Re-useable produce bags

Everyone (hopefully!) is thinking about ways they can re-use, re-cycle and generally do their best to look after our planet. There are heaps of ideas out there, and you are probably aware of many of them already!

Re-useable produce bags are an easy thing to change in your routine, and I’ve been thinking about making some for ages. But I have a fruit and veg co-op, and we use very little packaging anyway, so I didn’t think there was much point. There are a couple of items that I do need to package up, like beans or lettuce leaves, and these go in a paper bag. Often these bags are returned to me for re-use. So, with our son safely started in high school recently, I had the time to look into making some bags.

I had an old net curtain that I picked up at the Op Shop years ago, so I gave that a good wash, and used that! I have previously used the curtain to make flowers and it comes in handy as a Halloween ghost lol

The instruction I used as my reference point is here at Pinching Your Pennies, and it is pinned to my Craft Pinterest board 🙂

I used the paper bag as a guide to the size

produce bags 2

I find that it hasn’t frayed so didn’t bother with hemming all the edges. I hope that was the right decision 😉

I (very roughly) cut pieces of tulle curtain 22cm x 68cm.

Fold the short ends over about 1cm and sew to create the casing for the drawstring.

To make these a bit sturdier, I hope, I found a triple straight stitch on my sewing machine and used that instead of a single straight stitch. On this type of fabric you can’t *see* the difference, but I hope it *makes* a difference!

produce bags 9

A tip I remember my mum telling me when sewing delicate fabrics is to put a bit of paper under it. You carefully tear it away when done. I did this on this project to stop it getting caught in the machine. I found I only needed to do this at the start of each hem.

produce bags 8

The next step is to fold the long strip in half, putting the hems you’ve just sewn together, and sew up the other (long) sides. Keep the right sides together. The fold becomes the base of the bag.

Start the side hem under the hem you’ve already sewn so you can thread through the drawstring when it’s finished, as you can sort of see in the photo above. You can also see I didn’t even bother pinning my hems when making these.

I hope that makes a bit of sense!

I needed to add a name tag to these bags, so I included as small bit of scrap fabric as I sewed up the side.  I will write my members’ name on their bag with permanent marker.

produce bags 5

Turn the bag inside out, and it’s almost done!

For the drawstring, cut 2 pieces of string/twine/ribbon that are double the width of the bag. Pin a safety pin to one end and use that to help thread through the casing. Start at one side and thread all the way around, then start the second string at the opposite side and thread all the way around. Remove the safety pin, and knot the ends. Having the two strands makes for a more secure closure.

produce bags 3

And here’s my finished product!
produce bags 1

These bags are very lightweight. As a comparison, the paper bags we use weigh about 12g, and these tulle bags are about 4g.

It makes no difference for the produce I pack as I zero my scales before filling, but it’s interesting to see.

They are also very easy to clean, simply swish them through soapy water or throw them in the washing machine. They’ll dry in no time.

Being a completely amateur sewer I find tulle very fiddly to work with, but it’s also quite forgiving. So even though I wondered why on earth I used this for this project when I started, I’m glad I continued.

I hope my co-op members find their bag useful!

While I had my sewing machine out, I worked on a couple of other projects. I’ll share them soon!

2 thoughts on “Re-useable produce bags

  1. Pingback: Upcycling denim jeans | Saw it, Pinned it, Did it!

  2. Pingback: Tea Towel Cushion Cover | Saw it, Pinned it, Did it!

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