How to Make Simple Reusable Cloth Bags

You’ll love these easy-to-make reusable cloth bags for your zero-waste grocery shopping. You can also store all your nuts, seeds, grains, and other dry goods in them so you might want to make more than just a few.

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There are some things that are a bit more complicated to implement. And some are very easy.

This DIY project is the latter. For a long time, I have always brought my own shopping basket to the market or store. Once you get in the habit of doing that, it becomes second nature. Trust me!

Since I love going to the farmers market, I have some mesh bags that I actually bought. They can withstand the moisture of lettuce or kale or any produce that might be wet.

mesh produce bags and handmade cloth bags
I bought the mesh bags but made the cloth bags on the right

However, there are many dry goods that I buy. I am thinking about potatoes at the farmer’s market or grains, nuts, and seeds from the bulk bins.

Grocery stores often provide either rolls of plastic bags, rolls of compost bags, or paper bags for those goods. I really don’t like plastic bags. The compost bags I can reuse for our compost pail. But even the paper could be spared.

Now, you can certainly buy reusable cloth bags. That would be great. But they are so simple to make. If you are patient you could even sew those by hand but with a sewing machine, each can be done in about 5 minutes.

Make your own reusable cloth bags

Thus, I have made a whole bunch of these reusable cloth bags. I found old tea towels or tablecloths that had stains in them and just didn’t look pretty enough anymore (I don’t like using bleach …). On the other hand, they were too good to just throw them out. You can even take on an old t-shirt that has stains or holes or has faded.

These fabrics are great for sewing into bags. Talking about repurposing!

Or you might buy a fabric for that purpose. Some fabric with a happy colorful print. Or a clean white fabric (how about that???). Once you get started, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless.

If you prefer to have your bags all have the same look you could even invest in some inexpensive flour sack towels, such as these.

I have made them in several sizes. I always like to buy flax seeds in big amounts so I need a pretty big bag for those. Or for potatoes. You can even put flour in them (that’s how flour was stored in previous generations).

store flax seed in DIY cloth bags

I also like to have smaller ones for nuts or other seeds or just smaller quantities.

They are so easy to make, too! All you need to do is cut a big rectangle or square, fold it in half, sew together two sides, leaving one open. If you like you can finish the open side by folding that in and sewing the edge.

That’s all! As you can see in the pictures, mine have become even more stained. I just need to throw them in the wash. Periodically, I do that anyways just to keep them clean.

These cloth bags live in the bottom of my grocery basket. When heading out the door, I just need to grab it and have everything ready to go.

reusable bags in my grocery basket

You can also see that I noted the weight/tara on a piece of tape on them. Depending on the weight of your fabric that might make a difference when they weigh your goods at the register. Most grocery stores that have bulk bins are also happy to get a tara for you.

easy-to-make cloth bags for bulk food items
tara for homemade cloth bags

use zero-waste cloth bags for grains, nuts, seeds

Shop these products:

French market tote

mesh produce bags

Ikea tea towel

Please leave your comments or questions below!

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  5. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for buying produce. I always hate using the plastic bags and usually just skip them altogether. Thanks for the instructions!

  6. These are amazing, Anja! It will be a great sewing project for when I teach my daughter to use the sewing machine, too!

    1. Absolutely! They are such an easy project, just sewing 2 straight lines – and the optional seam. Very confidence building 😌

    1. Aww … thank you! I think I have more old towels than need for cloth bags 🀣. Maybe I need to find another life for them … ooooohhhh, I see another blog post coming ….

  7. This is awesome! I purchased a set of produce bags from Amazon but plan to make some of my own as well. I’m not very good with a sewing machine yet but baby steps! Love your blog πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, baby steps … plus you can always sew them by hand, if you make them small it won’t take as long 😜

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