Washable, Reusable, DIY Bags!
I use reusable bags whenever I can to save on plastic. I bring my own to grocery stores and most anywhere else that I shop.
Sometimes reusable bags aren’t washable and they get soiled from things like meat juice or spilled milk. Solution: It’s actually very simple to make your own that can be washed.
There are many ways you can make these – with or without a sewing machine!
Basic Materials Needed
I have to admit, I have a cheat method. I go to yard sales, thrift shops, and even the college free store to pick up old tank tops. Yes, that’s my secret. They have pre-made handles and can be stitched or tied together on the bottom very easily. They are machine washable and durable. Look for those that are not too worn and still have some life in them. Cotton is the best choice since it can be washed. Also look for wide straps. Those little spaghetti straps might look cute when you wear them, but they won’t hold up to a gallon of milk, which often weighs 8 pounds!
Process number one (Sewing Machine Needed)
Turn your tank top inside out. Optional: Insert pins along the line where your seam will be.
Stitch a zigzag along the bottom edge, then another straight seam above that. The zigzag will keep the bottom from fraying and will help keep the other seam together.
Cut off any excess material if needed. (The tank top used for the picture was a little long, so the stitching needed to be a few inches up from the bottom.)
Stitch across bottom corners with a zigzag stitch to reinforce.
Turn right side out and enjoy.
Process number two (No-Sew Method)
- You can still make a sturdy market bag even without a sewing machine!
- Turn your tank top inside out like in the previous method. Then carefully cut the bottom into 3 inch strips that are 1 inch wide.
- Tie the back strips to the front ones. This is the same method you use for no-sew tie blankets.
- Stop with that row if the bottom is tight. If there are gaps, tie the strips to the next line over, like you would do for braiding. The second tie set will ensure that there are no holes for things to fall through.
- Turn right side out and enjoy.
Cute Smaller Bags
You can follow the same process and make cute smaller bags using children’s skirts. I’ve found cute denim shirks, zebra print ruffled skirts, and flowered full skirts. They usually have a lining, so sew (or tie) the liner together and leave the top skirt layer alone. If there is no liner, stitch the bottom of the skirt together. To finish, add webbing or thick ribbon for the handle (I cut apart old web belts for this).
Caring for Your DIY Market Bags
Caring for these bags is simple – toss them in the washer with the rest of your clothes. Dry in the drier or hang outside on the clothes line. Once dry, keep the market bags in your vehicle so they’re ready for your next shopping trip.
Have you made your own market bags? What sort of method or materials did you use? Please share below!