With Earth Day just around the corner, today's post features more upcycled goodies. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a reusable sandwich bag using old shirting and PUL, which is short for polyurethane laminated fabric. Though PUL is a synthetic fabric, it's generally used for very earth friendly applications; moms especially like it for making diaper covers (to go over cloth diapers), bibs, nursing pads and the like. But you can incorporate PUL into any project that calls for a breathable, washable and water resistant material.
Raise your hand if you've got any shirts (or have a husband who does) that look like this. And I don't mean blue and white checked, but totally shot at the collar. Even if you're not raising your hand right now, I'll bet you've got some fabric around the house that's past its prime where its original purpose is concerned, so use any of that for this. A dishtowel with a bit of a stain, a ripped tshirt your kid has outgrown-whatever. In the U.S., millions of tons of textiles wind up in landfills every year (13.1 million tons in 2010), much of it coming from private, residential sources. Many communities offer textile recycling, so if yours is one of them you have no excuse for tossing your old sheets. So this earth month, think about reducing your textile consumption by buying vintage or secondhand, buying upcycled and recycled textile products, and making crafts like this one. Now onto the tutorial!
Here's what you'll need:
One 8" x 16" piece of cotton shirting (or other repurposed fabric-pretty much any kind will do)
One 8" x 16" piece of PUL in a coordinating color
One square inch piece of velcro (male and female pieces)
Coordinating colored thread
Begin by pinning the two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing.
Sew along three sides as shown above, using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn fabric right side out and iron the shirting fabric. DO NOT iron the PUL.
Fold the bottom (closed) part of the pouch up about 2/3 of the way, and topstitch the edges closed, as shown.
Pin the top open edge and stitch closed.
Fold the top over about a quarter of an inch, then fold over about another inch, and topstitch the flap closed. Be sure that you leave at least a quarter of an inch between the folded top flap and the opening of the pocket, otherwise the flap won't close properly.
Sew in velcro closures. Before sewing, I like to use a bit of glue stick to keep my pieces in place, since I find straight pins hard to negotiate in little bits of velcro. Another option is to use a glue gun to affix the velcro, but these may not survive machine washing.
And that's it! Do be sure to follow the care instructions included with your PUL; it generally shouldn't be ironed and throwing your completed project into the dryer for about 20 minutes is recommended to close the holes stitched into the fabric. Happy Earth Day, everyone!