The thing is, once I started looking at ideas and researching fabric possibilities, it all got kind of complicated. The pattern, not so much, but you would not believe all the controversy out there over which fabrics should or should not touch your food. I am not going to make you suffer through the hours I spent reading these bitter online discussions. Instead, I'll give you a link to the one site that seemed to sum them all up and from there you can make your own choices, like I did.
I went with cotton prints for the outside and rip-stop nylon for the inside (with the shiny, coated side away from the food).
But I also sort of made up my own pattern just like I always do. I knew I did not want velcro closure on them like the majority of the ones sold out there have. Why you ask?
Picture this: there's a 35 year old woman sitting in a class room with maybe 20 other students, 90% of which are about 25 or so and none of which have children or had to get up a some ridiculous hour so they could commute 2 hours to get to class in the first place. This woman decides to reach into her bag and pull out a snack to try and keep her brain functioning for the duration of the 3 hours she needs to sit there. Do you think she is going to rip open a super loud velcro sandwich bag, thereby attracting all sorts of unwanted attention? Or do you think she will sit there for the next 2 hours thinking about the food in that bag and how it is so close, but just out of reach?
Right. No velcro.
First I tried using buttons and a hair tie to make a closure. That worked in theory, but not in practice. The bags just wouldn't have stayed closed unless they were totally full. So then I realized that they really didn't need to "seal," they just needed to keep the food in not let in much air.
So I just made it like a regular, pre-ziploc, totally old-school, fold over sandwich bag. And it works. Perfectly.
Here is one of the bags with the top folded open. You just fold it back over itself to close.
All I did was cut 2 pieces of the cotton fabric and 2 of the rip-stop nylon at 7" x 8.5". With right sides facing and a quarter inch seam (I am a quilter, y'all), I sewed around both long edges and one short edge (basically making a pocket). I clipped the corners. Then I turned the nylon pocket so that the "inside" part was now facing out and inserted it into the cotton pocket (so the right sides of both were together). I aligned the top edge and sewed around it, again with a quarter inch seam, leaving a couple inches open to turn the fabric. I then turned the fabrics and realigned the nylon pocket inside of the cotton one. Then I topstitched twice along the top edge of the bag. The last step is to fold the top of your pocket down, roughly about 2 inches (I eye-balled it every time) and stitch the edges down as close to the edges of the pocket as possible.
It's a little tricky trying to figure out which side of the nylon is the coated side. It's the side that is shinier. With the black fabric it was fairly obvious, but I could only tell with the orange fabric when it was held to sunlight. You can also feel a difference between the two sides (the coated side feels more like plastic, while the uncoated side feels like fabric).
By the way, I went to JoAnn's for the fabric. Not exciting in and of itself, BUT that was officially the last time I will be going there until October. Why? I'm so glad you asked!
Because I am a...
I will be participating in Stashbusting September, hosted by Robin over at The T-Shirt Diaries. That means that for the entire month of September, all the lovely crafts I will be making and sharing with you will be made entirely from my current stash of fabrics and supplies. You can get all the specific rules, if you follow the link (buying craft supplies for business use is permitted). And other than the stuff I bought for this particular project, I did not go out and start stocking up on supplies. That means that sometime in the next week or two, when I get around to making some reusable lunch totes, they'll be made out of my stash.
I'm actually pretty excited about it, because I've sort of been doing that already all summer (with not quite as strict rules, of course). Any challenge that encourages me to buy less is a good one in my book. I promise I will resist the temptation to use all of those lovely coupons that JoAnn and her friends send me every couple week. For the entire month of September.
So. Do you think your stash can handle the challenge?
Well, I'm off to go make some more sandwich bags. I need to make a big pile of them because not only are both my husband and I packing lunches these days, but one of us can only remember to bring home those bags about once a week. I love him anyway. :)