Have you taken a look at the floor of your vehicle lately? From gum wrappers to empty juice boxes, small discarded items have a tendency to pile up around your car and fast. To help keep your car spotless, it is helpful to have a bag for disposing of garbage on hand.
Instead of keeping an eyesore around like a traditional plastic garbage bag, why not make your own reusable car trash bags using fabric? This option is sustainable, stylish, functional, and is easier than you think. You can match it to the interior of your car, or make it out of whatever fabric you have laying around.
Part 1 of 1: Making a fabric trash bag
- Back fabric (1 sq. yd.)
- Binding/handle fabric (½ sq. yd.)
- Front fabric (1 sq. yd.)
- Pellon fabric inner liner (1 sq. yd.)
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Sewing needles
- Sewing pins
- Sewing scissors
- Thread (1 spool, similar color to front fabric)
Step 1: Choose your front fabric. First and foremost, you’ll need to choose your front fabric (or front-facing).
This is what others will see when they look at your trash bag upon entering your car. It’s always recommended that you choose a durable and fashionable fabric that fits with the color scheme of your car’s interior.
Step 2: Choose a back fabric. Then, you’ll want to choose a back fabric, which will become the interior of your fabric car trash bag.
This can often be a solid, darker color that can make throwing your trash away while on the road all the more discreet.
Step 3: Choose a fabric for binding, handles, and trim. Finally, you’ll want to pick up a small amount of fabric to use as the binding, handles, and trim.
Since you’ll only need to purchase a small amount of this fabric, choosing high-quality fabrics for binding can be all the more affordable. Of course, you will also need to pick up a yard of Pellon fabric inner liner to give your trash bag structure and durability.
- Tip: When in doubt, mimic the materials, textures, and colors used in your vehicle’s interior.
Step 4: Cut your fabric. First, cut out a 22” x 13” piece of your front fabric and 22” x 12.5” of your back fabric.
Then, cut out a 22” x 3.5” piece of your binding fabric. In addition, whether you want to use your binding or front-facing fabric for your trash bag’s handle is up to you, Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to cut out a 22” x 2.5” piece of fabric for your handle before beginning the assembly process.
Step 5: Sew your fabric into a bag shape. Take your 22” x 13” piece of your front fabric and fold it in half lengthwise.
Once the piece is folded, make sure the side of the fabric that you want to be on the outside of the finished bag is on the inside of the folded fabric.
Step 6: Sew the seams where they meet. This forms the center seam for your trash bag.
Once the front fabric piece is sewn, perform the same actions on the back fabric. SInce the back fabric is narrower than front fabric, the bag will be slightly smaller and fit snugly inside the front fabric.
Step 7: Sew the bottom seams of your bags. Use pins to securely close one end of the cylinder of fabric you created above, and sew the end shut.
You should do this to both the front fabric and the back fabric.
- Tip: For a more consistent-looking end product, always trim excess fabric from the seams you sew, being careful not to cut through any threads.
Step 8: Form a diamond shape. Now that you have two pouches you can take them and lay them flat in such a way that forms a diamond shape with the bottom seam sitting horizontally.
To make the pouches into more of a structured bag shape, measure 1.5” in from the points of the right and left corners of the diamond and sew a seam straight across each corner.
Once this is complete, you can trim the excess fabric and turn the front fabric bag inside-out to continue. For example, if you used a patterned fabric for your bag, the pattern would now be on the outside of the bag and the seams would not be visible.
The liner can keep its current orientation, as the interior of the bag will be the only part visible in the end product.
Step 9: Sew the top edge of the bag together. The sides of both bags that have exposed seams should now be facing each other.
The seams will ultimately be hidden on the final product.
Step 10: Sew top and trim excess. Sew a straight line around the top of the bag and then trim off the excess fabric.
Step 11: Attach binding fabric to top. Attach the piece of fabric that will be used as binding fabric for the top edge to the bag, just under ½” from the top edge.
This seam will ultimately be hidden once the binding fabric is folded over.
Step 12: Fold and pin the top of the back fabric. Fold the binding fabric over the top edge of the trash bag and pin it in place along the top edge of the back fabric.
You will now sew all around the top edge, going through the binding fabric. This creates a secure and strong top for your trash bag. Do this step carefully, as the seam you are now sewing will be visible on the final product.
Step 13: Make the handle. Take the strip of fabric that you cut to use as the handle of the bag and fold it over lengthwise.
Sew the seam together with the exterior of the fabric facing out.
Once this is done, the handle is effectively complete. All that is left to do is loop the handle around and secure it to the inside of the trashbag. One simple way to do this is to make a loop with the handle and secure the two ends together and to the trash bag using a button.
Step 14: Take piece of Pellon and cut it into an 18” x 8” rectangle. Just like above, you will take this piece of material, fold it into a cylinder, and sew a seam along the overlap of material.
This stiff cylinder will give you a secure place to attach a removable plastic bag when using the trash bag.
Step 15: Sew the pellon cylinder to the trash bag. Do this by making a seam very low on the bag that goes through the front fabric, back fabric, and Pellon.
Once the Pellon is secured, there should be enough space on the outside of the pellon to allow the plastic bags that will line the trash bag to fold over the Pellon cylinder. This makes removal and bag replacement simple.
Making a fabric car trash bag is a great way to collect all of your usual car garbage and remain stylish at the same time. This will keep your interior clean and give your passengers something to talk about. If your interior door handle needs replacement, be sure to have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians repace it so your car stays in top shape.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Make a Car Trash Bag Out of Fabric and was authored by Ian Swan.