Friday, 21 March 2014

How to Make a Peg Bag



Hello! Well it would appear that, technically, Spring is here. It's still rather chilly but I feel like we're on the cusp of that glorious season, rather than in the midst of it. Even if it's not warm enough to sit outside, one of my biggest pleasures when the weather warms up is being able to hang washing on the line again. Nothing smells better than air-dried laundry. A while back I made a peg bag, and I've been saving this tutorial until a time when people might actually want to peg out their washing without freezing their fingers off. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. We are off down south to attend my sister's wedding. Suits and dresses are reading and waiting. Happy days!

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A Peg Bag Tutorial

Last year, my mother-in-law asked for a new peg bag for Christmas. My first thought was that it was a very utilitarian sort of thing to make and give someone, that there was nothing very special or gifty about it. But I duly set about it; I emptied my own peg bag of pegs and turned it inside out to see how it was made. I bought some fabric, a heavy-duty printed cotton from Ikea; I knew that my mother-in-law would like this Swedish-style country pattern very much, and the fabric needed to be sturdy enough to take lots of everyday use. But, do you know, the more I got into this project, the more I enjoyed it. It occurred to me that why not make everyday household items as pretty and lovely as possible, and ask for or give them as gifts? Why not take care to make them as nice as they can be? Successful companies like Cath Kidston have built their brands on this idea.

A year ago there is no way I would have attempted this. But last summer I went on a sewing course and learnt how to use my machine properly (ish), to sew carefully and accurately, and to understand why certain things need to be done a certain way. And so, I humbly share with you my tutorial for making this peg bag, should you want to make your own. Don't worry, you wont see me on The Great British Sewing Bee any time soon, I am very much a beginner. It's very easy, I promise.

I opted to use two types of fabric for my peg bag but there is no reason why you shouldn't use one - or three - depending on what you fancy and what you have in your fabric stash.

Materials you will need:

  • Brown paper or lining paper for the template.
  • A child's wooden coat hanger.
  • Fabric of your choice - two fat quarters or the equivalent amount will easily be enough.
  • Some ribbon or lace trim - enough to go across the width of your bag, 50 cm should do it.
  • Plus good, sharp scissors (not the sticky ones from the kitchen drawers), threads to match your fabrics, a fading ink pen and a sewing machine.




Begin by making your template. Put the coat hanger onto the paper and draw around the shape (not the hook, just the "shoulders"). This will determine your width. Then make it as long as you want - I was aiming for a vaguely squarish shape that flared out at the bottom. Cut out 2cm all the way around your template - this will be your seam allowance. You can see here that I folded my template down the middle before cutting so that I knew it was exactly symmetrical. Draw a horizontal line approximately one third of the way down the template, which will determine where the opening for the pegs will be.



Now cut out the back of your peg bag by pinning your template to the fabric and cutting carefully around the edge.



Now you want to get ready to cut both front panels. Remember that line you drew before (arrow 1)? Well you need to draw one more line 2 cm above it (as in arrow 2) and another line 2 cm below it (arrow 3). This creates your seam allowance either side.



Now for the bottom front panel. Take your template and fold it along the top line (arrow 2). Pin it securely to the fabric and cut around the edge.


Then re-fold along the bottom line (arrow 3) (tucking in any paper that will interfere with the shape of your template), pin and cut out. This gives you the top front panel.



And now you should have three panels - one for the back and two for the front.



Take your two front panels and line them up right sides together, pinning along the long, straight side.



Using a fading ink pen, draw a line 2 cm down and about one quarter of the way in on either side, as below. This is the part you are going to sew shut, leaving the central pocket open. You could mark this spot with pins if you prefer but I find the pen easier.



Sew along the line on each side, then press your seams open. The front should look like this now.



Now flip it over and turn each hem under twice, pressing it well, and pin into place. Sew both hems then press again.


If you're using any lace or trim, pin it in place underneath the opening as below, and carefully sew it into place.



Now you are ready to sew your front and back pieces together. Place the pieces right sides together and pin all around the edge.


