Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reusable Sandwich Bags

This is a project I've been meaning to get around to for a while.  Reusable sandwich bags. 

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.  :)

46 comments:

C.R.A.F.T. said...

what a great idea! thank you for linking up to MMM :)

2miracles/Tove said...

Interesting, i considered something like this and decided muc of the time i need to keep the liquids locked in( i.e. tomatoe or pickle juices.) so I have decided just to have the kid bring home the baggies and rewash them, which I have always done with the plastic bags in my kitchen. Heck my mom did it growing up. But lunch baggies are another story. Wick I could figure out the liquid solution. Thanks for sharing the idea and saving up from the angry websites. I endured some the other night while reading about a type of bento box.

Zibeline Knits said...

Absolutely LOVE this idea! going to make a ton of these! Happy Monday (I think that's an oxymoron)! Already a follower.

www.zibelineknits,blogspot,com

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Very clever idea. I remember trying to open my book bag in the middle of class. I'd rip the velcro apart really slowly so I wouldn't make any noise... it would take like 2 full minutes. Nice thinking!

Eve said...

Oh wow, these are really cool sandwich bags. I love the fabrics you've used :D

How could they not come home, so sad. Maybe make them with clips that attach to .... I have no idea :D

All the best!
Eveshouse.blogspot.com

Brittany said...

THESE are fabulous! I LOVE them! I want one. THIS should be your next giveaway!

Van said...

Love these sandwich bags, so practical! The mushroom material ones are too cute.

Robin said...

I might make some of these bags out of my stash :) thanks for blogging about Stashbusting September!

malia said...

These bags rock... I am totally going to make them. Thanks for the inspiration and directions! Malia
www.yesterdayontuesday.com

Beverly @ FlamingoToes.com said...

What a great idea!! I think I need to make some up for the kids. Now I need to go get some nylon! Thanks for the great idea and tutorial. ;)
~stopping by from All Thingz Related & my Reader.

★All Thingz Related★ said...

These are great! With 2 kids in school, I could use a few of these! Thanks for joining us this week!
{Rebekah}

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Great idea! Love your practicality! I am very impressed. Do you think this might be an easy project for a rebeginning sewer? (I used to sew in jr. high - not so much, hence rebeginner.)

Caroline @ Atelier Caroline said...

Just a quick note to let you know I have nominated you for the beautiful blog award

Check it out here :
http://ateliercaroline.blogspot.com/2010/08/check-out-counter-check-out-award.html

Caroline

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Cecily, you are so funny! Yes, when you said that I pictured in my head an "older" person opening this up in a classroom, sslllooowwly trying to rip open, quietly trying to rip open the velcro! LOL! Also, crumbs might get trapped in the loop side, you know? So I think you did the best job here! Don't you sell these on Etsy?? You certainly should...
Best,
Gloria

JHill said...

That's a smart idea! Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

eye_on_sparrow said...

I love your sandwich bags and I think you have a very good point about the loud velcro closing. I need to check out that article about the types of fabrics that are food safe.

Life in Rehab said...

That's so cool, and so very green!

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

Very cute and I really appreciate that link, I got overwhelmed one night reading the pros/cons and gave up.

Heather said...

I love the fabrics that you've chosen! Get project! Thanks for visiting Dragonfly Designs!

Quiltstory said...

That is such a cute and smart idea, I love it! I'm always using so many baggies, that would be such a better idea! Thanks for linking up, we'll see you next week!

Jess said...

Loving these!! I always feel so guilty every time I throw those little plastic bags away.

Rebecca said...

Great idea! I like how they are simple yet very functional!! Thanks for sharing!

Mandi said...

what a great idea! Too bad they would get "accidently" thrown away in the school lunch trash at my house. Just like my tupperware.... anyways thanks for your kind words about my teacup clock!

love your guts
mandi

Kim said...

You really have a gift for combining creativity, practicality, and attractiveness in your projects. Good luck on your stash "sew down." Thanks for linking, blessings, Kim. I liked your classroom description, too :).

