Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial

I'm so excited to share this tutorial today! I am a huge fan of reusable snack and sandwich bags, and these are super easy to make. My requirements for these were that they be simple and healthy (this is sort of my mantra for life!). I didn't want closures (velcro, snap) that add time, expense, hassle of finding materials, and would potentially wear out. And I was a little weary of coated fabrics. I don't know what's in the waterproof fabrics, and I don't want them next to my food if they're controversial. These are made from cotton quilting fabric (you can use organic if you wish) and have self-closing flaps. Machine washable, quick-drying. Simple, easy, cheap. Even a novice can make these. You'll need:
  • Fabric: This is a great project for scraps, or 1/4 yd of two coordinating fabrics is enough to make 3 snack size bags
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Ruler
  • Awl
    (optional)
First, cut rectangles in two coordinating fabrics. You can definitely use the same fabric for both rectangles–in that case, the lining would be the same as the outside. I made three different sizes. Here are the dimensions:

Sandwich (7"x8" finished size): cut 16" x 9"
Snack (5"x6" finished size): cut 12" x 7"
Mini (4"x4" finished size): cut 5" x 10"

If you want a different size, here is the formula to use for determining the size to cut your rectangles (all lengths in inches):
Cut height = (finished height x 2) + 2"
Cut width = finished width + 1"

Next, pin your rectangles right sides facing. Sew around the perimeter (1/4" seams), leaving a 2" space unsewn along one of the long edges. Backstitch both ends. You might want to double-pin on either side of your gap to remind you to stop when you are sewing.




Clip your corners, being careful not to cut into your seam.


Turn your rectangle right-side out through the hole you left in the seam. You might use an awl
to get crisp corners. Press.

You now have a rectangle with a hole as shown below.

Lay your rectangle flat with the lining side facing up. Take one of the short ends and fold it over towards the other short end until it is about 1 1/2" from the other short edge.


Now fold the other short edge on top of the edge you just folded. It should look like an envelope flap. The ends should overlap at least an inch, and the edge underneath should reach all the way to the fold.


Pin along the edges as shown below, and stitch along each side edge, backstitching each end. Try to get very close to the end (approx. 1/8" seams) Your thread will show on both sides, so choose colors accordingly.






Voila! Done. Make lots of them and you'll never need a plastic baggie again!
If you have a blog and make some, please share the link in the comments. I'd love to check yours out!





42 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I must try these! I love the idea of reusable baggies. Thanks for the tutorial!

    Morgan @ PDB

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  2. Oh my goodness these are SO cute and EASY!! THANKS!!!

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  3. I've been trying to figure out which material to use to make these as well-- it sounds like other options may keep your food fresh for a longer period. How have your snacks held up with cotton?

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  4. Whats happens when the moisture in the food is absorbed into the cloth ?

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    1. We haven't really had a problem, and they are machine washable. I did use a dark fabric for the lining, so I don't have to worry about stains.

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    2. I was thinking that in between the two layers of fabric you could possibly put a piece of plastic to stop leakage? Would that work? You'd still be able to wash them, just have to lay flat to dry. I might try it! Plastic baggies are my worst enemy!

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  5. I made these today! Thanks so much for such a simple and pretty pattern.
    If you want to see how mine turned out, I put pics on my blog.
    http://hendersoneats.blogspot.com/2012/04/palm-sunday.html
    I'm a terrible seamstress but luckily your pattern was super easy to follow. Thanks!

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    1. Oh my gosh, yours turned out so cute! I LOVE them!! Thanks for sharing your photos and for linking back to my tutorial.

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  6. I really ♥ your tutorial, because the top folds down, no velcro, button or zipper! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  7. Great design. Inexpensive to make, too, especially as I have so many quilt scraps...

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  8. awesome tutorial! I just made several for my nephew!! Thank you!!

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  9. So cute!! I'm going to be able to use up some awesome scraps now. Question, could you use a piece of velcro to help hold the top together? Or is that too much?

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    1. Yeah, I'm sure you could. I was just trying to make them with as few materials as possible.

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  10. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for a great tutorial, it's very clearly written.

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  11. Question: Do things stay crisp or soft in these bags? Just wondering if I put my husband's lunch sandwich in one if it will get stale by lunchtime? I love the idea of reusable bags but don't want my food to go bad in them!

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    1. They work great for packed lunches where the food will be eaten the same day you pack it. When I put pretzels or something like that in them and leave them in my purse for a couple days, the pretzels do get stale. I purchased some nylon ones with velcro closures that work great for crisp snacks that might hang around for a couple days in my purse. Look around, as I am completely convinced that there is a reusable option for everything "disposable" that we use.