There is one section you don't want to stitch shut and that is the very top part where the coat hanger hook will go. Place two pins in here facing vertically downwards, to remind yourself to stop sewing at this point.


Starting on one side of the top opening, stitch all the way around the edge leaving a 2 cm seam allowance, until you reach your vertical pin on the other side. Snip your corners on the diagonal, turn it the right way out and press well. Insert your coat hanger (this will take a bit of gentle wriggling but it will go in) and ta da, your peg bag is complete.


I made a tea towel to match with the scraps of leftover fabric, with lines of washing flapping in the breeze, for a bit of fun. 





50 comments:

  1. Thank you so much. I actually love useful gifts. Nearly everyone I know has so appreciated the somewhat ordinary things I have made them. And, this peg bag is in no way ordinary. I am going to bookmark this page and get on with some. As for the tea towel . I love it. Great tutorial too x

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  2. What a fab tutorial Gillian, I really need a new peg bag too!
    Thank you so much for taking the time (and i know its a LOT) to make this tutorial, I am going to 'pin it' for later.
    Have a fun time!
    love Jooles x x x

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  3. I hope the weather is kind to you - and enjoy wearing those wonderful Orla Keily shoes!
    Have a wonderful weekend. x

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  4. This is so cute. Thank you for the great tutorial. It's a lovely gift. Have a great time this weekend! You're going to look great in those shoes. :)

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  5. A great tutorial and so timely. I have a lovely piece of material with woodland creatures on that I was saving for a peg bag - must go and dig it out!

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  6. Brilliant tutorial Gillian, I shall definitely give it a go.
    Have a fantastic weekend, how exciting for you all.I hope the sun shines for you all,
    Kate x

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  7. Hey Gillian,

    Love this!

    Have a lovely time at the wedding. xx

    Leanne xx

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  8. Great tutorial Gillian and a fantastic peg bag! Have a lovely time at the wedding, I do so love your shoes!! Sarah xo

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  9. Thanks for sharing, the peg bag is so cute, we peg out all year here as long as it's dry nothing better. Have a wonderful time at the wedding
    Clare x

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  10. Fantastic post, Gillian! This is just my kind of project - I'm a newbie sewer, too - and a marriage of useful and beautiful is always welcome here! I love your tea towel to bits, the two together would make a cute housewarming gift! Thanks for taking the time to do the brilliant tutorial, Chrissie x

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  11. That's a lovely peg bag. I made one last summer with appliqued apples but I only used light cotton fabric so will have to make another one soon with sturdier material. I also like the tea towel--very clever use of leftover fabrics.
    Enjoy the weekend!

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  12. What a lovely thing to do- both the gift and the tutorial. The fabric is lovely and I agree entirely about the whole William Morris ethos too. I try it but it doesn't always pan out! I'm totally undecided by which peg bag type is best and currently have mine in a celebrations box! I loved the little tea towel in the top pic but didn't twig you had made it yourself. Once again your blog is so inspirational for me and I've just found a new "I want" that I will need to dust my machine off for. It is beautiful how you have shaped the little laundry and how lovely for your MIL. Enjoy the wedding.

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  13. Thanks for sharing this. Now I've got my new machine I'm keen to try and make different things. I'm definitely going to give this a go.

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  14. Sounds crazy but I like the tea towel more than the peg bag but they are obviously both great. Thanks. Jo x

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  15. Great tutorial Gillian, thank you for sharing this. My peg bag is broken, so it couldn't come at a better time. Love the tea towel too and I really like your blue and white fabric. Have a great weekend.
    Jane x

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    1. PS: Have a lovely time at the wedding and best wishes to your sister. Jx

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  16. Lovely blue and white fabrics, the peg bag is so pretty.
    Great tutorial too!
    Have a great weekend!
    Gill xx

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  17. Great Tutorial, thank you ... as soon as I am settled again will definately be having a go. LOVE the tea towel. Very lovely.

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  18. Why not make functional stuff beautiful? Thanks for sharing the instructions!

