Green…Easy Knit Produce Bag

When trying to come up with something green for Color Your Summer I decided on something that was green in more ways than one.
Taking inspiration from this crocheted version:
I made my reusable produce bag out of an old knit T-shirt.
And then I went crazy! and made more bags out of old T-shirts and T-shirt sleeves in various shapes, colors, and sizes.
It is really easy and requires very little sewing. Hence why I made so many! :)
So let’s get started shall we?
An old T-shirt
Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
scissors or rotary cutter
That’s it!
1. Turn your t-shirt inside out.
Making the hem or bottom of your shirt the top of the bag, draw out the shape of your bag. Cut it out.
You can keep the existing hem of the shirt or cut it off. Either way works fine. Using the existing hem may make the handles a little stronger though.
2. Sew with a straight stitch or a narrow zig zag around the sides and bottom of the bag.
Leave it as is, knit doesn’t fray, or you can finish the edge.
You can sew a french seam by sewing the bag right sides out first. Turn the bag inside out and sew around the folded sides and bottom, thus encasing the raw seam. Like so…
Or you can finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch or overlock (serged stitch).
An example of a zig zag stitch is on the left.
3. Next you  are ready to cut the slits into the bag. You can do this two different ways:
Option 1: Draw lines to help guide you and cut them out with the tips of your scissors.
Make sure to stagger the cuts like so…
NOTE: On some bags, like this one in the picture above, I snipped over the seams. This is fine, but it will make the bag looser and more flexible. If you decide to do the same, be sure to make your cuts half as long as you really want them. This is because you are essentially cutting them on the fold.
Option 2: Use your rotary cutter to cut your slits.

Draw out your lines again or just eye-ball the staggered cuts and slice them quickly across. Make sure to use the  ruler and gridded mat to help keep things even and neat.

This method is hands down WAY faster and makes for less wear and tear on the tips of your scissors and your wrists.
**BE SURE…to stop cutting slits about 4 inches or more from the top. You want room for the handle.**
4.  Simply cut a slit for the handle through both layers of the bag. If you want to shape the top of the bag like I did in these pictures, do that now.
5. Then streeeeeeeeeeeetch the bag.
That’s it! So easy right?
If you wash and dry it, the slits curl up a bit and it looks even better:
Some knits don’t curl well, but I think it still looks pretty cool.
You can use them for produce, as the name implies,
or as my husband suggested, you can use them at the beach for your sandals! Genius.
It lets alllll that sand slide out.

You can easily pack them in with your reusable grocery bags so you remember to use them at the store. I don’t think they can entirely replace plastic produce sacks, but they are great for larger produce like apples, oranges, etc. Whatever you can do to reduce waste is a good thing though! Am I right?

I made this one big enough to be a tote. It would be a cinch to put the smaller bags inside to keep things more organized.
They are completely washable and can withstand hot washing temperatures, which I love.
And you can make a whole rainbow of them to help color your summer!


  1. says

    Delia, I've recently become a member of your blog but this is the first comment I leave. I don't remember how I found out about your blog… Nevertheless, I am here and enjoying myself. This particular project is inspired. It's a breath of fresh air. It's so lovely. And it's green. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

  2. says

    this is brilliant! i love it and am totally going to do it. it kills me not to have reusable produce bags every time i buy fresh stuff. thank you for sharing :)

  3. says

    This bag will work great to take to the showers when camping. Will hold all bath supplies in one bag. Easy for the kids to hang on to

  4. says

    Love this! I had to go and make some too. I used my leftover sleeves to make little bags that would hold an orange or two or three for my single niece to use.

  5. says

    I really like this idea! And will make a few for my daughter out of some of her old clothes ;) She will love it. And of COURSE I'll make some for me too!

    On the handle, have you ever had a problem with it ripping, or over stretching when you put in your produce? Would it be a good idea to reinforce the handle some how?

  6. says

    Wow! I don't even have a sewing machine but I'm going to rustle one up – pronto! I have a 7-year old son who is encouraging me to "Go Green" but sometimes it can be hard to do so economically; this fits the bill, perfectly!

  7. says

    My question is this: I figure these weigh about a quarter pound. When shopping at a large commercial store (ie. Kroger, Schucks, Hy-Vee) what do you tell the checker? Do they ask the weight of the bag? Do they assume it weighs as much as a plastic bag? I'm too money conscious to buy an extra quarter pound of produce.

