Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Plastic Bag Holder Tutorial

Well today I had to bring a gift to a party and believe it or not, it was easier for me to make something than to pack up the girlie and go to a store and try to find something. I looked at a number of different projects, but we were supposed to bring something that we would love to get (it was a white elephant kind of swap). And one thing that I have been wanting to make forever is a holder to help organize all of the many plastic bags that we get from the grocery stores. We do try to limit how many we get, but we use them for kitty litter and it's a necessary matter of storage.

So I decided to give a whirl at making one and figured I would share the process with you all! I think that the finished product is worth it so I hope you try it out.

Plastic Bag Holder

I would suggest using a heavier weight fabric like a decorator weight fabric rather than just a quilting cotton. I'm sure that the quilting cotton would work alright, but the heavier weight keeps the shape of the holder a bit better.

Start with a piece of fabric cut about 11" x 28". This will give you a fairly narrow and long bag as seen above.


Create a casing on both ends of the bag. (the 11" long side) Place the fabric right side down on the ironing board and fold down the edge 1". Iron the fold. Unfold the crease and press another crease a quarter inch down from the edge.


Refold the first crease with the second crease in place, creating the casing.


Stitch down the edge of the casing an 1/8th inch away from the fold. I use my 1/4 inch foot which also has an 1/8th inch guide.


While the fabric is still flat and has no side seams, this is the perfect time to embellish your bag if you desire. I chose to use a band of grosgrain ribbon first. Choose anything you would like and put it anywhere you like. I put my ribbon probably about 6" down from the top casing.

If attaching ribbon, use stitch witchery or heat n bond to temporarily adhere the ribbon in place for easier stitching. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.


After ironing the ribbon in place, I secured it to the bag by stitching an 1/8th inch away from the edge on each side of the ribbon.


Trim the excess ribbon from the sides and start experimenting with design ideas for more embellishment.


I tried some buttons....but didn't feel like sewing that many on and really just liked the idea of one larger object.


I settled on a contrasting bow with a button accent.


Next, create a handle for the bag to hang from. To do this, either use ribbon or twill tape for an easy fix. Or you can make a strip out of matching fabric of the bag. Cut a piece of fabric about 11" x 1.5". Fold in both long edges so that they meet in the middle and press.


Press that piece in half so that the folds meet together and stitch along the fold.


Fold the fabric strip in half to create a loop and pin it an angle about 1" down from the casing. To make sure that this is sewn securely, give yourself enough fabric for the seam allowance. I let about 1/4" - 1/2" stick out over the edge of the fabric.


The next step is to measure and insert the elastic for the casings. This is a loose measurement based off of your own hand measurement. Since your hand needs to be the one that fits into the top of the bag, elastic measurements may vary by person. To obtain your measurement, wrap the elastic around your hand loosely plus a couple of extra inches.


Cut one piece for the top and one for the bottom. If you have a fairly large hand, you may want to make the bottom elastic slightly smaller than the one that you cut for the top casing so that the bags do not fall out of the holder accidentally.


Place a safety pin at the end of the elastic and insert it into the casing.


Pin the elastic so that one inch is left out and holds the elastic in place.


After pulling the elastic through the casing, pull out and pin the elastic one inch on the opposite end of the casing as well.


Repeat these steps for the bottom casing.

Now for the side seam. With right sides together, pin the edges. Pay careful attention to the top and bottom casings as well as matching any embellishments that you have placed on the bag.


Stitch the edges together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Backstitch a few times over the top and bottom casings as well as the loop attachment for a secure bag.


Trim any excess elastic or fabric from the edge to create a nice straight edge. If you have a serger now would be a good time to use it! If you are like me and don't have that luxury, then use a wide but tight zig zag stitch along the entire edge to finish off the seam and prevent any fraying.


Almost finished! Simply turn the bag inside out!


Enjoy the cute new organizer that you have for those oh so attractive plastic bags! Fill the bag with your plastic bags and hang it in a useful place. I know these will probably end up in your pantry, but if you make them cute enough you might want to hang them where you can see them all the time. ;)




I hope that you find the pattern useful and that there are many wonderfully organized pantries in the near future!


  1. These are a great idea, I have been meaning to make myself one but other things always pop up!

  2. i love it! our bags are all shoved under the kitchen sink in a giant wad, so I desperately need to make one of these for our house!

  3. Very cute! I have made some of these using vintage tea towels, a great look for a kitchen and good use of a tea towel.

  4. Hi I was surfing around Flickr and found your blog, I love this tutorial and I might also get around and make one to.
    LOL from Sweden

  5. This is amazing! My bags look like they have exploded!

  6. Please tell me how to get your button for my blog on this tutorial as I would love to share it with others!

  7. This is SO cute! Thanks for sharing your careful step-by-step instructions! And I LOVE your ribbon/button embellishments!

  8. What an idea! i love this and would like to sew one.
    Thank you, Angela.

  9. I haven't used a sewing machine in over 10 years (since Girl Guides days) and I am pleased to say I've just made one of these, apart from the ribbon stitching being terribily wonky, its functional. thanks for your tutorial.

  10. Thanks for the tips. I am going to use a stuffed dog head (Scottish Terrier) for the top since I have two scotties! Really easy to follow directions.

  11. Thanks for sharing. I had one of this years ago and would like to make my own.
    I am new to sewing so fingers crossed!!


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