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Reusable Produce Bags- Tutorial

dear eco-conscious friends,
whenever i took a trip to the grocery store, i always cringed when i reached for the plastic bag in the produce section. i always had an image in my mind of that bag ending up in the ocean and some poor fish or bird eating it, mistaking it for food. 

i started using reusable produce bags last year and i LOVE them. they have helped me cut down on so much waste.  and a bonus... at Henry's or Whole Foods, they sometimes give me 5 cents off for EACH bag i use!  now i don't feel guilty about buying produce anymore.
this past Christmas, i made produce bags for my family.  a friend of mine wanted to buy a couple for her friends, so this past weekend while i made them for her, i took a few pictures of the process so i could post a tutorial for you. :o)

the goal is to make the bags so that they'll last a loooooong time, so i make them 2-ply. when i cut the mesh, i keep it folded and I cut with the fold on the bottom.  to save a lot of headache and frustration make sure to incorporate the fold or else the mesh will slip all around.  ok... i'm totally not a professional sewer, so i'm sorry if i'm not making any sense... let's move on to the pictures, shall we?  maybe it'll make more sense. :o)

these are the measurements for the bags:
small: 10.5 inches x 15.5 inches
medium: 14.5 inches x 19.5 inches
large: 16.5 inches x 23 inches

1. cut out all the pieces of mesh.  i usually make 2 of each size.
2. fold and pin 1.5 inches of mesh on the LONG side.
3. adjust the tension on the sewing machine higher- i adjust mine to 5.  sew two straight (or in my case, straight-ish) lines about an inch apart.  backstitch at the beginning and end points.
4. fold the mesh in half inside out and pin. the loose part on the side you just sewed should face out.
5. sew all along the 2 pinned edges.  don't worry if it's not perfectly straight, i'll show you how to remedy a crooked stitch in the next step.
6. to even out the edges, trim along the sides you just sewed.
see how nicely that cleans it up? :o)
7. turn the bag inside out and make 4 little cuts on both sides of the bag where the pins on my bag are. make sure to cut between the sewn lines. don't cut the lines.
8. attach a safety pin to a piece of ribbon and thread it through the slits at the top of the bag.
when you threaded all the way through, tie the ribbon in a knot.

9. repeat the same thing on the other side.
here's a little tip: use a different color ribbon or mesh for the different sizes you make.  this will save you some time and frustration of finding the right size bag when you're at the grocery store. 
10. pull on both ribbons and do the happy dance when you see the cute little produce bag you made!
think of all the sea creatures you just saved. :o)

have a fabulous week!

i'm linking up to made it monday and diy day.

p.s. please take 3 minutes to check out this excellent video on plastics and marine life


Laurie at The Turner Farm said...

great tutorial, thanks for sharing! Love those bags

Susan said...

Great idea..Thanks!

Kristan said...

Great tutorial. I think I need to read the part about incorporating the fold a little more, I'm having a duh moment lol. I need some of these though! Is it just regular mesh from the craft/fabric store?

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Good thing you are not a professional "sewer" *seamstress humor is good it kept me reading. Love the idea you showed a good step by step. LOVE it.

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