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  12. if you use rip-stop nylon (you can get it at Joann's) as a lining...it is food safe and you won't have to worry about foods or fabric dye's :)

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  13. great tutorial! I am going to try one and will link up to my blog once I get pictures up I will post a comment. Do you know what type of "nylon" is foodsafe if I wanted to use a different lining?

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    1. I'm sorry–I don't know anything about which fabrics are okay. But can't wait to see yours!

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    2. No worries I love the tutorial! I'm going to try it today :)
      I also added your link to my list of favorite blogs on my blog www.scrapsandstraps.blogspot.com

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  14. Awesome! I don't sew much but I think I can do this!

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  15. I make a similar sandwich bag. I have had great luck using Laminated cotton fabric. It's like oilcloth, but without the PVC, and its food safe. Just throw it in the dishwasher or laundry. I've been using the same bags for 2 yrs now with no problems. I get my Laminated Cotton here : http://www.etsy.com/shop/oilclothaddict

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  16. Here is my first try at it.... Thanks for the help!

    http://scrapsandstraps.blogspot.com/2012/08/go-green-at-lunchtime.html

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  17. I love love love this idea! I'm a beginner sewer and having trouble with the thread bunching up when I am sewing up the sides (last step). I tried adjusting the tension and I get a lot of resistance when I go over the thicker parts of the bag. Any tips? Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Kristen, you might try using a longer stitch length? You can also tug just slightly on the fabric to help the needle get past the thicker parts.

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  18. Kristen- Hand turn your wheel on your machine through the first part of the thicker areas and you shouldn't have that problem.

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  19. This was such a great, easy project! Thanks so much for the excellent directions and helpful pics! I posted a bit about my results here: http://www.mamasmagicstudio.com/blog/back-school-crafts

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  20. Great tutorial! So simple to make and it's really well explained. I made some and shared them on my blog: http://www.familyfeedbag.com/2012/09/reusable-snack-bags.html
    Thanks!!
    Amy
    - FamilyFeedbag.com

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  21. Love this! It's great that you don't need a snap or Velcro! Thank you so much.

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  22. I have made these twice now. The first time I posted them on my blog was in a really long blog post. It's pretty far down in that post, but it's there, I promise. :) http://shutterbuglady.blogspot.com/2012/08/too-much-to-say.html The second time I made them was just tonight. I only did a short post about that so the pic is much easier to find. http://shutterbuglady.blogspot.com/2012/11/more-reusable-sandwich-bags.html Thanks so much for posting this tutorial!

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  23. These look great I was making them with Velcro but yours look easier

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  24. Thanks for the tutorial! I experimented with it on my blog!
    http://crunchygirlplasticworld.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/reusable-snack-bags-surprises-and-results/

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    1. Thanks for sharing! Love your bags. Be careful with plastics though–not all of them are food safe.

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  25. Great tutorial,Thank you. I am making these as a fundraiser for my son's eco-friendly preschool and I was looking for a non-velcro option to make it quicker and less expensive to produce:)

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    1. That is great, Khymn! Sounds like a cool preschool :)

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  26. I just made these today, and they turned out great! Thank you so much for the tutorial! It was easy to follow (even with me being a bit of a beginner) and the bags were easy to make. I did add a small square of Velcro to keep the flap closed. Overall, I really love these!! I wish I had a reason to make more!

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  27. I am a grandma, making these for my grandkids and daughter. What fun!!! I did not realize I could skip the velcro. I like the unique way you have them close, and I will try this on my next batch of bags.

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  28. I just made one in a matter of minutes! It took me longer to decide what fabric to use than to make it. :-) Thank you for a super easy tutorial!! I'm adding these as gifts for birthdays for all the kids in my life.

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  29. This may be a super silly question....but on the sandwich size bag, is it wide enough that your sandwich doesn't get smushed when pulling it out? I suppose I can just make some bigger to accommodate. I usually make my own bread, so the slices are usually wider than "normal" sandwich bread anyways! I just was worried that the opening gets slightly smaller when you fold the top over.

    What a great tutorial! I can wait to make some and use them for work!

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    1. So glad you like my tutorial. I'm not sure if the sandwich size will be right for you, but I did provide directions for calculating dimensions so that you can customize them. Good luck!

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  30. I can't wait to try this! I was just about to buy some bags (and pretty much pay a college tuition for them) so it couldn't have been more perfect timing! I think I'm going to use some t-shirts that I have lying around (I know they'll be a bit flimsier, but I hope the stretch will make up for that!

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