Made a laundry hamper for Emily's room this week.
I've seen these everywhere, except they're big - and I wanted a smallish one for a specific corner of her room, and I was very, very tired of our plastic Walmart laundry baskets, so I got out my tools and sewing machine and made one.
If you've never seen these before, they're very nifty things because they are roomy enough for lots of laundry
but they can fold up (even with laundry inside)
and be toted around.
The fabric bag is buttoned on at the top
and strapped down underneath
so you can remove the bag completely and toss that in the wash, too.
The wooden X-frame is such an easy and useful basic structure for so many projects - apart from this laundry hamper, you can also use it for camp chairs, camp beds, tents and so many other things. I made the frame with supplies from the hardware store.
This is what I used:
- One 8-foot 1x2 lumber strip, cut into four equal 2-foot lengths
- One 1/2" dowel cut into two 16" lengths.
- One 1/2" dowel cut into two 14.5" *lengths
- Eight screws for the dowels
- Two 2" bolts, two nuts and six washers.
First, drill all the holes according to the plan:
Click HERE to download the plan.
Important: All dimensions of the fabric bag, including the straps, are the FINISHED dimensions i.e. NOT the size of the fabric pieces that need to be cut out. You will need to add seam allowances to those numbers.
Next, assemble one rectangular section of the frame, using the 16" dowels. Repeat for the second rectangular section of the frame, using the 14.5"* dowels.
Nest the smaller rectangle (with the 14.5"* dowels) within the larger one (with the 16" dowels) and secure them through their midpoints using the bolts, nuts and washers.
This is the frame folded up.
*Note: This is only an estimate. Depending on the exact thickness of the wood for the X-arms (mine was about 3/4"), you might have to adjust the 14.5" value so the inner rectangle nests just right within the bigger one.
Now sew the bag.
You can use the dimensions for the bag I made (see the plan), but you can also make up your own. Mine is practically a cube but you can also opt for a taller, skinner bag. Remember that this X-frame is moveable and opening it wider or narrower will change the height of your bag (and the depth will change accordingly). The width (in my case 14.5"), which is dictated by the length of the shorter dowels between the X-arms, stays constant.
I'm not going to do one of those interminable 57-step tutorials - this is just the overview, with some tips on sewing neat corners. I'm also omitting reminding you that you need to serge or finish your seams if it's a single-layer bag. My fabric is one of those woven things that is completely reversible i.e. the right and wrong side are indiscernible, so the button flaps can be flipped over the dowels without being lined.
First, attach the base to the button-able sides. remembering to insert the straps in both base seams as shown:
Obviously you can use webbing, or ribbon or whatever you like for straps - I used the fabric itself and made straps.
Then attach the remaining sides.
Here's a short digression on how to sew neat 90- degree cube corners.
This is a zoomed-out shot of the fabric base being sewn onto the short (i.e. the one without the button flaps) side, which is underneath and can't be seen. The needle is approaching the seam where the fabric needs to be turned 90 degrees.
Here's the zoomed-in view. Before the needle gets to the seam, snip the seam allowance of the seam to very close to the stitching line,
It's hard to see in this picture, but the fabric has been turned 90 degrees about the needle (presser foot removed for visibility) and the needle is going to continue sewing beyond that seam, at 90 degrees to the direction it was originally going.
This is the thing flipped over, to show you how the stitches changed direction smoothly.
And this is the fabric (the one that was the bottom layer previously) peeled back to show that snip we made.
And this is the neat corner on the right side.
Once the bag is sewn up, finish the edges of the opening with bias tape.
Sew buttonholes and buttons
and velcro on the bottom straps.
Then fasten the bag onto the frame and it's ready for laundry
or fold it up and store it away.
I'm really liking these mixed-media sewing projects, incidentally! It's not as easy to think up cardboard-and-fabric combinations, which is a shame, since I'm much handier with a craft knife than a saw. Eventually I will graduate to power tools i.e. must buy some, but just to encourage you so you know anyone can do simple woodworking - apart from the (low-voltage) drill, I used only the simplest, most manual of tools. Remember that picnic table and easel my Dad and Mum made for us last summer? Same manual tools!