Washday Blues


  • 8 pieces of denim measuring 23 x33cm
  • 8 pieces of towelling measuring 23 x 33cm
  • 2 lengths of thick denim measuring 15cm long each for handles, or use strong trim in different fabric.

Skill Level


You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Washday Blues

For this laundry bag pieces are sewn with the raw edges out, so that the seams are featured on the front of your work, instead of hidden away inside. After washing and drying your creation, those raw-edged seams become frayed and fluffy. The result is a three dimensional texture which is really quite effective.

Note: Use a 1.5cm seam allowance throughout

EASY TIP: Colour co-ordinate your laundry bag to match the bedroom. Use pink, red or purple towelling for a girl’s bedroom, and go for darker denim with grey or black towelling for a boy’s bedroom.

Piecing the bag

  1. Lay out a piece of denim wrong side up, place two pieces of towelling on top and then another piece of denim right side up. Pin and straight stitch the long edge. Open out flat to give you two joined pieces.
  2. Repeat this instruction for the other pieces to make a total of four panels. Each panel should now have two pieces of denim joined at a long edge with seam protruding and backed with the towelling.
  3. You now have to join all the panels together to make one large panel. Lay a panel towelling side up, lay another on top of it, denim side up. Pin and straight stitch along the bottom edge (now the longest side) so that a seam protrudes on the right side of the denim. Open out. 4Attach the other panels in the same way ensuring all seams are on the outside. Your final shape should be two pieces by four pieces.

For the opening

  1. Lay the panel towelling side up. Fold the narrow (bottom) edge up but leave approximately 20cm of towelling showing.
  2. Fold the other towelling edge over so that it meets but does not overlap the other edge you have turned up.
  3. Now, pin and straight stitch the two outside edges.

For the handles

  1. Make a loop with a length of denim or trim by sewing one end to the other.
  2. For extra strength, it's advisable to use a sewing machine to stitch the loop to the top edge corner of the bag.
  3. Repeat the instruction in the other corner to make the other hanger.

For the ragging

  1. Snip into all the seam allowances about 1cm apart. This will take a long time but be careful not to snip through the stitching.
  2. Wash the laundry bag on its own in a washing machine.
  3. 3Shake the bag out to remove any loose fluff from the fraying.
  4. Tumble dry the bag on its own for 20 minutes. Empty the fluff from the lint tray.
  5. Again, shake the bag out (preferably outside) before tumble drying again for another 20 minutes.
  6. Repeat this wash and dry process at least once more to fray the seams as much as possible.


  • If using new denim, wash it before you cut the pieces in case it shrinks.
  • Use old jeans and towels instead of new fabric - recycling helps the environment and saves you money too.
  • Worn denim is easier to work with and it looks more effective to use varying shades of blue.
  • Cut the pieces from interesting places on the jeans to include seams, pockets and decoration.
  • Make sure you empty the lint tray of your tumble dryer when you're finished as it will probably be full.
  • You can use any fabric that will fray well such as fleece, denim or towelling. It's best to choose fabric with a loose type of weave that will unravel and fray easily. Avoid using knitted fabrics. Using a variety of fabrics will achieve a great look.

First published in Popular Patchwork Weekend Projects