May 13, 2011 at 6:00 am
There are a couple of neat things about bringing your own produce bags to the farmer’s market.
First, by bringing your own bags of all sorts, you are cutting down on the farmer’s cost, which means you could just maybe pay a little less for your tomatoes. Second, unlike at a major grocery store, the farmer knows what you are putting in those produce bags, and can ring you up accordingly without any hassle of “What’s in the bag?!”
I made a few simple produce bags last year to stuff in my larger shopping tote when I go to the farmer’s market. They have worked great to bring home everything from corn to cucumbers. And when I unload my bounty, I can just throw them in the washing machine with everything else!
For this upcycled produce bag, you will need a clean, old pillowcase, thread, scissors, a seam ripper, at least 3 yards of ribbon or yarn or something similar, a safety pin, a sewing machine, and about 15 minutes. Really! You can make four of these in an hour — especially if you have your sewing machine set up and ready to go.
(A couple of things: First, you don’t have to use an old pillowcase. You could use any fabric and just sew it into the basic bag shape. And second, you don’t need a sewing machine, but it makes this project so quick and easy!)
Step 1: Cut the pillowcase. Laying it flat, I cut mine so it was about 12 inches across the bottom and 16 inches tall. Important: Make use of the seams already there! Just cut up from the bottom and across the top, keeping the bottom seam and left side seam intact.
Step 2: Flip your cut bag inside out, even everything up, and sew up the right side seam.
Step 3: Flip the top two inches of the bag over and sew all around.
Step 4: This is the trickiest step. Line up the bag in your sewing machine and make two sets of zig-zag stitches back and forth perpendicular to the seam. You are making it so when you create a hole in the seam it can only go so far.
Step 5: Using a seam ripper, cut the stitches between the two zig-zag lines. Now you have a little hole.
Step 6: This will be familiar if you have ever heard of sweatpants. You want to clip the safety pin to your ribbon or string and push it all the way around the opening. This will be your drawstring.
Step 7: When you have both ends out of the opening, tie them together so you never have to repeat Step 6 again. (Unless you make another bag).
You now have a quick, easy produce bag made from an old pillowcase! Wasn’t that fun? You can make some more … make a little one for radishes or cherry tomatoes. Make an extra long one for rhubarb or greens.
Bonus: These make great bread bags for homemade bread!
Have fun! And Happy Summer Produce Shopping!!