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Just like that crafty Mary Poppins, sometimes you need to sweeten the pot to get chores done. We scaled down a traditional laundry duffle to kid size, making it easy to fill and carry into the laundry room. Plus, the super-cute appliqué on the front leaves no doubt about what needs to be done with the bag’s contents! Inside is an easy-care mesh lining, so odors and dampness stay at a minimum. And the bright green baby pom pom trim is a perfect finishing touch. But wait… there’s more: we’ve included both a free downloadable appliqué template as well as a special bonus machine embroidery design download (also free) for our S4H friends with embroidery machines. Whip one up in the favorite colors of each little mess-maker in your life. 

A Wash Me template is included as a free download to do this embellishment as standard appliqué.

SPECIAL BONUS: Our friends at Janome America sponsored a free embroidery design download for those of you with embroidery machines who would like to do the Wash Me appliqué as an in-the-hoop embroidered appliqué. Simply click the link below to go the page to download the instructional notes as well as the design in the file format appropriate for your embroidery machine.

Wash Me Embroidery Design – Free Download Courtesy of Janome America

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ⅜ yard of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the top of the duffle
  • ½ yard of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the bottom of the duffle
  • ½ yard of 44″+ wide synthetic mesh fabric for the lining; we used White Synthetic Mesh from The RainShed
  • 1 yard of baby pom pom trim; we used Simplicity’s mini pom trim in lime green 
  • ¼ yard or scrap of white cotton knit fabric for the optional T-shirt appliqué; you need a 6″ x 8″ piece
  • ¼ yard or scrap of fusible web for the optional appliqué, such as Heat’n’Bond; you need a 6″ x 8″ piece
  • 2 yards of ½” cording for drawstring; we used plain white cotton cording
  • ½ yard of 1″ twill tape or similar; we used natural twill tape to match the cording
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Embroidery thread for appliqué if you are doing machine embroidery; we used light gray and white
  • Embroidery stabilizer if you are doing machine embroidery; check your machine’s manual for recommended weight and type
  • 6-strand embroidery floss for hand accents on the appliqué (used for both machine embroidery version as well as traditional version); we used light grey
  • Thread of your choice if doing hand or standard machine appliqué
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Large safety pin

Getting Started and Template/Embroidery Downloads

  1. If you are are planning to do an in-the-hoop embroidered appliquédownload the file and instructions.
  2. If you are planning to do traditional machine appliqué, download and print the appliqué pattern: Laundry Bag Appliqué Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  3. Cut out the appliqué along the solid lines.
  4. From the fabric for the bottom of the duffle, fussy cut TWO 17″ wide x 15″ high rectangles.
  5. From the fabric for the top of the duffle, fussy cut TWO 17″ wide x 9½” high rectangles.
  6. From the mesh lining fabric, cut TWO 17″ x 17½” rectangles.
  7. From the fusible web, cut ONE 6″ x 8″ rectangle.
  8. From the white cotton knit, cut ONE 6″ x 8″ rectangle.
  9. Cut the twill tape down to a 12″ length.
  10. Cut the drawstring cording into two 36″ lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

“Wash Me” appliqué

Machine embroidery

  1. Find the 6″ x 8″ fusible web, the 6″ x 8″ cotton knit, and one of the bottom rectangles.
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, adhere the fusible web to the wrong side of the cotton knit. Remove the paper backing.
  3. Mark the bottom rectangle for embroidery. The placement mark will be 6″ from the upper edge and centered from side to side.
  4. Set up your machine for embroidery. Use bobbin thread in the bobbin and embroidery thread in the needle.
  5. Place the fused cotton knit in position on the bottom panel.
  6. Hoop the fabric with stabilizer and embroider the Wash Me design, following the instructions included in the free download. When the embroidery is complete, remove the excess stabilizer. Press the completed design from the wrong side.
  7. Add hand stitched details along the sleeves and neckline, using four strands of embroidery floss and a simple running stitch.

Traditional machine appliqué

  1. Find the 6″ x 8″ fusible web, the 6″ x 8″ cotton knit, and one of the bottom rectangles.
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, adhere the fusible web to the wrong side of the cotton knit.
  3. Trace the t-shirt appliqué shape onto the paper backing of the fusible web. Cut out the t-shirt from the fusible web. Peel off the paper backing. Position the appliqué on the fabric panel, fusible side down. The top of the t-shirt should be 3″ from the upper raw edge and centered from side to side.
  4. Fuse the t-shirt appliqué in place, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Using a dense satin stitch, with bobbin thread in the bobbin and your choice of thread in the needle, go all around the outer edges of the appliqué.
  6. Add hand stitched details using four strands of embroidery floss.
  7. Add the lettering with hand embroidery, or use a permanent fabric marker.

