You won’t need those flimsy, single-use plastic produce bags from the supermarket when you learn how to make drawstring bags. This easy step-by-step will teach you how.
How to make drawstring bags and reusable produce bags
You’re not still using those flimsy plastic produce bags at the grocery store are you? You are? Well, let’s just fix that right now, shall we? Follow the easy steps below to make your own reusable produce bags and reduce plastic waste at home.
If you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight seam, you can make these. Of course, even if you don’t have a sewing machine, technically you could make these with a needle and thread, but that might be a little more effort than you’re willing to put out. Instead, find a friend with a sewing machine who will teach you to make drawstring bags in exchange for a nice cuppa or lunch.
How to make reusable produce bags
- Start by cutting two pieces of fabric, about 12″ x 14″ and then take a peek at my instructions for sewing mini bags (there are plenty of photos). You’ll essentially use the same technique, making French seams for a cleaner finish.
- With wrong sides facing, sew a straight stitch along three edges using a 1/8″ seam allowance. I chose to leave the opening on the 12″ side of the bag, but you do what makes the most sense to you.
- Turn inside out and press seams. Now use a 3/8″ seam allowance to again sew all three sides. This seam — called a French seam — is essentially securing the loose ends inside of the seam.
- Turn your bag inside out and hem the opening by folding the fabric over twice (about a half-inch each time) and then sewing around the edge.
- Turn the bag right side out and admire it. Beautiful. Easy. How cool are you??
How to make drawstring bags
Use your scissors to carefully snip a 1/4″ cut in the outside of the top hem. (Pen in photo shows the snip.) Do this twice, on opposite sides of the bag. (It’ll be easier if you avoid making your snips near the seams.) Make sure you don’t accidentally cut through both layers.
You won’t need those flimsy, single-use plastic produce bags from the supermarket when you make some of your own reusable produce bags. This is an easy sewing project for beginners, and a useful one, too, as you aim for a zero-waste kitchen.
Related: Mini Bags for Small Bulk Items
- Cut two 24″ lengths of cording or ribbon. Pin a safety pin to one end of the cord and use it to pull the cord into one opening, all the way through the top hem, and out the same hole.
- Tie the ends together. Now do the same thing with the hole in the opposite side of the bag.
When you pull both cords simultaneously, the top of the bag stays closed without the use of a twist tie, making it suitable for carrying produce or bulk items. Now that you know how to make drawstring bags, you’re on your way to a collection of reusable produce bags to reduce your household waste!
Choosing fabric for drawstring bags
These instructions will work for virtually any type of fabric, so the possibilities are endless. Use remnants from your fabric box or keep your eyes open for possibilities at the local thrift store. I’ve made some from upcycled sheer curtains; sheets would also work.
For the purpose of purchasing produce, you’ll want lightweight fabric so that you’re not charged a lot more for your fruits and veggies just because you opt for reusable produce bags.
Think beyond produce
Now that you know how to make drawstring bags, you can get creative. Made with heavier fabric, these bags are also great as reusable gift bags to replace wrapping paper. Gift recipients can add the bags to their wrapping paper collection, and maybe they’ll decide to adopt this less wasteful way of wrapping, too! A set of these bags themselves would make a great gift, both for supermarket shoppers and kiddos. My kids always loved to have bags to sort things into. Choose some fun fabric and go wild.