How to fix a face mask

When the elastic on your face mask gets worn out, or your mask doesn’t fit well & isn’t easy to adjust, it’s easy to fix a face mask and make it fit just right!

 

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to fix a face mask.  It’s pretty easy to get that mask back in rotation!

 

And the cool thing about this tutorial on how to fix a face mask is that you’ll be able to easily swap out your elastic or ties in the future if they get worn out again.  If you’re using synthetic elastic, you can also take the elastic out of the channels before you wash your mask so that you don’t release microplastics into the water.

You can go through these same steps with any type of face mask – not just a pleated mask.

Here’s what you need:

Supplies to fix your face mask

 

1. Elastic or cording.

All natural materials are best.  About 1 yard should be enough to go around your head.  About 30” will go around the ears, depending on how stretchy your elastic is & your personal fit.  

2. Fabric scraps. 

The exact measurements depend on the mask you’re fixing.  I’ll walk you that out below :).  You might want to pick a fabric that matches your mask.  A lighter weight fabric is best – quilters weight/poplin cotton.  Organic is always easier on the earth than conventional cotton & if you need some organic cotton fabric, I’ve got some in the shop HERE.  

3. Measuring tape/quilting ruler/quilting mat

Anything to measure with :).

4. Scissors

5. Clips or pins

Clips are easier to use than pins, but use what you have!

6. Safety pin

7. Thread

8. Iron

9. Sewing machine

Image of supplies
Supplies needed to fix your face mask

Step 1: Cut off old elastic

-If it’s a synthetic elastic, you’ll need to toss it in your landfill trash or find a fabric recycler near you.  

-If its a cotton elastic, you can either recycle it with a fabric recycler or compost it.

Step 2: Measure your mask to figure out the cut of your scrap fabric

-The height of your scraps should be the height of the side edges of your mask plus 2”.  So if the side edges are 3” in height, your scraps will be 5” in height.

-Regardless of the height of your mask, the width of your scraps should be 3”.

Step 3: Turn the scraps into channels 

-Fold the top & bottom edges down ½”, iron, then fold again ½”, iron.  The final height of the scraps should be the same as the height of the mask edges.

image of fabric folded over to make hem
Top and bottom edges folded & ironed. Final height will be the same as the height of the mask.

-Stitch straight across the top & bottom edge to hold this hem in place.

image of hem
Stitch the hem down on both sides.

-Fold the side edges (the raw edges) in ½”, press at iron

image of fabric folded over
Fold sides over 1/2″ and press at the iron.

-Fold the entire scraps in half lengthwise (from top hemmed edge to bottom hemmed edge) and press at the iron. 

Image of scrap folded in half
Fold in half lengthwise so the hemmed edges are at the top & bottom.

Step 4: Clip to mask & sew on

-Using clips, connect the channels to the sides of the mask so that they overlap about ½”. 

image of fabric folded onto the edge of the mask
Overlap the channel of fabric about 1/2″ with the edge of the fabric.

-If you clip on the side, you can get the channel & mask under the presser foot without having to move the clip out of the way.

image of fabric channel clipped onto the mask edge
Clip the fabric onto the edge of the mask.

-Once you start sewing, move the side clip out of the way.

-Sew all the way down, then rotate the mask around so you can stitch a second row of stitches right next to the first row.  This makes the channels really secure.

-Backstitch when you get back to the start of your stitches so that the stitches are locked in. 

image of stitches
Stitch down the side with two rows of stitching to attach the channel to the mask.

-Repeat these steps on the other side of the mask

Step 5: Insert elastic & trim threads

-Using a safety pin, thread the elastic through the channels.   

Insert elastic into the channels using a safety pin.

-Tie a loose two strand overhand knot.

image of overhand knot

-Try your mask on & adjust your knot as needed.

-You can tuck the knot into the channel if you like.

-Trim any loose threads.

You’re done!

I hope this helps get your masks back in action.  If it does, I’d love to see it!  Tag #notracemaker on Instagram to share your fixed mask.

Thanks for reading!

Liz

 

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How to fix a stuffed animal

 

I grew up with this brown teddy bear and now my youngest daughter sleeps with it every night.  She even takes it on trips & sleepovers.  So it’s been handled a bunch over many, many years.  With all that luvin’, even the most durable stuffed animals need TLC once & awhile.  If you want that stuffie back in your little one’s arms, you need to fix those little tears & rips that happen.  Luckily, it’s super easy to fix your stuffed toy.  

 

Here’s what you need to fix your favorite stuffed animal:

supplies needed to fixed your stuffed animal
Supplies include needle, thread, scissors & seam ripper

Supplies to fix your stuffed animal

    1. Needle
    2. Thread (try to use a color that matches your toy)
    3. Scissors
    4. Optional: Seam ripper

Step 1: Thread the needle

    1. You want to work with a double strand of thread on your needle.  To get that, thread the needle, pull thread through, and fold it over so that you have 2 strands of thread.  Cut it so that the length of the folded over thread is about 12” or so.  If you cut the thread much longer than that, it’ll be tricky to work with.

      image of needle threaded
      Pull the thread through & fold it in half so you have a double strand of thread that’s about 12″ in length.
    2. To tie a knot, take the two ends of thread and wrap them around your fingers to create a little loop.  Then push the end through the loop and tighten down your knot.  You might know this as an overhand knot.  You may want to repeat this a few times to make a large enough knot so that the knot stays put on the inside of your stuffed animal. 

      image of knot in thread
      You may need an extra large knot to keep it from pulling through the fabric.

 

Step 2: Sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch (aka invisible stitch).

    1. Start with the needle on the inside of the opening of the stuffed animal and push the needle through to the outside.  Do this right along the folded edge of fabric where the old seam used to be.
      photo of needle pushing through the stuffed animal
      Needle starts on the inside of the tear & moves out to the outside.

        

    2. Next, insert the needle into the other side of the opening/tear directly opposite of where it came out – right into the folded area of fabric.  This is how you end up with an invisible stitch – you’re pulling the thread in & out straight across the tear/rip.  Pull the thread tight to close up the seam.  See the little drawing I did below to help understand the ladder stitch.
    3. Push the needle through the inside of the fold on the same side about 1/8” and then back out of the fold again.  Once the needle is out of the fold, again insert it directly into the opposite side of the opening.  Push the needle about ⅛” through the folded area (same side that you’re currently on) and back out again.

      Photo of the needle threading through the seam of the rip.
      Push the needle through the seam on the same side of the tear for about 1/8″.
    4. Repeat until you get to the end of your tear/rip.

