Like most kids her age, my daughter has to take a snack to school every day, along with a bottle of water. She’s had a stainless steel reusable water bottle for a little more than a year, and its still going strong. But we’ve always struggled with the snack. It may be convenient to drop a bag of Goldfish in her backpack in the morning, but I’m still not a fan of wasteful single serve packaging. So I like buying snacks in bulk, both for the savings in cost and packaging. As a result, we’ve tried Ziploc bags, which are just as wasteful since they’re hard to wash and have to be thrown away. And most plastic bowls with covers are too large to fit easily in the “snack pocket” of her backpack. So I finally decided to take matters into my own hands — literally — and make her some reusable snack bags.
They are ridiculously easy to make and hard to mess up. Because at the end of the day, they don’t have to be perfect. Just functional.
- Two coordinating fabrics
- Matching thread
- Iron-on letters in your child’s initials
- Sewing machine
- Cutting board or ruler
I love this project, because you can use fabric scraps, or buy a couple of fat quarters, which is enough to make 2-3 bags. I grabbed 2 100% cotton fat quarters from Walmart for less than $1 apiece, along with a pre-cut 1/2 yard for a few bucks.
Cut out rectangles from two coordinating fabrics.
You can make the bags in any size you want, but I used the sizes found in this tutorial from Cotton Bottom Mama:
- Sandwich bag (7″x 8″ finished): Cut two 16″ x 9″ rectangles
- Snack bag (5″ x 6″ finished): Cut two 12″ x 7″ rectangles
- Mini snack bag: (4″ x 4″ finished): Cut two 5″ x 10″ rectangles
Lay and pin your fabric with right sides facing.
Sew all the way around the edge with 1/4″ seam allowance, but leave about a 2″ opening on one side. I double pinned the opening in the photo below so you can see about how wide it needs to be:
Be sure to backstitch your ends around the opening so that the seams won’t pull apart.
Once the edges are sewn, carefully clip your corners diagonally (be sure not to clip the seam).
Next, turn your fabric right side out through the 2″ opening you left along one edge. You can use your fingers, or even the edge of a closed pen or something similar to make sure that the corners are nice and crisp. Iron the rectangle.
Decide which fabric you want on the outside and lay the rectangle on the ironing board with the lining fabric facing up. Fold the bottom edge up toward the top until you have about a 1 1/2″-2″ flap left at the top, like so (ignore the fact that I already ironed on the letters I forgot to snap this picture earlier. ):
Fold the flap over, making sure that it overlaps cleanly. Press again to keep your creases where they should be.
Next iron your letters onto the front of the pouch. I put mine in the bottom right corner, but you can center the letters, or even put them on the back, if you’d like.
Pressing should give you a nice, flat piece of fabric to work with, but if the folds are coming undone, you can pin the top flap shut to hold it in place. I didn’t need to pin.
Finally, stitch along each edge, from the top of the fold all the way to the bottom edge. You’ll be able to see the stitching, so you’ll want to sew carefully and be sure to back stitch at each edge.
Each bag will take about 10-15″ minutes to make, and you can make them in a variety of sizes. When you’re ready to fill it, just fold back the flap, insert your sandwich or snack and enjoy!
If you’re worried about freshness when packing something like a sandwich, you can always wrap it in parchment paper (the kind you’d use for baking) to keep it more airtight inside the bag.
I plan to make a bunch of these in different colors and sizes so my daughter will be able to use them for her snack each day, and I’ll wash them every weekend. Snack waste no more!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Walmart Moms program. I was provided with compensation for sharing a craft project of my choosing with you. Participation is voluntary and, as usual, all opinions are my own.