Amazing Reusable Sandwich Bags Tutorial
May 26th, 2010 by georgia leigh

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Today I have another sewing tutorial (or free pattern, if you will) for the new going green/avoiding plastic craze: reusable ziploc bags! They’re all the rage, so jump on the bandwagon with me!

I have two versions for you today. The first has a gusset which means it can stand up all by itself. Very handy! The second is flat, just like a sandwich ziploc bag. They both have velcro closures with space for little hands to pull them open. The lining is waterproof, stain-resistant, and mildew-resistant. To clean, wipe with a damp cloth or machine wash and line dry.

Let’s get started!


For the gusseted bag

Two 7.5″ x 8.5″ pieces of your choice of fabric
Two 7.5″ x 8.5″ pieces of nylon ripstop fabric (found mine at Joanns)**
One 6.5″ piece of velcro

**CLICK HERE For FDA info on nylon

For the flat bag

Two 7.5″ x 7.5″ pieces of your choice of fabric
Two 7.5″ x 7.5″ pieces of nylon ripstop fabric**
One 6.5″ piece of velcro

Sewing the Gusseted Bag

Take your fabric pieces and place them together with right sides facing (the right side of the fabric, that is).

reusable snack bags

Using a 1/2″ seam allowance (meaning, sew 1/2″ from the raw edge of the fabric), sew around the sides of the bag except the top. Backstitch at the beginning and the end (sew over a few stitches twice by going backwards over your seam).

cut the corners

Cut the corners close to the stitching.

Now take the nylon pieces and place them right sides together. On the bottom, mark an opening about 4″ wide on the seam line (1/2″ from the edge) as shown. The area between these two dots will not be sewn.

Sew around the sides and bottom, just as you did with the fabric pieces, but leave the space between the dots open.

Clip the corners.

making the lining

To attach the lining, open the lining (the nylon) right side out.

And slip it inside the outer fabric which is still inside-out. Confused yet? Awesome. Let’s keep going.

match raw edges

Match the raw edges together. You should also finger press the seam allowances open on either side of the nylon and the fabric bags. I didn’t take a photo because I’m smart that way. If you’re really confused, I remembered to take a photo of this step for the flat bag. Seen below.

Sew all around the top of the bag.

Pull the lining out as shown above. Now both the fabric and nylon should be inside out.

To make the gusset, take one of the corners of the nylon. Fold the corner so that the bottom seam and the side seam line up on top of each other as shown. Draw a perpendicular line 1/2″ from the point of the corner. Sew a seam on this line, backstitching at each end.

Cut the seam allowance off to 1/4″.

Repeat with the other corner.

Repeat with the fabric corners.


Reach into the bag through the hole in the nylon side.

And pull it inside out.

To close the hole, I use my sewing machine. you can whip stitch it by hand if you’d like. I sew the hole closed really close to the seam (about 1/8″ seam allowance).

Push the lining into the bag. Press. Topstitch all around the top opening. (sew 1/8″ from the top edge catching both the fabric and the lining).

Pull apart your velcro if you haven’t already. Pin one piece on the nylon about 1/2″ down from the top edge. The only velcro I had was the self-adhesive kind, so I just stuck mine in there. The velcro should span from one side seam all the way to the other. Trim if necessary to get it to fit.

Repeat with the other side of the velcro on the other side of the nylon.

Yay! Now let’s make the flat bag. It is exactly the same process except you skip the gusseting part. I amaze myself with my insights.

This time without words! Kinda like when you get to the end of the song, “B-I-N-G-O” . . .

Sewing the Flat Bag

P.S. I ran out of velcro, so there isn’t any inside the flat bag yet. Let’s all use our imagination and imagine some velcro there. Great. Thanks.


Now, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Go put the photos of your finished bags into our Puking Pastilles Flickr Group! We draw winners from the group every month. Fabric, patterns, and more!

Do it.

26 Responses  
  • Krysta writes:
    May 26th, 20101:43 pmat

    THis is the most wonderful simple amazing thing ever! Thanks so much for having something like this up. I get a little pull on my heartstrings when I see adds with baby polar bears concerned for their habitat and I know it’s the glaciers and water and things that come in plastic bottles but we eliminated those and I just couldn’t find any easy, simple, cheap solution to bagging lunches and snacks. Seriously you are incredible. Thanks for rocking the socks off of sewing!!

  • Krysta writes:
    May 26th, 20101:43 pmat

    B to the W such a great well explained tutorial!

  • stephanie writes:
    May 26th, 20102:03 pmat

    awesome :) the last time i was in joanns they told me they just got in fabric to make re-usable totes… when I asked if the lady could show me where it was she said she didn’t have the time and didn’t know where to look. um. you’re kidding right!? i can’t hold it against them because they’re one of like 4 places that i can actually get the stuff. they’re lucky 😉 thanks for the tutorial!

