Create this practical laundry bag with appliquéd petal shapes, as featured in Country Living's January 2012 issue
This laundry bag is hand-appliquéd with a geometric arrangement of petal shapes, a traditional pattern known as hidden circles. Its a wonderful way to re-use tiny pieces of fabric, and the more prints you can find, the more interesting the finished bag will look. Here, a random assortment of old dressmaking cottons works well together even though the prints vary in both scale and colour.
1 First take a piece of white linen fabric measuring 85cm x 65cm and cut out a rectangle measuring 60cm x 62cm.
2 Using the petal template (below, actual size) cut two petals from a piece of thin white card. Trace the shape onto the wrong side of a scrap of floral fabric and cut out 7mm outside the outline. Repeat to produce 50 petals.
3 Pin the template centrally on the wrong side of a scrap of fabric. Turn back the hem, folding the corners into neat points and sew it onto the card with long running stitches (illustration 1). Press the turning with an iron and, when cool, unpick the thread and remove the template. The card may become distorted, so make a new one regularly.
4 The petals have to be positioned accurately before they are stitched down: you can do this by eye, or by drawing a diamond grid directly on to the fabric. Fold the fabric in half widthways. Press the fold lightly, then unfold.
5 Using a chalk pencil or a fading dressmakers pen, lightly draw a 30cm x 40cm rectangle on the right-hand side, 6cm in from the fold, 6cm from the raw right edge and 6cm up from the bottom edge. Mark three points on the short top and bottom lines at 5cm, 15cm and 25cm from the one corner. Mark four points along the side lines at 5cm, 15cm, 25cm and 35cm from one corner. Using a long ruler or quilters rule, join these dots with diagonal lines to form a diamond grid (ill. 2).
6 Lay 48 of the petals diagonally across the grid, re-arranging them until you have a well-balanced layout of pattern and colour. Pin them in place, making sure they all touch at the tips (ill. 3).
7 Slip-stitch the petals to the background using small diagonal stitches and a cotton thread that matches the predominant colour of the fabrics (ill. 4).
8 To mark the position of the drawstring channel, draw a pencil line 10cm down from the top edge, on the wrong side of the fabric. Take 2m of pink bias binding and bind the top edge and 12cm of each side edge.
9 Cut a 64cm length from the remaining binding and press under a 1cm-turning at each end. Pin this along the pencil line, so that the neatened ends are aligned with the side edges (ill. 5). Using white thread, machine stitch along the top and bottom edges of the binding, 2mm from the fold.
10 Re-fold widthways so the appliquéd circles are on the inside and pin the side and bottom edges together. Machine-stitch together, leaving a 1cm seam allowance. Start at the bottom corner and end the seam by angling the stitches across the bias binding so that it finishes just below the drawstring channel (ill. 6). Neaten the seam allowance with an overlock or zigzag stitch and turn right side out. Press lightly with an iron.
11 Fasten a safety pin to one end of an 80cm length of pink cord and feed the cord all the way through the drawstring channel, in one opening and out of the other (ill. 7).
12 Tie the ends of the cord together and trim the ends to 10cm. Now use the two spare petals to make the tabs. Tack each one over a template and, leaving the card in place, fold them in half. Starting at the fold, stitch one side together to 5mm from the point. Slip the tab over the end of the cord, securing the point to the cord with a few stitches, then sew the other side (ill. 8). Add the other tab in the same way. As a finishing touch, embroider your initials in the bottom left corner with chain-stitch, using three strands of thread.
All of these projects are taken from 'Patch!' by Cath Kidston (Quadrille, £16) - buy it for just £11 from our online bookshop
See all of the Cath Kidston patchwork projects from Country Living January 2012
Get into patchwork and quilting: beginner's guide and projects to try
Find lots more creative ways to use up fabric scraps
10 things you didn't know about Cath Kidston
Sew a Cath Kidston strawberry apron
Sew a Cath Kidston knitting bag
Liven up the laundry with old-fashioned style: easy craft ideas