Nude Food Sandwich Wrappers

on October 23 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 15 Comments

Marisa from thirtynine wanted to make a food-safe, reusable wrap for her children’s lunches. After lots of thorough research her kids are happy with the result, and plastic bags are a thing of the past. We think a set of these would be a fantastic holiday gift for any family or for friend who takes lunch to school or work. It’s an eco-friendly option and you can use cheery prints for a happy lunch!

Learn more about Marisa in her introduction where we have lots of links to the sewing she does for her lucky kids. Let us know if you make a set of Nude Food Sandwich Wrappers!

My children’s school, like many others in Australia, has weekly “nude food” days when children are asked to bring lunch in reusable containers without any wrappers and packaging. It’s a great initiative that encourages environmental awareness and reduces landfill, and of course it’s easy enough to buy plastic lunch containers of all shapes and sizes for the kids’ fruit, crackers and snacks. But sandwiches are another matter; it’s hard to find containers tight-fitting enough to keep them fresh, especially when the size of the sandwich varies from day to day depending on the kind of bread, the filling and whether the crusts are on or off. And as for bagels or rolls, just try jamming those in a sandwich container!

Enter The Re-Usable Sandwich Wrapper! I started making these about a year ago and discovered that besides being environmentally friendly, I really enjoy using them. Made from cotton fabric and food-safe PUL, these wrappers not only keep sandwiches of all shapes and sizes fresh all day, but they fit easily into the kids’ lunchboxes (and my handbag), take only about ten minutes to make and look super-cute. Want to make one? Of course you do! But first:

Some Notes About Safety…
In preparing this tutorial I researched the safety and suitability of various kinds of sandwich wrappers. There are loads of tutorials for fabric wrappers out there, but not all of them use products that are guaranteed to be safe. Unfortunately, when it comes to fabric it’s hard to establish exactly what is safe, since fabrics and dyes are tested only for their intended uses, which generally don’t include food storage. Fortunately, there is a safe solution. My sandwich wrappers use an FDA-approved, food-safe polyurethane laminate (PUL) for the inside, and printed cotton on the outside. PUL is a waterproof laminated fabric often used for making cloth nappies, and while your average PUL is not guaranteed to be food-safe (indeed, there are concerns about its safety for food use), certified food-safe or “eco” PULs are now available.

If you are in the US, has a range of US-manufactured, food-safe PUL at quite reasonable prices. Here in Australia I ordered my PUL from Pocket Rocket Nappies. When in doubt, do question sellers about whether their products are certified as being food safe. As for the outside layer of the wrappers, you could certainly choose to use undyed organic fabrics, but it’s not actually necessary because the design of the wrappers ensures that foods are in contact only with the inside PUL layer only. So go to town and choose something pretty from your stash of quilting cottons!

Washing Your Reusable Sandwich Wrapper
Most days I just wipe the inside of my wrappers with a soapy sponge, but every few days I toss them in the washing machine with the tea towels, hang them up to dry and they come out just fine (as Velcro can do horrible things to other items in the washing machine, I fold my wrappers shiny side out with the Velcro sections joined together before washing). If you’re more hygienic than me, you might prefer to wash them more frequently, and if you really want to be certain you’re eliminating any possibility of harmful bacteria you could soak them in a sanitizing solution. Tumble drying will shorten the life of your PUL so this is not recommended.

My apologies for the essay-length introduction, but now that we have the health and safety issues out of the way, let’s get going!

What You Will Need:

  • A square of pre-washed and ironed cotton fabric, approximately 12” x 12” (you can, of course, adjust this for different sizes of bread – these dimensions are on the large side, so go a little smaller if you wish)
  • A square of the same size, cut from food-safe PUL
  • A 2.5” length of ¾” wide Velcro
  • Thread

How to Make It:
1. Pin your cotton and PUL squares right sides together (ensuring that the shiny side of the PUL is on the inside) and sew with a 3/8” seam allowance, leaving a 2” gap for turning. I mark this gap with colored pins as a reminder. Trim corners close to the stitching and cut off any loose threads.

