How To Make a Rag Bag

Recycling is a great way to save the planet and to save money as well. Instead of indiscriminately disposing old and unused items from your attic and into the trash, you can make use of these “clutter” in manifold ways. One such idea for reutilizing timeworn and out-of-style clothes, skirts, curtains, table covers and other textile oldies long-standing in your stock room is to turn them into a useful and handy rag bag.

Here’s how you can make a rag bag of your very own.

  • Prepare all needed materials. Like all other projects, you should make a check list of all necessary items and gather them in your chosen workplace before you finally get started. This will make it easier for you and you’ll be able to finish your work faster, perhaps in one sitting alone, without in-between disturbances of having to go look for missing materials.

    You will need not less than 2 yards of old cotton or any available textile that does not easily wear, tear or stretch that easily (different colors are preferred); a needle; a spool of resilient thread (color of your choice); a pair of sharp and handy scissors; and a handful of safety pins.

  • Cut into strips. With scissors, split your cloth into long enough strips (for faster sewing up) and each with preferably the same width of 1 to 2 inches.
  • Braid. This method is quite the same with fashioning a braided rug. Get three strips of cloth (preferably of different colors) and carefully clump their ends, attaching them to a nearby cushion using safety pins.  If you have a partner for this project, have him hold the bundled ends securely as you start making a neat and taut braid. You can opt for hiding the raw edges, carefully tucking them under, but you may also want to keep them hanging for that worn-out and ragged style. Make as many tri-cloth braids as necessary, depending on how high you want your rag bag to be.
  • Make the base of the bag. Take one braid. Take off the safety pin from it and replace with a loosely tied knot just to keep it from unraveling. Make the same loose knot at the other end of the braid. Now untie the knot from one end of the braid and, with a threaded needle, run small and even stitches along the bundled ends. On an even surface, keep the sewn end of the braid steadily in place with one hand, and then flatten the entire length of the braid into a spiral, with its tail spiking up at the center. Sew the coil firmly in place, with stitches that run adjacently along the borders of the braid. Lock the tail down onto the base with small running stitches.
  • Make the walls of the bag. With another braid, sew another coil atop the outmost coil of the base. Work your way upward, continually placing coils atop each other and subsequently sewing them up securely and evenly. Stop once you’re satisfied with the height of the bag. For the topmost and final coil, cut the braid’s end and, with your threaded needle, lock it onto the inside of your new rag bag.
  • Make the handles. This will depend on your desired length of the handles.  You may choose to have a pair of small handles for hand carrying, or a single one that is longer for your shoulder. Either way, both will be made from the braids. For the first option, cut two braids with the same length. Sew them securely onto the upper coil of the bag opposite one another. For the lone handle, simply sew the long braid’s edges onto each side of your rag bag.

Making your very own rag bag is a great way to exercise your creative muscles. Plus you have the privilege of customizing the design according to your own liking and personal taste, in whatever form, size and style. Good luck!


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