Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snack Bags.


I have been trying to reduce the waste my family creates in the kitchen over the last year.

One easy and inexpensive change we have made is to pack lunches that generate no waste.  

I have made a handful of snack bags that we use in place of plastic baggies.  They are very easy to make and don't require much at all.  I am no expert seamstress and this is an easy project to whip out in 20 minutes.

Materials needed:
- Cotton fabric and nylon fabric of equal sizes.  You can use any size you please.  I tend to prefer about 6 inches x 8-12 inches, depending on what I plan to use the bag for.  You can measure a plastic bag you prefer to use to copy those dimensions or create your own!
- Velcro
- Pins
- Thread

A few notes:
- I have made many of my snack bags out of upcycled fabrics.  I have used t-shirts, scraps of muslin, fabric scraps I have not used to completion...anything you want.  It does not have to be cotton, but you do want it to be something that is safe for food to be stored in.
- You will find many snack bags with a PUL interior.  This has not been adequately studied to ensure it is safe for food storage.  Although waterproof, I would not line my bags with PUL.
- Water resistant ripstop nylon is safe for dry foods to be stored in.

To make:

- Cut your cotton and nylon into equally sized rectangles.  Again, I often like mine to be about 6 inches x 10 inches, but you can vary that as you please!

- Pin the fabrics together, right sides facing, and sew across the short ends.

- Turn the fabrics right side out.

- Cut the velcro to make it about a half inch shorter than the short seam you just sewed.  Pin the soft velcro onto one of the short sides of the nylon.  Pin the rough velcro onto the other short side of the nylon.

- Sew a rectangle around each of the pieces of velcro.  You can even sew around it twice if you are worried about wear and tear. (I have just sewn around mine one time and we have been using them daily for months with no problems.)

- Turn the fabric inside out again and fold in half with your top seams lined up.

- Sew down both sides of the rectangle leaving about a 1/4" seam allowance.

- Turn the fabric right side out again and stitch back down the sides of the rectangle leaving again about a 1/4" seam allowance.  Adding this additional stitch helps the bags to be durable in the long run.  I make sure to sew all the way to the top of the bag, since this is the area that receives the most wear and tear.

And now you have a reusable and cute snack bag!  

A few washing tips:
- We don't necessarily wash our bags daily, but we do dump out any crumbs when we return home with them. 
- When I do wash them, I turn them inside out so that the inside of the bag gets clean (and it doesn't remain sealed with velcro though the wash) and wash it on cold.
- Our bags are holding up perfectly and we love using them!

Happy packing!

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