Old Fashioned Clothes Pin Bag

If there’s any “luxury” in hanging clothes out to dry on the line, it’s got to be having something to make your clothes pins easily accessible as you work.  Bags for your clothes pins used to be pretty common and my grandmother had one that I always thought was easily one of the best creations ever.  (my mother and I clipped the clothes pins to the bottom of our shirt in a little line so you can see why I coveted the bag idea)  As an adult, I’ve made a couple of these bags for my own pins but unfortunately I didn’t always follow my grandmother’s lead and bring the bag in with the clothes.  If left on the line, the bag weathers quickly and your pins wind up a yucky mess from all the rain, etc.  This time when I made my replacement, I decided to document it and swore to myself that I wouldn’t let it sit out.  We’ll see about that last part… 😉  Anyway, in quick form, here’s how to make your own bag using scraps from an old pair of pant legs and a wire clothes hanger:

These pants had become ragged on the hems and so we cut them off and hemmed them to make a pair of shorts.  I held on to the portion we cut off because they are handy for bags like this.

Getting started:

Unwrap a regular clothes hanger and straighten out all the bends.

If you’re using an old pair of pants you can use the existing hem if it’s in good shape.  These pants were too far gone to use the existing hem so I put in a wide hem of my own.  On the ironing board, press two folds for your hem, one large one that will be the hem itself and one small one that will tuck the raw edge under and keep raveling edges from showing.

A handy tool like the one below makes it easy to be sure your hem is the same width all the way around.  You don’t even have to go by the numbers, just slide the clip to match the hem you’ve already started and then use it as a gauge as you go around.

Set your sewing machine needle to the “left” position and use the left side of your presser foot as a guide along the inside edge of your hem to make sure you get an even stitch all the way around.

Once finished, cut two slits in the hem and begin carefully feeding the clothes hanger wire through.

Twist the ends of the hanger together to make a wire circle, wrap the sharp ends with some tape to keep them from ripping the bag and then feed the twisted part into the hem to hide it.

Bend the wire loop up at a 90 degree angle to begin the part that the bag will hang from.

Add a couple of whip stitches around the upturned wire to hold the bag in place.  A regular needle and thread works best for this.

To finish the bottom, turn the bag inside out and use the sewing machine to sew a hem along the bottom edge.

If you want to make a “box bottom”, simply take the part that you just hemmed and sew a dissecting line to create a corner.

Your finished box bottom will look like this:

Take your bag out to the clothes line and finish bending the wire hanger so that the bag hangs balanced on the line.  The longer the dip in the hanger, the straighter they tend to hang.  Make sure you don’t get the bends too tight, you’ll want it to be able to slide along the line as you work.  🙂

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