Fish Laundry Hamper

When we moved, I decided to go with an under the sea themed room for the kids.  It’s gender neutral, since they share a room, and it’s cute, but I’ll be able to adapt the decorations to grow up with them.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the DIY ideas I’ve completed to create this theme.

I found these cute fish laundry bags on Pinterest, but knew I could do them cheaper and in the colors I wanted.  I also designed mine so that the tails aren’t open to clothes – imagine how hard it could be to get some teensy toddler socks out of the tips of those tails!  I made my fish on the smaller side, since the kids’ clothes are going to stay small for a while.  And I made 2 so that they don’t get too heavy for the kids to help out bringing them to the laundry room.

To make each fish laundry bag, you’ll need:

  • 1 yd fabric
  • Scraps of white and black fabric
  • Heat N Bond Lite
  • Scraps of lightweight interfacing
  • 30 in 1/4″ ribbon
  • Fish Hamper Pattern
  • Coordinating thread

Cut out the following in your main fabric:

  • 2 isosceles triangles 14.5″ wide at the base and 16.5″ tall
  • 4 tail pieces from pattern
  • 1 rectangle 16.5″x27.5″

Trace 2 of each of the eye circles onto the paper side of the Heat N Bond, iron the smaller circles onto the black fabric scrap and larger circles onto the white fabric scrap and cut out.

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The fish is already staring at you, before he’s even a fish!

The rectangular piece is going to be the top of the bag.  Press it in half longways (hotdog-style) and iron the eye pieces about 3″ from the fold and 3″ from the raw edge on each side.

Eye Diagram

Don’t you love my professional drawing?

Iron a scrap of lightweight interfacing on the back side of each eye (unfold it so it’s directly behind the eye) and applique both the inner and outer circles.  If you need a refresher on applique, check out my post here.

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Front and back of appliqued eye

Keep the rectangle unfolded.  Place the short ends wrong side together and stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 1″ opening at the center (1/2″ on each side of the fold you pressed in earlier – marking it makes it MUCH easier).  Press the seam open, and stitch  the seam allowances down around the opening that was left.  Fold the rectangle back down, and stitch all the way around the top, 1/2″ from the fold, to create a casing for a drawstring.  See photos below for a visual; you may also recognize this method from the camera lens case tutorial.

Draw String Casing

Left: Make a tube with a 1″ opening in the center. Center: Stitch the seam allowance down around the opening. Right: Create a 1/2″ tube along the fold.

Place the two large body triangles right sides together and stitch along the two long sides.  Trim the corner as pictured below, turn right side out, and press flat.

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Tip of the tail, to show trimming

Create the tail pieces by placing two tail triangles (right sides together) and stitching along one side (1/4″ SA).  Fold open and press wrong sides together, then stitch the other two sides together with 1/2″ seam allowance.  If you have pinking shears, you can cut the raw edges with them for a fun look!  Otherwise, a simple trim with regular scissors will do.  Repeat for the second fin.  Then attach to the bottom of your body piece, seam to seam, with a zigzag stitch.

Tail

Left: Stitch triangles along one side. Center: Press open, then wrong sides together, and stitch other 2 sides. Right: Zigzag stitch fins to tail.

Turn the finished head piece eyes in, and insert the top of the body piece inside, raw edges matching.  Pin in place, and stitch the two together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  You may have a bit of puckering, and that’s ok, just try to get it as even as you can.  Turn the body inside out and iron the seam you just sewed towards the tail.

Attach Top

Left: Attaching the head to the body. Right: Iron the seam towards the tail.

Turn right side out, insert ribbon into the casing, and secure with a knot.

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Use a safety pin to thread the ribbon through the casing

And voila!  You’ve created an adorable but very useful fishy laundry bag!

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So cute, if I do say so myself!

I haven’t hung ours yet, but Radar is going to put some hooks on the wall, which will make them easy to hang or take down, and they’ll look like a fish on a hook – how cute!  As you can see, I went with teal and orange for the kids’ new room, but of course these can be done in any color, or even a fun pattern!

