Purple Potluck Bowl Covers

Summer time means picnics, barbecues, and potlucks!  Many times we are invited to outdoor activities and everyone is asked to bring a dish to share.  I thought it would be fun to create a reusable fabric bowl cover so that we can tote our side dishes to these events in style.  These are also great to have at an outdoor picnic to keep the bugs off of your food when no one is eating.

These bowl covers will take you no time at all.  It will probably take you longer to decide on your fabric and coordinating bias tape than it will to actually sew them.  Make one for your favorite bowl or make a whole set for all of your serving bowls!

So, let’s get started……….

Potluck Bowl Covers

1 Fat Quarter (should be enough for a large bowl)
1 package double fold bias tape (or you can make your own)
Thin Elastic – 1/8″ or 1/4″ (the amount depends on the size of your bowl)
Safety Pin
Sewing Machine


Take the bowl that you plan on making a cover for and flip it over.  Place it on your fabric.  If you are using a directional print or something with a certain design, make sure to center your bowl over the design.

Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut a circle that is 2″ wider than your bowl.

Sew your bias tape around the entire edge of the bowl (click HERE for my bias tape tutorial).  Leave an opening in your bias tape large enough for a safety pin to fit through.

Above you can see the opening in my bias tape.

Measure towards the top of your bowl and subtract two inches – that is how much elastic you will need.  My elastic was very stretchy, so if yours isn’t, then you may need to make yours a little longer.  Stick a safety pin through the end of the elastic.  Typically I use a bodkin to thread elastic, but in this case, only a safety pin will fit through the bias tape opening.

Thread your elastic through the bias tape opening and around the circle.  Stitch the ends of elastic together and close the opening in your bias tape by top-stitching with your sewing machine.

Place your covers on top of your bowls and you are ready for your summer potluck!
Potluck Bowl Cover Tutorial from The Cottage Mama. www.thecottagemama.com
You could certainly make these in a more casual fabric or even make them to coordinate with your outdoor picnic blanket or tablecloth.  These are not meant to replace foil or plastic wrap when you need a seriously tight seal, but these are just right for taking your dish to and from your summer get together!

Like this post? Want even more?
Sign up below and receive all my tutorials, recipes and updates directly in your email inbox.


  1. Seriously – GENIUS! And I feel like smacking my head and saying DUH at the same time!!! I can’t tell you how may times I wish I had those ziploc covers…great idea!

  2. What a fabulous idea. So trendy and no cling wrap in site anywhere. Thank you for the great idea.

  3. I LOVE these! And they look simple to make, too. Gorgeous fabric you chose. These would make such great gifts.

  4. I am going to go raid my fabric stash right now and make a handful of these, I love it!

  5. This is a great idea! I have jars in my sewing room that hold my buttons, etc. I always hate having to unscrew the lid and such. These would add some cuteness to my jars, and keep them closed at the same time. Hmm.

  6. Thanks so much! That’s a really cute idea, Lynette – you could use them as light-weight lids for just about anything.


  7. What a wonderful idea! These are way better than the shower caps my Grandma uses, and would make fantastic gifts!!!

  8. This is such a beautiful idea! Thanks for being apart of the series Lindsay.

  9. I love this…what a fun way to dress up a dish:)

  10. so nice idea..ı like it very much..

  11. Can you make these with water-proof fabric (sorry, I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s plastic-picnic-table-cover-like [oil-cloth,maybe])? I know they are not meant to “seal” like foil or saran-wrap, but I was thinking if the fabric was water-proof, it would prevent such things as oil stains when the top of your potato salad touches the fabric on top of the bowl… Thanks for a good idea.

  12. I love this idea!!! I can’t wait to try one. Your fabrics are always so beautiful.

  13. I can’t wait to make one of these for my brother in law’s aunt, who showed up at Easter Dinner with her big salad in a beautiful bowl, covered with a square of paper towel! She only lives up the road, but still….

  14. What a great idea!! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  15. I see you came up with something fabulous (as I knew you would)!!! Love this!!! I will be making some.


  16. Awesome tutorial! Thank you. And, in my opinion you got THE best color. 😉

  17. Great tutorial, this is such a great idea, I hate fighting plastic wrap and it’s such a waste. Plus these are so cute!

  18. such a great idea, and seems easy enough that even I could make it! I love the fabric too.
    Thanks for the tutorial. I am so pumped to make these for the summer!

  19. These are great! I wanted to let you know that I have featured both this project and your jane dress on my first ever Timeout Thursdays post on my blog. you can see it here:
    Thank you for sharing your talents with the blogging world!

  20. I am in love with these! What a fantastic idea! I am a new follower and will be highlighting these to our facebook fans! Thanks for sharing!

    Jill of oursevendwarfs.com

  21. Love this idea! I think I will use some leftovers in my stash to make some. I plan on using some iron-on vinyl to add to the fabric so they wipe clean. Another good idea would be to use the laminated cottons!! Thanks for the tutorial!!


