How To Sew A Reusable Snack Bag And Reduce Plastic Waste

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Have you always wanted to sew a reusable snack bag, but other projects always seemed to take priority?

These snack bags aren’t a new sewing project idea. They’ve been around for a very long time.

I know, though, that for a lot of people it never seems to get crossed off the list. If you’re used to plastic baggies, I can see where replacing them with this bag seems to be more work.

Over time, though, using a reusable snack bag becomes second nature. You’ll also end up finding a variety of uses for it outside of snack time.

Not to mention, each time you use the reusable bag, it’s one less single-use plastic item in the landfill.

One less single-use plastic piece floating in the the ocean killing the ecosystem. I mean, we all want to keep places like the Great Barrier Reef thriving.

SF Giants reusable snack bag

How Do I Clean A Reusable Snack Bag?

After you learn how to sew a reusable snack back, “How do I clean it?” is the next big question.

Cleaning the snack bag can be as simple as taking a damp cloth or paper towel and wiping down the inside.

If the outer layer has gotten dirty after use, these snack bags also withstand many trips in the washer and dryer. I wash them on cold and dry on low or medium heat.

If you are typically using these for dry snacks (nuts, crackers, etc) then the damp cloth is all you’ll need most of the time.

I know many people also use them for fruit slices like apple or pear. One friend even used her snack bag for grapes once, but decided that the mushy grapes weren’t too appetizing. So she switched to small, hard containers for fruits that might get squished.

Sew a reusable snack back and you will reduce plastic waste.

Reusable Snack Bags Are Easy To Make

It is a beginner-level project to sew a reusable snack bag.

It basically involves cutting rectangles and securing hook and loop tape to the top edge. I have explained below the materials you’ll need along with detailed steps on how to make a reusable snack bag .

Materials And Tools

100% patterned cotton fabric.

I like to use patterned fabric because, well, it’s just plain fun.

And since snack bags get thrown into a backpack, lunch box, sports tote, purse, etc., a patterned fabric doesn’t typically show the stains as much as a solid one.

Some of the most popular snack bags I’ve made, as you might imagine, have been those of the local sports teams. Star Wars, Trolls, Disney-inspired fabrics, and Harry Potter have also been a big hit.

One 6.5″ x 13″ piece of rip stop nylon.

You can use any color you’d like, but white has been my color of choice for years now. For some reason, it just presents better with all of the fabrics.

The few times I used black rip stop as a lining fabric, it just seemed visually off. The white provides a cleaner look both in visual appeal and with use over time.

One 5.5″ piece of hook and loop tape.

I had a reader comment recently about how they forgot they didn’t buy the hook and loop tape together. So, it required cutting two different pieces instead of one piece that was all stuck together. Just a little reminder…

The Steps To Follow To Sew A Reusable Snack Bag

Step 1: Cut the fabric to size. Both the cotton and the rip stop need to be cut at 6.5″ x 13″.

Cut the fabrics to size before you sew a reusable snack bag.

Cutting the fabric is a lot easier if you have a plastic square like the one above. It’s not necessary, but if you plan to make a lot of snack bags, you’ll want this tool.

When cutting the rip stop nylon, things do tend to slip a little bit. With rip stop nylon, you don’t have to worry about the grain of the fabric. So, what I typically do is cut a long, 6.5″ strip and the cut it at 13″.

If I am using the plastic square ruler, I will fold the fabric over, place the square on the fabric (above) and just cut a straight line. It definitely reduces the time I have to spend cutting fabric.

Step 2: Fold the pattered fabric in half placing right sides together and sew the sides using 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 3: Fold the rip stop nylon in half and sew the sides together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Don’t try to rush the rip stop nylon through your machine. The fabric does get a little slippery, but mostly acts up when you try to rush it.

Step 4: Turn the cotton fabric right sides out and stuff the rip stop lining into the cotton outer layer.

Stuff the lining into the outer layer of the reusable snack bag.

When you stuff the lining into the outer layer of cotton, you will need to push the corners down and then flatter both of them out.

It’s easiest if you align the seams and then put the lining into the bag. Don’t let it get twisted while putting the two together.

Step 5: Line up the top edges of the fabric before sewing the hook and loop tape onto the bag.

Like with most bag projects, matching up the seams ensures that everything stays aligned. Having these seams lined up is important to how you sew the hook and loop tape onto each side of the bag.

Step 6: Position the loop tape on the top edge of the snack bag.

Please note: After you’ve sewn one bag, this step will be combined with the step below.

I included this specific picture in the tutorial so that you can see exactly where to place the hook or loop tape. You want the top edges of the fabrics to sit in the middle of each piece of tape when you are sewing.

Step 7: Sew the loop tape onto one side of the snack bag using a zigzag stitch.

The hook and loop tape should not bump up against the edges of the bag. It was cut at 5.5″ on purpose so that you have a little bit of clearance to close the bag easily once it’s finished.

Step 8: Position and sew the hook tape, using a zigzag stitch, onto the other side of the bag.

Step 9: Fold the hook and loop tape to the inside of the bag.

