Sainsbury’s went and threw me for a loop by getting rid of all their single use plastic bags from the produce sections while I was away on holiday, which I discovered when I went to pick up a few things on my first day back and ended up with free range onions running amok. They were selling reusable ones to replace the single use ones, but were out of stock that day and the next time I was in they only had 2 left. This gave me a hefty kick up my ‘you can make this yourself’ backside, and so I went out, found some net fabric and cord, and set to it.

I will confess that I had previously thought, rather idly, that I should be more environmentally conscious in this area, but a bad experience with fabric bags when I was a student where things went bad and the bags were icky and ruined had kind of put me off, so I admit that it needed the mesh that Sainsbury’s used in their ones to give me the lightbulb moment on what I needed to construct the bags from.

The photos of the finished items proved ridiculously popular on Instagram, so I promised a tutorial to help people make their own so they too can corral their fruit and veggies in an orderly manner.

Note that none of the measurements are set in stone, I just worked them from the fabric I had, but the principal of construction is the same no matter what size you want the finished bag to be.

You Will Need:

  • Fine mesh/net fabric – I used nylon filter fabric as it was very light and smooth as well as washable and breathable. I picked mine up on eBay, but you can also find it in places that sell items to DIY your own brewing etc
  • 3mm – 4mm wide braided cord – again I used nylon as it was more washable, but cotton would work
  • Bodkin or safety pin

Cutting Instructions:

  • Cut 1 piece of netting, 25 cm x 50 cm or 10″ x 20″
  • Cut 1 piece of cord, 60 cm or 25″, melting the ends with a lighter or cutting with a hot knife to prevent unravelling

To Make The Bags:

Fold the netting right sides together, matching short edges (there may not actually be an obvious ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side, but it’s a veggie bag, not a work of art)

With the fabric facing you and the folded edge at the bottom, make a mark on the right hand side 1 1/4″ / 3.5 cm from the top edge. Stitch from that mark down to the folded edge with a 1/4″ / 0.5 cm seam allowance. On the left hand side stitch all the way from top to bottom.

Turn the bag right sides out, then fold the top edge of the bag over to the inside by 3/4″ / 3.5 cm, making sure that on the right hand side, the seam allowance on the unstitched section is folded to the inside. On the left hand side make sure that the seam allowance is folded to one side, not left open, this will make it easier to thread the cord through the casing later on.

Starting at the gap on the right hand side, top stitch the foldover in place all the way around 1/8″ / 0.25 cm from the raw edge to create a casing. Using the bodkin or safety pin, thread the cord through the casing and tie a knot in the two ends together.

These are very quick to make, so quick that I knocked out 24 of them in just a few hours, production line style.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!