QUILTED PLASTIC BAG KEEPER
One of my daughters recently asked if I could make a plastic bag keeper for her home. I'd never made one before, but figured it couldn't be very difficult. I looked online and found all kinds of bag keeper patterns. Some looked so complicated that I just shook my head...some very cute but time consuming (maybe something I would want to make when I had more time). In the end, I decided to just go for it and create my own. Really, how wrong could I go...right? :) :) I know I could spend time and piece adorable quilt blocks together (and I probably will one day), but for now....I NEED SIMPLE AND QUICK!!!!
Since my daughter's home is completely decorated in a beach theme, I searched through my fabric stash and found some fabric that looks like water - maybe even ocean waves if you use your imagination! :)
I will give a couple of options simply because I believe you should use what you have on hand and not feel a need to run to the store to buy specific sizes, amounts, etc. :)
Focal Fabric: At least 18" x 18" and up to about 20" x 20"
Coordinating Fabric: 2 strips that are at least 2 1/2" wide (up to 3 1/2") wide x's the measurement of your focal fabric. (Example: If your focal fabric is 18" square, you will need two strips 2 1/2" x 18")
Batting: At least an inch or two larger than your focal fabric on all sides.
Backing: Same size as Batting (this won't end up showing, so don't worry about beauty with this piece)
Elastic: One piece approx. 12" long
One piece approx. 10" long
Can use elastic 1/4" wide up to 3/4" wide
One piece 8" - 10" long ribbon for loop to hang your plastic bag keeper
1) Sandwich/Layer your Backing Fabric face down, then batting, then Focal Fabric face up. (OOPS..........I forgot to take a photo of this step...the photo below was taken after I had quilted and trimmed the pieces even. Just pretend the Backing and Batting pieces are an inch larger around than the Focal Fabric. :) )
2) Quilt any way you desire. I didn't want to pull out my newer machine JUST to be able to free motion stipple/meander, etc...so I decided to just sew straight lines on the diagonal using my vintage machine. I didn't even worry about the fact there was no "walking foot". It may not be perfect, but it will do for this project. :)
Trim away the excess batting and backing fabric.
3) Next, take your two strips of coordinating fabric and press it in half, just like you would when making your binding for a quilt.
4) Just like machine sewing binding to the top of a quilt, use a 1/4" seam and sew one strip to the top of your "bag keeper" and one strip to the bottom.
5) Take your "bag" to your ironing station and PRESS the sewn binding/coordinating strip AWAY from the "bag". The binding creates a "sleeve" you will be "threading" your elastic pieces through to make the top and bottom of your "bag".
At this point, your "bag" should look something like this......
6) Now comes the fun part....threading your elastic through the top and bottom binding strips.
The longest piece of elastic goes in the top binding sleeve. (Bigger opening to push bags inside.)
The shortest piece of elastic goes in the bottom binding sleeve. (Smaller opening to pull bags out.)
I find that it makes the job pretty easy if I use a safety pin on one end of the elastic to feed and guide it through the binding sleeve. :)
You can either sew a couple stitches or pin each end of the elastic to the edges of your bag. I personally just sew down each end of the elastic to the opposite edges of the binding sleeves to hold everything in place and prevent me form pulling my hair out while I continue with the project. :)
Your bag will look like this once elastic is in both ends......
7) Another fun part....turn your "bag" with right sides facing each other and very carefully pin the LONG side together. I use lots of pins for this because the bag won't lay flat with the elastic in place and lots of pins makes my life easier.
BEFORE PINNING THE TOP OF YOUR BAG.....grab the piece of ribbon to make your hanging loop. Fold it double and push the loop end INSIDE your "bag" directly underneath the TOP binding strip.
Can you see the ends of my white ribbon poking out of my "bag" below? :) :)
9) Almost finished! Just sew your "bag" together from Top to Bottom. (I decided to go back and forth a few times with my stitches over my ribbon loop just to make it stronger.)
10) Turn your finished Plastic Bag Keeper inside out and it's ready to hang and use!
Okay, you may be wondering "Why go to the trouble of QUILTING 3 layers to make a plastic bag keeper?" "Why not just use a single piece of fabric and do the same thing?
Well...I guess you could...but I must say that I am REALLY IMPRESSED with how this bag keeper holds its shape and has a quality, sturdy, well constructed feel to it. I can only imagine that using a single piece of fabric would be very flimsy and floppy looking.
In the end, my daughter is thrilled with her new bag keeper and it makes me feel good knowing I made my child happy.
Until next time!