Easy Grocery Bag Holder Tutorial

I've been planning to make a grocery bag holder for ages, to store all the plastic grocery bags I seem to accumulate. When one of my girlfriends bought a really pretty one at a craft fair I got bag envy and  I knew I had to make one just like it! (Yes - very sad I know)

I know I'm supposed to be some kind of super organised wonder woman who always has a reusable bag or a tote bag with her for impromptu shopping moments. I admit it now - sometimes (er - quite often!) I fall off the green wagon and need to buy a single use carrier bag! Storing them all in a grocery bag holder is my way of being green and making sure the bags get used again (and again).

Grocery bag holder in pretty fabrics

I had a good root through my craft stash for pretty fat quarters I'd bought on a whim but not used yet, hoping to find fabrics that worked together. I've made a couple now - they're perfect for storing the heavier duty re-usuable shoping bags too.

How to Make Your Grocery Bag Holder


  • 2 cotton fabrics, one measuring 22" x 21", the other measuring 14" x 21"
  •  1/4" elastic
  • thread
  • scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • pins
  • 2 safety pins


Cut the larger piece of fabric into 4 pieces:

  • 3 pieces 6" x 21"
  • 1 piece 4" x 10"

Cut the smaller piece of fabric into 4 strips, each one measuring 3 1/2" x 21".

If your fabric has a 'right way up' as mine does here (the owls all need to be the same way up) take care when joining your fabric strips, to ensure they all face the right way up.

Starting with one of the thinner strips, pin then stitch strips together along the long edges with right sides together (as shown below). Neaten and press the seams.

easy grocery bag tutorialI should have ironed the fabric before taking this photo!

Iron one of the end strips in half along the long edge, then turn under and iron a 3/8" seam allowance. Fold the strip, to form a channel all the way along the seam joing it to the next strip, pinning the raw edge inside the channel. Top stitch the channel, leaving a small gap for the elastic to be inserted into.

Repeat this process for the other end of the bag, without leaving any gap in the topstitching.

Pin and stitch the long edges of the bag together (right sides together). Press and neaten the seams.

easy grocery bag tutorial

To form the hanging strap,  fold the strip in half along the long length and make a crease in the fabric. Open out the fabric and fold the fabric up to the crease (wrong sides together). Press along the fold.

Iron a 3/8" seam allowance along the other long edge of the fabric strip, then fold this long edge over the first fold that you created. It's a bit fiddly at first, but easy once you get the hang of it (as above)

easy grocery bag tutorial

Stitch in place as above.

I added a second row of stitching as I thought this looked pretty!

easy grocery bag tutorial

Attach the strip to the top of the bag, turning the raw ends under before securing in place.

Using a safety pin, attach one end of the elastic close the the open section in the elastic channel. Attach the other end to another safety pin or large blunt needle and thread all the way through the channel. Stitch the 2 ends of the elastic together, then stitch the channel closed.

easy grocery bag tutorial

All you need to do now is pop your grocery bags into the opening at the top of the holder and pull one out from the elasticated opening at the bottom when you need to use one.

These grocery bag holders sell really well at fundraising events and they're a brilliant way to use up scraps of pretty fabric from your stash!

There's a fighting chance I'll always have a bag with me now for those imromptu shopping missions!

More Grocery Bag Holder Designs

easy homemade grocery bag holder

If you're short on time, this fabulously easy pattern from Jess takes just 20 minutes to make (I've tested it!) and you only need one fat quarter of fabric. You'll find the full tutorial here.

What's next?

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