Washable & Reusable Bin Liner Sewing Tutorial

We’re always looking for new ways to go zero waste here at Plush Towers & one item we have been keen to ditch is the plastic waste-bin liner and we have been looking for a reusable alternative…

As the world, quite rightly, moves away from single use plastic bags that at one time many of us used to line small waste bins we have been pondering what a zero-waste replacement could be. We thought it was time to unleash into the world a tutorial for a reusable & washable waste bin liner!

This washable bin liner is the perfect zero-waste solution for all those light use bins in the bedroom, office or bathroom…

Reusable Bin Liner Sewing Tutorial

Anatomy of the washable bin liner

Outer Fabric: We’ve used waterproof PUL as the lining fabric in this project.

Why this fabric you might ask?! We figured it was the perfect fabric choice for handling lightly soiled bathroom items such as cotton pads or ears buds. Choosing waterproof PUL means there there won’t be any unwanted leaks through to the exterior of the bin liner…

It also means if you live with people that insist on chucking away their banana skins in their bedrooms that get buried & forgotten about you won’t get any leaky food waste either, ha!

Lining Fabric: For the liner outer we’ve used calico as it’s economical , but you can use any cotton. This part of the liner generally won’t be seen (unless your bin has lots of hole in it) so this is a great opportunity to use up your stash, or this as a great chance re-purpose or upcycle some other fabric.

Fabrics used in a Reusable Bin Liner

Contrast Fabric: We wanted to give you the option to make it pretty so we’ve used a small amount of quilting fabric as an accent to give you the chance to match to your decor, or add a touch of personality to your bin. This fabric is actually part of the lining but appears on the exterior of the bin once folded over.

The whole liner is held securely in place by fold over elastic at the liner’s opening edge.

The method we’ve described in this tutorial would also work perfectly for washing baskets, laundry baskets, nappy bins, kitchen bins… You can use the same method for storage baskets (any size) to prevent leaking, damage, snags & scrapes!

We’re going to show you how to draft a pattern for a circular 3D vessel – in this case your waste bin – which you can apply to a variety of other storage projects! Follow along and you can draft your own pattern to fit any size circular bin or basket.

By using a liner you will be reducing your plastic use and waste, and become more conscious as to what waste you are producing, sewing a sustainable and useful project! 

How to launder your reusable bin liner

  • We recommend that your fabrics are pre-washed before you start this project.
  • This liner is designed for light use waste bins so it can usually be laundered at 30 degrees.
  • If you decide to use it for “messier” bins that might harbour higher bacterial growth, you can launder these fabrics at 60 degrees but it’s imperative you pre-wash everything at that temperature first. Washing consistently at 60 degrees may reduce the life of the cotton fabrics.
  • We recommend air drying this project after laundering. We do not recommend tumble drying PUL as regular tumble drying can delaminate PUL fabric over time.

A sewing project for Adventurous Beginners

Finished Dimensions: Depends on the size of your bin – we used this bin [affiliate link]

waist bin sample

With the following dimensions: Dia 25.5cm x H 31cm / Dia 10” x H 12”

Approximate sewing time: An afternoon

Important Notes:

  • Pre-wash your fabrics
  • 1cm ⅜” seam allowance throughout, unless directed.
  • For steps using machine sewing, straight stitch, backstitching at the start & end using stitch length 2.5 unless otherwise stated.
  • We have overlocked our seams but if you don’t have an overlocker you can check out this post for other seam finishing ideas
  • When top stitching – use a 3-3.5mm length & stitch approx 3mm from the seam
  • Prepare your fabrics as per manufacturer’s care advice
  • RST = Right Sides Together
  • WST = Wrong Sides Together
  • Read through the instructions fully before starting 
  • Please note that pins can create permanent holes in PUL. we recommend using clips

Boring Legal Bit: If you follow any tutorial or guidance found in this post, or on this blog, you agree to be bound by our disclaimer which can be viewed here

You Will Need:

The requirements given below are enough for a similarly sized bin to this bin which measures Diameter 25.5cm x Height 31cm / Diameter 10” x Height 12”

If your bin is a different size draw the pattern out and then calculate what you need from the pattern.

New to sewing PUL? Why not check out our Quick Guide To PUL

Sewing Equipment You Will Need:

Draw Your Reusable Bin Liner Pattern

  1. Measure & draft the pattern pieces for your bin:

You need to take a few measurements to work out how to draw your pattern pieces. We realised this can seem daunting for some people so we’ve worked hard to make it as accessible and easy to follow as we can.

We’ve put together:

  • A video (below) for those that prefer visual instruction
  • Detailed written instructions & a handy printable which has a calculations table for you to complete with your own bin measurements. Use this for fool proof pattern drafting!
  • A worked example

The video & printable are designed to work together and compliment each other.

Measure your bin

2. Cutting Out The Fabrics

Cut the following :

  • From Fabric A (Contrast Top): 4 x Contrast Top rectangles
  • From Fabric B (Calico Cotton) : 2 x side panels & 1 x base circle
  • From Fabric C (PUL lining): 2 x sides and 1 x base circle
Cutting Out the Fabrics for the reusable bin liner

3. Constructing the reusable bin liner

  • With RST, sew the side seams of the 2 x calico side panels  together, using a 1cm / ⅜” seam allowance
  • Repeat for the PUL side panels
Constructing the reusable bin liner
  • Mark the quarter points: On both outer & lining sewn side panels & the base circles, mark ¼ points :
    • On the side panels, fold the fabric on the seam & smooth & fold it across; the seam line is a one-quarter point & the fold crease is another. Bring those points together & smooth the fabric out to the sides; mark where the next 2 folds form.
    • For the base circle, fold it in half, make marks at each end of the fold line. Fold it in half again and mark both layers of fabric where they fold.
  • Take the PUL side panel & base & match up the marked 1/4 points & pin
  • Now pin the fabric between the ¼ points, using the snips to help ease the fabric around the outer edge if you need to. Align the fabric edges & pinning where the seam line will be sewn will help accuracy.
  • Sew in place using a 1cm / ⅜” seam allowance. If you have a walking foot use this as it will help if the fabric is slippery. You could also use your overlocker if you have one.
Constructing the reusable bin liner - marking the quarter points then sewing
  • Repeat the same steps on the Calico side panels & base circle
Sewing the reusable bin liner
  • Add the contrast panel: Take 2 of the top contrast panels & place RST. At the shorts ends sew in place using a 1cm / ⅜” seam allowance. This will create two fabric “loops”.
  • Repeat for the other 2 top contrast panels. You should now have 2 “loops” in the contrast fabric
Sewing waist bin liner - add the contrast panel
  • With RST, pin one top contrast loop to the Calico part of the liner along the top of the exterior bin liner, matching at the seams. Sew in place around the loop.
Sewing the contrast loop of the waist bin liner

  • Repeat, sewing the remaining top contrast loop to the the PUL part of the liner.
Continue sewing the remaining top contrast loop to the Pul part of the liner

  • Put the PUL lining of the bin liner, wrong sides together with the Calico exterior. Line up the 2 x top contrast panels, match at the seams & pin. Baste the outer and lining together at the top

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  • Attach the fold over elastic: Take your bin and pull the elastic firmly around the part of the bin where the top contrast fold over will sit. Measure where it fits comfortably and then take a few cm off this length so that when in place, the bin liner will fit snugly to the bin & keep the liner in place.
Measure Fold Over Elastic
  • Apply the fold over elastic using your preferred method: Please refer to our post here for detailed instructions on the different methods you can use to apply fold over elastic.

DIY Reusable & Washable Bin Liner

And you’re finished, well done!

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