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Friday, March 21, 2014

Eco Friendly Produce Bags - an upcycle tutorial

I've been using a set of bags like these for the past couple of years every week at the local market when we buy our fruit and vegetables. Over time, as our kids have grown and our eating habits have changed, the amount of fruit and vegetables we buy has increased, and at the same time some of my lovely little bags have disappeared. So it was time to make some more bags and I thought I'd post a little tutorial to show how easily you can make your own produce bags and never have to use plastic bags at the market - or supermarket again!

All you need is:
an old net curtain and some cord.

Here's how to make a simple drawstring produce bag.

1. Fold over the edge of the curtain to the width you'd like your bag. 
Mine are around 28 cm (11")

2.Cut where you have folded to, and also to the length of the bags you want. 
Again, mine are around 33 cm (13").

You can use the top of the curtain - or also the hem at the base as the casing for your drawstring. 

3.So now just pin 2 edges of your bag - the side opposite the fold, and what will be the base:

4. Stitch where you have pinned - but remember to leave the casing open at the top.
Don't stitch across that or you'll have nowhere to push your drawstring through!

5. Now turn your bag right sides out, and cut some cord double the width of your bag:

6. Using a large safety pin, thread your cord all the way through the casing at the top of your bag. 

7. Tie the two ends of the cord together..

And there you have one finished drawstring produce bag!

Now if your net curtain is large and you cut pieces that don't have a ready made casing in the form of the top or hem of the curtain, all you have to do to make your own is fold over the top edge of your piece of curtain like this:
Pin then stitch before folding your fabric and finishing your bag.

Note: I've been using bags like this for 2 years now and the seams have never frayed. I did not overlock (serge) or finish off the seams in any way - the net curtain fabric just doesn't seem to fray at all!

My single (short) net curtain that cost me a couple of dollars from the charity shop, made me 14 bags!  So I shouldn't run out again any time soon.

Strong, durable and eco-friendly! What could be better!

Do you use plastic bags for your fruit and vegetables?  
Why not make some of these and keep them in your car for next time you shop!

For more of my upcycling tutorials, take a look here.

Happy upcycling!


  1. I made jean bags to carry all groceries , etc. but have wanted to make produce bags . Brilliant idea. Thank you for sharing and will be making these soon, my blog is jerryandkay, - jean bags under sewing

    1. OOh- I'm coming right over to see your jean bags!!!!

  2. Wow such s good idea. I♥ this I will be trying this thanks for sharing.

  3. Awesome idea Jill, I made some for us but not quite as pretty as yours. Such a great idea using a semi transparent fabric I bet the checkout clerks can see what's inside without even having to use the drawstring. Wouldn't they also make great Lingerie bags for holidays or keeping delicates separate during washing?

    1. Thank Ruby! - That's a great idea to use them for delicates in the washing! I might have to snaffle that idea for myself!! :)

  4. Love this idea of making your own produce bags and being able to reuse them. Pinned.

  5. These bags are great and super easy. They would also be good for your daughter to use as her "dip bag" at Girl Scout camp.

  6. What a great and simple idea. I have some old curtains laying around and think this will be a project to work on this Fall. Thanks

    1. Thanks Cheryl! Hope you do give them a try. I use mine every week! so useful.


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