Reusable Mesh Bags
I have been saying for well over a year that I will make myself reusable produce and bulk item bags for grocery shopping. I am conscientious about bringing canvas bags for bagging groceries and avoiding products with excessive waste. However, it is always just so convenient to grab a plastic bag in the bulk aisle. To justify my waste, I tell myself I will reuse them for several weeks. Last week, I finally, finally told myself I need to get on top of this problem, and made these little reusable bags. If you also need the push to go reusable, read on.
I made these bags very simple. I’m not trying to look classy at the store, I just don’t want plastic. Also, I wanted something that uses little products, comes together quickly, and anybody with access to a sewing machine could make. It took me about 10-15 minutes for each bag. There are many ways you could change these bags to your liking once you give it a try; I’m really just trying to spread my bag making motivation onto other makers.
Reusable Produce & Bulk Bags
½ - 1 yard Mesh fabric
1 yard ¼ inch ribbon
Scrap Cotton Fabric
Mesh fabric. Mine is cut 14” wide and 15” long. You will need 2 rectangles this size. I had enough fabric to fold over my fabric and eliminate one side seam instead of cutting two rectangles, but this isn’t necessary.
Cotton fabric: You will want one strip that is 28” long x 2” wide
2. You will begin by sewing the top strip which will house the ribbon. Since I folded over my fabric, I started with sewing the strip on to my 28” wide mesh. If you have 2 separate pieces, sew one side seam first.
3. Place your strip of cotton along the top of your mesh fabric with the right sides together. Sew at the top using ¼” seam.
4. Flip the fabric up and press. If your mesh is polyester, remember to change your iron setting.
5. With the right side of the cotton fabric facing up, topstitch.
6. Flip the fabric over so you are looking at the wrong side and Fold under and press ¼” along the long raw edge of the cotton fabric.
7. Bring right sides together so side seams are matching and sew along open side seam and bottom using a ⅜” seam allowance. When sewing mesh to mesh, use either a zig-zag stitch or slightly stretch the fabric as it is sewn together with a straight stitch.
8. Time for the ribbon. Take your ribbon, and from the inside of the bag poke the ribbon through the mesh holes one inch away from each other. If your mesh has smaller holes, using a needle may help. I made a bag with a thin rope, and it just didn't slide through the holes easily, so I would suggest ribbon. Tie the ends of the ribbon in a knot.
9. Place the loop of ribbon along the top circumference of your bag.
10. Fold over the cotton strip, making sure to enclose the ribbon, and edgestitch on the right side of strip. Check that the ribbon is not in the seam allowance.
Turn your bag right side out, go to your local grocery store, and feel amazing as you breeze past the plastic bags with your homemade, reusable bag. I promise everyone will envy you.
I would love to see any handmade produce bags in use. If you have any other ideas for handmade products that will help us all cut down on waste, let me know. Leave comments below or tag Side Lake Stitch on Instagram.