A Laundry Bag, a Boy Apron, and Napkins: More No-Pattern Sewing Fun

After I spent three months learning to draft a skirt pattern and then sewing it, I said that my next garment project would be from a commercial pattern. I have bought some fabric and some patterns but haven’t started yet. Instead, I’ve been whipping up a few easy no-pattern projects.

My old nylon laundry bag was coming apart at the seams. I keep this bag inside the laundry hamper and tote it to the laundry room across the courtyard, so it takes a lot of abuse.


I didn’t even bother trying to repair because the fabric was dissolving.

I didn’t feel like spending five hard-earned dollars on a replacement, so instead I cut up an old sheet. I find straightforward sewing to be quite relaxing, so it was a satisfying evening. Didn’t even measure. Just hacked at it with the pinking shears and stitched it up.


This looks close enough.


A couple of Christmases ago, I let the boys pick out fabric (not telling them what it was for) and made them these great Montessori aprons (I got the pattern from Sew Liberated.) Well, Big Brother’s was always a big small and it has become quite unwearable. Time to upsize.

I had to do more measuring here because I could not readily find a pattern for a children’s apron in a larger size. So I measured the proportions of the little one, and the proportions of my adult apron made by Grandma FP, took my best guess, drew up a pattern, and cut up some old muslin to make a sample. It seemed about right. I used freezer paper to draw the pattern and my flexible curve ruler to make the curved sides. I kept the kid-friendly features of the original and just increased the size.

Walmart didn’t have any boy Justice League fabric when I was there, so he had to settle for Avengers. The workmanship isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with it. I lined it in something approximating Hulk green.


Friends, I LOVE sewing things that I can’t buy. Elastic-neck,  hook and loop-closure, licensed character aprons are just not a readily available thing. Plus, now BB knows I think he is worth the time.

Besides, everyone should have an apron, because cooking and eating are for everyone.

When I had made the old aprons, BB hacked up some of the leftover fabric and taped it and said he had made “a napkin.” I persuaded him to let me remove the tape and zigzag around the sides so it could be washed. The result was not lovely, but it does function as a napkin. Little Brother wanted one, too.


When I bought the Avengers fabric, they were very clear that they wanted Avengers napkins. So I thought, maybe I will learn to make REAL napkins. Since I was working from scraps, the result is small but usable.

Apparently napkins have something called “mitered corners.” I had a little trouble learning this skill. I used this tutorial and then also this one, but my first two results, though usable, were clearly not “mitered.”

I practiced with a piece of paper–easier to fold–and realized that I was not folding the corners far enough down before folding the sides. Though still imperfect, the third one has rather nicely mitered corners. Now I know this trick in case I ever want to make specialty linens or whatever.


Of the four corners, this was the most beautiful.

Next, I need to once again mend the edge of my spare bath towel and then get started sewing garments! Stay tuned!

What have you been making lately? How did it come out?


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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

7 responses to “A Laundry Bag, a Boy Apron, and Napkins: More No-Pattern Sewing Fun”

  1. Grandma FP says :

    Adorable! I’m sure BB loves it!

  2. Susan says :

    Love the boy aprons- so true that everybody needs an apron. I am inspired to make one for my little grandson. He’s only 14 months but he’s got an apron- wearing family tradition!

  3. Nikki says :

    I love this. Your sewing endeavours have given me much needed encouragement and I just finished my first laundry bag. And you’re so right about being able to make things you just can’t buy. It feels almost empowering.
    And thank you for the head up re the apron – I had never thought of an elastic neck and hook and loop enclosure instead of ties. Much more kid-friendly.

  4. Leah says :

    I love the apron! Scheming now about making one for my daughter and one for her friend. Super cute. I love the neck elastic and the hook& loop.

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