The story of how the Nautical Hamper came to be: A few years ago I inherited a small metal framed hamper. The hamper had a plastic bag inside to hold the clothes. It originally came from Ikea. In fact, they still carry it, and it’s pretty inexpensive. Plain. Simple. Not bad. But, nothing fancy or decorative.
I was using the hamper one day and placed it in front of a heater that didn’t work. Yep, you guessed it, that was the one time the heater decided to work, and it melted the plastic of the bag. There was a huge melted hole in the bottom of the bag (but at least it didn’t catch anything on fire!). I definitely couldn’t use it anymore, as the clothes would just fall out. But, a large part of the bag was still there.
So, I decided to cut the melted plastic bag from the metal frame and use it as a pattern for sewing my own bag. I decided I could make the bag better anyway. The way it was originally made, the bag was attached to the metal frame, and couldn’t be taken off without cutting it from the frame. So, I thought that I’d add Velcro to the handle area so that the bag could easily be taken off and washed or carried downstairs to the laundry room.
I made the new bag with a piece of scrap white cotton canvas that I had (it was a sample piece of fabric for another project that I had worked on). I used a contrasting darker thread so that you could see the stitching (I wanted a bit of a rustic nautical look). And, I used a scrap piece of heavy navy blue cotton fabric to create a nautical element on the front of the bag. I purchased the sew on Velcro on sale for .99 cents. So the whole project only cost me about a dollar.
Well, it took me a few years to get around to the project, but I’ve finally finished it! And, I’m really happy with the end results! It’s pretty and beachy. It’s more useful now, and I can use it the way I want to, with a removable bag to easily carry downstairs. It holds a lot of clothes. And, when it’s not in use, I can fold it up and store it (though it’s pretty enough that I don’t have to hide it away).
*selvage edge: The woven self-finished edge of the fabric that keeps it from unraveling.
As for specific instructions, I used the old melted plastic liner as my pattern, measuring that and lining up my cotton fabric as best I could. The body of the hamper bag is one continuous piece with one simple seam at the back in the middle. I sewed this back seam first.
The bottom of the bag is a square that I sewed onto the body of the bag next.
Next, I cut the holes for the handles, leaving about a 1/2-inch strip at the top of the hole so the straight part of the handle with the Velcro could be attached. I sewed on the selvage seam binding over the curve of the handle.
Then I sewed the straight parts for the handles,which are simple rectangles with finishing seams around all four edges. The straight handles were then attached to the bag at the back/inside of the bag. Then I sewed on the Velcro, making sure to put sticky sides of the Velcro towards each other.
Then I sewed on the big blue number which I had cut from an old apron (from a restaurant I used to work at many many years ago). If I did this again, I’d sew on the number first because it would be much easier to attach the number to a flat piece of fabric rather than a bag. But, I wasn’t sure where it needed to go at first. So, live and learn.
Then, all that was left was to hang the bag from the metal frame. And, success, it fit like a glove! Yippie!