Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reusable sandwich/ snack bag tutorial

I've fiddle diddled with making reusable snack bags. I've made them in a few different sizes and different ways. Initially they were just unlined cloth, but I wanted something that was easier to clean and that could hold some "wetter" foods like fruit without making the bag gross. I got some ideas from other tutorials out there and came up with this.

Since I was going to cut and sew up several of these and since I don't like measuring and cutting fabric.. I grabbed a piece of foam core board and made a template. My final size on these bags is around 6 1/2" x 7", so my template is 13 1/2" x 7 1/2".

Another short cut/ cheat method is to use fat quarters. I tend to grab several coordinating packs when they are 50% off. I've had these since last summer. I am able to get three bags out of each fat quarter with enough leftover to actually make a small one that would be perfect for a little treat like m&m's or skittles. A little built-in portion control! I stacked 4 fat quarters, placed my template on top and cut through all layers. Made quick work of cutting and resulted in several cuts of fabric all at once! I folded the nylon over and cut it in the same fashion.

Then I went over to my  sewing machine, put one piece of fabric with one piece of nylon, right sides together, and using 1/4" seam allowance, sewed the short ends, . (hard to see here in the pic, but each short end is sewn shut and the long ends are open).

I took them over to the ironing board and flipped them right sides out.

The ends sort of puff up, so I pressed the seams down on the fabric side (NOT the nylon side!). 

Even though I don't believe in ironing many things, it's much easier to finish these when you have a nice flat piece to work with.

A nice pile of pressed bags, ready to be finished. So, back to the machine!

Cut your velcro 1/2"ish shorter than the width of your bag. Okay, so I used the sticky back velcro. I do suppose sew-on is the "right" way to go, but I'm such a rebel... and I have a whole box of this stuff. I believe you don't have to sew this down, but I want these to hold up and last, so I do. You actually place the velcro on the nylon side, so let's go to the next picture. (It was easier to show you the width against the dark fabric than it would have been on the white nylon side).

Okay, so here is where I start with the different options. You choose what you like best and do it. 
** Keep in mind that by sewing on top of the sticky  back velcro, you can almost bet that you will have some issues eventually and may even bend or break a needle (since the gunk from the sticky velcro can build up on the needle). This won't be a problem for one or two bags, but if you are planning on doing several you really may want to use the sew on velcro or not do Option #1.

Option #1. Sew a line at the top of your velcro strip.

Then sew along the bottom edge of the velcro. Go down and do the same for the other piece that is at the opposite end.

Fold the sack in half, right sides together, lining up the top edges. 

Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew down the sides from the velcro to the bottom.

Clip the corners carefully.

Flip the bag, right sides out.

Encase the raw edges inside by sewing down each side again using a slightly bigger than 1/4" seam allowance. 

 PS- this is how I know about the possibility of bending a needle... But, I'm such a rebel that it doesn't stop me from continuing on with the sticky back tape! Ha!

Here is the inside. It is completely lined with nylon and there are no raw edges.

Option #2. Use a wide zig-zag down the middle of your velcro strip. I figured this would cause less needle issues and also may look cool. 

I like it. But, it seemed like it needed more, so I ended up stitching a straight line at the top edge of the bag and right under the velcro. So, more stitching in the end, but less stitching on the actual velcro. Confused?....

Since the nylon is slippery, you may end up with some uneven edges like this. No problem, just trim them off and square it up. 

Like so.

Because I'm me, I forgot to change my machine over to the widest zig zag so this one came out shorter, but looked good as well. So, there's another option. 

This made me happy. I was eating a package (yes, the WHOLE package, don't judge- I'm due in 2 weeks) of Dark Chocolate M&M's and thought they were all gone. But then I noticed some colorful happiness next to my machine and wha?!?! 4 little guys waiting for me! Yay!


  1. This is by far the easiest tutorial for these bags I've seen. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Happy first day of Kindergarten to my first born...I am all excited to make a bunch of these. Yes - thanks for the wonderful tutorial - I have just googled and visited over 20 sites and this is the best. Thank you!

  3. i just made 4 of these and i'm a beginner sewer. easy and quick! thank you!

  4. I just whipped up 4 of these bad boys and your tutorial was so easy to follow! They will be used heavily on a cruise next week. Thanks so much!


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