Zero waste DIY: Bread bags

Once upon a time, I told you how one of my goals this year was to make my own bread bags to take with me to the bakery.

You guys! I actually did it!

This is particularly noteworthy because this little project has been on my mind for a year at least. I even went so far as to buy flour sack towels once, but they sat untouched for so long that I finally gave up and made them dish cloths.

While there are plenty of DIY tutorials out there for this kind of thing, the one I had in mind was of a simpler nature, mostly because of the teeny fact that I am not a strong sewer. I used to quilt, when Abby was a toddler … but that was a long time ago. And all straight lines.

Yadda yadda yadda, I picked up two embroidered flour sack towels at a local craft fair a couple of weeks ago and headed to my mom’s.



Ducks! P.S. I have a thing for embroidered towels.

Because Mom has a sewing machine and I do not, and also because she is nice and patient and, like, helps me when things inevitably go south.

Here’s how it went down, although keep in mind that I just made this up as I went along and no one in their right mind would consider this a tutorial:

I folded my towels the long way because I wanted them to hold a baguette or two and still have room to fold down the top – fancy drawstrings are way beyond my ability level.

So far, so good.

So far, so good.

Next I ran the open ends – inside out of course, I didn’t want my crappy seams to show – through the sewing machine. Did I pin the sides? No, although I started to; it just ended up being too much of a hassle. I also didn’t iron them first, which probably would have been a good idea in retrospect.

Action shot!

Action shot!

Also in retrospect, I should have used a zigzag stitch for strength, but I didn’t do that, either.

Eh, it worked.

It won't win any awards, that's for sure.

But it won’t win any awards, that’s for sure.

Although, for reasons I am not 100 percent sure about, my second attempt ended up, shall we say, a little wonky:

Par for the course, really, and better than I expected.

Par for the course, really, and better than I expected.

This doesn’t bother me, because A) IT’S DONE and 2) I actually succeeded in making something! Oh, it’s crap, and I’ll probably have to resew the seams eventually, but I DID IT.

Fast-forward to bringing them out into the world this week for the first time. Working up the nerve to ask to use my own bag was hard – it always is the first time – but the kid behind the counter was so enthralled with the embroidery that she was distracted by the weirdness of my request. It turns out that my bags are really long, probably too long for a loaf of bread, but whatever. Next time I’ll get baguette instead.

The moral of this whole ordeal is that I TOLD you I’m not a good sewer, but even I can make a couple of (moderately) straight lines on an already-constructed flour sack towel and end up with something decent enough to hold a loaf of bread. Uh, more or less.

Next up: It’s probably time to address the paper towel and plastic baggie situation I’ve got going on in the kitchen.

8 Responses to Zero waste DIY: Bread bags

  1. High five to you! I should share last weekend’s sewing adventure – and I do have a sewing machine (a very long and contentious inheritance story involved there). I took blown out jeans and cut them to sew and make a pouch for me reusable bamboo cutlery. I used the fly to be the opening, as like you, I’m not at sewing in zippers or the like (though you mentioned drawstrings, and that I could do, as that’s just a seam with something threaded through it). Anyhow, I did zigzag. I did have a few “blow outs” which required resewing sections. And some hand stitching later in the week when I couldn’t be arsed getting the machine out AGAIN! So not perfect, but now in the handbag and more likely to get use.

    BTW, I actually love sewing, but seldom if ever do, as trying to be zero waste, I seldom think ‘I should make this questionable item’. As in, I don’t homemake gifts fearing a ‘yay, this hand made tosh’. So I sew on an ‘as needed’ basis – like 90 hankies. Or birthday party bunting from old map books and tape! Loved those and then freecycled them!

    • DEFINITELY post your pouch to Facebook — I want to see it! I don’t have bamboo utensils, but my Grandma got me a double set of silverware as a wedding gift (20 years ago, my request, I had no idea what I was doing back then but that gift has served us well), so I have PLENTY I could pouch up. I’m intrigued! What a great idea!

      And now I’m thinking maybe I could have done a drawstring, if it’s as easy as you say. Although … dude, I’m lazy, let’s just cut to the chase.

      I think “handmade tosh” depends on the person. I have some very cherished and treasured items, like an apron made by an aunt, and if someone gave me hankies, I would be so jacked. But I know, not everyone is onboard with that kind of thing.

      P.S. I think I found your beeswax wraps on etsy — seller in Australia, although I forget what city.

  2. Since they’re to big for regular bread, you could sew one shorter than the other. One for regular loaves and the other for baguettes. They’re super cute, though.

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