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How to make a Muslin Stock Bag, Bread Bag, Produce Bag

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Endlessly useful, utterly washable
Fabric bags are endlessly useful and utterly washable.  I have 2 muslin bags for making Thrifty Stock and a nice pile of pretty print bags which I take to the market to bag produce that is sold by the each rather than by the pound (avocados, celery, lemons, limes, grapefruit,  lettuce, pomegranates, mangoes).  My favorite grocery store gives me a nickel credit for each reusable bag.  Just ask, and I’ll bet yours will, too.  
Fabric bags are great for  storing Classic French Bread, also– just for a day or two.  
Kids love them as treasure bags and stuff sacks and they make fun “wrapping paper” that will be used over and over.  Start with one fabric bag and once you see how easy and rewarding it was to make you’ll make more.
Note:  Stay tuned for helpful photos of fabric bags.   ~Michele
For Stock Bag:
1/3 yard unbleached muslin 
plastic produce bag
paper grocery bag
basic sewing supplies:  scissors, straight pins, sewing machine, thread
32 inches sturdy cotton yarn
1.  Take a look at a plastic produce bag.  This is the size bag you will be making.  Lay it on top of a paper grocery bag.  You will notice the 2 bags are nearly the same size when flat.  Cut either the front or back panel from the paper sack.  This is your pattern : )
2.  Lay fabric on a work surface and place pattern on the fabric with bottom edge against the fold of the fabric, pinning if necessary to hold the pattern and two layers of fabric in place. Trim fabric to match pattern and set pattern aside. You should have a piece of fabric that measures 12 inches wide by 34 inches long.   Quilters take note:  you can use your quilting ruler, rotary cutter, and cutting mat to quickly cut out your bag.
3.  Fold fabric in half from end to end with right sides together.  The crease forms the bottom of the bag.  Stitch one long side bottom to top, using 1/4 inch seam allowance.
4.  Using a straight pin, mark the second long side at 1 1/4 inches from the top.  Measure 1/2 inch down from the pin and place another pin.  This little gap is a “no sew zone” that will form the casing that will contain the bag’s drawstring.  Now sew the second side from the bottom to the pin using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Back-stitch, lift the needle, and cut the thread.  Resume stitching at the second pin (leaving a 1/2 inch gap) and sew to the top of the bag.  
5.  You now have an inside-out bag.  Roll top down 1/4 inch and press with a hot iron.  Fold down 3/4 inch and press again.  Now carefully stitch right along the edge of the hem all the way around the bag.  Turn bag right side-out.
6.  To make drawstring for bag, cut a length of yarn about 32 inches long.  Fasten a safety pin to one end of yard, tying a knot to secure it, and move it through the casing at the top of the bag.  Remove safety pin by untying or snipping the knot off.  Pull ends even and tie in a knot. You now have a Muslin Stock Bag! * Care of Muslin Stock Bag: After emptying the contents of the stock bag into compost, turn bag inside out and scrape any loose particles free.  Rinse and toss into the washing machine.  Wash in warm or hot water with detergent, no fabric softener.  Tumble dry low in the dryer or line dry.  Fold stock bag away in your dish towel drawer and it will be ready for its next use.

For Bread or Produce Bag: 1/3 yard cotton print (for bread or produce bag) plastic produce bag paper grocery bag basic sewing supplies:  scissors, straight pins, iron, sewing machine, thread 1 1/8 inch x 34 inch strip of fabric (selvage works well) Follow directions given above for Stock Bag through step 5.   6.   Make a fabric drawstring.  Mist 1 1/8 inch x 34 inch strip of fabric with water.  Fold long edges to the center and press with hot iron to crease.  Or use a binding tool, pressing with a hot iron as you pull it through.  Zigzag stitch the entire length of the strip.  Fasten a safety pin to one end of the drawstring and move it through the casing at the top of the bag.  Remove safety pin.  Pull ends even and tie in a knot.  You now have a completed Fabric Bread or Produce Bag!

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