2.18.2009

Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial


I'm trying to clear out a cabinet to make room for the new little one's clothes - and that means finally getting rid of some excess fabric.  I decided to make these simple little snack bags, which make a nice alternative to disposable bags.  (Updated 7/24/2011:   This pattern is for a lined bag. If you want a bag with no lining, just hem the short edges, then follow the instructions from step 4 on.)

I thought it would be super easy, just like a zipper pouch or something. But it took me an afternoon of reassembling the pieces to figure out an easy way to put them together than didn't require any complicated turning or handstitching. I finally figured out what I thought must be the simplest method of putting them together, and put together a little tutorial for you. It really is easy, it's just easier when someone else maps it out for you! Instructions are below, but the pdf has lots of helpful pictures.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TUTORIAL

Materials
scrap sizes of fabric
equal size piece liner fabric

hook and loop tape
scissors, thread, pins
sewing machine


Instructions






These instructions are for a lined snack bag. If you want to make a bag without a liner, just hem the short edges, then follow the instructions from step 4 on.
Instructions
1. Cut your two different fabric scraps into two equally sized rectangles. You may use a ziplock bag as a reference, or just whatever size your scrap will allow. Make sure the rectangle is twice as long as the bag because you will be folding it in half.
2. Right sides facing, sew a short end of the rectangles together. Repeat this with the opposite end.
3. Now turn the rectangles right side out. Iron the seams flat.
4. Cut a length of hook and loop tape about 1/2” shorter than the seam. Then, position the hook tape centered just below the seam on the inside of your bag and topstitch in place around the edges of your tape. Repeat this with the loop tape on the opposite end.

5. Fold the rectangle in half, with the inside (the side with the hook and loop tape) out. Line up your top seams and pin in place.
6. Stitch down both sides of the rectangle with a 1/4” seam allowance, and neatly trim any threads or rough edges.
7. Turn the bag right side out, closing the hook and loop tape. If you don’t care about raw edges, you could stop here. Or take it one step farther and top stitch down both sides, encasing the raw edges inside this new seam.
 

Ta da! Easy peasy!
 

Feel free to sell items made from this pattern, but please share a link back to me!




Made some? I'd love to see! Add it to the wewilsons pattern pool.

81 comments:

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh this is great! I SO need to make a bunch of these for hiking and my husband's lunches. Thanks so much for the pdf! I'll be linking as well.

Meg W. said...

Awesome!!! That's so inventive!!! I think I'm going to do something similar!

Vone said...

great idea - I think I would put a zipper in. I can just imagine my 3 year old pulling on the velcro and spilling Gold Fish all over the back seat of the car :)

Katie said...

What a great idea, thanks for figuring it all out for me and for sharing the pattern with clear directions. I've got little odds and ends that this'll be perfect for.

Kyle and Lesley said...

Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea. I am so excited to put this to use! thanks for being willing to share it!

dyedinthewool said...

Great tutorial - nice, clear photos and good step-by-step instructions. Thanks for sharing it. (seen on Whip-Up blog)

Alicia said...

this looks so easy and right up my alley! Thanks for sharing! I will be sending this to my other green moms!

Toiling Ant said...

I.love.it. Will totally use this for almonds, crackers, etc. PERFECT.

mary said...

I've made a few of these in a little different way but used velcro as well. They work great! I just used canvas rather than PUL and actually cut the velcro in half to help it stretch a little further. Great tutorial!

CakesMix said...

Adds to *make this* list. Thanks for sharing!

gardienne said...

These are very cute! Please forgive my silly question but I'm assuming that you would just throw these in the washing machine? Any tips on that? Cold water?
Thanks!

Laura said...

Great question, gardienne! They are machine washable - PUL washes fine, although I think it is recommended to not use fabric softener to maintain the waterproof-ness.

I think canvas is a great idea, too, Mary! Certainly any other fabrics should have no trouble in the washing machine.

Karen Miller said...

I tried to sew sticky Velcro once and it was a big mess. I ended up doing it by hand. Is there a specific type of Velcro I should buy? I see you say sticky and soft, is that a type or just descriptive? Or if there aren't different kinds, what kind of needle did you use?

Thanks and great project! I hope to make some!

-Karen

Laura said...

Karen - when I said "sticky" and "soft" I was just referring to the side with hooks and the side without.

I have also tried to sew with the stick on velcro before, and yeah - that was a mess!

I actually used Aplix brand velcro because that's what I had for cloth diapers - very strong and durable. But I think the regular (not stick on kind) of Velcro would work fine, too.

