FREE Pattern – College Laundry Bag

College Laundry Bag One of the least favorite tasks for any student is doing laundry. This applies to college students and to high school students who are just learning the responsibility in preparation for college. So I thought it was high time to create something that might make laundry time a bit more enjoyable.

This bag is designed to be made using college print fabrics – but it could easily be made with any other fun print the student will enjoy.

I have created a downloadable pattern page for this project, so I’m not going to re-write the entire project here.  If you are considering making your own laundry bag, I suggest that you download the pattern, and have it printed out as you follow along with a few more detailed explainations below.  Laundry Bag Pattern

One of the most notable design elements is the line of black prairie points that runs down the side of the bag.  If you don’t know how to create prairie points, I have explained it in the pattern, but a more detailed explaination can be found at McCallsQuilting.com.  I used a 6 1/2″ square ruler to make sure I had the points spaced perfectly.

The bag is constructed as a tube, with only a small strip of the coordinate fabric used to accent one side.  Again, you can change this if you want, but one reason to not make the tube using seams on either side of the bag is to reduce stresses on the seams when the bag is overfull (and we all know that’s going to happen at least once).  So if you make changes, I suggest that you still use one large piece of fabric, and one smaller piece for the accent.

Another important step is finishing the bottom of the bag – instructions are included for sewing into the corners of the bottom, this will allow the bag to stand up more easily than if you just used a single seam across the bottom.  It will also reinforce the corners and provide a bit more strength to the finished piece.

A few suggestions to personalize the bag:

  • Use blanket tabs (also known as tags) instead of prairie points.  These can be made from a coordinate fabric, or just use ribbon.  I would still use buttons to finish the tabs off.
  • Add a pocket inside for quarters.  Or, make a small matching drawstring bag that could fit over the mouth of a coffee mug to collect quarters in through the week.
  • Print washing hints and instructions (don’t wash new jeans with white t-shirts) onto a colorfast sheet, then topstitch into the inside of the bag.  This can be done on fusible webbing, and use a decorative blade to trim before topstitching into the bag.

I’m sure you can come up with lots of new ideas… feel free to share a few!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

FREE Pattern – Hidden Pocket Pillow

Dorm Pillow Originally this project was titled “Dorm Pillow” – and I think you know why when you look at the picture.  A pillow large enough to lounge against while reading, or throw on the floor for watching TV and made with collge prints?  It must be for a college student – right?

But, it gets even better.  This pillow has two ‘hidden’ pockets that blend right into the design – just the right size for an MP3 player, a cell phone, a few pens or the chocolate bar you’re hiding from your roommate.  (However, I do suggest that you not forget the chocolate bar – it would be messy to clean up if it melted.)  They may be difficult to see in the picture on the right – so check out the closeup pictures below.   If you are planning on making this pillow, I suggest downloading the pattern and having it printed out for notes while you read the rest of the blog – go ahead, I’ll wait while you print it.  Hidden Pocket Dorm Pillow

As you can see, the pockets are discrete when you view the 30″ pillow – but large enough to be functional up close.  Once I finished this, I could easily see how other people might enjoy this pillow.   A small toy could be tucked inside for someone taking care of a new baby, and grads aren’t the only ones who sometimes need to lounge against a pillow but still have a pen or pencil close at hand – what about your favorite crossword enthusiast?  I thought about using the pockets for sewing tools as well – for someone who likes to do needlework, but I’m afraid that most of the tools would get lost in the pocket and just cause frustration (no one really wants to have to hunt for a missing needle).  If you put your mind to it – I’m sure that there are lots of other people who could use a pillow like this, and the pattern is easily adaptable to a variety of fabrics and prints.

Making the pillow is pretty straight-forward, so I’m not going to repeat all the steps in from the pattern here – just download the pattern from the link at the top of the blog.  The only unusual part of the pattern is the pocket, so I’ve provided a closeup picture of how the pocket is formed.  As you can see from the picture above, the pocket is formed by folding the fabric used for the side borders.  This means you don’t have a seam creating the bottom of the pocket (more strength), and you have two layers of fabric forming the front of the pocket (again, for strength).  This is just so that normal use – taking things in and out of the pocket – won’t tear it.

Once you’ve created the folds just sew the border fabric in place as you normally would, and voila! – you have a hidden pocket.   One caution, be careful in folding the fabric of your borders, you want both pockets to be on the same side of the pillow so you can use them both when the pillow is sitting up on that side.
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

Free Pattern: Line Dancing Quilt

I recently had the pleasant task of interviewing Tricia Cribbs, author of the Turning Twenty® books as well as many others, for the OLFA trade newsletter.  While we were talking, Tricia volunteered a free pattern that she thought my readers would appreciate seeing.

So now, without further ado – here is the picture of the Line Dancing quilt – made up in beautiful summer colors.

Line Dancing Quilt

And here is a link to the downloadable pattern – Line Dancing
Please keep in mind that this pattern was created by Tricia, and credit for the quilt pattern should be kept on any printed or downloaded copy.  Tricia and I both thank you very much!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila