Beginner’s Sewing Project – Wash Bag

Beginner's Sewing Project: Wash Bag from AN Island Family By Grace

I will start this post with the same disclaimer I used in my Beginner’s Sewing Project – Draught Excluder post: Warning- Experienced and Accomplished Seamstresses Look Away Now! As I mentioned then, I do not have a gift for sewing, but I do want to be able to make at least some of our own things, and to start our daughters off, so that they can develop better skills of their own. I hope these Beginner’s Sewing Projects will help someone else who is in a similar position to the one I have been in.

When we were planning for our big move this year, and I knew that we would be staying with my parents for 8 weeks over Christmas, I wanted our daughters to have wash bags or toiletry bags to keep their toothbrushes, face cloths etc. in, as we would be sharing a bathroom with my Grandma, and I didn’t want our stuff to take over. My son already had a wash bag he could use.

We had recently bought some material at our local recycling project, where you could fill a plastic bag with fabric scraps for 50p- a bargain which the girls and I had taken advantage of several times! We had picked up a large scrap of shiny fabric, which I thought would be suitable to make into wash bags for the girls.

As already mentioned, my sewing skills not being particularly advanced, I chose to make simple drawstring bags. Even for me, this was a fairly quick and easy beginner’s sewing project! For anyone else who would like to make a drawstring wash bag, here is what I did:

Beginner’s Sewing Project – Wash Bag

1. Decide how wide you want your wash bag and measure double this, as you will be folding the material in half to make your bag shape. Add on an inch to allow for seams. Mark this distance on the fabric.

2. Decide and measure the length of the wash bag, adding on two inches to allow for seams and the drawstring, and mhuiark on the fabric.

3. Cut the fabric to the desired dimensions using a rotary cutter or fabric shears.

4. Fold the top edge of the fabric over half an inch, from the patterned side of the fabric to the wrong side, and pin. This will make the gap for the drawstring to pass through.

With one of the wash bags, I folded the fabric the other way (from the wrong side of the fabric over to the front), and as you can see in the photo, the part with the drawstring is therefore inside out. Oh well, thankfully the girls did not mind!

Beginner's Sewing Project - Wash Bag } An Island Family By Grace

Spot the ‘deliberate’ mistake…

5. Sew this section making sure to leave enough of a space between your stitching and the top edge of the fabric so that your chosen drawstring will easily fit inside the space you have made.

I used my sewing machine, as it is faster and I am not a neat seamstress, but you could sew it by hand if you don’t have a machine.

6. Turning the fabric inside out, fold the fabric in half lengthwise, matching up the edges.

7. Pin the bottom and the open long edge of the fabric in this position, but do not pin together the drawstring space you have made, or you will not be able to insert the string. (Ask me how I know!)

8. Sew along the pinned edges- an L shape- removing the pins as you go, and making sure to go over your sewing at the start and at the end, to prevent your sewing unravelling.

Beginner's Sewing Project - Wash Bag } An Island Family By Grace

Click to enlarge instructions

9. Cut off the bottom corners of the fabric to allow the bag to be turned inside out nicely.

Homemade Wash Bag in Progress from An Island Family By Grace

Sewing down the left and bottom edges in an ‘L’ shape. Folded side is on the right.

10. Turn the bag right way out and poke out the corners.

11. Attach a safety pin to your chosen drawstring and insert this into your drawstring space at the top of the bag. I used different colour of cotton thread for each drawstring, so that the girls could tell their wash bags apart.

12. Feed the safety pin through the gap, pulling the string through with it a bit at a time, until it comes out the hole at the other end.

13. Tie the two ends of the drawstring in a knot, and your wash bag is ready to be used!

You can click on the PDF file at the bottom of this post if you would like to print it.

Homemade Wash Bag Beginner's Sewing Project - An Isalnd Family By GraceFinished Wash Bag - Beginner's Sewing Project on An Island Family By Grace










The girls have got a lot of use out of their wash bags, and we are still using them now that we have moved. Our youngest daughter (she is six), decided to make her own little bag the other day. It did not have a drawstring, but the principle was basically the same, a rectangle of fabric folded in half and sewed together. It is so cute that I have to show you a picture here.


6 Year Old Daughter's Wash Bag - Beginner's Sewing Project from An Island Family By Grace


You can see the decorations at the top of the bag which she has stuck on with sellotape! Well, she has another 32 years to get ‘up’ to my level of sewing skills!

Have you been sewing anything lately? Which other items would you suggest as be easy sewing projects for beginners? I am willing to try!


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12 Comments on “Beginner’s Sewing Project – Wash Bag

    • Thank you Vickie! Yes, nice and easy is a requirement for my skill level! Thanks for your comment.

  1. This is a great beginner project, Gwen. Bags can be made in any size and used for so many different things. Way to go on introducing your daughters to skills even if you don’t have them perfected.

    • Yes, it is great to see my daughters trying out all these things. Thank you for your kind comment Abi.

  2. Great post Gwen, and I think they look excellent. Don’t worry about how skilled you are with sewing at least you are giving it a go and that is the most important thing. How about trying simple waist aprons, my daughter really loves these. Thanks for sharing with us at Good Morning Mondays, I always enjoy stopping by and seeing what you are up too. Blessings
    Terri Presser recently posted…BOUQUET BIRTHDAY CAKEMy Profile

    • Hi Terri, what a great idea for simple waist aprons, and very appropriate, as I can’t for the life of me find where the girls’ aprons are since we moved. Probably still in a box at my parent’s house! Thanks for your great idea and kind comment 🙂

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