Amanda @ www.kiddio.org said...

What a fantastic idea! I can add it to my list of reusable grocery and produce sacks to make :)

best,
Amanda @ www.kiddio.org / www.housemade.org

Stef said...

What is PUL? I'd love to make some of these, but haven't figured out what to use as a liner. Thanks, Stef

Laura said...

Stef, PUL is polyurethane laminated fabric which is used for making waterproof cloth diapers - by no means necessary for these snack bags (I just wanted to find a use for my scraps!).

You can find PUL or similar fabrics (oilcloth or cotton laminate) at most fabric stores. Or you could try putting a used chip bag in between two layers of cotton as your waterproof layer. I saw that talked about here:

http://tinychoices.com/2008/09/04/diy-reusable-sandwich-wrapper/

Geek+Nerd said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I might make a few of these as Christmas presents :)

Meg said...

I love these reusable bags and the idea of using a zipper. I hope to be able to make some soon.

Until then I plan to highlight your blog and the tutorial at onourwayonline.com as a great Friday Find this Friday, February 27th.

Please email me at meg@onourwayonline.com if I can have permission to use your image and provide you with a button stating the Friday Find status.

~Meg
onourwayonline.com

Anna said...

This is fantastic. I mean you can go green with reusable container, but only so many will fit in a lunchbox. These are much better than plastic baggies, cuter too.

Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista said...

This is fantastic! Thank you! Now I do not know much about diaper fabric...do you just rinse them out in the sink? How do you wash yours?

Suze said...

I actually saw similar bags and wondered if I could make them. Thank you for showing me how.

Molly said...

just wanted to tell you that i posted the bags i made using your tutorial and linked your post. thank you so much for sharing!

Chic Cookies said...

So great! I posted a link, too, on my edible crafts column (ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com). Thanks for sharing! meaghan

Anonymous said...

May I post your article and photo? email me at erobins@ioniacounty.org - it would be on my Resource Recovery Website at www.ioniacounty.org/resource-recovery under teh Triple R Fun section. Thanks! -Elizabeth

amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amanda said...

Hi there!

I'm the managing editor of GreenCraft Magazine, the newest magazine
from the publisher of Artful Blogging, Altered Couture and Stuffed: A
Gathering of Softies. The vision for GreenCraft is to provide a variety of
projects that are made from recycled materials and are environmentally friendly, functional and of course, chic.
I'd love to talk to you about your work and the possibilities of featuring
it in the premier issue of GreenCraft. Please e-mail me back:

I look forward to hearing from you,
Amanda Crabtree
acrabtree [at] stampington.com

Tracie said...

I've been looking for a way to make reusable snack bags and these are perfect!

Thank you for posting how to make these :)

Bubblegum109 said...

Thanks for the tutorial, I've made these, fantastic - will link back from my blog x

Bethany said...

my friend and I tried our hand at making these awesome bags -- super cool! oooh, we used sticky velcro too -- what a MESS on the sewing needle! The bigger problem we has was feeding the PUL through the machine on step five. What a mess! What are we doing wrong? The PUL should be on the inside in the end, right? So on step 5, the PUL should be out, right? How did you get it to go through without getting stuck? Either way, GREAT tutorial.
Thanks, Bethany and Claudia

CandCFamily said...

These look great and I love how you did your tutorial, very helpful!

Jedda said...

thanks! I've been wanting to make some of these!

Shannon said...

Oh my! I found this off of The Long Thread and I have been searching high and low for a reusable snack back, i get so sick of the ziploc bags, and clunky containers, this is FABULOUS! thanks for the tutorial, can't wait to whip up a batch!

nu foxie mami said...

where can I purchase PUL? I was going to order some on Etsy but now I can just make it!!!

Laura said...

Nu foxie mami, I bought my PUL and other diaper making supplies at VeryBaby.com .

CCC (Crazy Cooking Camper) said...

Thank you for the great tutorial. I linked it at PassiFlora magazine (we had a post about reusable lunch bags) http://passifloramag.com/2009/04/money-saving-and-lunch-bags/

mamabeck said...

Thank you for the tute! Awesome idea for those little scraps of leftover PUL!

Great family site as well!

Jeanie said...

Thank you so much for this pdf! I don't have a sewing machine but I downloaded your tutorial to give to my quilting mother-in-law to make a few for our son.

Thank you so very much for sharing!

Jeanie

Natalie = said...