Jingle said...

These look great! I keep saying I'm going to buys some of these, but I just haven't done it yet. Yours are wonderful, though!

Mommy of Monkeyshines said...

I have been wanting to make some of those myself and I just haven't done it yet...Thanks for lighting the fire of inspiration! I am a brand new follower...would love to have you come by for a visit!

Jumping Jack said...

I love the sandwich bags! I'm going to have to make one or two for my son. And I just saw the cutest "foodie" fabrics the other day. I may have to wait until October though, since I'm fixing to check out the stashbusting September blog. Me not buying any more crafting stuff for an entire month is sure to make the hubs happy! HA!

Ginger said...

Great work! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

Your story about not wanting to open a loud velcro bag got me laughing, because once upon a time I did exactly that. Let me tell you EVERYONE noticed! Such a good idea to do a fold over bag☺ Thanks for linking to A Crafty Soiree, I'm Malia's cohostess and I wanted to let you know I think I fixed her button html so it's no longer HUGE. I've got it on my Crafty Soiree post if you want to come by and get it☺

kristie said...

these are great! i am trying to slowly 'green up' our lunch boxes and i want to make something like this. i really appreciate the link regarding fabric choices. i think that's what's holding me back: fear of choosing the safest fabric.

just popping over from sew and tell!

Nina... said...

Great idea, love the fun fabrics you used, really cute!!

p.s.phyllis sews said...

Great work on the baggies! It's a wonder we all grow up with all the dangers around us! SO sorry you had to read all the anger! Ick! Don't people realize what anger does to their blood pressure?!?!?!

pinksuedeshoe said...

How great! And thanks for the link so I don't have to wade through all the anger that is being stored on the internet. Your mushroom bag is my favorite, happy snacking!

Leslie said...

these look great....great job

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing your research and letting us know what works best for you. My son starts school next year and I think I will be packing salads most days. He prefers that to sandwiches. Go figure.

Farah said...

What a sensible great idea, my kids always irritated with hard type lunch boxes, but its cute and practical as well, very much thanks for sharing, its really something work on...

http://craftaworld.blogspot.com/

You can check me there ...Love

Lorie said...

A great idea and so much cuter that a ziplock! Thanks for linking up to Show and Tell Saturday!

Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

This is beautiful. I am hosting a 50 dollar CSN Giveaway on my blog. I would love for you to stop by. Thanks Anu!

Haylee said...

How fun. I love the idea.

Jenn Erickson said...

Cecily, I looooove these! Incredible! Mind if I link this post up to my "Back to School" linky? The post isn't at the forefront these days, but I've been surprised to see in my Stats that it's still getting a lot of reads. Your project is one of the best and most worthwhile back-to-school related projects I've seen! Best, Jenn

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

Please join me tomorrow for A Crafty Soiree again, you're one of my three featured participants☺

justtherightangle said...

I love this! As a teacher, I watch my students go through tons of plastic bags- this is such a great, cost-effective alternative!

Marjorie said...

I'm a follower and I'd like to win this quilt so that I have an excuse to give it to someone and not actually have to make something :)
That counts as 2 entries..right?;)

Anne K. said...

Love the bags and the sensible approach -- I recently mentioned the vitriolic sandwich bag discussions on my podcast - my choice for a reusable sandwich wrap was the one with the waxy/plastic liner from a cereal bag. Working great so far -- the best of all, a lot less to toss in the trash can!

Jenn Erickson said...

Hi Cecily, I was wondering if you'd be willing to share this post as a guest-post during my Back to School series during the week of Aug. 1 -7? Let me know if you're interested. Thanks!

Jenn

Jen @ Domesticated Nomad said...

I love the way they look and I love the idea of a reusable bag. The trouble I wonder with all that I have seen is the cleaning process? Do you through them in the wash? Do you have to hand wash? I also wonder is it hard to get them clean? I know I will overcome these issues of mine because I hate how many plastic baggies we are throwing away each year.