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Clothespin Bag




For many, these vintage-style clothespin bags will bring back memories of childhood days and clothes drying in the breeze. The bag buttons over the clothesline, holds all the clothespins you'll need to hang your wash, and conveniently slides along the line as you work.


  • 1/2 yard horizontal striped fabric
  • 2 buttons, at least 3/4-inch wide (or 2 heavy duty plastic snaps)
  • Thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Fiskars ruler grid (or plain ruler)
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears


  1. Step 1

    Cut a piece of sturdy fabric 43 inches long by 11 inches wide, centering the stripe within the center of the width.

  2. Step 2

    With wrong sides together, fold the fabric in half lengthwise. Use a hot iron to press at the fold. Topstitch along the fold. This will become the top of the bag's pocket.

  3. Step 3

    Create the pocket for the bag by measuring (using the Fiskars ruler grid or ruler) 9 inches down from the stitching on both sides. Fold the fabric up so that the pocket is sandwiched between two layers of fabric, and press. The wrong side of the fabric should now be facing out. Pin all layers together.

  4. Step 4

    Using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew around three sides of the bag up to the top of the pocket, leaving the rest of the bag unsewn.

  5. Step 5

    Press 1/2-inch fold for seam allowance on just one layer of the top of the bag. Open the fold; the crease is where you will sew on the tabs, which will attach the bag to the clothesline.

  6. Step 6

    Press the fabric in a diagonal line on the left and right sides, joining the corner of the pocket seam and the point where the tab will be attached (the edge of the stripe, so that the tabs will be a continuation of the wide stripes on the bag). Trim 1/2-inch seam allowance outside of the pressed line. Make sure there are at least 4 inches between the tabs so the bag will hang securely on the clothesline.

  7. Step 7

    To make the tabs, cut 4 strips of fabric 4 1/2-inches long. The width should be the width of the stripe, plus 1/2 inch on each side for seam allowance. Pin 2 strips, right sides together. Sew around three sides just outside the outline of the stripe. With pinking shears, trim close to the seam. Turn the tabs right-side out, using a needle to neatly pull out the corners, and press. If you're going to use buttons to attach tabs to the bag, make buttonholes in the tabs; as an alternative, you can attach heavy-duty weather-proof snaps.

  8. Step 8

    Pin tabs to the marked side of bag, right sides together, matching the stripes and aligning the raw edges. Sew tabs 1/4 inch from the raw edge.

  9. Step 9

    Pin front and back of bag together; sew along the diagonal crease and top crease, leaving a 3 1/2-inch opening at the top between the tabs, where you will turn the bag right-side-out. Trim seam allowance to 1/4 inch; clip corners diagonally.

  10. Step 10

    Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening, starting at one corner. Use a pin to gently pull out and shape the corners. Press in the seam allowance of the opening and hand-stitch closed.

  11. Step 11

    Fold tabs over toward the side with the pocket, so that the fold of the tab is 1 inch above the top of the bag. Sew 2 buttons (or snaps) to the bag where they correspond to the buttonholes.

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Reviews (13)

  • SallyP1 24 Jul, 2014

    Does anybody know where the link is to the video for this bag. Struggling to find it. Thx

  • SallyP1 24 Jul, 2014

    Does anybody know where the link is to the video for this bag. Struggling to find it. Thx

  • mandyrose1 2 Feb, 2014

    I love this clothespin bag a few years ago I could not figure out the written directions but since then martha put out the video made it soooo much easier thank you martha stewart

  • laughlady 26 Sep, 2013

    I have sewn for many years and I agree with MrsB. I had to watch the video also to figure out how to fold this. The instructions are not well written for either an experienced or beginner sewist.

  • laughlady 26 Sep, 2013

    I have sewn for many years and I agree with MrsB. I had to watch the video also to figure out how to fold this. The instructions are not well written for either and experienced or beginner sewist.

  • MrsB 20 Sep, 2013

    Instructions not the best but if you watch the online video at Martha it gets a lot clearer. The only issue with the video is the fold down of the corners-makes it look like a straight 45 angle but has to be less than that to leave room to turn right side out. First one took me an hour but the second only about 20 minutes once you figure it all out. Best part is that all seams end up enclosed so no raveling threads.

  • marjoriedor 12 Jun, 2012

    Thank you for the tip from 'ilketosew' between you and my husband I have figured it out.

  • tispmb 11 Dec, 2011

    I have made 3 of these today they are so easy you are so clever . Go knows why some of those people can't understand the instructions they are soooooo simple. It saves using a hanger I hate those with hangers inserted in them. The logest time it took me was to understand how to make a buttonhole on my sewing m/c . love em. thanks

  • ilik2sew 16 Oct, 2011

    SUCCESS! It's adorable! Once you figure step 3 out you are on your way. The secret is to fold separately both cut ends of the fabric up right sides together to sandwich the topstitched end in between, forming the pocket. This makes 4 layers of fabric to stitch through on the bottom of the bag. Hope that helps. I never did get the part about folding and stitching the diagonals but it came out anyway.

  • rosypeach 26 Sep, 2011

    I am having a terribly difficult time understanding these directions. But, I would REALLY like to make this bag. Any suggestions on how to better understand these? I am getting lost when it tells me to sew 3 sides, stopping at the top of the bag. WHich end is the top? Which 3 sides do I sew?

  • mandyrose1 3 Nov, 2010

    the directions have me stumped cute clothespin bag but yea directions are poorly written and I been sewing a long time

  • Huajuapan 16 Jul, 2010

    #2 in instructions should read to fold the fabric in half crosswise, not lengthwise.

  • Julie1342 1 Apr, 2010

    The instructions are imcomplete or poor written. I can not make the bag. I have been sewing a long time and this one has me stumped.