DIY (do-it-yourself) Projects

Published on May 14th, 2019 | by Sarah Dephillips


DIY Reusable Produce Bags From Old T-Shirts

Zero-waste living is finally catching on, and not a moment too soon! If you’ve ever tried zero-waste grocery shopping, you may have realized that reusable produce bags are a must. Sometimes buying a bunch of stuff to go zero waste can feel counter productive. Or, if you’re like me, you just forget until you’re actually at the store pulling another plastic produce bag off the roll, kicking yourself for not ordering those eco-chic organic cotton produce bags when you saw them. Whether you’re trying to save money, have less stuff, or just plain old forget to get reusable bags, these simple DIY reusable produce bags are for you. The best part is they’re made from old t-shirts – something everyone would love to reuse!


  • Old t-shirt
  • Sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat or hard floor

Step 1: Select and cut a t-shirt

The measurements don’t have to be exact. I laid this large t-shirt flat and cut a straight line from one underarm to the other. That gives you open edges on either side and a fold on top and bottom. I also cut off the hem on the bottom of the shirt, which is the right edge pictured above.

Keeping one folded side at the bottom, fold it in half length wise, putting all the cut edges together, and cut the top fold off making a “bump” in the center top.

When you unfold it (keeping the fold at the bottom), you have the rough shape of a bag. Trim it if you want to neaten any edges.

Step 2: Cut holes and fringes

If you have a sewing machine, go ahead and sew both sides together and leave the top open. If you’re doing the no-sew version, cut fringes along both sides through both thicknesses.

The fringes should be roughly 1/2″ apart from one another and go about 2″ in from the edge. They don’t have to be perfect, just make sure the front and back side have the same amount of fringes – you’re going to tie these together later.

Cut some nice, straight slits in your bag parallel to the bottom fold. Mine are about 2″ long and the lines of slits are 2″ apart. When your bag is finished, these will open up a little so you can see what produce is inside (but not enough to let it fall out!)

Step 3: Tie the edges

Tie each of those side fringes to its back-side counterpart using two overhand knots. This closes up the side of your bag.

Step 4: Cut handles

If you like the fringed knots, leave them sticking out. If you want a little neater look, turn your bag inside out so the knots are to the inside.

Cut slits in the bumps at the top, leaving at least 2″ of fabric above your cut. These become your bag handles.

Step 5: Get some zero-waste produce!

Now you can bring your produce home as nature intended it, waste-free!

For more zero-waste lifestyle tips, check out:

6 Ways to Quit Single Use Plastic in Your Grocery Store Routine

How to Pack a Healthy Zero Waste Lunch

and How to Throw a Waste-Free, Eco-Chic Birthday Party


Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

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