...

Kisses from Spain

trish said...

What a lovely give a way. This bag is perfect for traveling!
Thank you so much for your tutorial. :0)
I am currently finishing hand quilting our king sized quilt. I would love to show you if you would like to drop by. :0)
Have a nice week.
Sincerely, Trish

Mary Ellen said...

I'm working on a string quilt from my itty bitty scraps. What a fun tute, by the way - I'm always looking for something quick and easy to break up the day!

kbzelazny said...

What a great idea-so cute and easy! I'm working on your quilt along-still making the HST! I have to decide soon how to lay them out! Thanks for the great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the giveaway Jeni! I'm currently making alterations on a bridesmaids dress for a friend and sewing stuffed owls. :)

ravenastoriaATgmaildotcom

Gina said...

Very Cute! I am working on a quilt as a present for my brother's wedding. Lots of fabric that reflects their hobbies and favorite things! I'm using your HST tutorial to help me along the way (Almost done with sewing the squares!)

Tiffany.TF said...

this is very cute and would be perfect in my little girls room. i am working on a baby play mat with Tula Pinks Prince charming in a plus quilt pattern.
p.s. i have that pillow case on my couch right now.

Angie said...

Awesome tutorial Jeni! I'm still working on my sewing studio, hehe.. that's my current project!

Nancy Page said...

What a great idea! Wonderful tutorial as well. Thank you for sharing and for the great giveaway.

Have a super great sewing and stitching day.

Stephanie said...

Love it! You always have the easier to follow tutorial, thanks!

I'm working on creating 25 cream canvas bags for a confirmation class to decorate. I'm in desperate need of color! :)

Paula said...

Great tutorial. I love all your tutorials and the pretty vintage sheets. This would make a great present for someone on their way to college.

April said...

I love this idea, I'll have to use it for a laundry bag when we travel!
I've been working on some Christmas dish towels for gifts before I run out of time!

Anonymous said...

A great tutorial! Very quick and easy!
marion.shaw@sympatico.ca

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am working on a quilt pattern called "Just Can't Cut It" and I just finished making myself a knitting needle holder!

mlangfitt777@comcast.net

Fran said...

I'm crocheting some dishcloths, can never have enough of them.

Angie said...

What a great idea! I am not sure why I had not thought about this before...I must get to work to make some of these.

Deb said...

Your site is one of my favorites. You have the best ideas and projects! And the vintage sheets always look so HAPPY!

Deb

kristinorth said...

Great idea, thanks for the instructions! I would love to win. I'm currently trying to get organized and start some projects again now that my kids are back in school!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeni! Love the bag! I am currently working on my first quilt, a queen size!

Renee
knitbag@hotmail.com

Sis-O said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I am working on several quilting projects. skowens@sbcglobal.net

Snoodles said...

Jeni, this is such a neat, quick project! I have been trying to find some vintage sheets at my local thrift stores - I hope I'll get lucky soon!

MJ @ 517 Creations said...

What a great quick project! I LOVE projects that can be completed in less than a nap time...I have a 3-year-old who still takes good naps, so that work time is precious. :)

Mama Said Sew said...

I love that bright, vintage pillowcase. I'm going to have to raid my pillowcase stash to find something fabulous for this project. Thanks for the tutorial Jeni!

hueisei said...

Thanks for sharing the tutorial!! I am working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt at the moment....

Unknown said...

This looks like a nice quick project. I'm in the middle of a crochet hexagon afghan, which I'm bound to finish within the next decade or so.

rebecca said...

I think I had those sheets when they were new!! :) And...this is a great idea!

Mims said...

that is so cute! right now i'm working on some pillows for my daughter's b-day. if i'm lucky enough to win your giveaway, i think i'd have to use the laundry bag as wrapping paper for the pillows!

Beth said...

Thanks for the giveaway, and the great idea. Right now I'm working on a wedding quilt for my best friend's daughter. The wedding was last weekend, so I need to speed it up. :)

wordygirl at earthlink dot net

Kelly O. said...

thank you for posting this!! Just in the nick of time!
I have a Gems(like brownies/guides) meeting tonight and I'm the craft coordinator--this would be PERFECT to do as a craft and if you'll ship pillow cases to Canada then I'm set!!!

right now I'm working on learning to free motion quilt so I'm making easy fun quilt tops so I can practice--your star quilt is going to be the next quilt I tackle! :)

Heather said...

What a great idea! I am thinking Christmas gifts! And if I win I'll be that much closer to getting started :) Thanks!
heather dot nevits at gmail dot com

Alli said...

Right now I'm trying to make a picnic blanket out of I Spy charms. It's going super slowly, though, since my maternity leave just ended. >_< Thanks for the chance to win!

Allison said...

brilliant! I love this idea, thanks so much for sharing {and for the very generous giveaway!}, I can think of lots of ways to put a cute drawstring bag like this to use :) Lately I've had a hard time finding the motivation to work on any of my sewing projects, but have decided to cut into the penguin fabrics I promised to make my son a quilt out of.

Kelly Rachel said...

This is spectacular. I really need this tutorial right now. I'm trying to organise the family laundry 'system' and this gave me a great idea, so thank you!

Kelly Rachel said...

P.S. I know the giveaway is closed, but I hope it is ok to comment with my thanks anyway!

Heather Grow said...

Great idea. I hate having clean clothes touched by the dirties. This is on my to do list.

Thanks for sharing on the Vintage Sheet Blog.

Anonymous said...

Your tutorials are wonderful! Thank you for the step-by-step for all!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed making this laundry keeper out of the pillow case. These wqill be gifts to give to the women on our spring retreat. Thanks !

ullash said...

It turned out great! What a fantastic bag!

camouflage backpack
camouflage duffel bag
camouflage flask
camouflage knives
camouflage tote bag

Unknown said...

what a cute idea! I am going to make a bunch of these for my daughter's friends. They are all graduating high school and it would be a cute thing to make for them and still be able to get all her "close" (12+) girlfriends.
Thanks for the great idea!!!

Veritable Fishing Southeast Alaska said...

Your laundry bag is gorgeous! The combination of fabrics and textures is wonderful!

Sell My House Fast Dallas said...

Beautiful. I love the cloth you used. I'm definitely buying the materials to start this project.