    I made two today with my girls, and am looking forward to

  8. says

    Thank you bmolavi. I agree. It is important to give credit where it is due. In this case, I came up with this idea independently of any other blogger. It is my own original idea. Until you alerted me of this other blogger's tutorial I also thought it was unique. Now I know that it isn't. But it still came from just my own brain. The crocheted version was my inspiration, which I made sure

  9. says

    Wow what a fantastic idea :-) Great way to use t-shirts you still like but have developed mysterious little holes (think mine have been caused by the top of my zip on my jeans!!!) As you so rightly point out people often have the same ideas totally independently
    Anne xx

  10. says

    love this tutorial – one of the reasons why some of the fabric may curl more than another is if it is 100% cotton it will curl up nicely and if it has some polyester in it it wont curl up. since you made a mention of it…cheers.

  11. says

    Adorei a idéia e já fiz a minha, e a solução para a alça ficar firme não arrebentar e fica show e colocar intertela nas alças e fácil de usar, você coloca na parte de dentro e passa o ferro ela vem com uma cola e quando você passa o ferro ela gruda no tecido, também como não tenho máquina de costura fiz com linha de ponto cruz fiz uma costura trabalhada. Minha bolsa ficou laranja com costura grossa para fora na cor branca;………..

  12. says

    I had to laugh because I had thought about doing a tutorial up for these bags and then discovered both your tutorial and Between the Lines tutorial. I first learned how to make these when I was in college in the early 80’s but I had a teacher in the 70’s who carried something. So its just a case of what comes around, goes around! I must say I really like your version!! (and don’t let the naysayers pick on you!! its simply a matter of brilliant minds think alike!)

    OH quick question…. how are your bags holding up? Have you had any issues of overloading them?

    Take care now!

  13. says

    I once met a guy with obsessive-compulsive disorder or a whole lot of time on his hands as he did this to ALL his T-shirts and then wore them. Sooo weird. He also packed a gun. He was totally scary. Nevertheless, this is a way cool idea for produce bags and I am going to make a couple. Thanks!

  14. says

    Keep in mind though, if you're using these at the grocery store and buying things by the pound this can add anywhere from 1/4 – 1/3 of a pound, depending on the shirt…could get pricey. Great to collect everything at a farmer's market though.

  15. says

    Nice work. An even easier way is to buy string vests (cheap from a market) then all you have to do is sew the bottom up. The slits / holes are already there and the shoulder straps are ready-made handles :-)

  16. says

    I shop at the farmers market here every week and I feel so bad with all of the plastic bags I bring home with me each time. This is a great idea. I really need to make a bunch of them to take to market each week. Great tutorial!

  17. Anonymous says

    These bags would be perfect for picking mushrooms in the woods. Plastic bags are not very good for morels, they can trap moisture and cause the mushrooms to get really soggy and ruined. These bags would be great because they would allow the contents to breathe.

  18. Sally D Kelly says

    Such an nspired idea. Great instuctions too. Love the coloours. Can't wait to make a few of these…Thank you

  19. Anonymous says

    I've read many blogs and diy websites. None had as many good visuals to help with the easy instructions. Plus, you're a damn good photographer woman. :) Thanks for the idea. :)

  20. says

    This is the PERFECT solution for avoiding plastic bags at the local market. I’ll make a variety of these in all sizes and take them to the market each Saturday. Thanks for such a wonderful idea. I am in awe!

  21. says

    I think the horizontal slits in your t-shirt bag make it much more functional as the slits open up with the weight of the items; that’s the whole idea, right? Anyway, thanks for the great tutorial! I need to break out my sewing machine now!

  22. Anonymous says

    I had a ton of t-shirts that simply don't fit or were victims of the "Great Failed Dyeing Event of 2010" that I refused to toss out. Made one today and it's great! I am going to make one for the beach for sandy clothes that can all just go in the wash, one for shoes at the beach, and one for curing potatoes and onions from the garden! GREAT idea, thanks so much!

  23. says

    These are darling!! I love all the colours! Such fun!!

    You've more than demonstrated your creativity and I can't imagine anyone would look at your blog and all the things you've come up with and then think you'd lift someone else's idea.


  24. Sarah A says

    I tried this today!! I must say, for not being much of a sewer, my bag turned out great! (I hand sewed it). Ready to put it in the wash!

  25. kristi says

    LOVE these! Posted to Pinterest, and I know that a lot of others will love these too. Thank you for sharing.