 

Step 3: Tie a knot & cut the thread

    1. To make a knot at the end of your stitches, find one of the last stitches that you made and push your needle under that stitch.  This will create a loop of thread.

      photo of small loop with needle inserted inside
      Create a small loop with the last stitch and thread the needle back through it to create a knot.
    2. Put the needle back inside the loop of thread.  Gently tug on the end of the loop to make it small while also pulling the needle through to make a knot. 
    3. Go over this stitch a second time to create a second knot in the same place, using the same approach.
    4. Finally, push the needle into your stuffed animal and out a different side of the animal – maybe all the way through a limb, or maybe out a side of the animal a couple of inches away from the tear.  Tug tightly on the thread and trim it very close to the body/limb of the stuffie.  This way, the thread gets hidden inside the animal.

      photo of needle coming out the back of the stuffed animal.
      Push the needle through the back of the stuffed animal and pull the thread tightly.
phot of scissors cutting the thread
Pull the thread as tight as you can and cut it as close to the stuffed animal as you can.

You’re done!

 

I hope this helps get your stuffie back in action.  If you do fix your stuffed animal with this tutorial, i’d love to see a photo! Tag me on instagram with #notracemaker.  

 

Thanks for reading & for all that you do for the planet!

Liz

 

DIY plastic-free face mask with pocket

 

Face masks are going to be around for a while, so why not make yourself a comfortable, sustainable one?  This tutorial will show you how to make a face mask that’s

 

  • PLASTIC-FREE! 
  • ADJUSTABLE!
  •  TRIPLE-LAYERED!
  •  & HAS A FILTER POCKET!

Can you tell how excited I am about this plastic-free face mask?

 

This project is easy enough to finish in about 30 minutes or less.  You don’t need special sewing skills either!  Here’s what you need:

Supplies to  make your very own plastic-free face mask:

  1. Fabric for your outer layer that measures 12” wide x 8.5 height” – I use organic cotton for fabric because it’s more sustainable than conventional cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric. I’ve got a whole post on why you should buy organic cotton over HERE. (https://notraceshop.com/orgcotton/).
  2. Fabric for your inner layer that measures 9”w x 16”h.  Different outer & inner layer fabrics helps you keep track of the inside and outside of your mask, so try to use two prints/colors if you can.
  3. Cotton elastic that measures about 30” if you want it to go around the head. Or 14” (x2) if you want to put it around the ears.  If you can’t find cotton elastic, organic cotton cording works great too.  You’ll need about 45” to go around the head and less than that for the ears – try 16” to start and see if that fits.  I’ve also seen folks use strips of cotton knit fabric to make the loops instead of elastic.  If you search for “DIY t-shirt yarn”, you can find plenty of tutorials to upcycle an old t-shirt into yarn.  Any of these is ultimately going to breakdown in your home compost.  Regular synthetic elastic will NOT and is made with fossil fuels.
  4. Pins or clips
  5. Thread – organic cotton thread is great if you’re buying thread and trying to make a plastic-free mask.  You can also use regular cotton thread if you can’t find organic.  If you only have access to polyester thread, just remember that it’s a form of plastic & can’t be composted at the very end of its life.  You can recycle it in certain cities or with Terracycle.com (with one of their fabric recycling boxes).  Just cut the stitched area out of your mask at the very end of its life to separate synthetic material from compostable material.
  6. Scissors – small ones are handy if you have them.
  7. Safety pin – the bigger the better!
  8. Pencil or chopstick
  9. Iron
  10. Optional: paperboard with pleats, alligator/salon hair clips
  11. Sewing machine

 

Got  your supplies?  Let’s go!

Steps to make a plastic-free face mask:

 

Also – if you want to see my YouTube video of this project, CLICK HERE!

 

First prep the two pieces of fabric & then sew them together:

  1. Fold over ½” of the top edge of the outer layer of fabric (wrong side to wrong side).  Press it down at the iron.  Then stitch a straight line across the fold to hold it in place.

2. Fold the inner layer fabric in half lengthwise so that now it measures 9” wide by 8” tall.  Find the center of the inner layers – you can just fold it in half lengthwise and press a small crease with your fingers at the top.  Do the same with the outer layer.  Place the inner layers on top of the outer layer of fabric, making sure that the centers are lined up with one another.  Make sure that the right sides of the fabric are touching.  And make sure that the folded edge of the inner layer is touching the hemmed edge of the outer fabric.  This’ll be the filter pocket when you’re done.

3. Pin the bottom edges together in a few spots.

 

4. Pin the top edges together at 2” away from the edge of the inner layer.  Place 2 pins right next to each other.  These side-by-side pins will remind you to stop when you get to the pins (I learned this little trick from Jennifer Maker of Youtube!).  Do this for both sides of the inner layer.  You’re going to sew about 2” on each side only so that there’s an opening where you can put the filter.  

Only sew from the edge of the liner fabric to the double pins, leaving an opening in the middle for the filter pocket.

 

5. Stitch straight across the bottom edge with about ½” seam allowance. Make sure to do a backstitch at the start and stop.

6. Stitch the two areas of the top edge – just 2” on each side of the inner layer – with a ½” seam allowance. Make sure to do a backstitch at the start and stop at each side.

Next, create the pleats:

7. Turn the mask right side out.  Use your pencil or chopstick to push out the seams and make a nice crisp edge at the top & bottom.  Iron the seams.

 

8. Next, you’ll make 3 pleats in your mask that are each about 1” tall.  You’re folding the mask from about 8” tall to about 3” tall by creating the pleats. 

 

**Note:  If you want to make lots of masks, you can create a little pleating board out of paperboard (like a cereal box or old posterboard).  Just cut a rectangle out of paperboard that measures 12” by 8” tall.  Then fold 3 pleats into the paperboard that each measure about 1”.  You want the final size of your pleating board to be 12” wide by 3” tall after finishing the pleats.  Press the pleats very hard – you can even iron them. To use your pleating board, just place the fabric on top of the pleating board and push the fabric into each of the pleats.  Take the board to the iron and press the fabric at the iron right on top of the pleating board.  Then just gently pull the pleating board out.  

 

If you don’t use a pleating board, just create your pleats by hand & then iron them really well.  Next, put pins into the pleats in a few different places to hold the pleats in place for the next steps.  If you want to get some metal alligator clips for this process, they work really well too.

 

Next, create the channels for the elastic/cording.

9. Fold over the short edge of the mask about ¼” and press in place at the iron.

10. Fold over the short edge again about 1” and press in place at the iron.  You want to have a channel that’s about ½” to ¾” wide after sewing so it can fit your elastic or cording.

