Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reusable Produce & Bulk Bags and the Beauty of Upcycling

Time is slipping away from me.  Things are happening fast and I am finding it harder to sit and blog.  That means it is time to re-adjust my daily rhythm.  Which makes life fun!

I am finally finding some time to blog about the reusable produce & bulk bags I made last month with my mama.  I was so intimidated by my sewing machine but found it a lot easier than I anticipated and it gave me some much needed practice on my machine.  I am ready to start making some more fun things!

Needed materials:
  • Organic Muslin fabric (We used some that my mom already had and we bought a couple yards at a fabric store.  I strongly believe since it will be used for food, that I shouldn't use any dyed fabric.  I don't want any color dyes to get onto my food that I will be consuming.)
  • Cording or thick string (We upcycled gift bag handles.  We took off all the handles of any gifts bags that were no longer reusable at my mom's house)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Hooking tool
  • Wood Kebab Skewer

I cut the fabric using a cutter and a cutting mat.  I first wanted to make a smaller bag, to make sure I knew what I was doing.  So I fabric measurements that I cut were 26 inches long and 9 inches wide.  The smaller bags are perfect bulk bags for flour, sugar, oats, almonds, any grain, etc.


I then took the cut piece of fabric and folded it in half.  I then sewed the sides at an 1/2 inch.  On one of my sides I left about 3/4 inch unsewn at the top.  This is provide an opening for the cording/string to fit in. 

Then I took the top of the fabric and folded about 3/4 inch.
Next was to sew the top fold.  Make sure to leave an 1/2 opening for the cording/string.

 Turn the fabric inside out.  

Take cording/string and push it into the top opening with a wooden skewer.  Once you get the string/cording half way in, put the hooking tool in the other side and pull the cording/string out.

 Tie and enjoy your finished project!

    You can of course, change the measurements for the size of bag you want or personalize it however you want.  You can also upcycle in fabric or cording from you house to make these bag.  What better way to make an green impact on this earth but to upcycle for a reusable bag.  Get away from those nasty plastic bags!  Put your creative hat on and have fun with it!

    I really enjoyed this project and plan to keep making bags, all different sizes and for all different uses!  It has motivated me to keep on creating, especially items that promote an ecofriendly environment.  My sister gave me a book called "Rubbish!  Reuse Your Refuse!"  by Kate Shoup.  This book shows you how to give everyday household items a new life.  With more than 30 creative projects upcycling and reducing trash, I will be one happy "green" mama!  Keep a look out for some fun eco-friendly upcycling projects posted on here.

    Happy Creating,

    "Every day is Earth Day." ~Author Unknown


    1. Great idea Alyson--I've got a little plot in a community garden in Santa Fe Springs CA--

    2. Great, quick tutorial!! I'm already thinking of what I can rip apart and make into bags! :)

    3. Sounds like a great plan...I bet they'd be great for storing fresh veggies from the garden as well.

    4. I stopped on over after seeing your comment on Reduce Footprints. Love the idea of sewing your own bags..why didn't I think of that!

      I wonder how hard it would be to sew in a used plastic cereal bag on the inside? Then you could use the bag for things like flour or sugar and the item wouldn't come through the threads. Plus you would be keeping the plastic out of the landfill. I'm guessing it would be too hard. I don't sew very much, not too good at it so I just do the basics, like hemming my pants when needed. haha

    5. Terrific tutorial!
      Thanks for visiting!

      happy day!

    6. Wow ... thank you for posting the instructions. I'm terrible with sewing but I think I might be able to handle this! :-)

      BTW ... be sure to swing by tomorrow if you can ... you're in the honor society! :-)

      I'm still trying to follow you through google friend connect but it's not cooperating. Ah well ... I have you in my blog roll. :-)

    7. This is a great tutorial Alyson, thank you for sharing. I had promised myself that this year I was going to learn how to use a sewing machine, and this seems like a great way to start! Glad you also found my blog and are signed up as a follower. As I only have 7, you can imagine my excitement! so welcome....

    8. Thanks everyone for stopping by and for reading!!!!! Comment love always makes my day! :)

      Kris...the muslin actually does a pretty good job not letting any bulk items (flour, sugar, etc) seep through. In fact, back in the day, muslin was used for "flour bags" and that is how it was stored. But it wouldn't hurt a thing to sew in a plastic bag and your right...keeping the plastic out of the landfill is SO important! Thanks for the idea!

      Again, THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!

    9. This is next on my to do this, thanks for sharing! Ever since coming across reusable produce bags, I feel guilty when I have to grab yet another plastic bag in the produce section. Love that you re-used the cording from gift bags, great idea, I couldn't find any natural fiber string/small rope at the fabric store, and what I did find started unraveling pretty quickly.

    10. What an excellent and crafty idea. Bulk bags are the best way to store grains, nuts and other lose items to keep them fresh and organized.

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