  26. says

    Great idea! I've tried making these but without the pretty mesh pattern and also, I cut out the sleeves of t-shirts and use the holes as handles. But I will try it your way too because it's a lot cuter for farmers' market day :)

  27. says

    Nice…I had a lightbulb…for small produce, stop cutting slits 1/2way between the handle and the bottom, or no slits at all…LOVE them, they are gorgeous!!!

  28. says

    This is the first time I have seen your blog. I love your bags with the snips in the. I have been making the t-shirt bags this past month but do mine a little different. I used lace and ribbons and decorations that I find in yard sales or at the recycling center. I trim the handles of my bags with it. I am toying around now with putting a pocket in them for coupons and lining them with plastic for drippy foods. I also also trying to make a pocket for cold packs to use in the summer here in Vt. Will keep following your blog for new and innovative ideas. Thank you. Susan

  29. says

    Hey Delia!

    I love this t-shirt to bag tutorial, and I was wondering if I could use it as part of my school project? I mean, I'd like to have one of your photos as part of a slide show of cool upcycled things at my school… Would that be possible if I gave credit to you? :)

  30. says

    I admire you for giving credit to someone who you did not even know exsisted. A few years ago, I made a tutorial on making yoga pants out of tshirts with the side seams on the inner leg and not cutting through the middle of the image on the shirt. I had taken inspiration from the many MANY tutorials on making yoga pants from tshirts on the internet, but I was unaware that the site I first posted

  31. says

    To anyone that has made these – don't they stretch out? I would think they would REALLY stretch out and then rip. is the handle sturdy enough for the weight of the produce? I am going to try them – cuz they look awesome!!! Would really like feed back though :)

  32. says

    You could also lay the t shirt flat pin and sew the out line of the bag then cut it out after. It is a bit easier to work with. Awesome idea!!

  33. says

    I like the IDEA of these but…..
    Why cut the holes at all? Wouldn’t the produce be more likely to fall through? Wouldn’t they be breathable enough, just being fabric, rather than plastic?
    Also, how do you deal with the added weight issue? Do you dump the produce out at checkout, or what?!!
    I’m not trying to be difficult, I just tend to have a skeptical view of things I’m thinking of making! :)

  34. says

    Hamrsark – Thanks for your questions. I believe the original crocheted design which I created this sewn version after, uses it for mostly larger produce like apples, oranges, etc. You are certainly welcome to make ones without holes. The holes actually do help with breath-ability. I am open about how I don’t really use mine in the grocery store, just at the farmer’s market where they often sell it by how much it looks like you are grabbing rather than weight. (It does add a lot of weight, I agree.) I also don’t use my bags for things that it can’t hold well like green beans. I’ve tried with comical results. I hope that answers your questions. Please ask more if you are curious about more things.

  35. says

    thank you for this idea, I was wondering couple of days ago what to do with my old T-shirts that I will not fit in anymore and I didnt want to throw them. Oh, how lucky I am that I kept them and I can straightforward try this lovely idea. Thank you

  36. says

    Let me introduce your tutorial in my blog
    My blog is in Japanese, and I write about craft & DIY things.
    I liniked back to this page.

  37. Sandi says

    My son left a large amount of Tees when he moved out 5 years ago. I have been wondering ( short of making a quilt out of them) what to do …. now i can make functional things to make and send a few to his room mate (aka girlfriend) and I can use them up.
    Wonderful idea. So simple. I will probably use the rotary cutter to cut them. So quick too!!!!
    (Can’t you tell I’m happy with your WONDERFUL idea!!!)

  38. Rhiannon says

    Could you turn the shirt inside out, sew the bottom shut, then cut the sleeves and some of the collar off to use as handles? Then you could have a bigger bag and waste less of the shirt.. I am definitely planning on doing this with my old t-shirts! I was wanting to have something for the farmers market and these are perfect! They provide plastic grocery bags, but I am trying to move towards a greener lifestyle. Thanks for your post!

  39. says

    First off I would like to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you
    do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?

    Appreciate it!

  40. maggie huffman says

    i love how your brain works! i was chuckling as pics rolled by! love the idea & don’t sew any more but i can hand stitch & may even try stitch witchery as fusible method. Thank you!!

  41. Claire says

    I have found my childhood sewing machine in the loft space and I have been looking for something to do with my 7 year old, using it. I think this will be the perfect first project and Grandma will love them when they arrive as a gift. Thank you.

