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I am all for being zero waste and trying to stop using as much plastic as possible in my home life. One of the main ways I try to reduce my own plastic use is by never using disposable plastic bags. And that includes the plastic produce bags that supermarkets put out for people to weigh out their loose veg and fruit when grocery shopping. So today I am going to share a tutorial on how you can make your own DIY produce bags – reusable cloth bags that you can take to the shop or supermarket for weighing out loose fruit and vegetables.
This tutorial for DIY reusable produce bags is basically just a way of how to make unlined drawstring bags. Losing the lining loses some off the weight.
DIY Produce Bags – How To Make Your Own
As you can imagine, you will probably want to try and make these out of the lightest and finest material possible. No one wants to pay over the odds for their goods. If you make the bags out of heavy cloth you are paying for the weight of the bag too!
So my advice would be to try and make these out of the lightest material you can find. Ideal fabrics are organic cotton muslin, mesh fabric, lace, chiffon, voile or gauze.
However, today I am going to be using an old upcycled cotton duvet cover. My first choice for any zero waste project is always going to be to try and make something out of material that would normally be going into the trash. And today is no exception. I looked through my pile of clothes and fabric to upcycle and found this cotton duvet cover
. I also have a thin cotton lawn top that I can use, and some muslin.
So shall we make some reusable produce bags? On with the tutorial!
You Will Need
- Material for the produce bag – fabric as discussed above.
- Ribbon, tape or cord for the drawstring. Again I like to reuse all those bits of ribbon that come with my purchases. In this case the ribbon came with some fat quarters I purchased recently.
- Pins, scissors or rotary cutter, a measuring ruler, stitch ripper / unpicker and coordinating thread (if you wish)
- A sewing machine
Making The Zero Waste Produce Bags
There is no reusable produce bag pattern. You simply cut your material to the size of bag that you want. Today I really wanted a good size of bag. So I cut 2 pieces of pre-washed material 15.5 inch x 15.5 inch square (which also happens to be the size of my quilting square!)
Got fabric scraps left over? Read this linked post for a whole load of ways to use up every last piece!
Place the two bag outer pieces right sides together and pin if you need to. Using a 3/8 (1cm) seam allowance, sew around 3 sides of the bag. You can leave these seam allowances with raw edging. Or you may want to pink, serge or overlock the seams at this point to prevent fraying.
TIP: If you are making chiffon or mesh produce bags, you may want to use French seams to enclose the raw edges of the delicate fabric.
If this is the case, initially place the bag outer pieces WRONG sides together and sew a scant 3-4mm allowance. Then turn the bag inside out and sew a further 6-7mm seam allowance with the bag outer facing right sides together. Once the bag is turned out the right way this hides the potentially fraying edges, making the bag inside look neat and finished.
Turn the bag the right way out, push out the corners with a pointed instrument, and give it a good press with the iron.
Making The Drawstring Casing
Next it is time to form the drawstring casing. Fold the top of the bag in on itself by about 3/8 inch (1cm) and press with an iron.
Then fold over again inwards by a further 4/8 inch (1.5cm) and press once more. This creates a channel inside the fold which we will be using for the tape or cord.
(I’ll be honest – I tend to eyeball this, but you can measure this if you like)
Stitch all the way around this channel near the edge of the fold. Reinforce your stitching at the side seam points of the bag. You may want to use coordinating thread to do this as these stitches are visible.
Get your ribbon, cord or tape ready. You are going to need 2 pieces of ribbon slightly longer than twice the width of the top opening of the bag. So how long a ribbon you need depends on how large you have made your bag. I needed 2 pieces of ribbon – both around 30-32 inches long
Take a stitch unpicker or sharp scissors, and cut through the stitches above the casing stitching at either side of the bag. If you have served or french seamed your inner edges, you will also need to cut a small hole to get your ribbon into the casing. But it doesn’t really matter, these are just produce bags at the end of the day!)
Using a bodkin or safety pin, thread one piece of ribbon in at one side of the bag, around the casing and back out of the hole it started in. Tie this ribbon in a knot at the ends. Thread the other ribbon in at the opposite side, around the casing and back out of that hole. You can now pull the ribbon tough at both sides to close the bag.
And Here Are My Finished Zero Waste Produce Bags
I hope that you have enjoyed this was tutorial on how to make reusable produce bags. Do you think that you will be incorporating these drawstring produce bags into your daily life?
What is your view on how we can reduce plastic use in our society? I love to hear your comments. Tell me what you think below, or do find me on my social channels
And please do pin this post for later.