This is so useful! We carry a bunch of reusable snack and sandwich bags at the e-commerce company I work for- reusablebags.com - but I love the idea of making my own!

mamapensees said...

Bethany and Claudia--to keep the laminated side of the PUL from "sticking" while you sew, the normal recommendation is to put the laminated ("shiny") side down, against the feed dogs. If you're working with two layers of PUL, though, you need to provide a way for the "top piece" to slide past the presser foot. A Teflon foot (the bottom of the presser foot has a piece of Teflon on it; you can also buy Teflon pads to apply to an existing presser foot) or a roller foot (like those used for quilting) work great, but if you don't have those specialty feet (both can be expensive!), what I do is put a layer of tissue paper between the PUL and the presser foot. Really cheap 1-ply toilet paper works great. The tissue doesn't "grab" the presser foot, so the PUL will sew smoothly and evenly. After you sew the seam, just rip the paper away. :)

MicheleG said...

I made some of these long before I found your site and they work great. I didn't however use PLU fabric, just an inside and outside layer of some cute cotton scraps I had left over from a previous project. They wash well in the washing machine. I'm not sure how you would wash a liner made from a chip bag. Looks like it would rip in the machine and melt in the dishwasher? Anyway this is a great idea and a very easy and useful project.

Anonymous said...

My friend and I have started making a similar product for the sewing challenged! Check out www.mymamaluvs.com We use drawstring or velcro depending on your demands! They are dishwasher/washing machine safe! Love them! Mama Luvs saving the planet and taking care of our kids! :)

The Hoffer Family said...

This is great, but PLU is not food safe.

The Hoffer Family said...

Excuse me, PUL.

Valency said...

Hi, great tutorial, thanks! I made 3 today and found a few changes that others might like.

*I cut the Velcro 1" shorter than the opening, so I can keep it out of both the seam and the topstiching.

*Also, when I attached the Velcro, I kept it away from the top edges of the fabric a bit, so my kids have some fabric to hold when they're ripping it open. I only did it a little (1/8") on the ones I just did, but I'll make it even a little deeper (3/8") on my next ones. (I will also plan on a deeper seam allowance there, to give the Velcro those extra layers of support still.)

Thanks for the neat tutorial!

kristy said...

Hey thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for! Yay!

Anonymous said...
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ghi said...
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ghi said...
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Julie said...

I just made one of these and it turned out really well! The pdf was very easy to follow and the photos helped a lot. Thank you!

Lorrie said...

What is PUL?

Laura said...

Lorrie, PUL is polyurethane laminated fabric which is used for making waterproof cloth diapers - by no means necessary for these snack bags (I just wanted to find a use for my scraps!).

You can find PUL or similar fabrics (oilcloth, vinyl, or cotton laminate) at most fabric stores. Or you could try putting a used chip bag in between two layers of cotton as your waterproof layer. I saw that talked about here:

http://tinychoices.com/2008/09/04/diy-reusable-sandwich-wrapper/

Lorrie said...

Thank you Laura for answering me so fast. I do have a lot of oil cloth that I have used to make reusable bags.
You have a great blog and I am going to subscribe to it!

Sally said...

This is my first time to your blog... just popped by to check it out after seeing Gina @ Clutterpunk's snack bags.
What a brilliant idea... and it was been added to my "to do" list immediately (but as the list is very long it may take me a while to get there!)
I'm going to spend some time now loitering at your blog checking out all your other amazing ideas :)

6p01156f83592b970c said...

I found your tutorial through sew mama sew! I just made four of them to go with a lunch box I made for Christmas. Your method is easy and quick to make. Thanks so much!

rObrak said...

That's cool though you might love the idea of the stainless steel tiffin container that I found. Its really flexible, it has many uses, you can use it as your cooking pot, your food storage, your packed lunch buddy, etc. You can check it out at Happy Tiffin site they offer reusable tiffin containers, insulated tiffin bags that are eco-friendly, durable, portable and safe. Perfect for camping trip, office use, school use, tour, etc.

Brittany said...

These are great and were fun and easy to make. I posted a picture of my "Dotted Snack Bags" on your page, since they were made from your tutorial :).

The only thing I might add would be to turn the edges in before sewing the bag together. It gives it a nice smooth edge, if that's what you're looking for. THANKS for the great idea!

Anonymous said...

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isayiamhere.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

This is sooo cool. if any one would like to see more of this kind of stuff please check out;

isayiamhere.blogspot.com

Mary said...

