From old to new: Make a tea towel peg bag

From old to new: Make a tea towel peg bag
  • Difficulty rating: 3 stars


  • 1 x tea towel, minimum dimensions 50x66cm (20x26in), or fabric of your choice cut to those measurements
  • 1 x wooden coat hanger
  • Small saw (junior hacksaw)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Ruler and pencil or air-erasable pen
  • A4 paper
  • White thread and thread to match the stripe in your tea towel
  • Lightbox (optional)
  • Thread in a contrasting colour
  • Sewing needles and pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Iron

Yours Tip:
If you are using a patterned or striped tea towel for your project it’s worth spending a bit of time planning the placement of the woven or printed design when cutting your fabric.

Step one:

Cut equal amounts off both ‘arms’ of your coat hanger so that it measures 25cm (9¾in) across. Use a small piece of sandpaper to take any sharpness off the edges.

Step two:

Unpick the hems of your tea towel and press. Lay it out horizontally in front of you, right side down, and fold the left-hand edge across by 28cm (11in). Place the coat hanger on the fabric 25cm (9¾in) above the bottom edge and 2cm (¾in) in from the left-hand edge. Draw along its top curve with a fine pencil or air-erasable pen, making a small mark to indicate the position of the wire hook. Now draw a vertical line from the bottom of the fabric up to and 2cm (¾in) to the right of the top right-hand edge of the coat hanger. Cut out these two pieces of linen, they should measure 28x40cm (11x16in) each.

Step 3:

Cut one piece shorter by re-drawing the top curve 4cm (1½in) lower down and cutting along it. This will be the back of your peg bag (this side needs to be smaller as you are going to need to sew seam allowances to make the opening on the front piece). Cut horizontally across your second piece (the front of the peg bag) 14cm (5½in) below the top edge – you now have two pieces for the front of your bag. Hold your tea towel up against a window or use a lightbox to trace the pegs template (download here) onto the larger front piece, sitting 13cm (5in) from the bottom edge. Embroider the motifs in colour thread with tiny chain and backstitches.

Step 4:

Place the larger front piece down right side up and with the bottom edge nearest you. Place the smaller piece on top, aligning the raw top edges, and pin or tack in position. Sew a 2cm (¾in) seam 6cm (2½in) in from either edge – thus leaving a 16cm (6½in) gap in the middle. Reverse stitch at both ends of each short seam for extra strength and remove any pins or tacking. With the wrong side facing you, press the seam open. Tuck the raw edges under 1cm (½in) along the seams and the central gap. Stitch down by machine.

Step 5:

If desired machine a horizontal line of small, close zigzag stitches in colour the width of the opening gap and 5mm (¼in) below it for decoration.

Step 6:

Lay the front and back pieces right sides together, pin or tack and sew a 1cm (½in) seam all the way around, leaving a 2cm (¾in) gap at the centre of the top curve where you marked the position of the wire hook. Remove any pins or tacking. Zigzag around all the seams (apart from the hook hole at the top, of course) to reduce fraying.

Step 7:

Turn right side out and reinforce the hole for the hook with topstitching.

  • Taken from Take a Tea Towel by Jemima Schlee, published by GMC (£12.99, available from