Tired of seeing piles of plastic shopping bags lying around the kitchen and/or cupboards? Then look nor further to the ultimate plastic shopping bag holder! I seriously don’t know anyone that doesn’t have at least 1 of these things. They really are a great way to use scrap fabric and to keep those plastic shopping bags from floating all over the house.
Here is all that you need: some 1/4″ braided elastic, some twill tape, and a piece of fabric roughly 19″ X 22″. I mostly use this method of making my plastic bag holders using a single sheet of fabric. There is also this method, which uses multiple pieces of fabric sewn together to make a single sheet of fabric. Either method looks great and holds your plastic shopping bags so the choice is yours as to which method you wish to use. I actually use a combination of the 2 methods to make mine because I am not hauling out my iron for a 3 second press just to put it away again.
First thing I do with my fabric is trim up the frayed edges. I was lucky enough to find a cheap piece from the remnants bin at my local craft store so there wasn’t much trimming to do. Next is the tricky part, making a pocket (aka casings) for your elastic pieces to go into.
The casings go on both of the short (19″) sides of the fabric.There are a variety of different ways to go about making a casing, my preferred method for something like this is to fold the end up 1/2″, sew across the rough edge(left picture), fold over another 1/2″ up and sew along the top folded edge(right picture). And then repeat the process for the other side. Its a little nontraditional but I feel like this gives it a little bit more reinforcement.
This is where an oops turned into an interesting opportunity for some ingenuity. Typically at this point you would use a safety pin to pin one end of the elastic and use it to wiggle the elastic through the casing. This is when I discovered that I had no safety pins in the house. I had no desire to go back out to the store so I came up with this trick that worked pretty well. I used one of my needles and a little bit of thread and I sewed through the middle near the top of one piece, made 1 overcast stitch and back really close to the knot. this made it secure enough to use the needle and thread to wiggle the elastic through the casing until the non stitched edge is in line with the edge of the fabric. make 1 stitch across the end to close this end of the casing and sew the end of the elastic in place. Continue to wiggle the needle and elastic through to the other end of the casing.
Once the needle is carefully wiggled through the casing and out the other end, you can gently pull the elastic through until edge of the elastic is at the edge of the fabric. In this instance I lined up the knot from the thread to be inside the casing but in line to also be stitched across. Once the elastic is lined up stitched across the open end closing the casing and securing the other end of the elastic in place. I give a quick tug on both ends to make sure the elastic is secure on both end before I the thread off the end of the elastic. I repeated this process for the other short side of the fabric.
When both pieces of elastic are securely in place it is time to make it a complete cylinder matching right sides together. Carefully make the long (22″) sides meet and carefully stitch together. I stress on carefully because one of my elastics had broken at this point and I wasn’t going back to fix it. If you have a similar issue its best to use that end as the top part of the bag holder.
Cut a 10″ piece of the twill tape. I carefully melted the end with a lighter to help prevent fraying. Fold in half matching edge together and then stitch it with the seam of the casing. Carefully flip the bag holder inside out and fill it up.
Filling it was actually the fun part. This little plastic bag holder cleared up about a 2 weeks worth of plastic shopping bags that were hanging around on my kitchen floor plus it looks cuter than a mountain of plastic bags under the kitchen table.