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  19. I love it, you did a great job with it.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  20. Fantastic tutorial Gillian. I'm going to give this a go. Love the tea towel too. Happy weekend to you xo

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  21. I hope that the wedding is wonderful and that your sister and her new husband have a very long and happy marriage. Your peg bag is lovely and I really like the fact that you made the coordinating tea towel as well! A great gift. xx

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  22. I love your fabric choice - my kind of colours too. I use an old plastic food tub for my pegs so I should really upgrade and make something pretty like this. Hope you had a wonderful time at the wedding. x

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  23. Thanks for this, a peg bag was on my list to make....

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  24. Great tutorial. I so need to make a peg bag. I adore the tea towel, what a great idea

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  25. Brilliant, thanks for the tutorial Gillian, it's exactly what I need. I have an old carrier bag at the moment with a hole in it - it's not ideal! I hope you have a good weekend and that everyone enjoys the wedding. CJ xx

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  26. I totally think that everyday things should be as lovely as possible, I put the dishwasher tablets in a beautiful pot to make me feel happy! Your tutorial is very clear and your peg bag is lovely. Happy weekend cxx

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  27. Such a lovely peg bag and great tutorial, Gillian; I love your fabric as well as your very crafty tea towel, very smart and fresh looking! I need a new peg bag and this one is great with its almost full width opening - now I just have to make some time to get cracking on it!
    Enjoy the wedding and all the best to the happy couple! Joy xo

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  28. You're right, there's nothing like the smell of washing that has been dried in the fresh air. Great tutorial.
    Enjoy the wedding. Hope the sun shines.
    Jacqui x

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  29. Great tutorial, really clear. I love the tea towel as well. Xx

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  30. This is adorable Gillian, love your fabric and tea towel idea too xxx

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  31. Very detailed tutorial Gillian - thanks for putting so much time into it! The best part though is the dish towel - so sweet! My clothespins have disappeared over the past several years - I am down to two, one of which the little babe steals on a regular basis! (Red plastic is very attractive to a little babe.)

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  32. What a lovely gift. You are right anything handmade, but ordinary, is a wonderful gift.

    Enjoy your wedding :)

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  33. Beautiful! I'll definitely be trying this, thank you.

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  34. WOW! Gillian, thanks for your clever tutorial! [I especially appreciated the warning not to use the sticky kitchen scissors :) Ahhh the temptations in life...] I hope you and yours had a lovely time at your sister's wedding! xx

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  35. Very nice peg bag. I made one some years ago for my penfriend in Cornwall and should make myself one.
    It will be another for the "to do" list, which is just getting longer and longer. Anyway well done you and take care.

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  36. beautiful fabric. it's posts like these that make me wish I was crafty!

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  37. Hi, have just found your blog, its amazing. I can see many a cosy evening with hot tea, reading this blog from the start to current day! The peg-bag is gorgeous. L x

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  38. Just lovely Sweetheart, just catching up with your lovely blog, what a comfy chair.....Little Bea is needing a room revamp, I think for her 10th birthday, I'd love to get her one of those rabbit lamps, I do hope she doesn't think she's too old! :) x

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  39. I think the ordinary and everyday day should be lovely, than we get enjoyment from them every single day. What a pretty fabric, I've not been to Ikea for ages but feel a trip coming on!

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  40. Super tutorial Gillian! Very clear and easy to follow.

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  41. Great tutorial, well explained and clear. Like the matching tea towel too.

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  42. This is a really lovely tutorial Gillian. I made one last summer just in a similar vein to you, just basically traced and went for it, but mine is very different, maybe I will try this one day, so thank you for sharing xoxo

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  43. Thankyou so much for this great tutorial really enjoyed making my first clothes peg bag !!

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  44. Thankyou so much for this great tutorial just made my first ever clothes peg bag using your easy to use guide...well done !!

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  45. Thank you very much for this tutorial, I found it easy to use and I am so proud of my first ever solo sewing effort!!!!

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  46. Great tutorial. I had a bash at this today as I needed a new peg bag. Very easy to follow. Thank you.

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  47. Just finished making mine and it's fab! Thanks for the great tutorial. :)

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  48. Brilliant tutorial- thank you. Just finished my first and v pleased wth it.

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