A friend of mine asked if I could make her a plastic bag holder. Of course, I accepted! I looked online for a tutorial or something. But none of them fit what I wanted it to look like. Most of them were just tubes with elastic at the top and bottom. Very basic. I usually like basic, but I thought it needed a little extra oomph! So, I did what I do. I sat down with my graph paper and sketched out a plan. This is another fat quarter project! Yay! (Fat quarters are 18″ x 22″ pieces of fabric, sold at fabric stores that sell quilting fabric.)
I use reusable bags, but always end up with plastic grocery bags anyway! You could also use this bag to store other things. (I stuffed on with fabric scraps!) And, as always, if you want one of these, but don’t have the skills, time, or desire to make it yourself- you can always contact me! (Check out Moose and Wormy on Etsy!)
To make a plastic bag holder, you’ll need one fat quarter, a 4″ strip of a contrasting fabric, 2 small (4″ or so) pieces of elastic, and one small piece of ribbon (6″ or so). (You can also make a fabric “loop” to hang the bag by. It is up to you!)
Measure your fat quarter. It should be about 18″ x 22″, but sometimes they are slightly larger. You’ll want to cut your 4″ strip of contrast fabric so you have two 4″ strips to go across each 18″ side. If your fat quarter is 19″, then cut your strips 19″ to fit.
I serge all my edges, since I am usually selling what I make. If you’ve got a serger, go ahead and finish those edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can omit the finishing if you want, or you can pink or zig-zag the edge. Since this is not a wearable object, or an object that will get much washing (if any) it isn’t necessary to finish the edges at all. So, don’t feel bad if you choose to skip that step!
Pin your ribbon loop (or fabric loop) a couple inches from the top of the main fabric along the 22″ side. (Which is not a 30″ side, since you just attached two 4″ strips to the ends!) If you put your loop too high, you’ll be fighting it while you sew the elastic casing or it will end up on the ruffle. So, try to put it low enough it will be out of the way, but still at the top of the bag. (You can turn the top ruffle down and see where it will hit if that helps you. I just eyeball it and hope for the best!)
Now, press the contrast edge in. (See above!) You want to leave about 1/2″ or so of your contrast fabric showing on the front.
At this point, you’re bag is looking something like this. It reminds me of the cat tunnel project in In Stitches by Amy Butler. (Don’t know what project I’m referring to? It is a tube, much like this, lined with faux fur for your cat to play in.)
Sew all the way around again, this time sewing as close to the edge as you can. Also, you’ll need to backstitch the ends and leave a small opening (preferably near the back center seam) to guide your elastic through.
Repeat for the other side! Now, you are almost done!
Here is how I thread my elastic. I put a large safety pin along the back end. It keeps the elastic from slipping all the way through. (Believe me, that is a pain!) I attach a small safety pin to the front end (the end I’ll be pushing through the casing). Make sure your safety pins are firmly attached. It really sucks when a pin slips off because you put it too close to the edge.
Sew your elastic together by overlapping it and sewing it with an “elastic” stitch. (The awkward looking zig-zag stitch on your machine that is more “lighting bolty” than “zig-zaggy.” If you don’t have that stitch, a small zig-zag will work. (You may have to reset the width of the zig-zag so it fits on the elastic.)
Repeat for the other side!
Flip it right side out an you’re done! I know, you’re wondering why I didn’t finish closing off those elastic casings! Well, to be honest, it is a pain in the butt and it serves no real purpose. You can fight through it and close them up if you’d like, but I see no reason to. I backstitched the ends, so I made sure it was nice and secure. The elastic is so tight, You’ll find great difficulty stretching it out to sew that little bitty hole closed. And I see no point in closing it. You can if you’d like, I don’t.
Go! Make some as gifts, for yourself, or sell some! (Yep. You can feel free to sell anything you make from any of my free designs.) As always, I just ask that you not take credit for the design and that you’d share the free tutorial with others! (No hoarding freeness!) Have fun!