I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge snacker, but there are times when a girl needs a snack in her purse. Like for long days at work, or long walks in the city. Or how about for sneaking snacks into the movies (I’m so busted). But instead of reaching for one more disposable plastic zip-lock, I now rock these cute and reusable cloth snack bags, because let’s be real: the world already has too much plastic.
It’s so easy to reach for a plastic bag and throw it away when one is finished with it. Even if it only has a few tiny crumbs. I’ve probably thrown away thousands of plastic zip lock bags during the course of my life. Then, for a few years, I painstakingly washed my ziplock bags by hand and hung them up to dry. I hated this chore. It might sound a little weird, but after making these reusable cloth snack bags I feel liberated. My life didn’t get more complicated, it actually got simpler. How?
Because I can throw these baggies in the washing machine!
It turns out, the washing machine didn’t just save us from household drudgery, it also saves us from plastic bags too.
I’ve been wanting to make reusable cloth snack bags for literally years. What stopped me? I couldn’t figure out if my snack bags should be waterproof and mimic plastic zip-lock bags, or if that mattered. Then I couldn’t figure out how they should be closed, by velcro? Zippers? Or maybe snaps? And should they be sturdy? What if something gets crushed.
Eventually, I decided to clear out the noise and focus on my immediate needs:
- I needed snack bags for crackers, nuts, cookies, and dried fruit.
- They didn’t need to be waterproof because why would I put fruit in a bag? I usually put fruit or cheese in a container.
- If something gets crushed in these bags, it was always going to get crushed in a plastic bag. Duh.
And that’s finally how I took the plunge to make these. I decided they didn’t need to be waterproof, I would close them with velcro for easy-accessibility, and darn it all I would fill them with the crumbliest cookies for being crushed.
For the record, I’ve used them twice so far and I love them. They’re easy to toss into the purse, make for super adorable snacking, and I don’t even miss my plastic bags.
Also, these reusable cloth snack bags are hella easy to make. Yes, I just wrote hella. That’s how easy they are to sew.
Regarding my fabric choices, I’ve had this black and white gingham in my fabric stash forever, just waiting to be utilized. The more impressive choice is actually the lining of these bags. I bought these ugly IKEA curtains to cover up the open closet in our living room that once (in the 1920s) held a murphy bed. After looking at way too many curtains and becoming really overwhelmed, I chose these blue, black and white ones with strange cryptic dogs running through them.
It took Amanda A YEAR to finally inform me that she thought the curtains were hideous, and I have to agree! To her credit, she was in Africa when I bought them came home was probably like, “My partner’s gone off the deep end,” and then she still married me 3 months later. But now I’m stuck reusing them (as we do here on Salvage & Stitch..) so expect some really strangely patterned DIY projects in the months to come! I’ll try to make them as pretty as possible.
Wait, Elana! What do I do with my zip-lock bags?
Don’t worry! I’ve got you! This handy article from Recycle Nation tells you how to recycle your ziplock bags so you can be guilt-free. After you recycle them, do a little happy dance and make these reusable cloth snack bags so you never have to worry about plastic bags again.
How To Make Reusable Cloth Snack Bags
- 1/2 yard of outer fabric
- 1/2 yard of lining fabric (I used an old printed IKEA curtain)
- Sewing machine
- Velcro, cut into 4-inch strips
1. Cut your outer and lining fabric into pieces that are about 7 inches by 10 inches. You can make as many or as few as you like. I made 4, 3 this size and one smaller one with the excess gingham I had lying around.
2. With right sides together, sew around the perimeter of your rectangles, leaving about 1/2 inch seam allowance, and 4 inch opening at the top. Clip the corners.
3. Turn your piece right-side-out and press. Turn your excess fabric at the top under and sew along the edge. This edge will be the inside top edge of your snack bag.
4. Fold your snack bag into a snack bag shape, with a flap. Measure where you want your velcro to sit. Make sure you align the bottom and top piece so that they actually touch when closed!
5. Sew around the perimeter of your velcro pieces.
6. Sew up the sides of your snack bag and you’re ready to go! Or should I say snack?
Leave me a comment below and tell me about whether you plan to switch to these reusable bags or stick to plastic! I’m so curious to know how many of you plan to take the plunge.