Here in Portland, we try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. We love our local food and we love our reusable tote bags! We have lots of tote bag designs and tutorials, but what if you want to separate your produce inside your tote? Today we are giving you the solution with these DIY reusable produce bags.
Take them with you to the grocery store or farmer’s market to avoid using plastic bags. Or use them to do any sort of organizing around the house!
Leaf the Plastic Behind
Over the years, I’ve made many shifts toward living a plastic-free lifestyle. Produce bags are one of those things you typically use once and then throw away. So bringing reusable produce bags along with you when you shop is one easy way to reduce your use of plastic — and also waste less!
Once you’ve made your produce bags, you can throw them in a tote bag. This will make it easier to remember to take them with you when you go to the store or market. We will also show you how to label your bags if you want to use them to keep certain things organized and always in one place.
Ready to craft? Let’s get started!
How to Make Your Produce Bags
To make these reusable produce bags, we used a sheer nylon tricot from our local fabric store. This material is great for making produce bags because it is breathable, transparent, and stretchy but strong. In other words, everything you would need for carrying your delicate and delicious produce items.
This fabric comes in 108-inch widths, so a yard and a quarter of fabric will make six large bags, three small bags, and a small carrying bag that all nine of the bigger bags will fit into. For this project, you will also need yarn or string to create the drawstring. I strongly suggest using a sewing machine for this. Handsewn versions of these bags run the risk of falling apart because the stitches will not be tight enough. And you want to make sure your reusable produce bags are as sturdy as possible!
Tricot is the perfect material for reusable produce bags because it is naturally stretchy. When you are cutting your fabric, note that the 108″ cut edge of the fabric is the stretchy side and the yard plus length is the non-stretchy side. I recommend that you make the bags with the stretch going from side to side rather than top to bottom. This makes it so that the bag is expansive but still supported by the bottom. For more guidance, just follow the photo tutorial and printable instructions!
How to Make Your Hang Tags
Once your reusable produce bags are sewn together, you can print our hang tags to label them. Print onto copy paper or card stock, then trim with scissors or a 2-inch circle punch. After using a 1/4-inch hole punch to create a hang hole, we took them to get laminated at our local UPS store to protect the labels from moisture.
The next step is to trim away the excess laminate and leave a bit of a border around the paper tag. Punch the hang hole again with a 1/8-inch hole punch and attach it to your produce bags with string. You can then use a wet erase marker to write on these labels over and over again! I love using these as reusable produce bags, but I have to say that they are also the perfect carrying bags for our projects as we are working on them. I hope you enjoy this DIY idea! ~ Lia and team
Find More Eco-Friendly Ideas
Want to reduce your use of plastic? Check out our reusable lunch bag and our beeswax cloth wraps. We also have some great upcycling projects to help you repurpose everyday items into something more useful.
For daily DIY ideas and inspiration, join us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Or browse our YouTube channel for video tutorials. For access to projects, live workshops, and more, make sure to join our crafting community!
Are you having trouble? Feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you out.
[…] Source and photo credits:Lia Griffithhttps://www.liagriffith.com/reusable-produce-bags/https://www.pinterest.com/liaghttps://www.instagram.com/liagriffithhttps://www.facebook.com/liagriffith.hyl […]
I’m from Morocco and I really love you ideas and the way you make things look thank you
I’m planning to make some. I’ve been wondering around a fabric store and couldn’t find an environment friendly net fabric like that, except for polyester tulle. I know that polyester is plastic as well, but at least it’s reusable? But if you or anyone can recommend any other type of net fabric that eco friendly?
We used a sheer nylon tricot found at our local fabric store, when we can not find what we are looking for there we head over to Fabric.com
[…] using more sustainable alternatives. Some easy ways to reduce your use of plastic is to shop with reusable produce bags and tote bags. Another way to waste less is to bring your own lunch bag to work—and use […]
[…] time (or short term) use and also has a positive environmental impact. For me, I have implemented reusable produce bags and unpaper towels. We officially no longer buy paper towels. There are also cute and fun items […]
Awesome article, your produce bags look really nice. I personally prefer more sustainable ones, made out of cotton but I definitely will try to sew them with your guide.
Thank you very much for it 🙂
such a good idea, so inspiration
Love from Indonesia
I have been making a heap of reusable bags for a non-crafty, non-sewer friend. She found a heap of assorted 100% cotton craft fabrics at one of our local op shops and gave it to me to make whatever sizes I could. She also had some offcuts from some net curtains she had shortened, and I have inserted them as a window in the middle of one side of the bags so you can see what’s in the bag. I used half-inch or three-quarter inch craft ribbon for the drawstrings. One bag even has a reused pyjama cord as the drawstring. If you have scraps of fabric with fruit or vegetables on it, you can also dress the bags up a bit by appliqueing those on as well.
I am from Ukraine, Thank you for this idea,
What was the denier of the fabric you used, I can get fabric with a 75% stretch or 20%.
We used tricot with 20% stretch.
[…] the checkout line, you may want a bag to separate your produce from your other products. These reusable produce bags help cut back on using plastic, and they can be useful for additional organizing around the […]
I’ve just made a load of produce bags in different sizes from some cotton muslin fabric left over from altering some Ikea curtains years ago (never throw fabric away!!). I made a few with French seams so that they can be used for loose produce e.g. lentils etc. I used a couple yesterday and look forward to making good use of them soon (refusing plastic bags & wrap). Next on the list to make – beeswax wraps….
How great! I have a large stash of fabric that I just can’t part with, because you never know what projects may come up 🙂
Thank you for the tutorial! Is a serger required for these bags?
No, you could sew a zig-zag stitch instead!
I love these bags. I have some recycled fiber fabric I’m looking forward to making into bags soon.
I just wanted to remind your readers and yourselves that every bag you don’t use helps but that doesn’t mean you need to perfect. If occasionally you use plastic it’s not the end of the world. Especially if you can then recycle it.
I find that by being fanatical about perfect eco credentials many people can be turned off. Some is better than none.
Thanks for the pattern.
Very true, Abby! Thanks for reaching out 🙂
[…] clearly, because you buy so much of it you want to know what’s already in the bag? We hear you! Lia Griffith has a fantastic tutorial for see-through produce bags that are set to become your favorite […]
I love this idea and have seen it a number of places. I would like to suggest that you use a natural material though as nylon still contains tiny particles of plastic that are deposited into our water system when washed so these are potentially still harming our environment. Thanks 🙂
Good point Bryony! Do you have a suggestion for what kind of natural material?
[…] re-usable shopping bags instead of getting plastic ones at the shop. You can make your own produce bags, simple totes, or big fancy shopping bags. You can always buy a bag for life if you’re not […]
Just wondering if you ever keep the produce in the bags and put them in the refrigerator? How does the produce hold up? Thanks
I don’t usually keep my produce in the bags, but the times I have left it in I haven’t really noticed a big difference.
[…] We’re currently trying to reset our eating habits by adding more fresh produce. I love these reusable fresh produce bags and you can make your own with this tutorial from Lia Griffith. Get all the details by clicking here. […]
Before seeing this pin, I had read an interesting article on recycling and the author mentioned using net curtaining material to make similar bags for produce. I made some and they work so well. So good to see people all over the world cutting down on plastics!!! Romy
That’s great! Yes, every little bit helps.
[…] Reusable produce bags can be of any material and size. You can even DIY! Image from: https://liagriffith.com/reusable-produce-bags/ […]
Nylon is a poor choice if you want to be “as environmentally conscience as possible. Use something compostable otherwise you are defeating the purpose of these bags. You will still be creating trash.
Good point. We chose nylon because it’s very durable, and should last quite awhile. You could certainly use some other kind of fabric, perhaps cotton?
Love, love, love this idea. I use food safe cotton calico bags all the time to store my product, pack snacks and so much more!
These are really great and have so many uses. Using less plastic bags by taking them to the grocery or market is a huge way to save the environment. For those of us less crafty, you can buy bulk food-safe bags online!
If you already washed these in the washer, how have they held up? Thanks for the tutorial.
So glad you like it! I prefer to rinse these by hand.
A while ago I’ve made such bags for sensitive stuff to be washed in the machine like fine underwear (stockings, bras) and fine fabrics (silk, lace) etc.
Great idea! We are finding a lot of great ways to use these, including project bags for our crafts.
This is a great tutorial. Would you say that the material you used would be ok to carry rice or any other cereals? Thanks
Yes! The “dust” from grains and cereals may seep through a little, but the material will definitely hold it 🙂