By Emily Jansson, Nancy’s Notions guest blogger

With Earth Month just around the corner, I’m inspired to work on my carbon footprint. I use my shopping tote habitually for groceries, recycle everything I can, and use my Green Kitchen Produce Bags, Beeswax Wraps, and Reusable Snack Bags. You can view the instructions for making these items here.

Still, every once in awhile, I just need a plastic bag. When I’m wiping up something especially yucky or cleaning the litter box, I reach for my secret stash of shame— under my sink, it’s a veritable mess of plastic bag tumbleweeds.

To keep errant bags in check, I made a bag wrangler. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I really got it from my mom. She made one for herself a couple years ago, and I’ve always been a little jealous.

This project is so easy, you can whip it up in about a half hour. All you need is a fat quarter of pretty fabric and some 1/4″ elastic (Thanks, Mom!).


Start by cutting a 2″ wide strip of fabric parallel to the selvage, and a rectangle of fabric measuring 9-1/2″ x 13″ (if you keep a lot of bags around, you may want it to be longer than 13″).

Sewing the ties:

Fold the long, skinny rectangle (2″ x length of the selvage) in half the long way and press (right sides out).

Now open and fold each raw edge inward toward the centerfold. Press.

Refold along the centerfold and press. Stitch along the open side, a scant 1/8″ from the edge, encasing the raw edges. You’ve just made double-fold tape—this will be the tie for your bag wrangler. You can fold each end over twice and secure with a quick stitch to finish.

Sewing the bag:

Fold the short edges of the remaining rectangle (measuring 9-1/2″) toward the wrong side of the fabric a scant 1/2″. Fold again at 3/4″ to encase the raw edges at each end for the elastic. Stitch a scant 1/8″ from the folded edge to create a channel.

Cut two pieces of elastic 4-1/2″ long. Use the Flex ‘n Glide Bodkin to thread elastic through each channel, securing the ends with a pin and then stitching 1/4″ from each edge. The channels will gather—this is what you want.

Match the long edges of the rectangle, right sides together, and stitch along the length with a 1/4″ seam allowance, back-tacking at both ends. Turn right-side-out through one of the elastic openings, and stitch the center of the double-fold tape you made earlier to the seamline at one end.

Tie it somewhere convenient and stuff all your bags in the top. When you need one, just grab hold of some plastic through the bottom hole and you’ve got yourself a bag!

Thanks to Emily Jansson and the Nancy’s Notions Team for sharing this tutorial!

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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