Monday, June 2, 2014

Reusable Produce Bags

I love my reusable shopping bags. A while ago I started looking for reusable produce bags, but I couldn't find any. I even checked specialty kitchen stores when I traveled. I found some on Amazon, but I didn't really want to pay $12 plus shipping for the set of 5 that I liked best. Fortunately, I realized I could just make some out of a drawstring mesh laundry bag. The laundry bag was 24" x 36", so I got six bags out of it. Since it cost $2, it was quite a deal.

I cut the laundry bag into three sections, and then cut down the middle of each. For the top part, I trimmed carefully around the cord, then cut the cord so it was equally distributed between the two pieces without getting pulled out. The two bags from the top are about 12"x12" since the drawstring part was already included. The bags from the middle and bottom are about 11"x11". A straight machine stitch held the mesh together just fine, despite being holey. They are all big enough and strong enough to hold a week's worth of apples, though you might want to make them different sizes depending on the type of produce you usually purchase, as some produce would benefit from longer, more rectangular bags.

For the ones that needed the drawstring part created, I sewed with the cord into the tunnel rather than try to pull it through such a holey fabric. Conveniently, I had four pieces of scrap cord. Two were handles from a gift bag. One was a cord from a conference name badge. One looks like a shoelace. I'm not sure where that came from. They are both a bit long, but I like the aglets. If you had to buy cord, you would only need about 2' per bag.

The laundry bag had a cord lock on the end, and I had three more that had been salvaged from other items, so I added those, though they are not really necessary. After using the bags this weekend, I will probably remove the cord locks. Since I only had three, two of mine don't have them anyway. Of course Zack's first concern was the added weight, but I am not terribly concerned. I made them more to eliminate waste. To make them lighter, you could definitely skip the locks and user lighter weight cord. Plus, not all produce is sold by weight and not all of it requires a bag either.

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