Make Your Own Reusable Produce Bags
In this post, I’ll show you how to make your own reusable handmade produce bags or vegetable storage bags. These are an easy and quick DIY project that even a beginner can make. This will help you reduce your use of disposable plastic bags at the grocery store and adopt a zero waste lifestyle. I adapted this pattern from the drawstring lingerie bags I recently made to help wash delicate items in the laundry. These produce bags are also washable, in case you ever need to clean them.
The Best Fabric to Use
I know readers are wondering what fabric or material is best for these. Since I was going for an eco-friendly sewing project, I decided to upcycle some sheer curtains I found at a thrift store. I got five produce bags out of one panel, and I’ve still got a second panel to use. This fabric was pretty cheap, too. You want to make these out of a sheer fabric, so the cashier can see what’s in your bag. I’ve seen others use mesh with opaque cotton panels for reinforcement. I think this curtain fabric will be sturdy enough. I haven’t had any problems so far.
Cutting the Fabric
I cut my fabric into 18” by 30” rectangles. I got four normal sized bags and one slightly narrower bag from one curtain panel. These are a little bigger than the plastic produce bags you get at the grocery store, but I wanted them to be roomy enough for most of my shopping needs. You can adjust the size based on what you need.
Finishing the Edges
Sheer fabric unravels easily, so I wanted to make sure that the edges would hold up to washing and general use. I used a rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to enclose the raw edges on the sides of the bag and along the top of the bag. You could also sew a narrow hem normally by folding over the fabric, sewing it down, and then folding and sewing it again. The rolled hem foot just does all of that folding in one step.
Sewing the Seams
Once all of your raw edges are enclosed, pin or clip together the sides of the bag, right sides together. Along one side of the bag, leave the top 2 1/2” open. Don’t sew above where the last red clip is on one side seam. Use a 1/4” seam for each side. The top will be turned down for the drawstring.
Because of the 1/4” side seam, the open part at the top of the bag won’t match up with the bottom part of the bag exactly anymore—it will be slightly wider. Fold down these edges, line them up with the fold of the seam, and then sew them down, again using a 1/4” seam. I’ve done this to the right side below, but not to the left. You can see that the right side lines up well with the rest of the hem.
Now you can fold down the top part to create the tunnel for the drawstring to go through. Fold it down so that the edge is 1 1/4” from the top of the bag. Sew along the bottom edge of the folded section all the way around the bag. The right sides of the bag are still together. You’re working on the inside of the bag.
Finishing the Bag
Now you can turn the produce bag right side out and add the drawstring. I used a safety pin to pull the string through the tunnel at the top. Then add your drawstring toggle and knot the edges of the cord.
The Finished Produce Bags
Here are the produce bags that I made. As I said earlier, they have a fairly large capacity, but they don’t take up a lot of room when they’re empty, so it’s easy to just leave them in your reusable grocery bags and pull them out when you need them.
Want More Sewing Projects?
See my Pinterest board Easy Sewing Projects for Beginners.
And see this ebook from All Free Sewing on Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners.