April 24, 2013

DIY Reusable Produce Bags

I meant to post this on Monday for Earth Day, but life happens, right?  (Besides, every day is a good day to become better caretakers of this precious earth we enjoy!) 


Most of us by now have a decent stash of cloth grocery bags for packing up our groceries at the check-out, but still rely on the plastic produce bags for small fruits and veggies.

These easy homemade reusable produce bags are a simple way to reduce the amount of trash your family generates.  I made 8 bags in less than an hour using 4 dollars worth of fabric, and have been using them steadily since last summer!

I purchased 1 metre (a little more than a yard) of sheer fabric.  Sheer curtain fabric is often much wider than ordinary fabric, so 1 metre was more than enough to make 8 produce bags.  You could also recycle an old set of sheer curtains for this project!

Step one: Cut a square of sheer fabric that is approximately 22 by 16 inches.


Step 2: Fold one edge in and stitch to make a casing for the drawstring.


Step 3: Fold in half and stitch the side and bottom closed.  Be careful to stitch only up to the bottom of the casing you just made.  You want to be able to get your drawstring in later!


Step 4: Zig-zag stitch around the bottom and side that you just sewed to prevent fraying.


Step 5: Turn the bag right-side-out and use a safety pin to push a piece of  ribbon or string (I used scrap pieces of bias tape) through the casing and tie the ends together.


Done!  Wasn't that easy?  Now for the hard part: remembering to take them with you in to the grocery store!

Frequently asked Questions:

Can I wash my Reusable Produce Bags?  I occasionally wash mine and they have held up fine.

Will cashiers and other customers give me strange looks for bringing my own produce bags? Maybe. I've personally never received any negative comments, although a few people have made positive remarks about them! (And a few people have even told me that I have inspired them to make some of their own!)

What if I really really really cannot sew?  Well, this would be a great simple project to learn on, but if you really aren't up to the challenge you can buy reusable produce bags from amazon or etsy.  (But really, you can do it...I believe in you!)

Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  Please consider following me on twitter, liking me on facebook, or signing up for my RSS feed.

22 comments:

  1. What a great post. I'm starting to learn how to sew and this would be a great project. Love your blog!

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  2. I remember your post from when you first made these, and I still have plans, but keep forgetting, to make them! I feel guilty every time I go to the store and buy produce :( Someday soon!

    I have a random question though. Why 1 meter of fabric, but 22x16 inches? Is it simply for us random backwards Americans? Just curious.

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    Replies
    1. Haha, good question! Because I live in Canada, when I go to the fabric store I have to use metric. But I never use metric in my actual life. I don't think in centimeters!

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  3. You could repurpose zippers from your recycle stash and make bags to launder some small items. I always turn my hand knit washable wool socks inside-outside and place them in a small laundry bag prior to washing in our top loading machine. Get tutorial. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you for your blog, which being myself of an age that most women today are grandmothers, never the less has the occasional brilliant dyi or re-purposing idea, such as this one, and even if not so useful to me myself is never the less usually a fun read! Keep up the great work!

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  5. I just shared this post with a friend who is always on the lookout for inexpensive projects to make for church bazaars and fundraisers. What a great project!

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  6. Excellent idea! Never thought of something like this. Thanks for sharing! ☺

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  7. I was actually thinking about this at the grocery store, when I visited this week. What a waste of plastic bags. This is a wonderful sewing project that I may be able to accomplish! The only other thing I have attempted using my machine was a pin cushion (with very wobbly lines).

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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  8. I want to make some, only use a lighter-weight cord for the drawstring. I guess it would only matter for things that are weighed, but I wouldn't want too much extra weight added to my purchase.

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    Replies
    1. Most grocery stores will let you weigh your bag so you know the weight and if you tell the cashier they can input it into the register when you check out.

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  9. Onya also make them. They weigh so little you don't end up paying more. I've only ever had positive comments. I love them and always use them, I keep them in my big shopping bag. The Onya ones come in a little bag with a caribena

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  10. If you really really really can't sew and don't plan on learning (like me) and you're in Canada then look at Real Canadian Superstore/Atlantic Superstore/Loblaws for white mesh produce bags. I bought them for $4 for 5 bags. I also found some in a different style at Home Outfitters. I would love to make my own but don't own a sewing machine and I don't think I'll be getting one the future.

    Totally unrelated, but Kelly, we LOVE your homemade fries! My husband is British and very picky, and he has admitted that they're fantastic. Thank you!

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  11. How clever! I spent my high school & college years working in a grocery store and I hate hate hate plastic bags of all sorts. So many are thrown away in the store, let alone at home! This is a great way to reduce waste. But I agree - the hard part is remembering to take them to the store! I'll be sharing this on the defysupply twitter!

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  12. This is such a great idea! I love it. I have never thought of this myself. I will be making this sometime in the future :)

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  13. Thanks for the great tutorial.

    Question: Any idea what material or a way to make bags for those other bulk items you buy at the store? It drives me crazy to buy in bulk to "cut down on waste" (and expense) only to have to use a plastic bag each time.

    Things like flour, sugar, spices, pasta, etc)

    They have plastic bags and then you write the bin code on a wide twist tie and seal the bag with it.

    So I would need a grain proof bag and a way to note the code on the bag.

    Any ideas anyone has would be wonderful!

    Cindy

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    Replies
    1. Cindy, this is a bit late (I just now found this blog), but I would think that the sheer fabric (like old curtain sheers; love that!) would work for pasta & such. For smaller grains, spices, sugar, etc, what about reusing plastic bags (I wash & air-dry), or using the crinkly cereal bags? Don't know if that would add too much extra weight... But you could write on it with a Sharpie; and close it either with a twistie, or with a chip clip.

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  14. This is my first time visit at here and i am genuinely impressed to read
    everthing at one place.
    Laptop Messenger Bags

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  15. I actually did something very similar to this for my produce and misc electronics. It ended up working out so well that my I made one for my daughter. A little bit of customizing and it was able to hold her i15rv-1952blk laptop without any issues.

    Thanks Kelly <3

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  16. Great post and really nice images. as a eco shopping bags manufacturer i'm very happy to read this post.

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  17. Really good pics & nice article.Non Woven Bags are also good alternatives.

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