Workstation with sewing equipment and a rain jacket.

Upcycling in the kitchen: make your own bowl covers

Aluminium foil and cling film are used by most people to cover bowls and containers without lids or to wrap loose food. As a disposable product, foil causes a lot of waste. With our upcycling ideas, you can replace some disposable products with reusable and durable upcycled clothes.

For example, it’s easy to make upcycled kitchen towels from old clothes such as T-shirts, blouses etc and reduce disposable paper towels. With the help of an old rain jacket, you can reduce or remove all foil and clingfilm and become even closer to the zero waste lifestyle. Here you can learn how to make DIY bowl covers from a discarded rain jacket in just a few steps.

DIY instructions for upcycling a rain jacket hood into a bowl cover

An old rain jacket is great for making an airtight seal on bowls, pots or other containers. Rain jackets are usually not water-permeable, which is ideal to keep your food fresh. Also, the cover can be easily washed. To make the rain jacket hoods into a useful and reusable cling film replacement, you will need the following tools:

Materials needed for an upcycled bowl hood.

Your equipment list: DIY bowl cover

  • Rain jacket
  • An old cotton T-shirt or blouse
  • Matching thread
  • An elastic band that matches the circumference of the bowl
  • Bowl
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pegs instead of pins
  • A sheet of paper and pen
  • Wooden stick
  • Safety pin

Once you’ve got all the equipment ready for upcycling your rain jacket, you’re almost ready to start your sewing project.

Step-by-step sewing instructions for the bowl cover

Firstly, take your old rain jacket and cotton garments. Cut them at the seams to separate them into their individual parts. This will give you a good idea of how many upcycled bowl covers you can make from the rain jacket.

Next, you will need to make a template. Place the bowl upside-down on the sheet of paper. Outline the bowl with a pencil and add 5 cm extra for the seam. You can reuse this template as many times as you like. If you are only making one, you can trace the outline directly onto the fabric.

Using a template to cut out the fabric.
Sewing pattern pieces for bowl cover together.

Lay both the rain jacket and cotton fabrics on top of each other. Then cut around your template or line on the fabric. Then fasten the two layers with fabric pegs.

Then sew around the curve of the pattern piece leaving a 1 cm gap. The two pattern pieces should be right sides together. This means that the two ‘nice’ sides of the fabric are facing each other. Leave an opening of about 4 cm to turn it inside out at the end. Backtack both ends to prevent the seam from coming apart. To do this, sew backwards after the first three or four stitches and then sew forwards again so that you have sewn over the same place three times at the beginning of the seam. Repeat this procedure at the end of the seam.

AttentionDo not use pins to fix fabrics. Pins will damage the coating of the rain jacket material and affect the function of your DIY bowl cover.

AttentionDo not use pins to fix fabrics. Pins will damage the coating of the rain jacket material and affect the function of your DIY bowl cover.

In the next step turn the bowl cover inside-out. To do this, pull the inside out through the opening.

NoteBefore turning inside-out, it is helpful to nip the edges of the excess fabric every two to three centimetres. This will prevent tension, which would make ripples.

NoteBefore turning inside-out, it is helpful to nip the edges of the excess fabric every two to three centimetres. This will prevent tension, which would make ripples.

Use a wooden stick, such as the back of a wooden spoon or a chopstick, to work out the edge after turning it inside-out.

Upcycling Bowl Cover inside-out.
Sewing a loop in the turned DIY bowl cover.

Sew in a drawstring around the cover. This should be at least as wide as the sewing machine presser foot. To measure this, use the edge of the presser foot as a guide by placing the edge of the fabric against the edge of the foot. If your elastic is wider, you will need to increase the distance between the seam and the outer edge of your stitching. This time you can sew all the way around. As long as you join the start and end of the stitching, you don’t have to backtack the stitch.

Now attach a safety pin to the elastic to pass it through the loop you have just sewn. Then place the cover on the bowl and knot the two ends of the elastic together. You can choose how tightly you want the cover to fit.

Insert the elastic into the loop of the upcycled bowl cover.
The finished upcycled bowl cover made from a rain jacket.

The final step is to close the small opening used for turning inside-out for good. Make sure the edge of the fabric is inside the upcycled bowl cover. Then stitch along the opening and let the needle move as close as possible to the outer edge of the fabric. Your reusable cling film replacement is now ready to use.

Conclusion

Waste prevention is not rocket science. With a little creativity and skill, you can breathe new life into old clothes while reducing waste and helping the environment in the process. Our DIY bowl covers are washable and look much better than aluminium foil or cling film. If you have some fabric leftover, check out our sewing instructions for DIY cloths or try your hand at making a DIY bread bag from the remains of your rain jacket. True to the motto ‘Make new from old’, you can make your household more sustainable and environmentally conscious through upcycling projects.