  23. Great idea. Congratulations for your blog.Kisses

  24. Tami Fleming says

    Great Idea!!!! Especially for this busy mom.Tami.

  25. So cute AND practical! I want to make some for myself and family. Thanks very much for taking time to put this great tut together and sharing it with us.

  26. oh I love this idea, thank you so much for sharing the tutorial!

  27. Hi I just found your blog–it’s beautiful! I was wondering if for this project you could use laminated cotton so if there was a tipped over bowl in the car, it wouldn’t leak? Just an idea, I am pretty new to sewing and quilting.

    Thanks so much for providing such a clear tutorial.


    [email protected]

  28. These are some very stylish bowl covers. Thanks for the instructions.

  29. I love this project, really cute. I featured it on my blog: http://koolbeenz-blog.blogspot.com/2011/06/gallery-of-featured-crafters-3-with.html

    Feel free to grab my Featured Button.

  30. Great instructions regarding how to create bowl covers. Seems like a eventful way to spend some time. Thank you.

  31. Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with over 12,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: http://www.dailycraft.com/thank-you-for-crafting/. Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!

  32. I really like this idea. It combines form and function with a decorative flair and best of all, you made it look easy.

  33. What a fantastic idea! I might need to whip me up some of these…very pretty and super practical too. Thanks for the inspiration and the great tutorial 🙂

  34. Love this idea! Such a pretty way to execute a smart idea! Gotta Pin this right away!!

  35. Anonymous says

    Would be great to use to cover rising dough as well!!

  36. Love love love this idea. so simple and so useful. Thanks

  37. Hi Lindsay … it is such a cute and smart idea I am sure it will be my up coming sewing project… Thanks for sharing it…
    If you interested in 500 years old History than please peek a little at

  38. Love Love LOVE the idea! Thanks for sharing. Found you on Pinterest.


  39. Love this tutorial… the only thing I would do is use fusible vinyl on the wrong side of the fabric prior to binding… then it is essentially like those plastic bonnets our mothers used to use back in the day! Only much much more stylish! Great project!

  40. One of THE greatest ideas I have ever come across. Making some tomorrow for my sister-in-law for Christmas…and myself too, of course.

  41. Great tutorial! You’ve been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

    We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for home sewers.

  42. Excellent! Definitely going to try this…would make good little gifts, too. (found you via Pinterest, btw)

  43. I was just looking for this information for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative web sites in top of the list. Usually the top web sites are full of garbage.
    Bogs Women’s Classic Mid Tuscany Rain Boot

  44. Can’t wait to make these. I have a hate-hate relationship with plastic wrap, so the less I have to use it, the better!

  45. Anonymous says

    I just had an idea to maybe make these a bit more “food friendly”? What if you do something similar, a bit more simply by taking a pretty vinyl sheet(envisioning watermelons! lol), cut into a big circle, put grommet holes about every 2 inches along the edge and lace some pretty elastic cord to “tie” into place (leaving room for stretching or loosen for bigger bowl), for easier wipe down/cleaning up? =) Or… you could put a light weight clear vinyl and sew to the underside/food-side, as well. Thanks for the great idea! ~Pamela in Puyallup


  47. Anonymous says

    There is a type called Rebel:T/L/Cs that have a food-safe waterproof layer, making them more practical for storing and not just transporting. http://www.facebook.com/rebelTLCs

  48. I love this, such a smart idea and green friendly too. You’re very talented!!

  49. so you wouldnt recommend doing this for storage? i have seen something similar by the plastic bags at target, and i believe they are for storage.
    i dont go to a lot of potlucks but would like to do something more economical and ecofriendly to cover my bowls of leftovers and such….
    great tute! found on pinterest

  50. I love this! I’m so going to make a few of these. I think they’ll be great for covering salads etc on a picnic. Thanks!

  51. Anonymous says

    this is a great idea, thanks for sharing

  52. Anonymous says

    How creative! And inspiring!


    Missouri Mom

  53. Thank you very much for this! I whipped one up last night! I used a waterproof (aka diaper fabric) for a liner so that the cute design on the top wouldn’t get ruined if it touched the food! Thank you again!

  54. My Grandma used to make these all the time. So much better than plastic wrap! Thank you for the reminder. I’ve featured this post in my News of the Day today.

  55. Such a great tutorial! Thanks for using “Medallion Golden” from my Bazaar Style collection! 🙂

  56. ah brilliant. love love love

  57. These would also be great for bread baking… covers the bowl, but still lets air in to allow the rising…

    • For some reason, this wont let me comment under my profile, but I’m not anonymous like it says above… I’m Sandie!

