In early 2018, I started hosting sewing bees for people interested in making produce bags out of upcycled cloth in order to replace single-use plastic produce bags. Since then, this little project has snowballed and our group has given out thousands of reusable cloth produce bags at the farmers’ market.
On social media, many people have told me that they’ve been inspired to start their own produce bag making groups—from Seattle, to Vancouver, to Rio de Janeiro, to Israel, to Barcelona and beyond. Many others have also asked me if I know of any groups in their city. I’ve connected some of these people on social media but the following map should make that process much more efficient.
Join a group or donate fabric to a group
If you want to join a local group or donate fabric scraps or sheets to it, please search the map. If you find a pin near you, click on it for the email address of the group’s organizer. I have one pin so far—mine! We have to start somewhere.
Add a group to the map
If you have started a produce bag making group or want to start one and would like me to add your group to the map, please fill out the form below. I’ll add your email address to the map so people can contact you directly about joining. If you send me the number of bags you’ve sewn, I’ll add that to your pin on the map too.
Get Your Group Started in Three Steps
These tips will help you get your produce bag sewing bee up and running faster.
1. Find your people
If you have trouble finding people, remember that you really need only one other person to form a group. As people learn more about what you’re doing, you’ll no doubt attract more members.
Many people have joined our group who have had zero sewing experience. Inexperienced sewers can work on the ironing or cutting—very important jobs! Or they can learn how to sew. These bags are the perfect beginner project.
2. Start making
Save your group a lot of time and cut piles of bags out before you sew. This really helps speed up the line.
We make very simple produce bags without drawstrings. This also allows us to speed up the line. But you can easily add drawstrings to the simple bags below:
- Go here for a basic pattern and video
- Go here for a post with details on using a serger
- Go here for upcycling pillowcases
3. Give the bags away
It’s your group. Distribute the bags however you like. Your first bags might go to members of your group who made them, or to friends and family who would like and use them. Once everyone is fully supplied with produce bags, put the remaining bags in your giveaway stash.
We hand out our upcycled produce bags at the Sunnyvale Farmers’ Market. Thank you to the city’s Environmental Services Department for allowing us to squat in your booth 🙂