 

11. Pin this channel in place.  I like to put the mask under the presser foot & lower the presser foot and then CAREFULLY pull the pins out before I start sewing.  Then stitch close to where the edge of the folded over fabric meets the inner layer fabric so the channel is as wide as possible.  I like to do two rows of stitches to really hold the pleats down.  Make sure to do a backstitch at the end when you go back over your original stitches.

 

12. Repeat these steps for the other short side of the mask to make the other channel.

13. Take a safety pin onto the elastic or cording and then push it through the channels.  Tie a loose knot & try you mask on to adjust the length to fit comfortably.  Once you have the right lenght, you can hide the knot inside the channels if you like!  Trim the loose threads.

You’re done! 

These masks sew up so fast and have 3 layers of fabric for even better filtering.  Plus with the filter pocket, you can catch even more particles from the air.

 

I hope you have fun making masks of your own!  If you need a plastic-free kit to make your own mask, I’ve got some here.

 

I’d love to see a photo of your masks or hear about it!  Leave a comment below & tag your project on Instagram with #notracemaker!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Liz at No Trace

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How to sew a plastic free scrunchie! (organic & plastic free!)

Scrunchies are back!  I love this trend because they’re easy to make AND easy on your hair.  No more tangled knots of hair on your hair ties!  And now that I haven’t had a haircut in months due to COVID, I’m loving my scrunchies more than ever to tame my locks.  

 

Sewing a scrunchie is an easy, beginner friendly project.  And if you’d like to make a 100% organic, plastic free scrunchie, I’ve got kits for sale HERE.  

 

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own organic cotton, plastic free scrunchies.

 

Supplies

Organic cotton fabric in strips.

Strips should measure at least 3” wide and 18” long.  You can go wider – up to 6” wide.  The wider your strips of fabric, the fluffier your scrunchie.  And you can go longer – up to 24 or 25” long.  Any type of fabric will work.  If it has a stretch to it, great.  If the fabric doesn’t stretch, that works too!  This project is a great way to use up scraps of fabric.  Several strips of organic cotton fabric are included in a No Trace kit.

 

Organic cotton or cotton elastic

The organic cotton elastic in a No Trace kit measures 7.5” because it is a firmer elastic.  If you use a non-organic cotton elastic, it might be more stretchy and you may only need about 6.5” of elastic.  You can find organic cotton & cotton elastic on Etsy.

 

Safety pins 

Two, including one larger one if you have one.  These come in a No Trace kit.

 

Thread

You might want thread to match your fabric for one outside seam.  If you don’t have matching thread, no biggie!

 

Scissors

I love my smaller scissors for trimming loose threads, but any scissors will do.

 

Straight pins

Sewing machine

Iron

 

Get your supplies & let’s get started!

Here’s how to make your plastic free scrunchies:

 

Step 1 – Iron one short edge of the fabric.

Fold one short edge of the fabric over about ¼” so that the wrong sides of the fabric are facing each other when you fold it.  Iron it in place.  

Step 2 – Pin the fabric lengthwise.

Fold the fabric lengthwise so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.  Line up the edges with one another and pin all along the length of fabric.

 

 

 

 

Step 3 – Stitch the fabric lengthwise.

Sew a straight stitch along the edge that you just pinned in place about ¼” away from the raw edge of fabric.  Make sure to backstitch at the start & stop of the line of stitches to lock in the stitches.  You’ve now created a long tube of fabric.

Step 4 – Turn the tube right side out.

Pin one of your safety pins (a larger one, if you have one) to the unfolded opening of the tube.  Push the safety pin into the tube and all the way through the tube to turn the fabric right side out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to do this, push the pin forward with one hand and then feel for it through the fabric with the other hand.  When you feel it, hold onto it and gently tug the bunched up fabric off the back end of the safety pin.  Continue to push the pin forward and tug the fabric off the back until your tube is completely right side out.  

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 – Insert the elastic into the tube.

Use one safety pin (the smaller one) to pin one end of elastic to one end of your fabric tube.  Use the second safety pin (the larger one) to pin to the other end of elastic.

Push the second safety pin with elastic through the opening of the fabric tube – the same opening where you have one end of elastic pinned already.

Push the safety pin all the way through your fabric tube towards the other opening.  The fabric will start to bunch up on the elastic and will start to look like a scrunchie.

 

Step 6 – Sew the elastic together.

Unpin one end of the elastic from the fabric tube, being careful to hold onto the elastic.  Remove the safety pins from each end of elastic but keep the elastic in your fingertips – if you drop it, you have to thread it through again.  Bring the two ends of elastic together and overlap them about ½” to ¾”.  Put a straight pin into the area where they overlap.

Take it over to the machine and lower the presser foot down onto the overlapped area.  Then carefully pull the pin out, making sure the fabric stays overlapped.  

 

Set your machine to a zig zag stitch and stitch over the overlapped area a few times to hold it in place.  Trim loose threads.

 

Step 7 – Connect fabric ends.

Make sure that there aren’t any twists in your fabric.  You can tell it’s straight if you can follow the seam all the way around without a twist.

Take the raw end of the tube and carefully insert about ½” of it into the folded over edge of the tube.  Pin it in place.  Look carefully that there aren’t any raw edges showing and that the fabric is completely inserted on both sides of your scrunchie.

Take it to your machine, lower the presser foot, and then carefully remove the pin.

Step 8 – Sew the scrunchie closed.

Put your machine back on the straight stitch and stitch close to the edge of the fabric.  Make sure to backstitch at the start and stop.  You’ll sew over your elastic, which is fine.  Trim your loose threads and you’re all done!

This is such a fun and quick project to sew.  And scrunchies make awesome gifts – especially organic cotton ones!

 

I hope you have fun making your own organic cotton scrunchies.  And I’d love to see a pic of them!

 

Thanks for reading,

Liz

 

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How to make zero waste makeup remove pads

It’s so easy!

Would you like to green up your beauty routine?  Why not swap disposable cotton rounds for reusable, DIY makeup remover rounds?  Reusable makeup remover pads are a super easy way to cut waste in the bathroom.  These little reusable fabric squares can be tossed in with your regular laundry and used again and again (and again!).  As long as you use an all-natural fabric & thread, you can even compost it when it’s all worn out at the very end of its usable life!  

 

These reusable pads are perfect for:

    • Removing make-up
    • Putting on toner
    • Putting on face cream
    • Using an astringent
    • Taking off a facial mask
    • Anything else you might use a cotton round for!

I personally love to pair these rounds with a little coconut or jojoba oil to take off any makeup.  And my face feels soft & hydrated afterwards!

So why not switch to a zero waste beauty routine with these zero waste makeup removers!  

