I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Grocery bag holder? But Rachel, don’t you use reusable grocery bags, like the eco-friendly pseudo-hippie we all know you to be?” Well yes, of course I try to, but like the rest of the world, I don’t ALWAYS have a reusable bag on hand. Or I don’t say “I don’t need a bag” fast enough and the clerk has already bagged my item and I don’t want to be an ass and make him/her take it out again. So like the rest of the world, I end up with a lot of plastic grocery bags. A. Lot. See evidence below.
All of those bags were stuffed in that Whole Foods bag. Disaster.
This situation was not working for me. And sadly, this is only a few months worth of bags. I cleaned this cabinet out not too long ago. It’s like they breed or something. I tried to keep it organized by stuffing all the bags in another bag, but every time I opened this cabinet, bags would leap out at me, or I’d find them spilled all over the cabinet. And tonight, at about 9pm, I decided that I simply couldn’t live like this a moment longer and had to fixitrightnow or I’d go crazy. And so I give you this tutorial, and I hope it helps to keep you from going crazy over ridiculous plastic bag situations.
I whipped this up pretty much on the fly, based on similar products I’ve seen before. A fat quarter of fabric is perfect for this project, but you could also use some scrap fabric in a similar size (18″ x 22″).
Sewing Tutorial: Grocery Bag Holder
- fat quarter of fabric (or 18″ x 22″ish scrap)
- 1/2 inch elastic
- grosgrain ribbon
- safety pins
- general sewing stuff–pins, sewing machine, scissors etc
1. On the short ends of your fabric, fold over a 1 inch seam wrong sides together, pin, and sew down with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. These will be the casings for your elastic and ribbon
2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing, pin, and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, making sure to stop just before your casings–you don’t want to sew them shut!
3. Cut an 8″ long piece of elastic
4. Secure a safety pin to each end of your elastic. Pin one end to the seam allowance of your tube, and use the other to thread the elastic through the casing. This will take some patience, as it’s a tight fit. Just keep scooting the safety pin along and gathering the casing as you go
5. Once you’ve threaded the elastic all the way through, pull enough out of each end of the casing so that you can overlap the ends and pin them together. Don’t let go of either end until you’ve got them secured! Use the safety pins to pull back and secure the casing on either side. You don’t want to sew the elastic onto the casing.
Not so pretty, but effective
6. Secure the elastic with a zigzag stitch, back-stitching several times to secure
7. Unpin the casing and spread it out so that the elastic is totally covered, and turn your tube right side out
8. Cut an arm’s length of ribbon (I know this isn’t very precise, but I didn’t measure. It’s better to start out with more, and then if you don’t like the length, you can always trim it down later)
9. Feed the ribbon through the casing on the other end using safety pins, the same way you did the elastic
10. Shuffle the casing around and center the ribbon, trim if necessary, knot, and you’re done! Go stuff that bad boy with bags!
All in all I’m very pleased with how this turned out. Whenever I’ve seen them in stores or at craft fairs, they’re typically some ugly fabric with roosters or floral or something, but this matches the colors in my kitchen perfectly, and I just used fabric and supplies I already had around the house. Even better, I finished the whole thing in under an hour. Best of all, it fit nearly every single bag I had stashed under the sink, and now I don’t have to look at them every time I duck under the sink for some cleaning supplies. Phew! Crisis averted!