  • Morgan writes:
    May 27th, 20103:28 amat

    Twizzler bites, mmmm. These are super-cute!

  • Holly writes:
    May 27th, 20107:51 amat

    You are awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Beth writes:
    May 31st, 20109:25 amat

    Just joined your flickr group. I’ve made bags like these a few times, but your tutorial makes it so much easier! I’m going to make some using your tutorial.

  • Sarah writes:
    May 31st, 20101:19 pmat

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

  • Christine writes:
    May 31st, 20107:48 pmat

    Love this tutorial! Can’t wait to make some! Thanks:-)

  • sfer writes:
    June 1st, 20103:55 amat

    Great great tutorial! Finally I SEE how to make those standing bags! I had doubts as to how to sew the lining to coincide with the outside, but now I think I can dare make it myself :-) I’m off to see where I can find some waterproof fabric for the inside!

  • Kristin writes:
    June 1st, 20105:42 amat

    I love these :) I’m going to have to try them out!

  • Sara writes:
    June 1st, 201012:53 pmat

    very cute and economical as well!!

  • Andi writes:
    June 4th, 20109:41 amat

    Thanks for posting this! I use glass in my lunchbox and everytime I see this type of snack bag I think about how much smaller (and lighter!) this would make my lunch. I am definitely going to have to try making some.

  • jessica writes:
    June 4th, 20107:37 pmat

    Too cute! Will have to make some

  • Kelly writes:
    July 5th, 20118:27 amat

    Thanks for posting this, I have been searching for easy to understand directions that don’t cost $10! I appreciate you taking the time to show us, not so excellent sewers how to diy!

  • Darlene writes:
    August 26th, 201112:26 pmat

    So, which side of the nylon is my “right” side, I want to make sure I have the correct side facing the food. :)

    Thanks so much for the excellent tutorial!

  • Lori writes:
    September 12th, 201111:44 amat

    Thank you for this awesome (easy to follow and cool) pattern! I made 8 of these before my son’s first day of school and we’ve used them every day since (ok it’s only been a week but he hasn’t lost any yet!)

  • Sara K. writes:
    September 20th, 201112:41 pmat

    Awesome! I was just at the fabric store today to pick up some rip stop nylon to try to make a sandwich bag but thought: “How ugly! Why can’t I use a cotton fabric on the outside and nylon on the inner?” And I was thinking I didn’t really know how to do that…now I do! This is fantastic…

  • Tonya writes:
    September 21st, 20118:24 pmat

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I have been looking for an easy way to make these bags. This is so awesome. I love your fabric too.

  • Mrs. H writes:
    October 12th, 20116:37 amat

    Great step-by-step photo tutorial! I found you via google and am linking this post to my current blog post. I aim to tackle this project today!

  • Nat writes:
    January 22nd, 20124:39 amat

    Thank you for an excellent tutorial. I’ve made a couple for my son’s first day at day care. He’s starting in a month time and I wanted to make sure he had something exciting (with cute fabric) to take out of his lunch box.

  • meagan writes:
    January 26th, 201212:57 pmat

    I made several for each member of my family, I made my husbands with skull fabric and a few simple solid ones and even he loves them!! Thanks for the great directions!

  • Lori writes:
    March 8th, 201210:07 amat

    I made these in August, it is now March and we have used them almost every day (even weekends, for car trips!!!) I love them and my kids love them. The best part is I wash them almost constantly and they are still in great condition. The nylon ripstop I bought said it was dry clean only. Ha! For the first couple of weeks I washed them in cold water and hung them to dry… then life got busy and the weather got colder. Now we throw them in with any load (mostly still cold water) and into the dryer to dry. The nylon is fine, no shrinking or melting or anything! So if you are scared to make these because of washing/drying them, don’t be :) Oh I also keep one bag permanently in the freezer with some peas in it, it makes an awesome cold pack for bruises and bumps!

  • Brenda Joyce writes:
    May 24th, 201211:09 amat

    These are completely amazing!! I made some easy sandwich sacks with a quick drawstring which works like a charm due to the two-layer construction. Plus I actually made a super-big one in the same way but put insulation in and voila! Insulated washable lunch sack (the inside is a light rayon that washes out easily). I love this as it’s easy, looks great, and doesn’t hold crumbs due to the hidden seams. Thanks for taking the time to post this, these are super-cute, really easy and roll up and out of the way for minimal storage – a big bonus at our home. Love ’em.

  • Kells writes:
    January 15th, 20134:58 amat

    Thanks I was looking for new projects to do

  • Kendra writes:
    May 18th, 20134:58 pmat

    Thank you so much for posting this! I bought the materials yesterday and made eight bags today! I love them. The only thing that I changed was that I sewed on the velcro.

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