 

Here’s what you need to make your diy zero waste makeup remover pads.

    • Scraps of fabric in small sizes – 3” by 3” up to 4” by 4” is perfect, but you can definitely make larger ones too.
    • If you have organic cotton or other cotton/all-natural batting, squares of batting are a nice way to add some absorbancy to your pads.  Or a bit of flannel or fleece would work too.  
    • Thread
    • Scissors, machine, pins, iron, pencil or chopstick

 

Here are the 3 simple steps for your DIY zero waste makeup remover pads.

 

Step 1: stitch 3 sides

    • Pin your squares of fabric together with the right sides facing.  If you’re using any batting, add that to the outside of the fabric.  That way it’ll end up on the inside of your pad at the end.
    • Stitch around 3 sides, leaving one side open.
    • If you want, trim the excess fabric at the corners to have a little less bulk there.  This is totally optional.  If you use a natural fabric and do decide to cut the corners, you can compost the bits. Or, add them to a bag of teeny tiny fabric scraps that you can use in the future for a floor pillow.  You can also send your fabric scraps off to get turned into art yarn (how cool is that??).  I skip this step for my scrubbies and just leave the corners intact.

Step 2: turn right side out & pin

    • Turn your squares right side out and use a pencil or chopstick to push the corners out all the way.
    • Fold in the fabric at the opening about ¼ inch and then press it closed with the iron. 
    • Put a pin in the opening to keep the folds in line.

Step 3: stitch all 4 sides & finish up! 

    • With about a ⅛ inch seam allowance, stitch along all 4 sides.  When you get back to the spot where you started, do a backstitch to lock in the stitches.
    • Cut off any loose threads.
    • You’re done!

You’ll probably want to make a bunch of these little cuties.  It’s the perfect way to use up scraps of fabric or to upcycle an old textile, like a t-shirt, into something useful.  

 

If you want to sew up a little drawstring bag to keep your scrubbies organized, I’ve got a video on a DIY drawstring bag here.  Or if you’re giving these as a gift, a little bag is a great way to keep them organized.

 

Let me know if you make some reusable makeup remover pads!  I’d love to see your creation.  

 

Thanks for reading!

Liz

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How to sew a zippered pouch!

Want to make a zippered pouch? Even if you’re new to sewing, you can make one in no time at all!

 

A zipper pouch is perfect for your pencils and markers, art supplies, toiletries, make-up, special things and more!  And these make the best little gifts for your loved ones!

 

So let’s go!

 

Here’s what you’ll need to make a zippered pouch

Supplies

  1. 7” zipper – try to find a cotton one with metal teeth – it’ll breakdown at the very end of its life, but polyester ones with plastic teeth will be on the planet FOREVER!
  2. Fabric- I love organic cotton fabric for my products – easier on the planet and the farmers and on us!  You’ll need to cut 4 pieces that measure  8.5”w x 5.5”l.  2 pieces are your outside or outer panels, and 2 pieces are your inside or inner panels.
  3. Matching thread – again, i’m all about the organic cotton!
  4. Plus your iron, some pins/clips, and  your sewing machine!

Now that you have your supplies, here are the steps to make your zippered pouch: 

 

Step 1: Attach the fabric to one side of your zipper 

  1. Line up your outer layer right side up with the top of the zipper facing down on top of your fabric.  So the right sides of the fabric is facing the right side/top side of the zipper.  Clip in place.  Or pin if you don’t have clips :).

2. Next, place the inner layer on top of the bottom of the zipper.  You’re making a zipper sandwich with the zipper in between your inner layer and outer layer of fabric.  Make sure that the right side of the inner layer of fabric is facing the right side of the outer layer of fabric.  Add this to your clips.

3. Put a zipper foot on your machine and stitch about ¼” from the edge of the fabric/zipper sandwich, removing the clips as you get close to them.  When you’re done, make sure you caught all the fabric and zipper tape in your seam.

4. Take your finished side to your iron and press the right sides down.  You’re trying to iron the fabric away from the zipper teeth as much as possible.  This way they won’t get caught when you’re trying to zip your pouch.  

Iron along this seam and make sure the fabric is pressed away from the zipper teeth.
Top stitched after ironing.

5. Take it back to your machine and top stitch all along this seam.

 

Step 2: Attach the fabric to the other side of your zipper

  1. Next, line up the remaining piece of outer layer of fabric on other side of the zipper – the side of the zipper that is still open/unattached.  Again make sure that the right side of your outer layer of fabric faces the top of the zipper.  Pin/clip in place.

2. Next, place the remaining piece of inner layer of fabric onto the bottom side of the zipper.  You’re again making a zipper sandwich.  The right sides of the inner and outer layers will be facing one another with the zipper in the middle.  Add the inner layer into your pins/clips.

3. Stitch together with the zipper foot close to edge.  Make sure you caught all the fabric and zipper in your seam.

 

4. Like you did for the other side of the zipper, press the right sides down and away from the zipper teeth as much as possible.  This helps them not get caught in the zipper teeth.

 

5. Top stitch all along this seam.

Top stitched after being ironed.

Step 3: Sew the sides of the bag

  1. Lay the bag flat on your surface so that the zipper is in the center, the outer layers are facing each other (right sides facing) and the inner layers are facing eachother (right sides facing).  Make sure that the zipper is at least partially open.
Make sure zipper is partially open.
Clip along sides, leaving 5″ opening.

2. You’re going to stitch all around the bag, leaving a 5” opening at the bottom, so first pin all around the bag and mark the area that you won’t sew closed.  This opening will let you turn the bag right side out later.  Make sure that the seams on the zippers are lined up with one another.  And have the zipper tape pointing down into the inner layer area of the pouch, rather than pointing up towards the outer layer fabric. 

Make sure the seam at the zipper is lined up when you clip it in place.

3. Start at one side of the 5” opening and start sewing all around.  Backstitch at the start and stop of the opening.  

 

Step 4: Finish the bag

  1. Turn the bag right side out through the bottom opening.

 

2. Sew shut the bottom opening.  You can iron this opening if it doesn’t fold in neatly before you sew it.

Stitch closed the opening at the bottom. Make sure all the fabric is pressed in and caught in the seam.

.

 

3. Trim any loose threads on the inside and the outside of the bag and you’re done!  

 

Wasn’t that easy?  Making a zipper pouch is a great beginner project.  Once you make one, you’ll want to make 10 more for everyone you know :).

 

If you make one, tag @no_trace_shop in Instagram and share your finished bag!  I’d love to see it.

 

Thanks for reading and for all that you do for our planet :).

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Learn how to sew on a sewing machine! 

