Fully Lined Reusable Lunch Bag Tutorial

The other day I shared the lined, reusable snack bag I made for the little man. He is entering junior kindergarten in just a few days, and he is so pleased to have a few things in his school bag that were made by mommy. The car fabric helps too!

I’ve had a few requests for the method I used to make the snack bag, so I’ve written up a tutorial full of pictures. The process itself is fairly simple, and is a really great introduction to French seams. And, really, don’t let the French seams worry you, they are very simple! Just make sure you follow all the steps, especially triming the seam allowance.

Reusable Snack Bag

Supplies

  • 7″ x 10″ piece of fabric for the exterior (I used quilting cotton)
  • one large heavy duty freezer bag
  • 6″ piece of 3/4″ hook and loop tape (e.g. Velcro)
  • thread to match your exterior fabric
  • 1/4″ sewing machine foot (optional)
  • Teflon sewing machine foot (optional)
  • basic sewing supplies (scissors, sewing machine, pins, seam gauge, etc.)
  • Iron and ironing board

Supplies – fabric, sewing machine feet, scissors and more

A note about the lining – please do not use PUL to line your bag. I  have come across several patterns that suggest using it to line bags meant to directly touch food, but it is not food safe. Another option that I have seen very often is rip-stop nylon with the coated side turned away from the food. I’m also not comfortable with this option. Freezer bags, however, are food safe and the heavy duty versions are very tough. The ubiquitous and the low price make them a great option for this project.

Instructions

1. Cut your 6″ piece of hook and loop tape in half the long way. (This will actually give you enough of the tape to make two bags, but we will only be making one.) Pull apart the hooks from the loops and set aside.

Cut the hook and loop tape length-wise to get two thin, long pieces.

2. Head over to your ironing board and fold over 1/4″ towards the wrong side on the short end of one side of your exterior fabric and press it well. Do the same with the other short end. (That’s it for the iron! Yay!!)

3. Take your heavy duty freezer bag and cut off the zipper-top and then slit the sides and bottom open as neatly as possible. Cut out a piece that is 7″ by approx. 9 1/2″. You will want this to tuck neatly under the flaps you folded down in the previous step. You might find that you need to trim off a little more of the freezer bag to make it fit nicely. Make sure, though, that it is able to tuck completely under the flaps on both sides.

Sliding the lining under the fabric flap

4. Take one half of your hook and loop tape and centre it over the flap, covering the raw edge. Secure it with a couple of pins, through all the layers. Repeat on the other side with the opposite half of the hook and loop tape.  (It should be about 1/2″ from both sides.)

Pin through the hook and loop tape, cotton and lining.

5. At your sewing machine, sew the hook and loop tape to the bag by sewing a rectangle inside the edges of the tape. Try to be neat, as this will be visible on the front of the bag.

Sew on the hook and loop tape slowly and carefully.

6. Fold the bag in half, wrong side together and matching the hook and loop tape. Don’t use pins to hold everything in place. This will puncture the freezer bag. If you feel you need pins, only use them within the 1/4″ seam allowance.

It might seem weird, but fold so the wrong sides are touching.

7. Head over to your sewing machine and sew a 1/4″ seam down both sides. I used my 1/4″ foot to help me keep my seams even.

Sew a 1/4″ seam down both sides.

8. Trim both seam allowances to 1/8″. It is very important to make sure you trim these seam allowances, otherwise you will have fabric poking out of your French seams.

9. Turn the bag inside out. Resist the urge to iron! You don’t want to melt the bag! lol!

Turn the bag inside out.

10. Head back over to your sewing machine and sew 1/4″ seams down both sides again. Your presser foot will probably want to stick to the freezer bag, so I suggest using either a Teflon foot, or try this trick of placing regular old tape over the bottom of your standard presser foot.

Carefully sew 1/4″ seams down each side again.

11. Turn the bag back right side out, and admire your lovely french seams inside the bag.

Look at that! You just made two French seams! Easy as pie!

And you are done! Way to go!