Stop using plastic baggies: replace them with this homemade reusable fabric alternative

Guestpost by Kristina on Mar 1st

Like a good enviro-conscious Seattleite, I've been trying to reduce my usage of plastics and non-compostables. I realized the majority of plastic baggies we use are to hold dry snacks, and it seems like an awful waste to keep buying them, using them, and throwing them away. My friend stumbled upon some fabric reusable pouches on the internet, and per usual, I decided to try my hand at making a few!

These bags are lined with rip-stop nylon, which is washable and food-safe. I eye-balled the size, and you can easily adjust to make these bags bigger or smaller.

Be sure to pre-wash, dry, and iron your fabrics before getting started.

To clean these bags, you can turn them inside-out and wipe them with a clean cloth…or, you can throw them in the washing machine with your next load of laundry.

Materials Needed:

  • 14" x 6" rectangle rip-stop nylon fabric (inner liner)
  • 14" x 6" rectangle cotton fabric (main pattern)
  • 4" x 6" rectangle cotton fabric (accent color)
  • Two 1.5" sets of Velcro (soft, sewable Velcro works best. Do not use adhesive-backed "no-sew" Velcro)

If you look at the finished pouch, you'll see the placement of the Velcro straps.  One set will be on the patterned cotton, while the other will be mirrored on the nylon.  Sew Velcro in place, allowing a 1 inch border from the edges of the Velcro straps and the fabric edge.  Repeat for the nylon block.

Take the accent color block, and press a 1/4 inch seam along the longer side.

 With the "right side" of both the pattern and accent blocks facing up, place the accent block on the opposite side from the Velcro straps.  Match the unfinished edges of the two blocks, with the pressed seam at the arrow below.  Sew the block in place, 1/8 inch from the edge.

Place the nylon block above the cotton blocks with the Velcro sides facing up on both, like below:

 Bring the nylon block on top of the cotton blocks, as if turning the pages of a book.  The velcro should be sandwiched inside the two blocks (a bit difficult to see in the following picture), so the "right" side of both blocks are touching.  Sew along the perimeter with a 1/4 inch allowance from the edge, leaving a 2 inch gap in the center of the accent block (dotted line below).

From the 2 inch gap, turn the pouch inside out.

 You should have something that looks like this:

 Press the edges, including the gap on the accent block.  Be sure to tuck in the fabric like this:

Lay the fabric such that the nylon side is facing upwards.  Fold the patterned side and match it with the accent block (red arrow below) and sew along the dotted line twice: once with a 1/4 inch allowance, and again with a 1/8 inch allowance from the edge.

Here's a close-up so you can see the 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch seams.  Your reusable back is now complete!

 Ready to hold some snacks!

 A comparison with a plastic sandwich-sized bag.  If you make it a bit bigger, these pouches could hold your sandwiches, too!

 My dog Digby hopes the snacks are for him.

Happy crafting!

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About Kristina

Kristina is a Seattle-area graduate student, studying Aerospace Engineering. She spends her spare time crafting, outdoorsing, and making people happier through food and homebrew.

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