Learn how to sew & make a simple napkin!

 

Do you want to learn how to sew?  It’s easier than you thought :).  In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to sew on a sewing machine.  

 

We’re going to make a simple napkin together, so let’s get started!

 

1. Supplies

photo of supplies - fabric, scissors, measuring tape, ruler
Here are the supplies you’ll need.

Here’s what you’ll need to learn how to sew:

  1. Fabric – you can use an old sheet for this project, or search the thrift stores for options, or go to your locally owned fabric store (HartsFabric.com in Santa Cruz has great options).  You can easily make 4 napkins from a yard of fabric.
  2. Thread.  You can get thread that matches your fabric, or just use whatever thread you have on hand.  I work with organic cotton thread, which can be hard to find, but it’s a great sustainable option.  
  3. Scissors
  4. Ruler
  5. Measuring tape
  6. Pins
  7. Iron & ironing board
  8. Marking pen or tailor’s chalk
  9. Sewing machine

2. How to set up your machine & thread it

  1. Find the spot where your spool of thread goes.
  2. Find a short post on the top of your machine, near the large spool, where the bottom bobbin goes to get wound up with matching thread.
  3. Thread from the spool of thread to the bottom bobbin.  There may be a path drawn on your machine showing how to get from the big spool to the bottom bobbin.  You generally go around at least one or two metal hooks to create some tension from the big spool of thread to the bottom bobbin.  To wind the bottom bobbin up, either press on your foot pedal or push a lever that’s just for winding the bottom bobbin.

    To thread the bottom bobbin in matching thread, follow a line from the large spool to the bottom bobbin.
  4. Once the bottom bobbin is threaded, cut the thread connecting it to the top bobbin and bring it down into the hook plate area, under your presser foot.  Thread the bobbin so that the thread is going AGAINST the notch in your hook plate area, as opposed to moving in the same direction.  The idea here is that you want the thread to come off the bottom bobbin with more tension, vs. come off with very little tension. 
  5. To thread the large spool of thread, you’re going to work your way down towards the needle, going through a few hooks and turns on the way.  Your machine might have a path displayed on the top, like this.  But if not, you’ll likely thread from the large spool to around a hook or plate.THEN move into these two long slots/notches on the machine right above the needle.  First, go down the long slot on the right,  then go back up again in the slot on the left.  You’ll find a hook inside the long notch on the left.  Turn the large round knob on the right side of your machine to make the hook come forward if it’s not visible. Thread the needle into that hook and then back down again towards the needle.  At the top of the needle, there will be a small wire or hook to hold the thread closer to the needle that you want to place the thread behind.  Then thread the needle from the front to the back.  Your machine might have an automatic threader or you can do it by hand or you can use a needle threader.  Then put the top thread under the presser foot.  You can also put the bottom thread under the presser foot if it comes out from the hook plate area.  On my machine, it stays down in there.
  6. Make sure your machine is set to a straight line stitch and that the stitch length is between 2-3mm.  I once borrowed a machine from a friend that she thought was broken – it was just in a zig zag stitch instead of a straight stitch so it kept hitting the presser foot and breaking!  Once we put it into a straight stitch, it worked great ;).
  7. Make sure your presser foot is in the down position before you start sewing.  There’s a handle on the back of your machine that moves your presser foot up and down. 
  8. Cut a scrap of fabric off or use a little rag and test some straight lines with your machine until you feel comfortable.  The more gently you press on the presser foot, the slower you will sew so take your time.  Repeat until you’re ready to tackle your napkin!

P.s. – If you want to watch a video of me threading my machine, CLICK HERE.

 

4. How to cut your fabric 

 

You can make your napkin any size you want.  17” x 17” is a pretty typical size.  The key is to add 2” to your desired final length and width before you cut it.

 

Another note: if your selvage edge (the part with the brand name printed on it) is wider than about ½”, you’ll want to cut that off before you take your measurements.

 

For this example, I made a 16” x 16” napkin.  I cut the fabric to 18” x 18” (added 2 inches all around.

 

Making marks at 18″ in a few spots on the fabric with a pen.

To cut your fabric, first fold it in half to make it a little easier to work with.  You might want to work on a large table or on the floor to have enough space to spread out.  Fold your fabric so that the edge is aligned evenly in at least one spot.  Take your measuring tape and make a mark at 18” from the edge (if you’re making a 16” x 16” napkin).  Make a few marks up the edge. 

 

Draw a line to connect the marks you made to make cutting easier.

Next get your ruler and draw a straight line connecting all of the marks that you made on the fabric.  Cut along the line.

 

Repeat this process on the other edge of the fabric by folding your fabric the other direction. E.g., if your fabric has a print with a direction on it, like flowers, fold so that the flowers are now pointed perpendicular to the direction they were pointed with the first fold.

 

Again mark 18” from the folded edge – make several marks along the edge.  Draw a straight line connecting the marks with your ruler, then cut along the straight line, just like you did for the first edge.

 

5.  Press & pin your fabric 

 

Take your fabric to your iron and press it flat.  Now you’ll fold up ½” on a side and then press it in place.  Repeat this for all sides of the napkin – fold it over ½” and press with the iron.  Then fold over each side another 1/2″ and press again.  This way all the raw edges are hidden in your hem.  

photo of fabric with edges folded 1/2
Fold edges 1/2″ on all 4 sides, press. Then fold again 1/2″ on all 4 sides, and press again.

Take your pins and pin the newly folded & pressed edges.  I put about 3 pins on each side.

fabric with hem pinned
Place pins along all 4 sides to pin hem in place.

6. Sew it up

 

Napkin is right side down so that I can see the hem I made. Sew close to the edge of the hem.

Take it to your machine and place it right side down.  This way you can see the hem and easily follow the straight edge. 

 

Pick a spot near a corner (but not on the corner) and sew straight down the side, making sure to capture the hem with your stitches.  Take your time, sew straight, and don’t go off the folded edge.

 

Sew slowly when you get near the corner. Sew close to the edge but not off the edge.

When you get to the corner, sew towards the bottom edge but don’t go off the fabric.  Press the reverse button (it probably looks like a u-turn) and go back a few stitches.  The goal is to stay on the corner and not go back onto the side.

 

Make sure the needle is in the down position.  Then lift up the presser foot and rotate the fabric so that you’re positioned to sew down the next side.  Press the reverse button and backstitch a few stitches.  Then sew straight down this side.  When you get to the corner, again go towards the bottom edge, backstitch a few stitches, rotate the fabric, backstitch towards the other side of the corner, and again go straight down the side.  

 

Repeat this until you get back to where your stitches start.

