Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag

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I have always loved traveling but HATED living out of a suitcase. You know how everything gets all jumbled up and the dirty clothes live next to the clean ones and the next thing you know, you’re sniffing socks to see if you’ve worn them? Tell me that happens to other people? When Aa travels for work, he stays at the kinds of places where you send your laundry out and they return it later that day with each individual pair of underwear wrapped in plastic and your shirts dry cleaned, pressed and hung. But in real life, like normal people, we’re usually in a regular, not-the-cheapest-on-travelocity-but-almost, hotel. And so when Aa suggested I started using the plastic laundry bags that even cheap hotels usually have in the closet to corral some of my suitcase mess, it was kind of a revelation!

I mean really, duh, right?! But it made things so much easier! Of course I kind of hated the plastic bags. For one, I’m generally, in life, trying to do my best to use as little plastic as I can. But also, for a long trip they’re never big enough and they were usually pretty flimsy. So before we went to California for a little winter sanity vacation, I thought, why don’t I make myself a nicer travel laundry bag!Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make a pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

This Drawstring Laundry Bag is a step up from Easy 3 Seam Drawstring Bagย and I did do a little extra work to make it pretty, but if you want a really really simple version, that’s a great tutorial. This drawstring laundry bag combines some pretty fabric and one of my favorite techniques, freezer paper stenciling (which, if you’ve never done it before, is really easy)!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag

Materials:

About 1/2 yard main fabric (fabric A, in my bag it’s the tan)

About 1/4 yard accent fabric (fabric B, in my bag it’s the patterned fabric)

2″ x 2″ scrap of fusible interfacing

Matching Thread

Freezer Paper

Fabric Paint

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

1.First, cut your fabrics:

Cut 2: 16″ x 16″ from main fabric A, this is the main part of the bag

Cut 2: 16″ x 3 1/2″ from main fabric A, this is the inside top of the bag

Cut 2: 16″ x 5″ from accent fabric B, this is the bottom of the bag

Cut 1: 45″ x 3″ from accent fabric B, this is the drawstring

Cut 1: 3″ x 5″ from accent fabric B, this is the hanging loop

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!2. Set aside everything but one of the main body pieces. On your freezer paper, draw or trace the word “wash” on the matte (not shiny) side. Unlike other kinds of stencils, you don’t have to draw it backwards!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Using an exacto knife, carefully cut out the letters. Be sure to save the little piece from inside the ‘A’!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Position your stencil where you want it on the main body piece. I placed mine in the lower right corner making sure to leave enough room for the seam allowances. Using a medium setting and no steam, carefully press the stencil with an iron to adhere it. Be especially careful with small pointy ends and try not to rub with the iron. Don’t forget the center of the A!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Then use your fabric paint to fill in the stencil. Be careful to always brush along or away from the edges, not towards them, to avoid paint bleeding underneath.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!When you are done, carefully peel off the freezer paper before the paint dries completely. Follow any instructions on your fabric paint for drying time or setting the paint.

Now it’s time for sewing!

3. First we’ll make the hanging loop and drawstring. Lay out the small rectangle you cut for the hanging loop.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Using an iron, press it in half the long way and then open it again.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Now fold and press one long side in to the middle and then the other, like this.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Finally, fold it all in half again the long way and pin.Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

You will topstitch along both long edges of the fabric.

4. To make the drawstring, follow the exact same procedure that you did for the hanging loop. The only difference is that, for the drawstring, you need to finish the ends because they will be exposed. To do that, after completing all of the folding and pressing steps above, unfold one end slightly and then fold each outer corner down and in toward the middle.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Then fold that pointt end in as I’m doing below.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Now, refold the whole strap in half the long way again and pin and the end will be nicely enclosed and finished. ย When you topstitch the drawstring you will also need to stitch across the short ends.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

Next we can assemble the main part of the bag.

5. First take the main body piece that you stenciled, one of the bottom accent pieces and one of the inner top pieces. Lay them out like this:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

Take the bottom piece and the inner top piece and flip them over so they lay on top of the main body piece, right sides together, and pin. Stitch along those seams with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!When you open it up, it should look like this:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

The inner top piece will fold down inside the bag to form the drawstring casing.

