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Fabric Bowl Cover Tutorial

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This DIY fabric bowl cover tutorial will show you how to inexpensively make your own reusable covers that are customized for your kitchen.

reusable fabric bowl covers on plastic bowls on kitchen countertop

When you are trying to get rid of plastics in your kitchen, food storage can be one of the hardest things to switch. After all, how do you store your leftovers without making a mess? Fabric bowl covers are one of the best plastic wrap alternatives because they are reusable and can be washed in hot water to sanitize them properly.

This fabric bowl cover pattern is super simple to make. And we have a detailed photo tutorial of every step to make your own reusable bowl cover.

So gather your supplies, have fun picking out fabrics you love, and start sewing these great swaps for plastic wrap.

P.S. Check out more DIY tutorials for no-sew fabric pumpkins, no-sew rice sachets and mini concrete candleholders.

Materials

pieces of fabric with thread, elastic and bias tape

*Oil cloth, which is a fabric coated with a water resistant layer, is often used to make reusable bowl covers. I personally do not like using it because it often has a plastic coating on it, sometimes vinyl which contains phthalates. And I like to throw my covers in hot water in the washing machine to make sure they are really clean. While oil cloth can be washed on a gentle cycle, it wouldn’t stand up to repeated hot water washing in a washing machine. Whichever type of fabric you choose, these directions will be the same.

Directions for Making a Reusable Bowl Cover

1. Wash, dry and iron the fabric.

pineapple fabric on ironing board near iron

2. Lay the fabric face down. Place your bowl face down on the wrong side of the fabric and trace around the bowl lightly. Be sure the pattern is what you want it to look like on the other side! Remove bowl.

upside down bowl on pineapple fabric with pencil nearby

3. Measure and make several small marks 1 ¼ inch away from the line you drew all the way around the circle. 

ruler and pencil on fabric

4. Connect your small marks together to form a bigger circle. This can be “eyeballed” as the raw edge won’t show in the final cover. 

pencil marks on fabric

5. Cut the larger circle out using sharp sewing scissors. 

fabric cut into a circle with scissors nearby

*If you are making multiple bowl covers for the same size bowl, simply trace the cut circle onto the other fabric choices. This will save you the time of tracing around the bowl again.

Tracing a circle onto striped fabric with a pencil
three fabric circles laying on white background

6. Now we need to add the bias tape. You’ll notice upon closely looking at the bias tape that it has one side that is slightly narrower than the other. 

White bias tape folded above piece of fabric for sewing

7. Unfold the narrower side of bias tape to reveal raw edge. 

white bias tape unfolded in woman's hand for sewing project

8. Fold in the very end of the bias tape slightly to create a clean edge once finished. 

white bias tape folded down on end for sewing

9. With the fabric now facing right side up, line the inside raw edge of the bias tape up to the edge of your cut circle of fabric (see photo). Curving the bias tape as you go, pin or clip every inch or so all the way around the circle. Overlap the edges just a bit (about ½”) when you get to the end and trim off excess.

small plastic clips holding white bias tape to edge of circle of fabric
pineapple fabric circle with clips around edges securing bias tape

10.  Using your sewing machine, stitch along the pre-made crease in the bias tape (this is about ¼” in from the edge) around the whole circle, removing pins or clips as you go. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

bias tape under sewing machine needle

11.  Next, tuck in the raw edges of the fabric and bias tape and fold the bias tape down. Be sure the bias tape and fabric inside are laying flat, then press to reinforce the creases. Add a few pins or clips to hold.

woman hand holding white bias tape open with stitching
woman holding fabric circle
woman's hand holding pineapple fabric

12.  Using your sewing machine, top stitch on the bias tape around the circle extremely close to the edge of where the fabric meets the bias tape. Leave an opening that is about 1.5” wide. 

small opening in bias tape on edge of bowl cover

13. Now we need to measure the elastic. With your bowl face down, lay the elastic around the rim at the bottom. Then subtract 4 or 5 inches and cut the elastic.

white elastic wrapped around white upside down bowl
scissors and ruler by elastic

14.  Insert a safety pin into one end of the elastic. 

safety pin attached to elastic

15. Put the safety pin end of elastic into the bias tape casing you created on the underside of the fabric. Continue feeding the elastic into the casing until you reach the other end of the circle at the opening. 

inserting elastic into edge of fabric bowl cover
puckered circle of fabric
elastic being gathered in edge of fabric circle
pulling elastic out of hem on fabric circle

16. Overlap the two ends of elastic by about an inch and stitch them together with a zig zag stitch (you will need to adjust your stitch width to match the size of the elastic). Tuck the elastic all the way into the casing and ensure it lays flat along the opening. 

white elastic pinned together
sewing elastic on a sewing machine
elastic ends sewn together with zig zag stitch
elastic in casing of reusable bowl cover

17.  Top stitch the opening of casing shut, backstitching at the beginning and end of your tiny seam. 

fabric under sewing machine foot

18.  Repeat the process for the desired number of bowl covers.

Helpful Tips for Using Reusable Bowl Covers

fabric reusable bowl covers nested inside each other
  • These are easy to nest inside each other. Saving storage space. Or simply scrunch them up and throw in a drawer.
  • Use these to keep bugs out of your food when dining outdoors, even if you don’t plan on having leftovers.
  • Perfect for BBQ’s, potluck dinners, and camping or RVing.
  • After using them, simply throw them in the washing machine. Hot water is best to sanitize them.
  • Not sure if you want to make your own fabric bowl cover? Then check out these unique zero-waste bowl covers with a drawstring cord.

Zero-Waste Living Ideas

Looking for more great zero-waste ways to reduce plastic in the kitchen? Check out our picks for the best stainless steel lunch containers.

Here’s 19 smart tips of how to reuse food waste.

Even more zero-waste living ideas.

 

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yvonne

Thursday 31st of December 2020

I have been looking for an easy to follow pattern to make these bowls cover and today I have found one!!!Thank you. I have been using Rubbermaid glass bowls with their rubber style lids but need larger covers for my dessert/salad bowls and will not only make some for myself but intend to whip up a few for friends. Thank you again Yvonne

Kimberly Button

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Thank you, Yvonne! Yes, I love patterns that are easy to make! I hope you have a lot of success with these!