A very simple but handy sewing project for beginners is to make up a quick DIY grocery bag holder. You need very few supplies, you only need to sew a couple seams, and there’s nothing tricky in this plastic bag holder sewing pattern at all. In fact, you don’t even need a pattern. To be honest, you really don’t even need measurements. How simple is that?
This really is an easy sewing project and the end result is something useful if you ever find yourself with plastic grocery bags taking up space in in drawers, cabinets, under the kitchen sink, in the garage, and so on.
(I’ve heard some states don’t have plastic grocery bags anymore. Do people in those states still end up with a bunch of plastic bags – bread bags, or maybe plastic bags from other retail stores?)
Another thing I love about this project is it makes for an easy and inexpensive shot of color or pattern in your kitchen. Sewing cute and easy bag holders is a way to change up kitchen decor with very little commitment or money.
Materials needed to sew a plastic bag holder
Here are the materials you’ll need for this kitchen sewing project:
- a rectangle of fabric (you can use a fat quarter or any remnant that’s at least 12″ x 15″ or larger; I share my favorite size below)
- sewing thread
- scrap of elastic (the length of your elastic depends on the size of your project, but you’ll want a scrap at least four or five inches long)
- ribbon, string, or strip of fabric
- safety pin or bodkin
This is so, so simple and such a forgiving first project. And again, it’s an uber useful project to sew up for your home or even for your camper.
Instructions for sewing plastic bag holder/dispenser
- The first step is to square up the sides of your fabric remnant if you need to. I typically wash/dry/iron my sewing fabric before I sew. I know not everyone does that but I think if I’m going to put the time into sewing it into something for my home, I’ll probably want to keep it for a while. That means I’ll want to throw it into the washer at some point, and I’m not about having dyes running into my other laundry or my pretty new grocery bag holder shrinking up to the point that it looks awful. So. After washing and then drying or ironing the fabric, cut off any irregular areas until it has four nice, fairly straight sides.
- Fold over 1/4″ seam on the long edge and press. Then fold it over again. Sew up the side hems.
- Fold over 1/4″ seam on the short ends and press. Then fold over a 1″ hem on both short edges. Pin or press if necessary to hold it in place and then sew those seams in place.
- Fold fabric lengthwise in half, right sides together. (So that you have an inside out bag holder, basically.) Sew the two long ends together, STOPPING before you get to your short-end hems. You’ll want to be sure to leave those casings open so you can thread your elastic and/or ribbon through.
- Safety pin an end of your elastic and thread it through the bottom casing of your bag holder. You can sew or tie the free ends of the elastic together. Push the elastic through the casing, adjusting until the unsightly join is hidden.
- Safety pin one end of your ribbon and thread it through the top casing of your bag holder. This ribbon (or string, or fabric strip, etc.) will do two things: It is a drawstring that will close your bag at the top, and it provides a way to hang the grocery bag holder from a hook or doorknob.
- Turn your plastic bag holder inside out and voila! You have a cute kitchen accessory you sewed yourself.
See the pictures below. I tried to get an image for every step of the tutorial.
How to sew a plastic grocery bag holder
How to make a DIY plastic bag holder dispenser. Step-by-step sewing tutorial - easy project for beginners! In fact, this is a great first sewing project.
- cute cotton or cotton-blend fabric
- coordinating thread
- thin elastic - 1/4" wide or thinner
- safety pin
- Scissors or rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat
- Sewing machine or needle and thread
- Prepare the fabric. (Wash, dry, iron if needed.)
- Cut a rectangle of fabric; I like the results I get with a rectangle about 7.5" x 18" but the size is up to you!
- Fold over 1/4" hem on each short end of the fabric rectangle; press in place.
- Fold again, about 3/4" and press, then pin. This will become the casing for your ribbon and elastic, so if yours is wider, you can make the casing wider to accommodate it.
- Sew both hems close to the edge, backstitching at the beginning and end.
- Fold the hemmed fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together.
- Using a 1/4" seam allowance, begin at the very bottom of one casing and sew the length of the fabric, stopping short of the other casing. (In other words, sew the length of the fabric to form a tube but don't sew the casings closed.)
- Use a safety pin attached to one end of your elastic, thread the elastic through the bottom casing. The length of elastic you need depends on how wide your opening is. Once you have it gathered the way you want it, cut the elastic and tie it very securely.
- Use the safety pin to thread your ribbon or string through the top casing. Be sure to leave it long enough to allow for hanging on a doorknob or hook inside your cabinet.
- Knot the ends of the ribbon.
- Voila! Look at your project to ensure all seams are closed, threads are clipped, and your elastic/ribbon are tied securely.
- Stuff it with plastic bags and hang in your kitchen!