Create the duffle bottom and lining

  1. Place the appliquéd duffle bottom and the plain duffle bottom, right sides together. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Box the bottom corners to create 5″ side panels.

    NOTE: If you are new making box corners, we just happen to have an awesome tutorial to help: How To Box Corners.
  4. Find the two mesh lining panels. Stitch the seams and box the corners following the same steps as above.

Create the duffle top with the drawstring channel

  1. Find the two 17″ x 9½” rectangles for the duffle top. Place them right sides together.
  2. Along each side (the 9½” edges), mark the openings for the drawstring. Make one mark 4″ down from the top edge and one mark 5″ up from the bottom edge. You should end up with an inch between your marks.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, sew the side seams, remembering to lock your seam at either side of each opening.
  4. Press the seams open.
  5. On the right side of the fabric, edgestitch around each drawstring opening.
  6. Pivot at the ends to create a buttonhole shape.

Assemble top to bottom, add pom pom trim and hanging loop

  1. Fold down the upper edge of the duffle top 3″ all around. Press in place. Set aside.
  2. Find the pom pom trim. Position it around the top raw edge of the duffle bottom. The trim’s flange should sit ½” down from the raw edge; in other words, your seam will be ½” from the raw edge, so position the flange so its bottom edge (the top of the poms) is ½” from the raw edge.
  3. Machine baste the pom pom trim in place. We switched to our Janome Beading foot and so didn’t need to pin. You could also pin or hand-baste the poms in place and use a Zipper foot.
  4. Pin the laundry bag top to the laundry bag bottom, right sides together and matching the side seams. You are attaching the top raw edge of the duffle bottom and the bottom raw edge of the duffle top, sandwiching the pom pom trim between the two layers.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the layers together. If you were careful about your pom pom basting seam line, you can simply follow along in this previous line of stitching.
  6. Press the seam allowance up toward the top of the duffle.
  7. Turn the duffle right side out.
  8. Edgestitch along the pom pom trim. Remember to switch out to thread to best match the exterior fabric if necessary.
  9. Unfold the top of the duffle so you can see the crease.
  10. Find the center of the upper raw edge of the back (the side without the appliqué).
  11. Mark this center point with a pin.
  12. Find the 12″ length of twill tape. Fold it in half to create a loop.
  13. Pin the tape loop in place against the right side of the fabric so the inside edges are spaced ½” on either side of the center mark, which means the two strips are 1″ apart. Make sure you loop isn’t twisted.
  14. With the exterior duffle wrong side out and the lining right side out, slip the lining inside the exterior so the two “bags” are now right sides together. Match up the side seams. Pin the two layers in place.
  15. Using a ½” seam allowance, sew the exterior to the lining around the top, leaving a 3″ opening for turning. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the opening.
  16. Turn the duffle right side out through the 3″ top edge opening.
  17. Smooth the lining down into the main bag.
  18. Press the seam up toward the top of the duffle, taking care to press only the fabric not the mesh lining; it’s synthetic and can melt under the heat of your iron.
  19. Fold the top edge back down along its original crease line, covering and encasing the seam. Pin in place.
  20. Fold the twill tape up and over the folded edge, toward the top of the bag. Pin the tape in place.
  21. Edgestitch along the seam through all layers all the way around the duffle. Make sure the twill tape is facing up prior to stitching. The creates the bottom of the drawstring channel.
  22. Stitch again 1½” down from the top folded edge of the duffle. Again, make sure the twill tape handle is in the correct position. The creates the top of the drawstring channel. Our Janome machine has great measurement markings across its throat plate. If you don’t have this option, you can measure and draw in a guideline to follow.

Insert drawstring to finish

  1. Find the two 36″ lengths of drawstring cording.
  2. Attach a large safety pin to one end of one length.
  3. Thread the length cording through one side opening, across the front channel, and out the opposite side opening.
  4. Repeat to thread the remaining length of cording across the back channel.
  5. On each side, tie the two ends of the cording together with a simple overhand knot and fray the ends.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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5 years ago

I followed the instructions

I followed the instructions and cut the fabric as directed. It seems that there is a step missing, where the top part of the bag is supposed to be sewn down under the lining. I am not sure what I missed.

Karen Williams
Karen Williams
6 years ago

Great project!  i wonder if

Great project!  i wonder if the liner is necessary, especially if a heavier fabric is used.  In that case, i would use the mesh fabric as 1 or 2 inserts, several inches wide, perhaps in the middle, bottom/ top. 

Diane Beavers
Diane Beavers
6 years ago

Perfect timing…planning a

Perfect timing…planning a weekend project w/elementary age child to stitch up.  Of course I’ll have him pick out his fabrics:) Thank you.

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