Introduction: Produce Bags From an Old Pillowcase

About: Heya, I'm Helen and I love to make and learn how to do stuff.

I try not to use plastic bags at all and instead use reusable ones, but most of the time when you go to the grocery store there are only plastic bags to put your produce in. That made me think on how I can cut back on those and that´s when I decided to sew my own produce bags that are small and don´t take up much space. I found some old pillow cases and started on my journey to make my own produce bags.

This is the perfect project to start Plastic Free July, a yearly challenge to reduce your plastic consumption.


- an old pillowcase (or any other fabric)
- cord

- fabric scissors

- needle and yarn or optionally a sewing machine

- iron (you can use a flat iron)

Step 1: Choose and Cut Your Fabric

Choose your fabric an cut it to the size of your bag*. I used cotton but you could use other materials.

Lay your pillow case on a flat surface and iron it. Cut the rectangle out of one of the corners or along on of the already sewn sides so you don´t have to sew all four sides but just two or three. If you are using a sheet of fabric cut out two equal rectangles.

I made a few different ones with different sizes.

One is 20cm*30cm ( (I use this mostly for apples or potatoes).

Another one is 60*15cm (this is for baguette).

And I have a bread bag with the meassures 25*40cm

*Always add about 1cm seam allowance to all measures

Step 2: Sew Three Sides of the Bag

Sew the bottom and the sides of your bag. Leave the top open.

Turn your fabric inside out. Lay it down how it will be sewn. Decide which side will be your opening (this will stay open). All other sides will be sewn together.

Iron it.

You might want to fixate the fabric with pins to allow for a good seam. Of cause you don´t need the sew the sides which are already sewn shut (if you use an old pillowcase).

Either use your sewing machine of sew it by hand.

Step 3: Fold the Open End

The opening will hold the cord to close the bag. Therefore you need to sew a tunnel.

Fold the top about 0.25 cm around to the outside and iron it to set the fold. Now fold it again about 1 cm and iron again (picture 2).

Sew at the bottom of the folded fabric around the bag all the way around.

Be sure not the accidentily sew the bag shut (Not that that happen to me the first time ;) )

Turn the bag outside out.

Step 4: Add the Buttonhole and the Cord

The get the cord inside the tunnel make a small incision next to one of the seams. To make sure that the hole doesn´t fray use some yarn and sew a buttonhole. Basically you sew loops around the hole through the hole.

With a safey pin pull the cord all the way through the tunnel.

I found that it is easier to use two cords. Just add another buttonhole on the other side and have the cords run next to each other (with one starting on the left and finish on the left and one starting on the right and finishing on the right side). If you have strong enough cord you might just need one.

Step 5: Finish It

Tie knots at the end of the cords to make sure that they don´t disappear into the tunnel.

There you go your own produce bag!

Congratulations, the next time you go to the grocery store you can avoid plastic bags all together!

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