 

When you get to the side you started on, you’ll want to stitch over the original stitches with a few stitches, then back stitch, then forward stitch again just a few stitches.  This really locks those stitches in place so they won’t unravel.

 

7. Trim your threads

 

Once you’re done sewing, lift the presser foot and pull your napkin off the machine.  Your machine probably has a blade you can use to cut the threads, or just cut them with your scissors.

 

Next, carefully trim the threads very close to the fabric without cutting the fabric.  

 

Now you’re done!  

 

That’s it! 

 

Now you know how to sew!  Keep practicing with simple projects and before you know it, you’ll be sewing your own clothes!  Learning how to sew is taking a small stand for the planet.  Appreciating the effort that goes into making your stuff makes you a better and more thoughtful consumer.  And turning your old sheets and things into functional home goods is the greenest way to furnish your home.

 

Are you ready to sew?  What’ll you sew next?  Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

Liz at No Trace

 

p.s. I’ve got a tutorial on sewing a snack or sandwich bag HERE if you’re ready for your next project :-)!

p.p.s. head over to my YouTube channel for more video tutorials by clicking HERE.

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Tour of the No Trace Studio!

 

It’s like open studios – online!

 

This year I was finally ready to participate in Santa Cruz’s annual open studios event.  I was looking forward to propping open my workspace doors for each day’s visitors. I was ready to tidy up my space and set out cold beers & bubbly waters, popcorn and cookies.  I was looking forward to having my inventory neatly arranged for shoppers to browse and shop.  And then COVID-19 cancelled EVERYTHING.

 

So instead of seeing you in person and sharing a real life moment with you, I decided to give you a virtual tour of my new workspace!  So grab yourself a beer or wine or bubbly water, make yourself a snack, and welcome to my studio tour!  

 

 

I’m sooo excited and grateful to have this space.  Since the start of No Trace in 2017, I’ve worked out of my home.  I would take over the kitchen to make wax wraps.  And take over the living room to package large orders.  And take over the master bedroom everyday for everything else.  

 

At first it was manageable to work out of shared space with my family.  But as I got more and more orders, my home started to feel crowded.  My bedroom was cluttered.  I was falling asleep each night surrounded by my machines and my in-process orders and my fabric and EVERYTHING.  I felt a little like a hoarder in my own bedroom.  It was time to move out.  And then COVID hit and everyone was home all day, everyday and moving out got more complicated and even more essential.  

image of original sewing studio
The original No Trace headquarters. AKA my bedroom.

But it finally happened just last month.  Now No Trace is in a separate workspace and it feels amazing to have a little elbow room.  It’s not in a perfect or final state, but it is 10,000% better than being in the house.   So following along for a sewing studio tour & a peek at my wax wrap-making station!

The sewing studio tour

In my new studio, I have areas for storage and for completing different tasks.  One of my FAVORITE parts of my new space is how easy it is to get my fabric off the shelf.  I used to have the fabric on a shelf on the wall above my large cutting table/work table in my bedroom.  So I’d have to bend and reach hard to grab a bolt.  Putting them back was a pain too.  Now I’ve got super direct access to my bolts on two large shelves right at arms height.  I got these shelves off craigslist years ago for our garage and just repainted them to spruce them up a little. The shelves also hold fabric scraps and my inventory.

photo of a shelf with fabric
One of two shelves that hold just about everything.
photo of shelf holding fabric
The second shelf loaded with fabric, inventory, scraps, and more.

 

Moving on…Lots of my tasks start right at my cutting table.  I work with full bolts and rolls of fabric (15 yards per bolt and 75 yards per roll) so I need a large enough space to unroll my fabric and make cuts.  Our old dining table works great.  I also have a cute little ironing board that allows me to iron my pieces and even get into tight nooks and crannies.  I think it’s called a chest & sleeve ironing board and I found it online at Amazon.  I tried to get it from a non-Amazon seller, but they had a 2 month wait.

 

photo of cutting table and ironing board
My old dining room table, repurposed for cutting & ironing & sewing.

After being cut, my pieces are made by either sewing or waxing them.  Let’s start with the sewing station first.  I have two machines that I use regularly, with some back-up machines in storage.  The one with the 4 large rolls of thread is my serger.  I use it for making my napkins, snack & sandwich bags, and for finishing the seams on some of my bags.  It’s a super affordable little model – bottom of the line, really – and it’s worked great – sewing up thousands of pieces over the last 3 years.  I’m including an affiliate link way at the bottom of this page to purchase this – if you need a serger and like the sound of this one, I’ll get a small commission if you buy it.  

 

photo of serger sewing machine made by Brother
This little machine has served me well over the last few years.

 

Next to the serger is my regular sewing machine.  It’s a pretty solid machine with a lot of bells and whistles.  I love simple, old fashioned machines too.  But when I’m fulfilling lots of orders, these bells and whistles shave seconds off each piece.  Like a knee bar – this lets me lift the presser foot with my knee so I can turn my piece without having to take my hands away from the piece.  Very handy.  And an automatic cutting button – saves the time of pulling a piece off and cutting the threads by hand with the thread cutter.   Also super handy.

 

Another thing I love about this machine is the speed control.  This lets me slow the machine way down to turtle speed for tricky pieces with tight spots.  It’s also awesome for teaching my kids (and other kids) how to sew at a slow pace.  I LOVE that.  And it has lots of stitch options and specialty presser feet.  I don’t use much of that but occasionally I’ll sew clothes for myself and it’s super handy to have those different stitch options.  I’m including an affiliate link at the bottom of this post just in case you want one.

 

photo of Juki brand sewing machine
My Juki has lots of bells & whistles and I use them!

Next to my machines is my pegboard for tools and small pattern pieces.  This lets me keep my table space open for cutting and sewing and takes up minimal space.  I got the idea from withwendy.com who does great DIY sewing tutorial videos.  And I found this pegboard in the trash!  I spruced it up years ago and gave it to my partner to hang his bike tools on it in the garage.  But he never used it. So I reclaimed it, painted it, and started using it a couple years ago for my sewing tools.  It’s really convenient.

 

photo of pegboard with sewing tools
Found this pegboard in the trash! Cleaned up & repainted, it works great for my sewing tools.

