In order to reduce my waste at the bulk food store, I made some simple drawstring bags to use instead of the plastic bags provided.
For this project, I used some organic cotton that I found at my favourite Designer Fabrics along with the fabric that I got for my cotton make-up pads and handkerchiefs. I love the cute pattern of the girl with a balloon.
Cut fabric into rectangles
I wanted my bags to be about 8″ wide by 10″ long, so I cut rectangles that were 9″ by 23″. If you want a different size, just add 1″ to the width and 3″ to the length for the seam allowance.
Turn over each edge of the fabric by between 1/3″ and 1/2″. Press.
Make pockets for drawstrings
Turn the short edges over by about 1″. Press.
Sew these short edges along the first fold you made, about 1″ from the short edge. Later on, we’ll thread ribbon or rope through these pockets to tie the bag together.
I used bright teal (fun!) because, as with the make-up pads, I didn’t have (truth: my mom didn’t have) any white thread.
Fold the fabric in half
Make sure that the short edges are in line and the good sides are touching.
Sew the long edges together
Start and stop at the line you sewed for the pockets so you can get the drawstrings through!
I sewed these seams twice, to try to keep leakage of the flour, sugar and other bulk items to a minimum.
Pull the drawstrings through
I find using two drawstrings, one from each side, makes it much easier to close the bags when they’re full and tie them shut so they stay that way.
Start by threading both strings through one side. I find by attaching the string or ribbon to a safety pin and using that to thread them through the pocket makes it a lot easier!
Thread one string through the rest of the way. Tie the two ends of the same string together and, in my case, melt to seal.
Thread the other string through the other way so that the ends of both strings are on opposite sides of the bag. Tie off and seal.
Voila! By pulling on the ends of each string, the bag will close.
I made a few of these in a variety of sizes. They’re not all the same design, but the one I described above is by far the best and easiest to use. I’ve spilled quinoa all over my shopping bag with another design. I will be fixing it the next time I’m at my parents and can steal my mom’s sewing machine.
FYI – These are also excellent for storing fresh produce in the refrigerator.