Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Now that the weather is getting warmer (ok who am I kidding it never really got cold this year) we are starting  to do more things outside.  Even though I home school my kids we still need things to carry lunches in.  We go on picnics all the time in the spring, summer, and fall.  Whenever it is warm enough to be outside we will go bird watching, hiking, biking, or just plain picnicing.  My kids are always hungry even if it is not meal time.  I am getting tired of having to buy the Ziploc baggies all the time.  They are such a waste and does not help the environment. 

My boys do have plastic sandwich containers that I bought at a Tupperware fundraiser when my oldest was in preschool.  But my husband and I don't have one.  Plus my boys tend to eat more than one sandwich. 

So I began a search for patterns for a reusable sandwich bag.  Oh my goodness!  There are so many patterns out there.  All different styles and shapes.   So I had to choose one that fit my needs.  I did try and make one that had the flip top closure.  I hated it.  By the time I got it flipped and closed I would have smashed the sandwich that was in it.  Most other ones just had two pieces of material sewed together on three sides and Velcro at the top.  Not bad for sewing but I can't imagine trying to get a sandwich in it.  So I finally decided on making a sandwich wrap instead of a bag.  This is how we used to wrap sandwiches before the Ziploc bag came out.  Remember back when we used to wrap our sandwiches in a square of waxed paper.  My mom used to wrap sandwiches in wax paper when I was younger.  The flip fold bags began to come out as I got older and eventually by the time I graduated high school the Ziploc bag came out.  It was a lot more expensive and I remember we still bought the flip fold bags.  At the time these plastic bags were a great invention.  But now we are becoming more conscious of our environment and are starting to learn that easier is not always better. And that our quest for  convenience is destroying our environment and taking money out of our pocket!

Now that I have finally settled on a design I need to choose some fabric.  That was a feat in itself.  Some people used PUL (a polyurethane laminate), some used oil cloth, some used iron on vinyl, some used vinyl  table cloth material, some used plastic gallon size freezer bags, some used recycled chip bags, some suggested cereal bags.  So many choices.  After reading a lot of the comments on PUL, Oil cloth and vinyl I decided not to use these.  From what I looked up these are not really safe for food use.  For me the gallon size freezer bag was obviously food safe but I thought that it would not stand up for a long time of repeated use.  The chip bags that there are talking about are the ones that have that foil type lining.  This seems great but I  don't buy chips that often.   I do however buy a couple of boxes of cereal each week for my husband.  He eats it for lunch at work.  Yes I know he is weird!!  So I decided to use the cereal bags.  They are like a heavy duty wax paper.  This is just a matter of personal preference.  If you decide to make this wrap research for yourself and use what you feel comfortable with.

For the fabric backing.  The side that won't be touching your food.  I decided to use a cotton print. By the time you use your iron on adhesive and the cereal bag it is plenty thick.  This way it has some structure to it but yet is pliable enough to fold up neatly.

Now that I have chosen a fabric and a liner I needed to figure out a way to attach the two.  I decided to use the double sided adhesive you would use for applique.  To make sure it worked I first tried a small piece and tested it.

 I found the design here .  It basically is an 18 inch square.  I cut out an 18 inch square from a cotton print. 

Next I cut out a 17 1/2 inch square from a paper backed iron on adhesive.  What you use for applique.  I ironed this onto the wrong side of the fabric square.

I peeled off the paper backing then I took my cereal bag that I washed and let dry.  I layed it out flat on the adhesive.  My cereal bag was a little short so I pieced it.  A family size box of cereal will probably give you a large enough cereal bag to use.  I ironed it on by first laying the bag onto the adhesive and then I layed the paper from the iron on adhesive on top to protect the iron.  That way the cereal bag stays in place and the paper keeps the cereal bag from melting to the iron. 

Next hem the edges.  I used a 1/2 inch hem.  Fold in 1/4 inch and then again another 1/4 inch.  Top stitch. 

Then I cut a 3 inch piece of Velcro.  I sewed these into place on the right side of the fabric.  Sew the Velcro opposite of each other in the middle. 

The reusable sandwich wrap is finished.  Now you can wrap your sandwich in it and go on a picnic.  Or to school or work.  But a picnic is more fun!!  Here is how you wrap your sandwich.  First place your sandwich in the middle of the wrap on the cereal bag lined side. Yes this is just two pieces of bread.  I didn't have any sandwich fixings but you get the point.

Then you fold over the 2 sides without the Velcro.

Next you fold over one side with the Velcro.

Fold over the other end to line up the Velcro.  Then meet the Velcro together to finish off wrapping up your sandwich. 

As you can see this wrap is big enough to wrap up a nice large sandwich.  Especially one made with homemade bread and filled with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato etc..  These are very easy to wash.  Just rinse with water or wash in your sink and let hang to dry. They are very easy and quick to make too.  I think I had about 15 minutes total in making one!!


Humble wife said...

Thank you for such an easy post on how to make a reusable sandwich wrap. I love this idea and never considered using the bags. We do much in chips or cereal, but we do have some pasta bags that will be fine. I am going to make some very soon!

Thanks again!


labbie1 said...

I like the way that you let us know what didn't work too! I kept thinking "I wonder how you wash it" and you even answered that! Nice idea!