Keep plastic grocery bags tidy and ready to reuse with an easy to sew plastic bag dispenser. This tutorial has thorough instructions and photos, perfect for beginners!
Make a plastic bag holder for all those unruly grocery bags you bring home from the grocery store. This dispenser makes it easy to grab a bag to dispose of smelly diapers and dog poo, or anything else you might need a bag for!
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This project is a great seller at craft fairs and farmers markets. Make them in a variety of colors to match every home’s style and décor. DIY plastic bag dispensers are wonderful to give as gifts too!
Supplies to Sew a Plastic Bag Dispenser
A heavy weight cotton is best for this project (think home décor fabric) to hold its shape. However, fat quarters are the perfect size. They will work fine and save you some cutting time.
Similar products to the ones we used in the example are linked below for your convenience.
How to Sew a Plastic Bag Holder
Begin by washing, drying and pressing your fabric. This will remove any chemicals used during manufacturing and allow for shrinkage.
Then square up your fabric using this quick and easy method. Now your fabric is ready to be cut to size.
Step 1 – Cut Fabric
Measure and cut your fabric to 18″ x 22″. It is easiest and most accurate to do this with a rotary cutter and cutting mat.
Step 2 – Fold and Press
On the shorter edge of the fabric (18″), fold the fabric onto the wrong side 3/4″. Press as you go with an iron. This will create a casing for the elastic.
Make sure your fold is even all the way across, and pin in a few places to hold.
Step 3 – Other Side
Next repeat for the opposite end of the fabric (18″ again).
Step 4 – Sew Top and Bottom
Using coordinating thread, sew all the pinned edges with 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 5 – Fold Lengthwise
With the sewn edges at the top and bottom, fold the right sides of the fabric together, ensuring the raw edges of the fabric are lined up.
Step 6 – Sew Sides
Then using 1/4″ seam allowance, sew along the raw edge from the top to just before the bottom. STOP before you get to the bottom of the casing!
Step 7 – Prepare Elastic
Now measure and cut your elastic to 8″.
Insert a safety pin into one end of the elastic.
Step 8 – Insert Elastic in Casing
Push the safety pin inside the bottom of the fabric casing. Work it through the casing, gently pulling the elastic along.
When the other end of the elastic reaches the opening, pin it to the fabric with a straight pin to hold it in place.
Continue to work the safety pinned end of the elastic through the casing until it comes out of the opening on the other side. Re-pin the elastic, making sure to catch both ends of the fabric loop you have created.
Step 9 – Sew Casing Closed
With 1/4″ seam allowance, continue sewing from your previously sewn line (along the raw edge) to finish sewing across the casing and both pieces of elastic. Backstitch several times.
Step 10 – Prepare Ribbon Hanger
Next measure and cut your ribbon to 7″.
Create a loop with the ribbon, and position it over the seam. Pin to hold in place.
Step 11 – Sew Ribbon Loop
Stitch the ribbon to the bag holder as close to the edge of the fabric as possible. Backstitch several times to create a strong hold.
Step 12 – Turn Right Side Out
Now reach inside the tube and grab the opposite end of the fabric.
Pull the fabric tube right side out.
Step 12 – Hang DIY Plastic Bag Dispenser
Your plastic bag dispenser is ready to be hung!
Using Your Plastic Bag Dispenser
To use, fill your dispenser with plastic grocery bags from the top. Don’t worry about how to fold plastic bags for the dispenser. Just shove them in. Then pull a bag from the bottom when you need one.
Your plastic bag holder may get dirty or dusty from time to time. It can be washed and dried by machine to clean it. Just make sure you remove all the plastic bags first.
Don’t forget to pin this project for later, and check out some more sewing projects for beginners listed below.
- Iron fabric.
- Cut fabric to 18" by 22".
- Turn edge of 18" side under 3/4" and press.
- Repeat for opposite side.
- Sew both ends with 1/2" seam allowance.
- Fold right sides of fabric together so that seams meet.
- Sew raw edges with 1/4" seam allowance but stop before bottom of casing.
- Cut elastic to 8".
- Pin safety pin to one end of elastic.
- Place safety pin inside casing and push through.
- Pin elastic ends to each end of casing.
- Continue sewing along line with 1/4" seam allowance across the casing and elastic. Backstitch.
- Cut ribbon to 7".
- Make a loop and pin over seam.
- Sew across ribbon ends, backstitching several times.
- Turn fabric tube right side out.
A heavy weight cotton works best, especially home decor fabrics. However, a fat quarter is the perfect size and will work fine.
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Coats & Clark All Purpose Thread 400 Yards White (ONE spool of yarn)
Fiskars 12-94458697WJ Pinking Shears, 8 Inch, Orange
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Telio Shiso Cotton Poplin Floral Print White Multi Fabric Fabric by the Yard
Kailin 3/4" Solid Grosgrain Ribbon Set 50 Yards (25x2yd) 25 Colors Multicolour
SINGER 70032 Braided Elastic, 8 Yard by 1/4-Inch, White