5.5.10

Super Quick Gift for Mother's Day (or Any Day): Re-usable Produce Bags

Re-usable grocery bags are ubiquitous. You can find them in your local natural food store. You can find them in any big-box chain making a half-hearted attempt to appear "green." No matter how you look at it, reusable grocery bags are a good idea, but what about the small produce bags we use when we buy 2 pounds of carrots, lemons, onions, apples, potatoes or tomatoes? I've been using the same canvas grocery bags for 17 years, however, we were still accruing 7 or 8 small plastic bags every week from buying fruit and vegetables. I would sometimes re-use these small plastic bags and eventually take them in for recycling. But manufacturing (and then recycling) these plastic bags requires fossil fuel and creates environmental waste. About a year ago I acquired some small drawstring bags and decided to sew up a few more today. Then I thought to myself, this would make a great Mother's Day gift. So, here we go!

I started by scrounging around in my fabric stash. I couldn't find the cute calico I had in mind so I used plain muslin for one bag and this earthy plaid for the other. For each bag I cut out 2 pieces of fabric, approx. 10 inches x 12 inches (feel free to make your bags larger or smaller according to preference.)

Hem 2 1/2 inches along 2 of the "long" sides. This gives a finished edge where the drawstring will emerge from the casing (more on that further along...) Below, you can see my 2 1/2 inch- long hems matched up.

Then sew all around the edges of the bags (right sides together, of course.) To prevent the fabric from fraying along the internal seam I used a zig-zag stitch along the edge, then stitched it again with a regular straight stitch.

Create a 3/4 inch casing (right sides of fabric are still together.)

Pull the draw-string through the casing, knot it, and...

Voila!

Now you are ready to wrap up this pretty gift so your environmentally- conscious mama can go to the store or farmers market and stuff her bags full of lovely things to eat! Show your mama you love her... Show mama earth you love her... (and don't forget to make a pile of these for yourself, too!)

P.S. If you're not inclined to sew, here is a crochet pattern. Alternatively, you can buy some small, reusable sacks here or here.

12 comments:

  1. A wonderful idea! and I love that you are honouring Mother Earth with your gift :)
    Happy Mothers Day to you!

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  2. These are just lovely...I've been meaning to make something similar for ages. Glad I found your blog!

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  3. My friend and I were just talking about this concept last weekend and wanted to make them, this is perfect!!

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  4. Welcome Laurie Anne, Wendy & RTichy! Thanks for visiting my little blog -- & glad you liked the project!

    MB

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  5. I've also used a netting material, which is more difficult to sew, but the check out girl can see through them to get the item numbers for my produce.

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  6. Really cute idea. And I love the fabric you chose!

    www.shirinhandmade.com/blog

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  7. What a wonderful idea. At least it makes the storage so much neater..

    http://polwig.com

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  8. Hi Kaitlin -- Yes, have seen bags made from netting, and considered using netting myself, but I'm afraid my bags take a fair amount of abuse from using them and then washing them! I do like the idea, however, of allowing the checkout clerk to be able to view the contents without having the open the bag...

    Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I hope you'll visit me again soon!

    Cheers --
    MB

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  9. Hi Shirin -- Thanks for visiting and your kind comments. I bought the fabric in Japan -- it's artisan woven & dyed and has been sitting in my stash for 20 years... I figured it was finally time to use it for something!

    And Kathy, as always, it's nice to hear from you!

    Cheers --
    Peggy

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  10. Thanks for this tutorial. I hope to start on this soon. I bought a sheer curtain panel at the thrift store to make some re-usable produce bags - I think the cashier will be able to identify the produce, but if not, they will be easy enough to open.

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  11. Hello Anonymous! Thanks so much for your comment. I hope your produce bags come out wonderfully & you get lots of good use out of them! MB

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