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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sew Happy Saturday – The Laundry Cart Make-over


Photo:  I had tied on the front panel before I remembered that I wanted to take “before” pictures, but I didn’t feel like taking it back off, so I just flipped it out of the way in this picture so that you could see how it was.  :-)

Quite some time ago my husband bought me this laundry cart for our bathroom.  I did not like it, mainly because I’m not into industrial style design.  But, he insisted on putting it together for me and having me “try it out”.  Our master bathroom is at the almost-opposite end of the house from our washer and dryer, so shuttling laundry is some leg work, especially when I am having health issues (which I had more when we first got married).  Our previous holder for dirty laundry was a basket from my pre-marriage days.  It was not big enough for the two, and I had to carry a “dripping” load of dirty clothes from one end of the house to the other (almost).

Well, this new cart has removable fabric sacks with handles on them as you can see from the photo.  With this the laundry is pre-sorted for me since our clothes generally fit quite easily into three color ways – reds, lights and blues/darks.  Also, I can just lift out the sack I want and carry it without any “drops” along the way.  Sometimes it is still too heavy and I have to do things the old way, but that’s my own problem for not washing as often as I maybe should.

Best of all, though, when I’m having back trouble or other health issues that make me weak, I can just push the whole cart down to the laundry area!

So…he won me over. :-)

But, I still didn’t like the look of it.  It was dull, and too industrial.

So, I had a brainwave that I’d sew some little panels and tie them on with ribbons to cover the two sides of the cart that show. 

I had had this fabric for a long time and really liked it, but had never figured out how I wanted to use it.  For this project I had to turn one panel on it’s side, but I’m OK with that.  I’m trying not to be a perfectionist, remember?  And, this is for our private bathroom after all.  So, who cares?  I am still happy with the results. :-)

I also had enough to cut a small valance to go above the window, but I have not gotten that done yet.  The walls are far from being “done” and we’re not likely to finish them soon, so I’m not overly motivated on that one.  (We tore off the surface of the old wallpaper because I couldn’t stand the print in my bathroom.)

Anyway, here is what I did.  I measured the spaces I wanted to cover on the two sides of the cart.  Then I cut the panels about an inch or so larger on each side giving myself at least a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  For the bottom I may have added a bit more.

I cut linings for them from inexpensive white broad cloth. 

I cut the number of pieces of (washable) ribbon I needed in a length that I had measured to be suitable for the way I wanted to tie it – a plain knot, in this case.

To assemble the panels, I placed them right sides together with the lining pieces and pinned them.  If I remember correctly, I think I sewed the sides first, then positioned the ribbons along the top of the panels (if you have one way fabric, make sure you mark the top). 

It’s important to make sure that the ribbons are folded straight in half – not wonky; and that they are perpendicular to the edge of the fabric – not at an angle.  The reason this is important is that crooked ribbons can affect the way your panels hang and could make it look a bit off.

I pinned the ribbons securely in place and then sewed the top.  I left the bottom open for turning it right-side-out.  After turning and ironing it, I folded the bottom edge up twice and topped stitched it to make a narrow hem.

Once they were finished it was a simple matter of tying them on.  And, the nice thing is that they are washable, so whenever they get soiled I can just take them off and toss them in the laundry.

Doesn’t it look SO much better? :-)  I love the pop of color in the room.  With the valances it will be even more cheerful. :-)

Over time the panels have sagged a bit.  I would put more ribbon ties on them if I did it over.  Come to think of it…that’s one cool thing about this – I could make different ones some day to match a different décor because this cart should last for years.  Also, in thinking about it, I could have put a different print on the opposite sides of the panels so that I could flip them occasionally for a little variety without much hassle or expense.  But, I’m quite happy with it the way it is, and actually, it’s simpler this way. :-)


  1. I'm impressed, very clever way to solve the problem and it looks great.

    1. Thanks, Jo. It was a satisfying project too. :-)