I’ve stopped buying spices in bottles. Instead, I choose spices from the bulk section at the health food store. My store provides customers with small plastic bags to fill, and that’s certainly less plastic than I’d be throwing away if I purchased the spices in a plastic bottle, but it’s still waste. I finally had some time yesterday to sew some small cloth bags that I can use for buying things like tea and spices in bulk. Let me state that I’m not a fabulous seamstress. I’m good with straight lines, though. This project took me about an hour and netted three mini bags. For a tutorial on how I did it, click through to see pictures and instructions.
I started by cutting a 6″ strip of fabric from the end of a 44″ wide piece of cloth. This length (6″ x 44″) will ultimately make three bags. I opted to use a French seam, so there will be fewer loose ends or threads to contend with when I use the bags.
To start, fold the fabric in half, wrong sides facing. (I know. This goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about sewing!)
Sew a straight stitch along both long edges. I used a 1/8″ seam allowance.
Turn inside out and press seams.
Now use a 3/8″ seam allowance to again sew down the length of the fabric. This seam is essentially securing the loose ends inside of the seam.
Measure your sewn piece of fabric and cut into three even lengths. Mine were about 7″ long. One of these pieces – the one with the fold – will already have three finished sides. The other two will need to have bottoms sewn in.
Using the same French seam method, sew one of the open ends closed, starting with wrong sides facing, then turning the bag to sew another seam with right sides facing. Repeat with third bag.
Turn all three bags inside out and hem the opening by folding the fabric over twice (about a quarter inch each time) and then sewing around the edge.
I’ve used a similar method to sew produce bags, though I did each produce bag individually. For those, I used a very fine see through fabric that I picked up at the thrift store for a buck. It looks like something that someone might have used for a bridesmaid dress. My kids are only a little horrified when I pull out my pink produce bags!
Have you had any luck eliminating the plastic bags from your bulk shopping? Do you bring in your own bags? Or does your store weigh your containers for a tare weight so you can fill them directly?