2. Turn inside out, using a pencil or chopstick to ensure that corners are pushed out fully. Smooth out the wrapper and iron it on medium heat on the fabric side (don’t iron the PUL side!).

3. Topstitch around the wrapper 1/8” from edge, backstitching at the beginning and end.

4. Pin and stitch two 1¼” lengths of the hook side of the Velcro to adjacent corners of the cotton side of your wrapper as shown in the photo, backstitching at the beginning and end to secure. Then pin and stitch the corresponding lengths of the loop side of the Velcro to the two remaining corners on the PUL side of the fabric.

Ta-da! You have made a reusable, washable sandwich wrapper. To use, place your sandwich, roll or bagel inside as shown, and fold the corners of the wrapper in until they overlap and the velcro fastens securely. Now go enjoy your super-stylish and environmentally-friendly sandwich wrapper!

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15 Responses to Nude Food Sandwich Wrappers

  1. Marisa says:

    Apologies for this late response Lauren – I tried to respond before but it didn’t work. Anyway… yes I do make two sizes. The dimensions of the wrapper in the tutorial fit your average sandwich (with crusts on) or even a roll or bagel. I also make wrappers slightly smaller to fit crustless sandwiches for my daughter – for these I take about a half inch off each side (i.e. they are about an inch less wide/high).

  2. Marisa says:

    Krista and Mama Squirrel – I think my PUL is the 1mm, but I’m sure either thickness would work well. Mama Squirrel, I’d be going for the ProSoft PUL from Wazoodle. They do send out samples, so you could ask for one of each and choose whatever you prefer.

  3. Lara says:

    I made a bunch of these before we drove the 24 hours to Florida. I put our sandwiches in them. I like them because they create a placemat so your food never had to touch the table. I now sent my daughter with them for lunch and I know that she can leave her sandwich on it, because at school, who knows how clean those tables really are.

  4. Krista says:

    On the Wazoodle site…did you use 1 mm or 2 mm PUL fabric?

  5. Krista says:

    Do you mean the plastic bags the cereal comes in inside the box?

  6. Mama Squirrel says:

    I looked up the Wazoodle Canada site, and it appears that they sell different weights and types of PUL, for different diaper applications etc. Any advice about the right type for the wraps?

  7. Rachel says:

    I love this idea!

  8. Emily says:

    wow, brilliant tutorial and idea! I’ve made reusable snack packs before to take the place of baggies, but this is another great way to not use disposable wrapping! thanks, pinned it!

  9. Louise says:

    These are great. I’ve made a few of these but I just use the liner from a box of cereal. It’s food safe and strong.

  10. Chris says:

    These wraps are great. Thanks for the directions and the fabric sources. Do you think these would work with PUL used for both the inside and outside? No pressing, of course!

  11. Carola says:

    Perfect! And you can even place it on your lap to eat your Sandwich harmfree for your clothes (e.g. when I eat my lunch on a park bench). Now I just have to find out, where to get PUL in Germany. Thanks a lot for the tutorial 🙂

  12. Lauren says:

    Lovely – thank you for the intro on the fabrics used and where sourced! Do you make two sizes for big versus little sandwiches or do find this size here suits both snugly? Tnx!

  13. Kelly H. says:

    This year I made sandwich wraps for my kiddo’s, too, but used rip-stop nylon – I love that it’s super easy to clean (pb&j proof, even!) and so easy to use. I made little snack pockets, too, and our lunchboxes are completely reusable/trash free (excluding drink boxes, *le sigh*)!

    I hope everyone makes these!!

  14. Robyn says:

    These are amazing! Think I’ll whip a couple up for my kids.

  15. Alessandra says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!! Thanks for the web link to the US PUL fabrics site, I’ve been worried about buying anything unsafe so I haven’t gotten anything, but this is fantastic!!

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