Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reusable Snack Baggies (Tutorial!)

I've seen reusable snack bags around a lot and I've been wanting to make some for a while now. Last night I finally did! Would you like to make some too? Come along and I'll show you how.

Difficulty level: Mega Easy

-oilcloth (I got mine here.)
-sewing machine
-buttons and hand sewing needle (optional)

Let's get started!

First off, I used the template provided in this great tutorial here. (This tutorial where I got the template from would also be a great alternative for you if you don't have oilcloth on hand. I found the tutorial by searching "reusable snack bags" in the search engine on One Pretty Thing. Thank you!)

So first go and print off your template.

Then cut out your template and tape it together as directed. (I used the snack size since my oilcloth scraps were on the smaller side.)

Lay your template on the back side of your oilcloth and trace around the template with a pencil.

As you can tell from the picture, the piece of oilcloth I was using was shorter than the template called for. I just lined up the top of the template with the top of my oilcloth scrap and made it the length of the scrap. It's just a little snack bag, so it doesn't really matter exactly what size it is, right?

Here's my scrap with the pattern traced onto it.

Cut out your bag shape.

Turn your fabric over so the right side is facing up.

Sew a zigzag stitch across the bottom of your bag. Be sure to back-stitch as you start and finish your stitching.

Be sure to change the stitch setting on your machine back to a regular straight stitch! I forgot to do this a couple of times and had to take out zigzag stitching on my velcro. Oops!

Next, cut a small piece of velcro from both parts of the velcro (the soft side and the scratchy side).

Now, with right sides together, gently fold the top of your bag shape (the part with the curved corners) in half.

Center your velcro on your bag piece. Carefully unfold bag piece with velcro in place. Place a piece of scotch tape over half the velcro to hold it in place while you situate your fabric in your sewing machine.

You can kind of see the tape in this picture. Once you've sewn the first line on your velcro, take off the tape and save it to use again in a minute.

Stitch around the four sides of your velcro and then sew and X through the middle to secure it.

It will look like this on the front.

Now, with wrong sides together, fold your bottom edge up until the bottom corners touch where the top flap just starts to curve in. (I explained that really badly... just look at the picture.)

Finger press along the folded edge.

Place the scratchy piece of velcro on the soft piece of velcro that you've already sewn on.

While holding your bag folded (along the crease you just made), fold the flap down. This will allow you to make sure your velcro pieces match up once the bag is finished.

Holding down the scratchy piece of velcro to the place where it will be sewn on the bag, lift up the flap.

Place your piece of tape over half of the velcro to hold it in place while you start sewing.

Once you've sewn your first line, remove the tape and save to use again in a minute.

Sew the same rectangle and X pattern on this piece of velcro that you sewed on the first one.

Your bag piece should now look like this, with the soft piece of velcro sewn onto the wrong side of the oilcloth on the flap and the scratchy piece of velcro sewn onto the right side of the oilcloth near your bottom edge.

Change the stitch setting on your sewing machine back to a zigzag stitch.

Fold your bag along the crease you already made and tape in place.

Starting at the bottom left corner (folded edge) stitch around the outer edge of your bag (bottom left corner up the left side, around the edge of the flap, and back down the right side, ending at the bottom right corner). Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end!

This is what your open baggie will look like from the back.

You're finished!

Now you can load up your baggie with some healthy snacks...

...and hit the road! (Or send your kid off to school.)

Or if you want to get really snazzy you can hand sew a button on top to cover up the stitching for the velcro on your flap.

Just go ahead stitch the button on so it's sturdy. It won't effect the performance of your velcro.

Note: Oilcloth shouldn't be washed in a washing machine. If your baggies get a little dirty or full of crumbs, just wipe them out with a damp or soapy cloth and they should be good to go again.

These four are going to my friend Melissa. Surprise! She has been working on a weight loss goal and has just dropped below 200 pounds! Way to go Melissa! I am so proud of you and so inspired by your commitment to be healthy! (If you'd like to follow Melissa on her weight loss journey, you can visit her blog FAT CHANCE here.) Melissa teaches grade school and takes a lunch with her every day, so hopefully these cute little baggies will make bringing healthy snacks from home more fun and enticing. Wouldn't carrot sticks be so pretty in that little black pouch with the orange button? Or celery sticks in the red pouch? Or apple slices? So fun!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! If anyone makes some I'd love to see pictures!

Have a great day!

Edited to add (1/13/10): I have recently been informed that laminated cotton may be a better choice for this fabric since there is some question as to whether or not oilcloth is food safe or safe for children.


Lauren @The Little Things We Do.... said...

you're so clever :). sad day i can't sew. i'll just keep destroying the ziploc bag at a time. so un-oregonian of me, right?

CK Morgan said...

I love these. I am going to put them in my file of prjects I really want to make in the near future. They look lovely

Jerilyn said...

oh it's so exciting to see someone using my template... the internet makes so many things possible! thanks for spreading the word about reusable snack bags! (ps that nonfunctional button is adorable!)

Kathy Haynie said...

If I don't get some for Christmas (hint-hint-hint), I will definitely be making some of these. Lauren, you can come over and I'll teach you to sew! We Oregonians should be using reusable baggies. :)

Katie Lewis said...

Mom- or if you don't get some for Christmas you can buy some oilcloth and have it shipped to me and I'll make you some.

Anonymous said...

cute! I have a ton of oilcloth.

Anne said...

Awesome snack bags!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Awesome possum, Katie!

Amy said...

This is such a great tutorial!
I can't wait to try it and make my snacking more eco-friendly :)

JuliaKoponick said...

Mom, if you help me make some, I will get the oil cloth. I assume I can buy this at Joann's. Or, do I need to go somewhere "fancier?" I would love to make these with the kids after I have made a couple with mom of course. Maybe we can even have the cub scouts make some.

Katie Lewis said...


Unfortunately Jo-Ann's doesn't carry oilcloth. None of the fabric stores around here do either. The only way I've found to buy it is online. But once you get your hands on some, it really is very easy to work with since it doesn't need edge finishes.


Charity said...

How very clever. I think I will also make lunch boxes, my kids don't love characters on thing but still want a cute lunch box. I think I can pull this off. THANKS FOR THE IDEA AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

jtrescott said...

Thank you for posting your generous instructions, I saw these and love the idea, and think it is crazy for me - who sews alot to buy these at 8 bucks a pop! I love the idea of oilcloth and not nylon, thanks, i'll be making them!

Anonymous said...

These are so cool! I'm going to make a nice batch of them for my little soon as I can dig out my sewing machine!

Unknown said...

Didn't anyone read the shop policies here:

which warn about the toxicity of oil cloth and specifically note that it is not appropriate for this purpose.

jtrescott said...

Absolutely, Oilcloth should not be used...after doing the research...for snack bags...just ripstip nylon to line the inside!That works great!

Casieopea said...

umm... you DO know that oilcloth contains phthalates, right?
check this out...and also do some research on BPA and ingesting this substance.

don't take my word for it...
here is one site you might believe..