But it was a disgusting one that came with the house. It smelled bad and was filled with spiders, but it was better than the torn plastic bag my Mummu was using to hold her clothespins.
Hanging laundry outside is something the women in my family are fanatic about. My Mummu, like a good Finn, hangs her laundry outside all year round. My Mom and I, while still deeply committed to outdoor line drying in the warmer months, stick to indoor clothes racks and lines as soon as the snow flies. Thoroughly disgusted with both of our clothespin holders, last spring my Mom volunteered to help us each sew a pretty cloth clothespin bag. Before we had completed the first bag, my Mummu gleefully threw out my skunky old bags and pins. (I don't think she appreciated that I had set them on her dining table). She scooped the first clothespin holder bag we sewed and we made plans to get together and sew a second clothespin holder later that week. Well, life imploded and we never made that sewing date!
So I resorted to using an old plastic bag. Cue the sad trombone.
On the bright side, we learned that the clothespin bag we sewed weathered living outside really well. Sheltered under the eaves, it looks brand new a year later! Confident in the design, my Mom and I finally whipped up a clothespin bag for me! Below is the how-to, but I will warn you that my Mom is an ambitious DIYer and she's upped the ante by making this clothespin holder self lined - with a pattern that lines up perfectly! The end result looks beautiful, but it has a few extra steps which I've tried to explain thoroughly. Just let me know in the comments, though, if any of the directions don't make sense and I will happily clarify.
- Child-sized hanger (this is nearly identical to what we used, but you can also use plastic)
- Outdoor fabric (leftover from my back tab curtains - see the post for info on the fabric)
- Sewing machine
- Sewing gauge (optional)
- Marking pencil
- Small bowl (for tracing)
- Cute clothespins! (like these retro looking ones or these pretty floral ones)
How to Sew a Self-Lined Fabric Clothespin Bag:
To determine the shape, place the hanger on the fabric, near a corner so as not to waste fabric, and measure the center of the hanger. Approximately two inches below the bottom of the hanger, use a bowl to trace a circle for the opening - choose a size that fits your hand comfortably. We used a bowl with a 5" diameter (the overall diameter of the finished opening is 5"):
Using a gauge, mark 1" all the way around the hanger and then draw a straight line down from the outside edge of the hanger.
The idea is to create a snug fit around the hanger, and then allow for 5 to 6 inches below the opening. My finished clothespin holder is 17" tall and 12.5" wide.
With the shape cut out, trace and cut out three more identical clothespin bag shapes so you have four in total.
Place the piece with the circle and one of the other cut outs together, right sides facing in:
Pin around the circle and sew around the circumference:
Tie off the thread, cut out the middle, and then snip in toward the sewn line, careful not to cut the thread:
Reach through the circle and pull one layer of the fabric inward, to turn the hole inside out:
Ta da! Next we'll pull a rabbit out of a hat...
Iron the fabric to smooth out the circle opening and then pin down and sew the circumference once again - this will help it lie flat:
And that's the front, which has two layers:
To attach it to the back, grab one of the remaining two cut outs and place it right side up, underneath the front half you sewed earlier:
Pin the top layer of the fabric out of the way, and sew together the bottom layer and the additional piece, leaving a small opening at the very top for the hanger to poke out:
Then place the fourth cutout on top of the front of the clothespin holder, right side facing down. Pin it together with the side you pinned out of the way earlier, and sew it together. This is my Mom sneaking it into place to demonstrate:
Now then turn everything right side out:
See how the hole now has the right side of the fabric showing behind it, as opposed to the wrong side of the back showing? Self-lining it took a few extra steps and twice the fabric, but the end result looks so good!
For the top, you can hand sew the opening, try adding a grommet, wrestle with it under the machine to do a button hole, throw in the towel and just apply some fray check, or ram in under the machine and sew around the opening - much like you would around the slit of a wrap dress - which is what my Mom did.
With the bottom still open, slide the hanger into the clothespin bag up through the body of the clothespin holder through the hole left in the top. Then simply pull the bottom edge back up through the hole, stitch it closed, and push in back in.
Whew! You're done! Now stuff it with pins:
By using indoor/outdoor fabric, this clothespin bag can definitely be kept outside, but it's pretty enough to hang on a hook in a laundry room to keep it bug-free until laundry day.
I'm pretty thrilled! Living lakeside, it can be pretty windy some days, which totally messes with my hair but, combined with a gloriously sunny day, dries my laundry in a snap so I can't complain.
This post was sponsored by Wayfair. Any thoughts or opinions expressed are my own. P.S. if sewing your own clothespin holder looks like piddly work, you can always just buy this cutie from Wayfair. Just sayin'.