diy projects

diy project: farmers’ market bags

by The BBB Craft Sisters

Nothing makes us happier than the weekly (twice weekly if we’re lucky!) trips to our local outdoor farmers’ markets. With spring in full force, the farmers are flaunting their goods: brilliant radishes (French!), fresh eggs (We spotted turkey eggs last week!), lettuces and greens (Lamb’s quarters! Watercress! Wild arugula!), tall stalks of rhubarb, sweetly scented pea shoots and just about everything you would need to cook a local-farm meal every night of the week. These trips to the market remind us of where our food comes from and how important it is to take care of our earth and continue to cut down on waste. In the spirit of this, we created these market bags for fruits and vegetables.

Although we always bring a basket or canvas bag to the market, we find that we often come home with a few plastic bags carrying a handful of fresh peas or a load of potatoes. We want to carry our bounty home in what is best for the earth to help ensure that these markets and the farms that supply them will be around for generations to come. Join our cause, and make a few of these!  — bbbcraft sisters

Full instructions continue after the jump…


  • fabric scissors
  • kitchen tea towels (Ours are from Ikea and Williams Sonoma; you can use new ones or give new life to old towels. Flour-sack towels work really well because they’re such a lightweight, breathable fabric, and they don’t weigh very much if you use these at the grocery store, as well.)
  • string or twine
  • safety pin or tape threader
  • sewing machine
  • rubber stamps (optional)
  • fabric paint, ink or stamp pads (optional)


1. Make sure the hem of your towel is such that you will be able to thread twine through it to create a drawstring. All of the towels we were using had this allowance.

2. Determine the size of the market bag you would like. For the larger market bags used for potatoes or apples, we simply folded the tea towel in half. Others we cut in half and then folded in half again to make them half the size. These we used for garlic and herbs and smaller items. If necessary, cut the towel to the proper size. For an extra-big bag, you can put two full-sized towels together without cutting at all.

3. Fold the towel in half, right sides together, making sure the hem of the towel is on the top, or opening, of the bag. Then you will be able to thread a piece of string through the top hem of the towel.

4. Pin the sides and sew them up with the wrong sides facing each other. Be sure not to sew all the way to the top on either side so that you will be able to thread the drawstring through the top seamlessly.

5. Turn the bag right-side out. There should be a space large enough to thread a string with a safety pin or a tape threader at the top of the bag. This is one of the great things about this project — the hem is already made for you, saving you the trouble of needing to sew it. Thread the twine through the entire top of the bag creating a drawstring.

6. Stamp and decorate as you see fit.

7. Support your local farmers and fill with market produce!

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  • Love! My neighborhood farmers’ market starts this Sunday and I will have to make some of these delightful bags to help me bring home my bounty.

  • Dear bbbcraft sisters:
    Can I be your friend?
    Seriously. I feel like I star every one of your posts on my Google Reader.

    Considering that my refrigerator is currently full of Target bags with spinach, pea greens, mint, cilantro and whatever else my roommate managed to score at her latest Farmer’s Market trip, we need these. I’ll be checking through my spare bits of fabric to see how many of these I can crank out this week!

  • Adore this idea. I always love practical, reusable ideas! Thank you so much for sharing! Do you have a good source for those great alphabet stamps?

  • You can weigh your bags at the grocery store if you use them there. One of mine weighs 0.08 lbs so I just tell the checkout person:tare 8 and she puts it in. That way I don’t have to pay for the bag too. I’ve got six kids so the bags can add up;-)

    • If you’re up to making from scratch, use a sheer curtain to make your bags, some can be found at local thriftstore for $7 a panel, if polyester isn’t your thing, fabric stores sell muslin by the yard, but more labor intensive. Love this IKEA hack for zero waste!

  • Hi everyone!

    Thanks for all of the nice comments! The stamps are actually from Restoration Hardware…but a long time ago, so we’re not sure where you could track down the exact same ones. Paper Source usually has a selection of slightly bigger alphabet letter sets, and for smaller letters, our favorite is the 2000 Plus Custom Stamp Kit from Staples!

    Good luck on your projects!

  • Joining the chorus of stamp-source requests! Those would be so handy!
    I’ve been thinking about making something like these bags to take to the grocery for bulk items (nuts, dried fruit, etc.) and this post has definitely motivated me to go find some fabric.

  • they have full sets of alphabet stamps like that right now in the dollar bin at Michael’s!

  • May I ask where you got the dishtowels? Was it from a mainstream place or a vintage store?

  • I love these! I too hate the plastic bags. These are great for the farmer’s market or price per item things. My only problem is buying bulk flour and stuff – how do you get a bag that weighs as little as a plastic bag and yet still contains the ingredients?

  • Sera, maybe line your cloth bag with a plastic bag and just use that one for flour? same with salt, sugar, etc.

  • Where is the wicker basket/bag from? My wife loves both the basket and the idea, so I’d like to get my wife the wicker basket for her birthday, and she’d like to make the bags. Thanks!

  • If you thread a second drawstring (through the top of both “sides”) then you have a loop on each side. This makes it easier to pull open at the top I find. Great idea! I have a fairly new daughter in law that wants to learn to sew and goes to the farmers markets with her Trader Joe bags… when she remembers because they are so bulky. This would be a great sewing lesson and she loves all the pretty dishtowels. Heck, they could use these for all kinds of things… so could I for that matter. And goodness knows I have a lot of rubber stamps!

  • Love the idea! Been using my basket for the market, but ended up with plastics on the veggies. I used old white linen and cotton table cloths that had some stains. I just cut of stained areas after washing and sewed up some bags. Cleans bags are also a great way to store the washed vegetables I refrigerate.

  • this is just great girls. i love these bags. i’ve been known to throw everything in to a canvas tote and hope for the best. thanks to you my strawberries are saved!

  • Lovely. I’ve been making produce bags using mesh and tulle, but this stuff is just so hard to work with! Think I’m going to need a different material.

  • May I please get a note to leave work and go home right now to make these right now? They are beautiful in their sweet simplicity!

  • Too cute! I just learned how to make produce bags out of old t-shirts and now I can add these to my collection. Great hostess gift too…make them a bag and put something from your own garden in it. That’s more special than a fancy bottle of wine any day…well, I wouldn’t refuse the wine. lol

  • I made these yesterday and they are soo cute! One 5 pack of flour sack towels made 3 sets with a few extras. :) Great tutorial. Thanks!

  • Do these bags need to be moistened before storing the produce in the refrigerator?

  • As a Farmers’ Market vendor I’d like to thank you for this idea. We are trying to be as plastic free as possible and don’t offer bags. It helps immersurably when you bring your own!

  • We made these this summer with (nearly) identical ‘flour towels’ from IKEA. Super cheap and they turned out so so cute. Thanks for the fantastic tutorial!

  • These are truly delightful and now I “need” to make a trip to IKEA for these towels… that is after I use up the supply of old flour sack towels we already own. To include the ones that are stained but were embroidered by my Mom when she was a young woman living with her older sister. The others will be used just to make simple shopping bags!

    And our Farmer’s Market just opened a new section called the Maker’s Market…. yes its the section sells handmade items as well as offers classes. Would you mind if I used this idea and made some to sell there?

    Thank you for sharing!!

  • i was searching for muslin produce bags and came across these. brilliant! can’t wait to make them.

  • This is such a neat idea! I’ll be making these but using them as Christmas bags for individual family members, what a cool way to lower waste!