Here’s how to make reusable sandwich bags that are food-safe, easy to clean and built to last.
These are the sandwich bags that I wish we’d started with 14 years ago, when we made the switch to reusables. But it took owning three different brands, and discovering the shortcomings of each, to finally decide that I could design something better.
And that’s just what I did.
These reusable sandwich bags are:
made with certified food-safe fabric. Most reusable sandwich bag tutorials tell you to make your bags out of fabric that’s been laminated with either vinyl or polyurethane (PLU), but most of these materials aren’t food-safe. So, I lined my sandwich bags with a CPSIA-certified food-safe lining. It’s the same stuff that’s used in lunch bags.
waterproof inside and out. This means you can pack moist foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, without worrying about leaks.
easy to clean. Cleaning these bags is a simple matter of rinsing or wiping them out. If they get really dirty, you can even toss them in the washing machine on cold, and air-dry them. The first set of reusable sandwich bags that we bought was made of cotton that was only laminated on one side, so the fabric would get wet when you washed them, and the laminate would trap that moisture. This inevitably led to mildew. To avoid this problem, I used washable materials on both the inside and outside of my bags, and I made sure there weren’t any exposed seams inside the bags. Experience had shown me that those raw seams took longer to dry, and were just plain difficult to clean.
quick-drying. Two of the reusable sandwich bag brands that we owned were very slow to dry. We’d rinse them out when the kids got home from school, and they’d still be wet the next morning. To solve this issue, I made these sandwich bags out of coated materials that air-dries quickly, and can even be towel-dried, if you need to use them again right away.
Sound like the reusable sandwich bag solution you’ve been looking for? Let me show you how they’re made.
How to Sew Reusable Sandwich Bags
What You’ll Need:
- (1) 15-3/4″ x 7-1/4″ piece of laminated cotton
- (1) 15-3/4″ x 7-1/4″ piece of ProCare Food Safe Waterproof Fabric
- (1) 6″ length of Velcro (sew-on hook and loop strip). I used 3/4″
- Polyester thread
- A ruler
- Sewing clips
- A sewing machine (This is the machine that I have)
Optional (but nice to have):
You can purchase laminated cotton from a fabric store, online, or make it yourself by ironing a vinyl interface, like Pellon 875 Lamifix, to any cotton fabric.
I bought the Procare fabric lining direct from Wazoodle, but it’s also available through several sellers on Etsy. This is what I bought.
I found the colored hook and loop strip at Hobby Lobby. It’s part of the Sew-Ology line. It comes in a one-yard package, which is enough for six reusable sandwich bags.
I normally favor cotton thread, but I used polyester thread for this project, for its mold resistance.
And I used sewing clips for this project because sewing pins would have left permanent holes in the fabric. If you don’t have sewing clips, binder clips would also work.
A regular sewing machine needle will work just fine for this project, so there’s no need to switch out to a heavy duty needle.
What You Do:
Clip the outside fabric and lining together, right sides facing. The smooth side of the lining is the good side.
Sew a half-inch seam around three sides, leaving one of the short ends open. Trim the excess fabric from the corners and edges of the sewn sides.
Then, flip the fabric right side out, and turn out the corners. You should now have a piece with laminated cotton on one side, and food-safe lining on the other.
Fold the open edge in half an inch, and clip. I folded the lining in slightly more than the front fabric, to ensure it wouldn’t be visible from the front of the sandwich bag.
Sew a one-eighth-inch seam along the open end to close it. Then, sew the same one-eighth-inch seam along the opposite end (the other short end).
Since these fabrics are pretty grippy, I recommend sticking a piece of paper under your fabric while you’re sewing. This will keep the fabric moving, and prevent it from bunching up. While this will sew the paper to your project, it’s easy to tear off when you’re done.
When you’ve sewn both ends, lay your project out on your work surface with the good side facing down, and the short sides at the top and bottom. Position the first piece of Velcro (the hook side) one-quarter-inch from the top and one-quarter-inch in on each sides. Use clips to hold it in place.
Then, fold the bottom end up, and position the bottom edge of the second piece of Velcro (the loop side) two inches down from the top and one-quarter-inch in on each sides. Secure with clips.
Make sure both pieces of Velcro line up properly. Then, sew in place.
To finish your reusable sandwich bag, fold the bottom edge up 5-1/2 inches; secure with clips; then, sew a quarter-inch seam along both sides, and you’re done.
Here’s how to make a matching silverware placemat roll for your lunchbox.
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