My new empty homemade produce bag!
In an effort to reduce consumption, I decided to make some of my own produce bags to take shopping. Whenever we are at the store, in the checkout lane, I look at these plastic bags of produce or bulk items and wonder why am I filling my cloth shopping bags with lots of little throw away plastic bags. At least the plastic grocery bags I do re-use for kitty litter changes, but these produce bags are so flimsy, they cannot be re-used (at least not in my house for anything I have thought to re-use). I bought a bag from reusablebags.com, but it was a little pricey for as much produce as I buy, and it seems to be a little burdensome to the cashiers when they have to open the bag to see what the item is so they can ring it up. I have tried training the cashiers that you can see the numbers on the stickers through the bag, but this is just more work than I want for a grocery store trip. So I decided to make my own bag. I can make several for a low cost, I can pick the fabric, and it is a great sewing project for someone needing some practice since I am a newbie at this sewing thing. My favorite color is purple, so I decided to buy some bright purple nylon mesh - very transparent, and quite sturdy. The drawstring is not so pretty, but it is simple unbleached cording. No need for a closure because friction keeps the bag secure.
No pattern needed - just pick the size of bag you want, cut, sew edges, then sew in a hem line so you can insert a drawstring. Tie a knot in the end of the drawstring and you are done. Simple project - pretty bags! My large bag can hold about 4 lbs of apples (pears, peaches, whatever really). And I have made some smaller bags to hold nuts, seeds and legumes. The holes in the netting are small enough that the things I buy do not fall through. I will probably also make a couple out of cheesecloth so I can put things like millet, quinoa, and rice in them too.
You may ask if this is much heavier than the plastic from the stores - I don't know the exact weight difference, but I do now that none of my bags weighs more than 0.1 oz. My calculations for average produce at about $2 per pound means that this bag costs me about one penny on the scale. If I go to Whole Foods, they give me a dime for re-usable bags, so I actually make $0.09 on each bag that I use. Not a bad buy really. I made 7 bags total from 1 yard of fabric which I bought on sale for $0.99. I spent about $2 on the drawstring, and I had the purple thread. This $3 investment will pay for itself within about 30 uses of the bags.
My new produce bag filled with 4 pounds of pink ladies!