Tuesday, May 3, 2011

{ikea hack: forty-nine cent tea towel bags}

How excited would you be if I told you that you can make a drawstring bag from a 49 cent tea towel? 

Well, double it! Yes, hold onto your Swedish meatballs, because I'm about to show you how to make not one but two bags from a TEKLA tea towel. 

Materials: (makes two)

1 TEKLA tea towel
2 lengths of string, twine or ribbon, each 20" long
Natural-coloured thread

P.S. If you can't get to an IKEA, or your cupboards are overrun with tea towels already, this pattern will work for most towels -- the finished size will just vary based on the proportions.

First, fold your tea towel in half lengthwise, so that the red stripe runs along the unfolded edge. Pin along both long edges, and across the tea towel on both sides of the middle.

Cut across the middle, in between the two lines of pins. This separates the tea towel into two, one for each bag.

You should now have two rectangles, each pinned on three sides. The unpinned edges will be the tops.
(The rest of the instructions are given for one bag -- simply repeat to make the second!)

Sew along all three pinned edges, leaving a 2" gap at the top edge of one of the long sides. This will allow you to add a drawstring top. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

Now, to add the drawstring. Take a length of string (approximately 20") and place it along the top edge of your bag.

Fold over the top edge and pin it, trapping the string in place. With the TEKLA towel, there is a seam along the top of the tea towel, so it looks neatest to fold over the seam -- no more, no less. With other tea towels, fold over 3/4" of fabric.

Continue pinning all the way around, until you reach the edge where you left a 2" gap. This will be where your string pokes out and allows you to open and shut the bag. Sew along the folded-over edge, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Trim the bottom corners, cutting them diagonally.

Turn the bag inside out, and fill!

We love to use ours for storing sets of Tilly's toys, for holding wool for my latest knitting project, for keeping fruit and snacks safe when we go out, for storing supplies from pompoms to rubber stamps, and for keeping fresh veggies in the fridge. Yes, drawstring bags are taking over our house!

And, after getting so much practice with the TEKLA towels, I had a go with one of the vintage linen beauties. This large tea towel, with a map of Bermuda, seemed perfect to accompany Justin on his next business trip to keep worn clothes in, and, perhaps, to let him dream of more relaxing places!

(Rather than cutting it in half, I simply folded it widthwise and then followed the instruction above, to make a larger bag.)

As always, if you give this a try, please stop back and let us know how it went!


JacBer said...

That looks so good! And easy enough for someone like me who is scared of the sewing machine to give a go :-)

monkeemoomoo said...

I really love the one made out of the vintage tea towel:) A lovely thought.

I made similar ones at christmas. I bought about 15, $1.00 tea towels and just folded them in half, threading them with cotton tape. Then I filled one for each person. It was perfect for hard to wrap gifts. There was no wasted paper, and an extra gift for the each person. Who doesn't need a spare drawer string bag hanging around?

Jadyn said...

I love this Astrid! I had actually been wondering how to make drawstring bags and will certainly refer to this when I make one.

Astrid said...

Glad you like it! Would love to see a link to some of your bags...