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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review 6: Reusable Lunch Bags by Stefanie of Girl. Inspired.

Bag in this photo made by Stephanie of Sew Cozy! :)

Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to baggies? Try this reusable lunch bag tutorial! I made two: a bigger one for sandwiches and a smaller one for snacks. This tutorial will show you how to make the bigger one for your sandwich, but it also shows you how to modify the dimensions to any size bag you want! Click here to see the full tutorial.

Creator: Stefanie of Girl. Inspired.

Timeline: 45 minutes (including ~15 minutes to cut and iron vinyl to lining pieces)
35 minutes if not ironing vinyl.

Estimated cost: 5$ each
1/4 yard cotton print: 1.13$ at Mardens - Outer fabric or lining
1/4 yard organic canvas: 2.20$ (8.79$/m) for members at Fabricville (10.99$/m for non-members) - Lining or outer fabric
 1/4 yard fusible vinyl: 1.25$ (4.99$/yd) of Heat'n Bond Flex Vinyl Matte at Fabric.com - Lining
5 inches of velcro: 0.07$ at Wal-Mart

Difficulty level: Intermediate sewer if using iron on vinyl. Otherwise, beginner sewer: the pattern was pretty simple.


Comments: 
I think these bags are a super cute and practical idea. I wasn't completely satisfied with my end result the first time I made the bags, but that may just be because it was my first time using fusible vinyl. A warning to anyone who plans on trying this tutorial: Ironing and sewing vinyl isn't as easy as it looks! You have to be super careful not to touch your iron directly to the vinyl (using the protective sheet that comes with the vinyl), and pressing is near impossible because too much heat will wrinkle the vinyl layer. To top it off, having to turn the pockets inside-out also made the vinyl wrinkly.

**The tutorial actually calls for oilcloth or laminated cotton. I had fusible vinyl on hand, so thought I'd give that a try.

The second time I made this tutorial, I used polyester fabric instead of vinyl (bags shown in the photos). The whole process was a hundred times easier! This fabric could stain, but at least it has some "water-proofness" to it.


One thing I'd like to note about this tutorial is that I found it odd it said to use the oilcloth on the outside of the bags and the canvas on the inside. Personally, I put the laminated fabric on the inside. This way if there's a spill in the bag (ex: sauce from a sandwich), it's much easier to clean. Canvas on the inside would stain way too easy.

The fifth step (preparing the bag for stitching together) was a bit confusing. The photo did help, but it sill wasn't 100% clear. The best advice I can give here is to follow the steps exactly as they're explained. Hopefully this can help you if you decide to try this tutorial!
1) Have lining and flap pieces with right sides out.
2) Place flap on top of lining, raw edges matching at the top. Make sure velcro side of flap is touching lining.
3) Have outer bag piece with right side in.
4) Place lining and flap (as prepared in step 2) inside the outer bag piece. Make sure the lining is between the outer bag velcro and flap velcro pieces.
5) Make sure all of the edges match up! Then sew around the bag, leaving a 3'' opening on the opposite side of the flap piece
*The curved edges of my "flap" aren't level because I didn't pin the bag after having matched up the edges. So make sure to use pins!


My only other comment is that I hope I find a better way to deal with the vinyl-wrinkling because these reusable bags are adorable! Thanks for stopping by, see you next time! :)
-Stephanie

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