The stiffness of the hook and loop tape provides an easy break in the fabric. Just take the top edges of each piece of tape and fold them toward the inside of the bag.

Step 10: Top stitch the top edge of the bag using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

The top stitching is necessary to secure the hook and loop tape so it doesn’t unfold. It also helps give the snack bag body some shape.

(And to all you sticklers for specifics, the photo was taken before I shifted the needle to make it a 1/8″ seam allowance.)

Back to why you should top stitch…

I have made them before where I don’t do any top stitching and the function of the bag isn’t the same. It’s harder to open the hook and loop, for example.

Finish a Reusable Bag, Then Pack A Snack

Finished reusable snack bag

One of the benefits of making a reusable snack bag is that once you’ve finished sewing, you can start using it immediately.

Most people use these to pack snacks, but since rip stop is water resistant you can use it as a small toiletry bag too. Or, you can simply store your small bottle of hand sanitizer so it’s easy to find in your bag.

In fact, I have donated batches of these to nonprofits serving the un-housed in their communities. The versatility of these bags allows them to be used for almost anything.

And they’re so easy to make, I imagine after making the first one, you will probably go straight back to your sewing machine to make more!

Looking For Additional Instructions?

I realize that staring at the computer and scrolling isn’t always the best way to learn. So, whenever possible, I plan to offer instructions in a video format and a print-friendly version.

Enjoy!

Video Tutorial On How To Sew A Reusable Snack Back

This video tutorial is the montage you’ve all been waiting for! Seriously, though, if you just need a quick refresher on how to sew a reusable snack bag, this 8-step video is the perfect solution.

A Print-Friendly Version For All The Note Takers

If it’s easier to print the tutorial and follow along on old school, just click the “PRINT” button below.

This is an easy way to write down your own notes and findings as you work through sewing a reusable snack bag.

Yield: 1 snack back

How To Sew A Reusable Snack Back

How To Sew A Reusable Snack Back

This reusable snack bag is the perfect eco-friendly item for people on the go. It meausre 6" x 6" and is easy to throw into your bag or backpack.

You can wash this by hand or throw it in with your usual laundry loads.

Use it for dry snacks like nuts or crackers. Or, because the reusable snack back it is water resistant you can also use it to store toiletry items when you're in a pinch.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Materials

  • One 6.5" x 13" piece of 100% cotton fabric with a fun pattern
  • One 6.5" x 13" piece of rip stop nylon (any color is fine, but white is pften easiest option)
  • One 5.5" piece of hook and loop tape (remember you need both the hook and the loop sides)

Tools

  • Cutting tools (scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat)
  • Sewing machine
  • Clips or pins (optional)

Instructions

Prepare Materials

* Cut a 6.5" x 13" piece of both the the cotton fabric and rip stop nylon.

* Cut a 5.5" strip of hook and loop tape.

Sew the Body of the Reusable Snack Bag

* Fold each piece of fabric in half.

* Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the left and right edges of each piece of fabric.

Place the Lining Into the Outer Layer Fabric

Insert the layer into the outer layer of the bag

* Turn the patterned fabric right sides out.

* Stuff the rip stop lining inside the patterned fabric. The raw edges should face out when placed inside the cotton fabric.

* Smooth out any bumps so that the fabrics fit together nicely.

Sew the Hook and Loop Tape Onto the Bag

Sew a resuable snack

* Line up the top edges of the cotton and the rip stop lining

* Using a zigzag stitch on the bottom edge, sew the loop tape onto the edge of the bag. Only half of the tape should overlap with the fabric (see below). After sewing the loop tape, follow the same process to secure the hook tape.

Attach the loop tape to the bag


Put the Finishing Touches On The Reusable Snack Bag

* Fold the book and loop tape toward the inside of the bag. The stiffness of the tape will help create a straight line for the fold.

Complete the reusable snack bag

* Top stitch using a 1/8" seam allowance from the top edge.

Top stitch to finish the reusable bag

Enjoy Your Finished Reusable Snack Bag!

Finished reusable snack bag

Notes

  • If you need to make a lot of these at once, you can daisy chain the sewing of the cotton and rip stop nylon fabric. It will make it a lot faster than doing it one at a time.
  • The rip stop nylon is slippery so if you're new to the fabric, definitely use clips to hold it together while sewing.
  • You don't want the hook and loop tape to bump up against the very end of each side because then it's more difficult to close the hook and loop tape easily.

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2 thoughts on “How To Sew A Reusable Snack Bag And Reduce Plastic Waste

  • August 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm
    Permalink

    What a great idea. We use a mix of containers and the reusable bees wax wraps normally but these would be a really useful addition.

    • August 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm
      Permalink

      Julie, Thank you for taking a look! These have been a big help to us for years. Easy to pack, easy to recognize in a bag, and personalized so that each family member knows who gets what. They’re also fun as “treasure bags” for the littles who have finished the snack and need something else to keep them busy…

      I made some beeswax wraps several years ago and have enjoyed them, but mostly keep them in the house.

      Kind regards, Dana

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