 

Wax-wrap making station

Now on to my AWESOME waxing station.  I can’t tell you how stoked I am to have a special place just to make wax wraps.  It is a GAME CHANGER for me.  It saves me so much time.  I used to have to scrub down the kitchen counters and stovetop and oven and then kick everyone out of the kitchen when I need to make wraps.  Now, all I have to do is turn on my gadgets and start.  So much faster and easier.  This ginormous thing is a commercial grade electric stove top by Yescom.  It plugs into a regular wall socket but pulls a lot of juice.  Everything else needs to be turned off when this thing turns on, like the hot plate right next to it and my iron.  I use an electric hot plate to melt my wax blends.  Once it’s melted, I turn the hot plate off and turn the Yescom on.  The great thing about the Yescom is that I only turn it on for 5-10 minutes at a time.  It keeps the heat for at least 30 minutes before I need to turn it on again.  And I only turn it to its lowest temperature (about 120F) to make my wax wraps.  I used to use the oven and a series of large baking sheets – pulling them in and out every few minutes.  This is much easier and no more bending over again and again.  Plus it felt like I was wearing out the hinges on my oven door.  

photo of Yescom commercial electric griddle
This electric griddle works great for making wax wraps. It only needs to be on for a few minutes at a time and stays hot for a while.

After coating each wrap with the wax blend, I hang it on a few strings that I set up across the shelves.  I have the strings tied onto S-hooks so I can easily take them on and off when making wraps.

photo of beeswax wraps drying on the line
Wax wraps on the line brighten up the studio.

My space for packaging orders 

The next workstation is my packaging area.  This is where I package orders for shipping and local delivery to stores.  I’ve got my packaging supplies in a little rolling cart and my shipping supplies in another little rolling cart.  This stuff used to be crammed around my bedroom in boxes under the work table and my bed.  As you can imagine, this is much more convenient than climbing under my table every time I need to ship an order.

photo of work table and rolling carts
I built this table! It serves lots of functions, including packaging orders.

I also work on my laptop at this table, like right now while I type up this post.  And I take photos of my products on this table.  This used to be the only work table in my bedroom (other than my sewing desk) but it’s still working hard in here on lots of different tasks.  Oh, and I made this table!  It’s made from a piece of plywood by Columbia Forest Products that free of formaldehyde.  I order some table legs online and attached them with screws after glueing reinforcing squares at each corner.  So at the end of its life, this table doesn’t have to go to the landfill. I can repurpose the plywood and legs.  I think the plywood is even compostable based on the soy-based glue but I’m not totally sure about that.  

 

So there you have it – a virtual open studio for you.  Of course, I didn’t lay all my inventory out for you but you can shop for that virtually at NoTraceShop.com/products anytime you like.  Do you have a workspace at home?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Thanks for reading!

Liz

 

P.s. – I do hope to see you in person in the studio eventually!  As soon as that’s possible I’ll be shouting it from all the online places.

Learn how to fix a beeswax wrap – it’s easier than you think!

 

Is your beeswax wrap not working anymore?  Did it get left in the sun?  Or washed in hot water?  Or scrubbed a little too vigorously?  Or is it just getting really old? Or did you make one but it didn’t turn out great?

 

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to fix a beeswax wrap that’s gotten damaged or worn out.

There are 2 key ways to fix a beeswax wrap:

 

  1. Carefully warm it and smooth it any problems.

OR

  1. Apply more wax blend and warm it and smooth out any problems

 

I’ll walk you through the steps for both of these.  

 

If your wrap got a little damaged, you might just need to warm it and smooth it out again.  This is a little easier than applying more wax blend.

 

If your wrap got really damaged OR is worn out (over time, with use and washings, it’s normal for your wax wrap to get worn out), you’ll want to apply more wax blend and warm it and smooth it out.  

 

Wax wrap that needs to be rewaxed
As wax wraps get used, they may lose their stickiness and have areas that need to be rewaxed

 

Let’s go through the steps for fixing a wrap with just a little damage.  You can fix it using two methods – the iron method or the oven method.  

 

If you use the iron method to fix a beeswax wrap, here’s what you’ll need:

  • An iron
  • Parchment paper (you can find a compostable version by Reynolds Kitchen at Target and other stores).
  • Somewhere to hang your wrap to dry

 

If you use the oven method to fix your beeswax wrap, here’s what you’ll need

  • your oven
  • a baking sheet 
  • parchment paper if you’d like to protect your baking sheet.  
  • somewhere to hang your wrap

 

Let me walk you through the iron method:

  1. Place your wax wrap between two pieces of parchment paper.  The parchment paper protects your ironing surface & your iron from the wax.
  2. Iron across the parchment paper to smooth out the wax blend.
  3. Peel the paper away from the wrap
  4. Hang the wrap to dry for a couple of minutes.
Use a string or clip your wax wrap to a handle

Here’s a troubleshooting tip for you:  if you find that the wax wrap starts to stick to the parchment paper and doesn’t peel away easily, try ironing just smaller sections at a time and peeling away those small sections, letting them cool, and then ironing a different section of the wrap.  As the wraps cool, they’ll start to stick to the surface they’re touching, so it’s important to peel them away quickly and hang them to dry.

 

If you’d rather use the oven method, here’s how (this personally is my preferred way).

 

  1. Turn your oven on very low – 200F or lower.
  2. Place the wax wrap on a baking sheet.  You’ll want to cover the baking sheet with parchment paper to protect it from the wax unless the baking sheet will be used for making lots of wax wraps.
  3. Put the baking sheet into the oven for a few minutes (up to 5 minutes MAX).
  4. Pull the baking sheet out of the oven and quickly pull the wax wrap up off of the baking sheet.
  5. Hang the wrap to dry for a few minutes.

 

The reheating process, either by iron or oven, should help repair damage to the wrap by redistributing the wax blend.

 

If your wrap needs more luvin’ than that to get back to working, here’s what you’ll need:

  • More beeswax blend (either buy a bar or make your own blend of beeswax, pine gum rosin, and coconut/jojoba oil).

 

Plus:

  • a shredded that you don’t mind getting waxy.

OR

  • a small pot & clean paint brush that you don’t mind getting waxy.

 

The gist of the process is that you’re going to put more wax blend onto your wrap, warm the wrap, check your results and smooth the blend around, warm it again, and hang it to dry.  You can repeat the process of adding more wax blend, warming the wrap, smoothing the blend if needed, and warming it again, until you get the wrap where you want it to be. 

 

Here’s more specifics:

 

Using a shredder, get the blend spread evenly across your wrap and especially on any worn out spots.  Then apply heat to your wrap with either the iron method or oven method.  Check that the blend has melted all across the wrap.  Once you get it evenly spread, you can hang your wrap to dry.

 

Using the other approach with a small pot and a brush, melt your blend on a VERY LOW temperature just until it’s melted.  Then turn off the heat.  Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t overheat and start to smoke.  Wax is flammable!  

Dip the tips of a clean paintbrush into the blend and “paint” the blend across your wrap. 