6. Next repeat step 5 with the back main body piece and the remaining bottom and inner top piece. Before you sew the top seam, take a moment to insert the drawstring loop. It will go between the main body piece and the inner top piece, facing in. Lay it out like this:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

And then insert between the right sides of the fabrics and pin:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

When you open up the back of the bag, it will look like this:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

7. Next we need to make the buttonhole for the drawstring. On the front of your bag, measure and mark where you want the buttonhole to go using a disappearing ink fabric pen. I placed mine in the center of the bag, 2 inches down from the inner top fabric seam.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!On the back side of the fabric from that mark, iron on a small piece of fusible interfacing, following its directions. This will make your buttonhole stronger.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

Then following the instructions that came with your sewing machine, use a buttonhole foot to make a 1″ buttonhole. (Want to know a secret? I used to think buttonholes were super scary. Like I’ve been sewing for 10+ years and I never really made one until recently. I was terrified of screwing it up and having to start a project over. But you know what, I was worried for nothing. It’s super easy. A thousand times easier than inserting a zipper, for example. So if you’ve never done it, try! I promise, you can do it! )

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

Use your seam ripper to open the buttonhole.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!8. The final step before assembly is to fold over the top edge of the inner top piece 1/4 inch and press. Do this with the front and the back of the bag. This is just so you don’t have a raw edge inside the bag. If you don’t care, skip it!

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!9. Now lay your front piece down right side up and lay the back piece on top of it right side down (so right sides are together). Pin along the sides and bottom edges being sure to line up the seams where the bottom and inner top meet the main body pieces.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Sew along the sides and bottom with a 1/2 inch seam allowance as shown. ย Then turn your bag right side out!

10. Finally, we’ll make the drawstring casing.Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

Take the inner top pieces and fold them down inside the bag and press like this:

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Then, keeping the bag open like you would if you were hemming pants, sew two seams, one just above and one just below the buttonhole, around the entire circumference of the bag to create the channel for the drawstring.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!11. Put a safety pin through one end of your drawstring and insert it into the buttonhole.

Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make an pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!Use the safety pin to thread the drawstring through the casing, around the bag and back out the buttonhole.

When you’re done your bag will look like this!Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make a pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial! Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag Tutorial  |  littleredwindow.com | Make a pretty and useful travel laundry bag with cute stenciled detail with this great tutorial!

 

Happy traveling friends!

 

If you liked this, you may also like some of my other posts…

Tote Bag Tutorial Super Easy Baby Shower Quilt Vintage Wedding Dress Clutch

37 thoughts on “Travel Drawstring Laundry Bag

  1. Beautiful! I love to travel too, I’m a backpacker traveler. A wash bag would be great since I’m always hand washing stuff along my travels.

  2. This is so lovely, and so worth that extra effort you have put in. Your step by step is brilliant, (I especially love the fact your hands look normal – like mine – so many people have such perfect manicures I was starting to worry my regular nails were not up to scratch. I mean this as a compliment, reading it back I’m not sure it sounds as complimentary as I am intending!)

  3. Oh, this is just too awesome! I wish I was skilled at sewing and/or owned a sewing machine! I’m determined to learn. I would love to be able to create something like this!Your tutorials are absolutely amazing and clear, I will have to try learning through your blog! ;D

  4. This is such a great idea! I think I may just make this before our vacation this summer. Those little hotel plastic bags always rip too, because they’re never big enough. This is perfect. Thank you for sharing on Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in next week’s issue.

  5. Thank you for this fabulous (and adorable) tutorial! I bought a sewing machine with my birthday money, and this is the first thing I’ve sewn in 17 years. I’m super pleased with how well it turned out, and I attribute it entirely to your awesome instructions – this finishing level is much better than anything I ever accomplished in Junior High Home Ec. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks!!

    (My finished bag: http://tinypic.com/r/2h846x3/8)

  6. thank you for this lovely easy tutorial… i made one to send it for my dad with my bro who traveled to India last night. instead of the ” wash ” logo i just did a hand embroidery ” dad “..:) … thanks dear ..

  7. Hola! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the
    fantastic work!

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