Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scrapppy Reusable Produce Bag Tutorial

October is Scrapbusters Month over at and I decided to get into the spirit and use up some of my scraps. I ended up making lots of things, but I thought that this would be pretty useful for most as an alternative to the rolls of plastic produce bags in the grocery store. The measurements are very flexible, and I think that having bars of cotton fabric instead of total construction of mesh will help it hold up longer. Another bonus is that this is a project that it doesn't judge...if you stitch a seam still functions!

I clarified reinforcing the mesh in this video. It is a little rough holding the camera and recording, but I hope it helps!



scraps of mesh (I found this as a remnant in the fabric store, but repurposed sheer curtains, and netting works also.)

Length of ribbon (mine was 24 inches)

Fabric scraps--I used pieces from my cut 2.5 inch strip bin (which is the same as a jelly roll width)-what a great way to use some of those leftover prints!

Getting Started:

1. Cut the mesh you have to a rectangle shape. This can vary--I made a bag large enough for a few pounds of may want just enough for a few onions. I will give my measurements throughout. Mesh = 12 inches x 22 inches

2. Cut Fabric to size.

Top fabric: 4" x 22"

Two pieces of side fabric: 1.5" x 12"

Bottom piece: 2.5" x 22"

3. Prepare Top Casing

Fold in half (wrong side together) along the 22" length and iron. Fold 1/2" in on each side and press. (see drawing)

4. Attach Top Casing

Open up and use a zig-zag stitch to attach mesh to casing. I made sure the stitching was about 1/2" into the mesh to help it not tear too easily.

Fold over casing and stitch in place.

5. Attach the bottom piece to the mesh with a zig-zag stitch (outside of mesh bag is touching the right side of fabric.
After, fold the seam down and stitch it to the bottom again.
6. Stitch sides to the mesh in the same manner as the bottom.
7. Fold outside of bag together and stitch along the side and bottom. Turn right side out.
8. Use a safety pin to thread ribbon through you have a reusable produce bag!
p.s. I apologize for the scanned handwritten sketches, but unless Santa delivers Adobe, I'm trying to work with what I got! = )


  1. That is great!! I am so impressed with you.

  2. Great idea to include fabric top and bottom to stabilize the bag. I've thought about making these bags, but haven't yet. Maybe something I should do soon.


  3. This is great! I like the way you used fabric to strengthen them. And anyway to make something boring into something pretty is wonderful :)

  4. I love this idea! I need to make a few, because I'm bothered by all those plastic produce bags that I use alot. Thank you!

  5. great idea! i bought some netting to make produce bags awhile ago, but hadn't done it yet - now I know why! :) i love adding the scraps, what a great idea. thank you!

  6. Great idea! I can't wait to try it out.

    Also, wanted to tell you on the Adobe front...there's a free image editing program called Gimp (you can find it at works pretty well for stuff like this. There are a bazillion tuts on how to use it too, so it's worth checking out, if you are so inclined.

    Off to look through my fabric bin to see if I have any mesh!

  7. I can't wait to make a few of these, great idea!

  8. I've been reusing the produce bags but this is better! Thanks!

  9. I liked your tutorial so much, as a thank you I've computer drawn the pages for you that were hand drawn. If you'll let me know where to send them, they are yours.

  10. This is a great tutorial! PS thanks for linking to mine in your sidebar.

  11. Great ideas, thanks!! Thought of something to use for the mesh if you can't find it at a fabric store. Our dollar store has mesh laundry bags. Using one of them should give you a couple of bags, plus you can reuse the drawstring and the slide that comes with it. Just a thought....

  12. Pauline--

    That is fantastic! Thank you so much!

  13. I'd really like to make these, but I'm confused with step 5. The text says "outside of mesh bag is touching the right side of fabric," but the photo shows the mesh against the wrong side of the fabric. The "fold the seam down" part confuses me as well. Would you please explain a bit more? Thanks!

  14. i love love love this idea - what a quick, great present for earth-conscious foodies! i'm going to add a kangaroo pouch on the bottom to stuff it into a more compact size. thanks for the tutorial!

  15. Love the idea,and can't wait to see mine finished. but having trouble putting the sides on I can't figure out how the two pecies line up with the bottom and with eachother.Can you help? Maybe a picture of the side panels would help me.
    Thanks for the fun project!

  16. Elena---

    How I did this is I sewed the side seams first (I made a video to show a better explaination of this--the edit part in red letters will direct you to it). Once I got those done, it was essentially a tube of fabric. With it inside out (or wrong sides together) I just sewed a seam straight across the bottom.

    If that didn't clarify, let me know, and I will post some more pictures or video--Thanks for your question = )

  17. I love the idea of a mesh bag with some pretty fabric attached really cute idea. I linked to your tutorial on my blog. I hope that was okay? I'll leave you a link thanks again

  18. I love this!! Great blog! I linked to your tutorial!

  19. Great idea! Thanks for shareing it. Picasa is free too...

  20. I featured you today! :) Hooray! I'd love if you stopped by!


  21. Can you email me at something_clever(at)msn(dot)come about your tutorial. I have a few questions! Thank you so much!

  22. Love this idea. Your sketches look like all of the ones I keep in my sewing binder! Haha. I may prefer them to adobe. Keeps the element of "handmade"

  23. This is so great. I am going no plastic in my house as even plastic with no BPA still leaches chemicals into your food. With your bags being so easy to make and so pretty, I will be more likely to remember to take them into the store with me. I am new to going green, it is taking me a while.

  24. The catch to this is that when the produce sold by the pound is weighed, you will also pay for the weight of the bag unless it is taken out to weigh it


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