  58. Great idea… but what is a ‘Fat Quarter’?

    • A fat Quarter is a quarter of a yard of fabric, but it’s not cut straight across at 9″. You would take a yard of fabric and cut it across at 18″ then cut up and down at 22″ (22″ should be half the width). Another way to say it is cut a big cross on a yard of fabric. Quilters use these pieces of fabrics and quilt shops sell them already cut like this.

  59. Great idea! Can’t wait to make some. Is there a “printer friendly” way to print out the tutorial?

  60. I have dreamed of making these for a long time, but could never figure out how to do it (I am not much of a crafter) and yours is the first tutorial that I actually can follow. I really think I can make them with your instructions! Thank you so much!!!

  61. Awesome! The kids keep leaving the door open and letting flies in the house, a real pain at the dinner table when I’ve got serving bowls with food in them. I’ve been looking for something better than a piece of foil, the sound of foil crinkling hurts my ears, and here it is! Thanks so much, I have the perfect kitchen-coordinating fat quarters for this and am going to sit down this afternoon and whip out a few!

  62. I made a bunch of these although I did use a food safe vinyl on the inside. I made the first one as directed and found it wasn’t practical for food therefore I lined the next 6 of them with vinyl and it worked perfect!
    Great tut…I also have lined all my baskets with food safe vinyl inspired by this of course!

  63. THIS is an amazing idea!!! absolutely making this!!!

  64. Thanks for this tutorial! I saw this idea on Pinterest today, and had to make it this very same day! I have been looking for something to cover my bowls when I make yeast dough, and these are perfect! Thanks for the good directions & pictures! 🙂

  65. (PS- I love that 3 of us last 4 posters have been named Michelle! Pretty cool!)

  66. I just made a set of these for my grandmother for her birthday and when she opened them, she told me that when she was young (she grew up during the Depression), her mother had a set of them and they were called “pantry panties” at the time.

  67. I wonder if a person could use “Rip Stop” and Fold Over Elastic? Like would that allow you to use them without plastic wrap? I’m going to give it a try anyway. Thanks for the inspiration!

  68. Brilliant idea. Thanks for the tutorial.

  69. I don’t know if anyone has suggested this, but from my diaper sewing days I have PUL left over. These could easily be made from Pul. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Babyville-Boutique-Mod-Girl-Flowers-64-wide-Laminated-PUL-Fabric-9-95-/190863318954?pt=US_Fabric&hash=item2c70571faa Here is an example of what PUL is. 🙂 It is GREAT stuff.

  70. Esther Carr says

    I’ve purchased many of those bowl covers, but putting your idea together with the plastic covers, I wondered if making these with an oilcloth material would give the food more protection? This idea would really wake up
    dull surroundings, don’t you think?

  71. Hey there,
    I made the bowl cover for week 8 of my Craft Challenge 2014! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  72. Wanda Johnson says

    I am making one of these bowl covers for our ‘compost bowl’. Son-in-law has been enriching his garden for years with all kinds of food scraps that he spins through a blender to make his ‘garden tea’. I think I can see an improvement in his garden soil. What has put me off has been that yucky little ice cream bucket sitting on their kitchen counter. Well! I found a cute green prep bowl in the clearance aisle at Marshall’s and I have so so many fat quarters of kitchen matching fabric. Your bowl cover will hide the ‘yucky scraps’ and keep the pesky fruit flies out of my garden tea ingredients till we get them into the blender.
    Where shall I send extra the zuccinnis? *giggle*

  73. Mary Jane Fair says

    I sorry but I just can’t afford all those comments at the end of patterns. I am 80 years old and don’t know what to do when I want a pattern Isn’t there a way to help me and many others ( No, doubt) that we don’t have to copy all your comments. You have wonderful site and I enjoy it very but please help. Thanks.

    • Mary Jane, when you click ‘print’, you should get a screen that pops up where you can choose the number of pages to print. You should also have the option to ‘preview’ – this way you can note how many pages you need to print to just get the pattern/ instructions and not the comments. I’m not a computer expert, but if you want to email me, I can copy just the instructions and email them back to you. Janet

  74. Virginia Severns says

    I like these, also like the idea of lining with diaper cover fabric or even sewable plastic, from the fabric store, to make them both insulated and more secure for keeping food fresh.
    Maybe these will stay in my kitchen longer than the 2 plastic sets my son, who lives with me, tossed in one of his cleaning sprees.

  75. Love this project! About the elastic measurement though…what do mean exactly by “measure towards the top of your bowl”? What am I measuring here? Just can’t quite get that….lol. Thanks for the idea and help.


  1. […] DIY Bowl Covers – by The Cottage Mama […]

  2. […] Potluck Bowl Cover – The Cottage Mama […]

  3. […] from top left: The Cottage Mama: Bowl Covers, Fabric Mutt: All in One Placemats, Craft Buds: Picnic Blanket Tote, Centsational Girl: Roll Up […]

  4. […] wish I had seen this bowl cover project before now and made some of these for me. I will, for sure. One of these would be a […]