Padded Camera Lens Pouch

Radar’s dad has a bad-ass camera.  His parents love to travel, and he takes gorgeous photos everywhere they go.  I knew when I saw this tutorial that I just had to make some lens cases for him!  He has a big, fancy bag for carrying all of his equipment, but I thought it would be nice to make him some cases to store his lenses individually and protect them from wear and dirt.  Having cases also means he can grab just one lens with the camera and toss them in a smaller bag, so he doesn’t always have to carry the big one.  At the very least, he’ll know his investment is safe with an extra layer of protection on all their trips!  So read on about how you can make some lens cases, too!  (All seam allowances are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated)

Supplies:

  • 1/4 yd or fat quarter each of an outer and lining fabric
  • 1/4 yard fusible batting (the thicker, the better)
  • Extra wide double fold bias tape
  • 1/4″ ribbon
  • Coordinating thread

Cut your fabric out according to the following guidelines:

For a small pouch (finished diameter of 3.5″ and height of 4.5″), cut:

  • Outer fabric
    • 4″ circle
    • 11.5″x5″ (for the sides of the pouch)
    • 11.5″x8″ (for the upper drawstring part)
  • Inner fabric
    • 4″ circle
    • 11.5″x5″
  • Batting
    • 4″ circle
    • 11.5″x5″

For a medium pouch (finished diameter of 4.5″ and height of 5.5″), cut:

 

  • Outer fabric
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x6″ (for the sides of the pouch)
    • 15.5″x8″ (for the upper drawstring part)
  • Inner fabric
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x6″
  • Batting
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x6″

For a large pouch (finished diameter of 4.5″ and height of 7.5″), cut:

  • Outer fabric
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x8″ (for the sides of the pouch)
    • 15.5″x8″ (for the upper drawstring part)
  • Inner fabric
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x8″
  • Batting
    • 5″ circle
    • 15.5″x8″

Iron the fusible batting onto the wrong side of the same size pieces of outer fabric.

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The batting is already attached to the outer pieces

Create the upper part of the pouch by first pressing the piece of outer fabric noted above in half longways, wrong sides together (it’s the piece of fabric that doesn’t have a mate of interior fabric).  Then unfold and fold in the other direction, right sides together.  Stitch along the raw edge with 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 1″ opening in the center (I find it easier to draw a line to keep track of everything; click on the photo below to see it bigger) – don’t forget to backstitch at the edges of the opening!  You now have a loop of fabric.  Press the seam open, then refold, good side out.

Top Portion

Creating the upper part of the pouch

Fold the pieces of the sides of the pouch (outer fabric with batting and inner fabric) in half right sides together and stitch up the side to create a loop of fabric; press the seam open.  Then pin to the coordinating circle and stitch in place.

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Outer shell and lining pinned and sewn

Turn the outer shell right side out, and insert the lining into the shell, lining up the seams.  Slide the upper part you made before down over the shell and pin in place with all raw edges together; line it up with the shell, don’t worry if the lining sticks up a little too high.  Stitch around the top to secure.

Assembly

Left: Lining inside of shell. Right: Upper part added and pinned in place.

Now you have two options.  The first option is not as pretty on the outside of the pouch, but it will be easier to get your lens in and out.  The second makes a prettier pouch, but creates a ring you’ll have to slide your lens past to get it in.

To make a case that’s easy to get the lens in and out of (option 1), turn the pouch inside out (all the way, so the top part should be sticking straight up in the air.  Lay the edge of the bias tape over the seam attaching the top and bottom of the pouch and stitch in place.  Then pull the other side of the tape over the seam and stitch it in place too.  Be sure to pull the top part of the case taught to prevent puckers.  This method only works if you can put the pouch around the free arm of the sewing machine – I could only do that with the medium and large pouches.

To make a case that’s prettier on the outside, keep the pouch folded the way you sewed it together, fold the bias tape over the raw edges, and stitch in place.

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The left one is my small pouch with option 2 for the interior, right has option 1 on the medium pouch

Turn the pouch right side out and stitch 1/2″ from the fold at the top to create a casing for the tie ribbon.  Use a safety pin to thread some ribbon through the casing; tie a knot to keep it from coming out and trim.

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Casing for the ribbon created

Voila!  I made 3, using some travel-themed fabric – but camera fabric would be super cute for this!  The only camera fabric I could find was flannel, and I didn’t want to use a fuzzy fabric that might get into the lenses.  And the lining was just something fun that I had – I did one for each of the schools that Radar and his brother went to, and one that was patriotic.

Completed Pouches

Finished products!

Now go make one (or a few) for your favorite photographer!