Sew your own grocery sack dispenser to keep your bags organized using these simple instructions! Fabric scraps work great for this project because it doesn’t use much.
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Here’s what you’ll need to sew your own grocery sack dispenser:
- sewing machine
- cotton fabric in your choice of color/pattern
- coordinating thread
- scissors or rotary cutter
- self-healing cutting mat
- quilting ruler
- straight pins
- ironing board
- 1/4″ flat braided elastic
- 1/8″-1/4″ smooth ribbon (coordinating color)
- safety pins
First, you’ll need to cut out your fabric so it measures 24″x19″. This will allow for a 1/4″ seam allowance and a finished grocery sack dispenser measuring 23″ x 18″. Use either scissors or a rotary cutter, cutting mat and quilting ruler to cut it to the correct size.
*NOTE* Another option would be to use a fat quarter (21″x18″). You’ll end up with a slightly shorter and smaller grocery sack dispenser but all the instructions will be the same.
Next, get your ironing board and turn on your iron. While it is heating up, you’ll work on the next step.
Because you’ll be putting in and pulling out grocery sacks on a regular basis, you will want to reinforce the top and bottom of the tube so it doesn’t come undone. This is done by folding the ends over twice so you aren’t left with a raw edge.
So the next step is to fold the short end of the fabric (the 19″ side) in about 1/4″. It doesn’t have to be exactly 1/4″ but should be close. You can use a ruler to check it if you need to. Pin it in place and then iron the edges so they are smooth and flat.
Remove the pins and fold it over on itself one more time, pinning as before, then iron the edge down. Repeat on the opposite side. Leave the pins in then move onto the next step.
At this point, you’ll need to turn your sewing machine on. Make sure it is loaded with coordinating thread before you start sewing. With your needle all the way to the left side, line your fabric edge up with the edge of the foot. (This will give you a 1/4″ seam allowance.) Sew a straight line all the way down to the bottom, remembering to back stitch. Repeat on the opposite side.
Now, get a safety pin and attach it to the elastic. Choose one end that you’ve just finished sewing to be the bottom and stick the safety pin into the tube. Don’t worry about figuring out exactly how long your elastic needs to be yet. It’s easier to thread it through the tube when it’s longer.
When you get to the end of the tube, pull the elastic out so there is about 1/2″ hanging out. Keeping the same settings as before on your machine, stitch the elastic in place. (I just back stitched a couple of times.)
Now you need to scrunch the tube onto the elastic until you have about 3″ of scrunched together fabric. Bring the two ends together so you can see how big the hole will be on the bottom of the tube, keeping in mind that you’ll be losing 1/2″ when you sew the long sides together. If you like how it looks, stitch the elastic in place the same way you did in the previous step.
The next step is to turn your fabric so the right sides (pattern/color side) are together. Line the edges up and pin them in place.
Before you start sewing, move the top of the fabric away from the needle by about 1/4″. You don’t want to sew your top tube shut because you will need to insert the ribbon so you can hang it up. Now, you can sew a straight line all the way down, remembering to back stitch. (The part at the bottom where the elastic is will be a little thick so be aware of that when you’re stitching over that part.)
Flip your tube so the pattern/color is right side out. Grab your safety pin and attach it to the thin ribbon and thread it through the small tube at the top. At this point, you can decide how big of an opening you want at the top. I wanted to cinch mine up a little bit so I cut my ribbon to be about 15″. You don’t want to make it too small because then it will be hard to push your grocery sacks in. I tied the ribbon in a knot and that’s it!
To hang your grocery sack dispenser, I’d recommend using a command hook or small nail so it’s easy to pull down and refill when needed.
This grocery sack dispenser actually replaced one I made about 9 years ago and it was time for a new one. Even though we store our grocery sacks in a closet, I still love seeing this fun pattern when I reach to pull a sack out!
Where do you currently keep your grocery sacks? Would this grocery sack dispenser be helpful to have for you?
If you’re looking for more great ways to organize, check out these posts: