mini laundry hampers

In the interest of keeping my sewing momentum going, I did a house-related sewing project today that I’m really excited about! I never know what to do with dirty dish towels, cloth napkins and rags, because they’re the sort of thing that I feel need to be washed separately but don’t really merit their own load of laundry. This means they hang out in random places for months until I finally get it together to wash them, or just use them as rags and eventually throw them away. So I got an idea (from a clothespin sack that my mom used to have hanging from the clothesline) and made hanging bins for the basement stairwell so I have a handy place to put all of the above. I was so proud of myself for coming up with the idea that I decided to put together a little tutorial.


– a few yards of fabric (I used some fabric that I had a bunch of but I’m not too crazy about it, so I could use it to experiment with)
– short wooden dowels (I think mine were maybe like 9 inches long? I had them left over from another project)
– if you don’t have wooden dowels, you can use a wire coat hanger and bend it to fit in the pouch

Step 1:
Cut a rectangle of fabric twice as long as the desired “height” of the bin and slightly wider than the wooden dowel (maybe an inch longer).

Step 2:
Draw or trace an oval toward the top of the rectangle slighty smaller than the size of the opening you’d like. For mine, I used the top of an apothecary jar to trace sort of an oblong shape. Cut out the oval shape.

Step 3:
Make a series of small cuts around the edge so the inside of the oval is fringed.

Step 4:
Place the fabric wrong-side up, fold back the fringe and iron it it place. I used my trusty little metal ruler to push the fringe back while I ironed it. I use that little ruler for for all of my too-close-for-comfort ironing tasks.

Step 5:
Using a zig-zag stitch, make a “hem” by sewing the fringe down around the hole.

Step 6:
Fold fabric in half so right-sides are together and pin around the edges. Then, starting from the bottom (the folded edge), sew up the sides and halfway across the top. Do the same for the other side, leaving about a half inch open at the center of the top (this is where the hanging loop will poke through). Make sure the opening between the stitching is as close to centered as possible, otherwise your bin will hang slightly crooked, like mine. I can’t remember what seam allowance I used, but the smaller the better so you’re sure to have enough room for your dowel to fit.

Step 7:
Make a hanging loop by cutting a thin scrap of fabric about 6 or 7 inches long and a half-inch or so wide. Fold each side in so the long edges overlap in the middle and iron in place. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew right down the center of the folded strip. You can do this much more neatly if you’d like, but I didn’t care much what the stitching looked like on mine. Criss cross the bottoms and stitch in place into a loop shape.

Step 8:
Turn the bag right-side out. Run the wooden dowel through the center of the hanging loop, slip the dowel in place at the top of the bag, and feed the loop through the space at the top.


3 thoughts on “mini laundry hampers

  1. Neon Relish says:

    You have a MIND-BOGGLING natural ability for this!! I feel like it makes sense, because to me you seem like you are one of those rare Left/Right-Brain people – creative AND analytical/logical. But seriously? I am still super-impressed! Nice job!

  2. leann says:

    kate, i LOVE this!

  3. Mom says:

    I love the cloth bag-and to think that somehow i was the inspiration for that!! Wonder what ever happened to that little item? They used to be sold in the form of baby dresses. Cellarways can be home to all sorts of where do i store this stuff (?) items

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