  42. stephdew says

    Thank you for this! I found you on Pinterest, and I’m so glad I did. I’m not the best knit/crocheter… but I have been dying to make my own produce bags because it always urks me at the checkout while loading all those little plastic bags into my cloth grocery bags I’m thinking, “what is the point!”… But this is a fantastic idea, I am so glad you shared it! I can’t wait to see what else your Blog has in store! :)

  43. Jean says

    I just happened on your site and am glad I did. I was wondering what to do with all my tees that have mysterious spots. I can’t wait to get started making them. Keep up the good work.

  44. danielle says

    i love this idea i will so be doing this and i will do some for my mom great thing to take to the farmer market because then it cuts down on bags that you have at home and this would be a green thing and it would be good for the environment because it would cut down the green house gasses

  45. Wendy says


    I am a university student doing a project on “upcycling” and I would like to have your permission to use one of the above images in a slideshow.

    Please respond at your earliest convenience,


  46. Holliday says

    Love these bags! I have been looking for a good use for the piles and piles of old shirts I don’t have the heart to throw away. I think I’ll try to “double bag” them with the inner bag non-holey for a fun color-contrast thing and so I don’t loose the smaller things I carry around at the farmers market! Love it!

  47. stephanie says

    For everyone concerned about the weight of the bag at the grocery store, you can weigh the bag itself beforehand and give the cashier the Tare weight (the Tare is the weight of the container taken off the total price).

  48. Kim says

    I’m just (finally) making a few of these wonderful bags, and realized they could also be finished with a drawstring top by leaving the original hemline at the top of the bag, snipping it on either side of one of the bag’s side hems, and adding a string.

    Thanks for sharing this clever idea with the rest of us, Delia!

  49. says

    This is a great idea. I think these would be so much better than the cloth grocery bags because they look like they would wash so well. The beach bag idea is genius!

    • says

      Hi Mary Jo,

      Good question! You can have them weigh it outside the bag and re bag it if you desire. I have mostly used my bags at the farmer’s market where things are not weighed. I hope that helps.


  50. Alyssa says

    ive never seen this blog before but I was on allwomenstalk which is an app I like and I found the bag thing you did which I really like! It’s so smart I want to do it

  51. Angela says

    Do these bags keep your veggies as well as plastic?

    What about lettuce? What kind of a reusable bag can you put it in to keep it fresh and crisp?

    • says


      Great question! It depends on the produce. It can absorb the moisture from most veggies, so it isn’t ideal to use for long term storage. For lettuce, I usually remove it from the bag and just store it in my crisper. I wash it before each use, so it works for me. If I wash it ahead of time and store it for later, I chop it up as well and put it in a glass bowl with a lid. I hope that helps!

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Delia :)

  52. Bonnie says

    Thank you for the wonderful idea! It is hot outside today so I will stay inside and make a couple of these recycled, reusable, washable, cute, bags!!! Lots of t-shirts to be used!

  53. says

    Lovely idea! I have tons of old t-shirts left in the basement and prepared for disposal, and this is a good reason to do some recycling. My girl would be glad to help too, we often talk about recycling, now. Thank you for the inspiration!

  54. Teresa Rolen says

    Delia, I saw your produce bags from tee-shirts & absolutely love them. I’ve been doing crafts for years & have always tried to make something out of something used & this is awesome! So simple & a great tutorial! One question, what size tee-shirts are you using for the produce bags & the tote? Love your Pin & will be looking forward to more awesome ideas!


  1. […] Here is your new best friend for the farmer’s market season, or collecting fresh produce from your garden ! These DIY Produce Bags are simple and inexpensive to make, and can be thrown right in the washing machine!  Create them from any old t-shirt! These would also be great the beach or the swimming pool!  Click on the link for the tutorial!  deliacreates […]

  2. […] Stop using plastic disposable bags for your groceries. Reusable bags come in different shapes and colors and are inexpensive. Or you could make them yourself, click here for a full tutorial to make your own eco-friendly grocery bag from on old t-shirt, such a… […]

  3. […] I can’t see going through too many washes, but if you have a t-shirt you are thinking of throwing away, give it a longer life by turning it into a grocery bag. Cut off the sleeves, stitch closed the bottom hem and make lot of small cuts into it for both handles and the net-like design. Idea and tutorial from Delia Creates. […]

  4. […] Here is a little project that looks easy and only uses old shirts and a sewing machine. Since I’ve lost over 50 pounds, I have tons of old t-shirts that I don’t wear anymore and are going to Goodwill. Plus I have two daughters who don’t know how to sew yet. Looks like I just found a project that could solve all those problems at once. And unlike the basket I have sitting on top of the counter right now, these things can be stored very easily. […]

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