Recycled Mesh Produce Bags

For months now, I’ve been saving the mesh produce bags that our purchased organic avocados, sweet potatoes, onions, lemons and limes come in. Last night, I went online to see how I could transform those bags, into recycled-useable produce bags for my future shopping needs. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the tutorials that were available. Most required going out and BUYING plastic mesh material at the fabric store and that, in my opinion, is not helping reduce the amount of plastic in our society.

As I set off to create my own version of recycled-mesh-produce-bag, the first thing I did was decided on a type of closure for the top. The long narrow bags could simply be tied in a knot, but that might be cumbersome if the cashier needed to open it for some reason. A velcro closure would be handy, but I really dislike how velcro sticks to anything and everything (especially in the washing machine) plus I’d have to buy some. I decided to make draw-string closures for the produce bags, using scraps of material and odd shoe laces that were in my mending basket. Before I got started sewing, I scribbled out the UPC bar code with a permanent felt marker.

Just out of curiosity, I weighed the empty mesh bag to see if my recycled-mesh-produce-bags would add to the price of my future purchases. This large one weighed in at 10 g.

Next, I found a piece of material that would fit the diameter of the bag opening, with room for hemming. This strip of fabric was leftover from when I shortened a king-sized cover, to fit a queen-sized duvet, and that is why it is made up of two different materials.

I used an iron to double-fold the short edges for hemming. I did one fold along the long top edge as well. Due to the way I want the draw-string to finish coming out of the bag, I made my hems coming in towards the good side of the fabric, rather than the usual folding back.

Now, I am ready to sew the shoe lace into the hem all along the top side. Be careful not to sew the shoe lace to any part of the fabric, as it has to slide freely.

After this, I also sewed the short ends that were double-folded, to prevent fraying.

I sewed the two short ends together, to form the long strip of fabric into a loop. The fabric loop, with draw-string already enclosed, is now ready to attach to the mesh bag. I accomplished that by turning the loop inside out, and then slipping the two right sides together. I’ll now sew along the raw edges of the bag and the fabric, to bring it all together. I used my serger for this step to keep it neat, but a regular machine stitch will work just fine.

Voila !! A recycled mesh produce bag with draw-string closure, ready to take to the grocery store for new fruit and vegetable purchases, eliminating the need for plastic produce bags. Win-Win !!

I hope you can use this tutorial to make some of your own recycled-mesh-produce-bags or look for them this summer, at Lawn to Food’s Urban Farmstand for a reasonable price.

 

… and it only weighs 21g …

… equivalent to only 1/3 of a small celery stalk ☺