Thank you SO much! I've bought several of these from Etsy sellers and have had SO much trouble recreating them (without, as you mentioned, a bunch of complicated turns and stitches and stuff). Now I'm addited to your blog :).

cmthornsberry said...

I love reusable snack and sandwich bags, use them all the time!!! thanks so much for the tutorial, I will have to try to make them myself. However I recently found an inexpensive seller of really cute bags, if you are wanting them but not that great with sewing check out
melssells.etsy.com

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm looking for an alternative to using ziploc bags in our fridge for things like half an onion, opened cheese, etc. Any ideas for how to make these cute snack bags work for that?

Jamie said...

This is so great! Thanks you. Can't wait to make some. Just found your blog today and am now going to follow. Thanks again. Jamie

Jenny said...

hi! Found this post by searching "reusable sandwich bag pattern" hehe. I sort of followed it here: http://jennyinohio.blogspot.com/2010/04/seeeeeew-good-reusable-sandwich-bag.html.

As it states in my blog, my brain was a bit mush so I didn't follow all the way, but I do plan on following for real soon!:)

Amy said...

I'm trying this today, lining it with pieces from a vinyl tablecloth I was going to get rid of!
~Amy @ www.thecheapandchoosy.blogspot.com

Ask Netfah from JO Fabrics said...

Love the idea! Well put together tutorial as well. Kinda like the idea of a velcro closure better than zipper, but can see security from spills it offers toddlers. Wondered how fairs in keeping food cool in hot weather. Don't remember if that was addressed. For really cool themed prints, check out www.jofabrics.com novelty cotton section. Great selection for children and adults! Thanks for the sharing.

MissMary said...

loooooove this! great way to use scraps, great way to make my hippy coworkers smile at me (haha--i love them so!), so glad sew, mama, sew! linked me up to ya'll! :-) thanks a bunch!

Steph said...

Thanks! I love it and will have to try it out soon. I posted this on my blog, stylesimpler@blogspot.com referencing your original post and linking it back to you.

Haylee said...

These are really cute! I especially love the floral one. I'm definitely going to be making these. Thanks for sharing how to make them!

Melissa said...

Like another comment mentioned, PUL is NOT food safe. It should NOT be used for the bag lining. Rip stop nylon is considered food safe and can be found at local fabric stores. Also, muslin is another safe alternative for the bag lining. I would hate for people to think they are "going green" while using potentially harmful material for their food storage.

Doc Elle said...

Love these little bags! And I thought of several different uses for bags made from your instructions: 1. Cat toy: Put in rice and catnip. The hook-and-loop allows for refreshing the herb. 10 seconds in the microwave and the kitties love it. 2. Put in lavender, rose petals and other wonderful smelling botanicals with a little essential oil of your choice. Makes a great sachet for your dresser drawers. 3. Make it a bit larger and use terry cloth or microfiber. Insert a re-freezable ice pack for to use on sore muscles or other bumps and ouchies.

Anna M. said...

Thank you so much for this.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE how easy you made this (and such a great quality tutorial too). Thank you so much I've been trying to find a way to do these easily.

Anonymous said...

This is a great tutorial... I just got some fabric for my 2 DD and some rip stop nylon... I was looking for an easy way to combine this. Thanks!

danielle said...

could u you just use a plastic
table colth

Susie Q said...

Doc Elle, what great other uses. I recently saw an article on iron-on vinyl so I am going to look into that. We clean and re-use ziploc bags anyway, but it is hard to get youngest to bring them home again!

Mrs. H said...

Great tutorial! I found you via google and am linking this post to my current blog post. I aim to tackle this project today - hopefully!

Anonymous said...

I bought a set of those not sure what to call them, that hold your glasses in a glasses case. you press the ends between forefinger and thumb and it opens. I might give it a go. great idea thanks for sharing. Now looking at it more for a child as they are quite small.

Thread Riding Hood said...

I've been using this tutorial for a couple of years - it is amazing (really)! Thanks for taking so much time to think of how to construct it! It is the fastest and easiest one I have found online as yet. I've posted it on my blog here: http://threadridinghood.com/wordpress/made-by-me-monday-reusable-snack-bag-review/ and added a few of my own ideas. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried PEVA? It is shower curtain material that we make sandwich wrappers.

Sherri Sylvester said...

Thanks so much, I have used your tutorial over and over again! It is by far the best reusable bag tutorial that I have found. Amazingly quick! I've added this to my recent fat quarter project roundup. sherri@threadridinghood.com http://bit.ly/1aSrCu2