The Magpie Anthology

Making Bags From Pillowcases for Dirty Hospital Uniforms

By Juliet Bawden

Last night I was contacted by an ICU nurse, from a large London Hospital, to ask if I could make some draw string bags. These are for her colleagues to put their dirty uniforms into after a hospital shift. The scrubs get washed in the hospitals but the normal uniforms are taken home to be cleaned. The staff are very concerned about taking the Covid Virus home to their families. By taking off the uniform and putting it in a pillowcase bag, the whole caboodle can then be thrown into the washing machine on arrival at home. It is quite easy to make a draw string bag from a pillow case. Much easier than making masks or scrubs. I am sure that many people are having their Marie Condo moment whilst in lock down, and this is the golden opportunity to earn some brownie points, recycle some bed linen ,and make some much needed bags for the NHS.

You will need

A clean pillowcase

A seam un-ripper or a small pair of nail scissors

280cm or cord or ribbon or bias cut into 2 lengths each 140cm long

Dress making Scissors

Tape measure

Dressmakers pins

1 large Safety pin

A sewing machine or a needle and thread.


Unpick the flap of the pillowcase.

Cut the flap off the opened pillowcase

Where, you unpicked the flap there will be an opening on either side of the pillowcase, turn the pillowcase inside out and then pin and sew up the side seams to within 6cm of the top edges.

Turn under the top of the pillowcase by 1cm. Sew with a running stitch to neaten. Turn the neatened edge under by 2.5cm Pin and sew a channel at both the front and the back of the pillow case. These sides need to be left open to add the drawstring.

Put the safety pin onto one end of the cord and push it through first the front and then the back channels. When you have both ends of the cord coming through the same opening, remove the safety pin and tie the two ends together.

Put the pin onto the end of one of the other cord and push it through the channel starting at the opening where there is just a loop of cord and not a knot. When both ends are through the channel remove the pin and tie off the ends. Pull the cords tightly to create a bag.

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