Hey there, Amy here. August is stash busting/zero waste month over here at Closet Core HQ (see our tutorial on reusable produce bags) and in my case as a mom, it's also the dreaded back-to-school time. My son's school is very (how do you say... progressive??) and so zero-waste, low impact lunching is very much part of their mandate. After looking around the internet for some plastic-free reusable snack bags as an alternative to Ziploc bags I was met with the inevitable sewist's conclusion: I can make them! Even better, we have lots of waterproof scraps laying around (Kelly Anorak anyone?) so we didn't even need to buy anything for this tutorial.
These are so easy to make that I would recommend batching them. You can leave them in your purse, car or desk and always have some on hand. Depending on the fabric you choose (definitely something machine washable!) you can also leave them to dry in your dish rack and never be without. Another note on fabric: just make sure whatever you choose is food safe (ie: not scotch guarded). Beyond that though, we tried nylon, denim, muslin and a performance fabric for rain coats. Depending on how big you make then, these would also make great little travel bags for makeup wipes or wet bathing suits too. We will be using them in the coming months and see what fabric combo ends up getting the most use.
MATERIALS FOR REUSABLE ZIPLOC BAGS
- Nylon/cotton fabric scraps
- Polyester thread
- Non-adhesive velcro
- Wonder Tape
- Heavy duty machine needle (if using thick fabric)
In order to have a 4.5" x 6" finished baggie, start with rectangles that are 6.5" x 11.5". For each snack bag, cut two layers of fabric. You can use the same fabric both times but we lined them with different colours; in all three of our examples I used the most waterproof fabric as the liner fabric.
To start, match the right sides together and sew around three sides at 1/4" (leaving a short side open).
Trim your corners and turn inside out using a point turning tool.
Press the seams flat using the hottest iron setting your fabric will allow (test first!) If your fabric won't withstand ironing (ie: a laminated fabric) you can finger press. Turn under the raw edge of the open side at 5/8" and press.
If you are using a plastic fabric that can't be ironed you can use wonder clips to keep everything in place.
Now it's time to add the velcro. I tried the adhesive kind first and it really gummed up the needle on the machine so I tried using a strip of Wonder Tape to hold non-sticky velcro in place until I could stitch it. It worked like a dream! Put the hook side on the top/inside of what will be your finished bag, along the open side. Your stitching will also close the bag.
Topstitch around all sides of the velcro, double checking that you are going through both fabrics and the velcro for the top line of stitching. This is where using a heavier duty needle is a good idea if you are using thick fabric.
To add the loop side of the velcro, fold your bag up and mark where your existing velcro matches up on the outside of the bag. You want to make sure that when the bag is closed there is no extra space between the closed velcro and the lip of the bag. We didn't do this the first time and pistachios flew everywhere when we did a shake test! The top of the loop side of velcro ended up being 1/2" from the edge but just double check before you sew it down to save yourself the mess.
Once you have the tape in place, repeat the topstitching step.
Finally, flip the bag up and stitch the two sides of the baggie together. Make sure you backstitch thoroughly at the beginning and end of your seam as it will be getting lots of stress as you rip it open to eat your delicious snacks! HANGRY RIPPING!!!
And that's it! Can you believe it??! I know. So easy...
Heather keeps the office fully stocked with snacks so making this tutorial was delicious as well as productive...
Would you make your own reusable snack bags? It's a bit of work at the beginning but it's so nice to be able to use these instead of knowing my kids are throwing away ziploc bags every day. How do you try to reduce lunch waste?