Dip just the tips of your brush into your blend
Dip just the tips of your brush into your blend
Painting the wax wrap with beeswax blend
Paint the blend onto your wax wrap

The was will start to cool as you apply it – that’s okay!  Once you get a decent amount spread around, you can warm the wrap with either the iron method or the oven method.  Let it warm for a little.  Check the results to see if you used enough blend and if it’s spread around evenly.  If so, you can hang your wrap to dry! 

 

That’s all there is too it!  It’s really easy to fix your beeswax wraps.  It just takes a little time and patience.

 

If you want to learn how to make your own wax wraps from start to finish, head over to NoTraceShop.com/courses to sign up for my online DIY beeswax wrap workshop – you can take it from the comfort of your home at any time!

 

Have you tried fixing wax wraps?  I’d love to hear about it!  Leave a comment below!

 

Thanks for reading!

-Liz @ No Trace

Easy DIY zero waste snack bag tutorial

Hey there!  I’ve got an easy, step-by-step tutorial for you to make these cute snack and sandwich bags!  

 

These sew up super fast and easy.  You’ll want to make a bunch for yourself and give them to everyone on your gift list!

These are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags.  Plastic bags are choking our environment!  Use these cuties instead!

 

The smaller bags work great for:

Trail mix

Almonds

Cookies

Goldfish crackers

Pretzels

Crackers

 

Some folks use them for other purposes like:

 

A mini wallet

Dog treats

Holding your essential oil jars

Hair clips & rubberbands

Seaglass and other special treasures

 

Basically anything small.  You get it ;).

 

The larger bags work great for:

A sandwich

A croissant

Lots of popcorn

A big bunch of grapes

A scone

 

Or you could use the larger size in your bag to hold your zero waste kit together.  I like to put a napkin, utensils, straw, and beeswax wrap inside mine and keep it in my purse.  You could also use it in your luggage to hold your hankies or socks or undies together. They work for art supplies too – markers, crayons, colored pencils and a small notebook.  Basically any medium-sized thing.   

 

By now you see that you NEED some of these baggies in your life!  Some in your kitchen. Some in your backpack. Some in your purse.  Some in your luggage. Right??

 

So let me show you how to make them!

 

Materials needed:

 

Fabric: 

All-natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and hemp are the best.  Organic fabrics are even better. Nylon or water-resistant type fabrics are more difficult to deal with at the end of their usable life.  Those synthetic fibers usually end up in the landfill. Plus some aren’t food safe. All-natural fabrics can be composted at the end of their usable life, so they never need to end up in a landfill.

 

I use two layers of organic cotton poplin/quilters weight or one layer of poplin and one layer of canvas for my baggies.

 

For the snack baggies you need 2 pieces that measure 5.5” wide by 9” long.  

 

For the sandwich baggies you need 2 pieces that measure 8” wide by 18” long.

 

Supplies:

Thread, Scissors, ruler or measuring tape, pins, pencil or chopstick, fabric chalk or marker if you have one.

 

Now that you have your supplies gathered… 

 

Step 1: Cut your fabric to size.

 

If your fabric has a pattern with a right and wrong direction (for example, something like this)

 


 

cut it so that 9” corresponds with the length of the pattern, like this:

5.5″ wide and 9″ tall

For the sandwich bag, make sure the pattern length is 18”.

 

That way when your bag is complete, you’ll see the pattern in the right direction.

 

Step 2: Line up your fabric

 

Whether you’re making the snack size or the sandwich size, these steps are the same!

 

Place your two pieces of fabric together with right sides facing each other (so you see the back sides of the fabric).

picture of fabric with right sides facing each other
right sides facing each other

Get some pins and pin them together in a few spots.

 

Mark a 3” opening on one long side with pins or your fabric marker.  This 3” opening is how you turn the bag right side out later. You WON’T be sewing over this 3” opening.  

Pin along sides and mark a 3″ opening on one long side.

Step 3: Sew the two pieces together.

 

Take your two pieces to your machine and start at one side of your 3” opening (remember: you are leaving a 3” opening for later).  Backstitch at the start and then stitch along the edges with a ¼” seam allowance until you get to the other side of your 3” opening.  Backstitch again at the end. 

Finished stitching along all 4 sides, leaving the 3″ opening.

Step 4: Turn your bag right sides out.  

 

Before you turn it right sides out, cut the extra fabric to the right of your seams just at the corners.  This gets rid of the extra fabric at the corners. Make sure not to cut any of your stitches.

Cut off the extra fabric at the corners

 

Use the 3” opening that you didn’t sew over to push the right sides out through the hole.  Use a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil to pus. Make sure to get the corners poked out with the eraser end of a pencil or a chopstick.  

Pull the fabric right side out through the opening.
Use your chopstick to push out the corners

Press your bag at the iron for nice crisp edges.

 

Step 5 (optional): Topstitch the outer flap of your bag.

 

If you want a more polished look, topstitch the outer flap of the bag with a ⅛” seam allowance.

 

The outer flap of the bag will be the bottom of your fabric if it has a directional print to it.  If the print doesn’t have a right or wrong direction, just pick which edge you want to lay on top of the other flap and top stitch that one.  

Top stitch along this edge of the bag.

 

Step 6: Fold your bag up and pin the sides.

 

For the snack size, you want to fold the bottom up about 3″ (the part that doesn’t have the top stitching). 

Fold the bottom of the bag up by 3″

And fold the top flap (the edge with the top stitching) down about 2 inches.

Top edge is folded about 2″, for total bag height of 4″

This gives you a final bag size of about 4”. Pin along the sides.  

 

For the sandwich size, you want to fold the top flap down about 3 inches and the bottom up about 7”.  This gives you a final bag size of about 8”. Pin along the sides.  

 

Make sure that the unsewn edge/opening is folded in so that it’ll get caught in your seam when you sew.  

 

Pin the flap down to keep it in place as you sew.

 

Step 7: Stitch the sides closed

 

Take the pinned bag back to your machine and stitch up the sides, one at a time, with a ¼” seam allowance.  Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each side. You’re only sewing up the sides of the bag – not the top or bottom folds.  

Stitch along the sides with 1/4″ seam allowance

Afterward, check that you caught all of your fabric in the seams by looking inside your bag. 

  

Step 8: Trim off the loose threads.

 

Cut any loose threads off the sides. 

Carefully trim loose threads from the bag

 

Then you’re done! Repeat and repeat as many times as you need :).  

 

Have you made one of these cuties?  Has it replaced plastic bags for you?  Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you :).

 

p.s. – just want to buy some?  CLICK HERE TO SHOP FOR SNACK & SANDWICH BAGS!