All this got me thinking. I already pack him a healthy lunch every day, consisting of a sandwich, cup of fruit, and bell pepper strips. I put it in a reusable snap top plastic box rather than paper bags, and put the fruit in a silicone muffin cup which can be run through the dishwasher. In the last few years I've been getting away from products that are bought simply to be thrown away, such as paper napkins, but I've still been wrapping his sandwiches in plastic wrap to keep them dry. When I saw fabric sandwich wraps popping up all over Pinterest a few years ago, I thought I should make some for Jim, but never got around to it. Ordering the lunch box was the push I needed to finally make some. The fun part about this project is that the wraps can be made with any printed cotton fabric you like, so you can make them tailored to each family members interest. They wipe clean, can be thrown in the washing machine, will last for ages, will keep plastic wrap out of landfills, and will save you money since you won't be buying a product that you're just going to throw out!
Printed cotton fabric
Fusible Vinyl (I used [url=http://www.joann.com/vinyl-fuse-15-in-x-2-yards/11385135.html]Pellon Vinyl Fuse[/url], but Heat'n Bond Iron-On Vinyl also works)
1/2" Double Fold Bias Tape in a coordinating color
Rotary Cutter or Scissors & Pencil
1. Start by cutting a 12" (30 cm) square of your fabric, and a 12" (30 cm) square of the Fusible Vinyl. This is easy with a rotary cutter & mat, but easily can be done with a ruler, pencil & scissors if that's what you have on hand. I didn't take a picture of this step, because if you have not learned to use a ruler to draw a square, then you aren't old enough to use a hot iron. ;)
Note: I'm going to give directions using Pellon Vinyl Fuse, but be sure to check the directions that come with whatever brand fusible vinyl that you've purchased. Pellon also has a great video on their site showing how to use the product. You can see it HERE.
2. Set your iron to a medium heat/wool setting. Lay your fabric square with the printed side DOWN on your ironing board. Remove the backing paper from your square of vinyl. (Hang onto that paper!) Lay the vinyl down onto the WRONG SIDE of your printed cotton, with the shiny side of the vinyl UP, and the sticky side DOWN.
3. Place the paper on top of the vinyl, with the shiny/waxy side down against the vinyl. Gently run your iron over the whole space quickly, to get the vinyl partially stuck, then starting at one side, place your iron down and leave it in place for 8 seconds. Then pick up the iron and move it over to fuse the next segment, slightly overlapping your areas. Leave for another 8 seconds, and repeat, until you've fused the whole area. You will need to move your backing paper, in order to get every bit.
4. Now flip the bonded fabric & vinyl over, and replace the backing paper. Iron again from this side, holding the iron in place for 4 seconds, before moving on to the next area. Voila! You've successfully bonded your fabric and vinyl.
5. Starting partway down one side, slide your bias tape over the raw edge of the cloth. Instead of pinning through the vinyl, use quilting clips, hair clips or paper clips to hold the bias tape in place. (Using pretty rainbow paper clips isn't necessary, but highly recommended. Because, well... rainbows!) If you're using scraps of bias tape, you may need to seem them together. For tips on that check this tutorial.
6. Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to the longest possible setting. On most machines this is a 3.5 or 4. On my Viking that's a 6. Stitch along the first side, stopping when you get to the end.
7. Remove the piece from your machine, and fold the bias tape along the next side, mitering your corners as you go. I was not able to use the paper clips to hold my corners in place, so I used a quilt pin for that area. Start stitching again, and repeat around the remaining 3 sides.
8. When you get back to the beginning, cut your bias tape about 1" (2.5 cm) longer than where it would meet, the fold under the raw edge about 1/4" (5 mm), and sew it closed.
9. Now it's time for velcro. Cut a 2" piece, and separate the male and female sides. (With velcro the 'male' half is the harsher, plastic side and the 'female' half is the softer, fuzzier side. No, I didn't decide that. It's a holdover from using snaps in sewing, where there is also a designated male and female side.) Take the female side and lay it perpendicular to the corner, about 3/4"-1" (2-2.5 cm) down from the point on the RIGHT SIDE of your fabric. Hold in place with paper clips, then stitch in place.
10. Take the male half and lay it diagonally across the corner, on the opposite corner from your female velcro, on the WRONG SIDE of your sandwich wrap. Hold in place with paper clips, then stitch in place.
11. Make a delicious sandwich, and wrap it up in your awesome new reusable wrap. Be the envy of all your friends when you go into work with a kick-ass Star Trek lunch box and matching wrap. Accept compliments graciously.
Bonus: You can use your wrap like a placemat to enjoy your lunch on.
A special thanks to FiberAlchemist for her help & advice on this project!