When I sent my first child off to kindergarten four years ago (Four years! Oh my!) I was horrified at the idea of using two or even three Ziploc bags everyday in his lunch. I hadn’t bought baggies for years, instead reusing containers that food came in when I needed to wrap something up. But lunch was a conundrum. I couldn’t very well send him off every day with a sandwich wrapped in an old bread bag, now could I? For one things I’d run out pretty quickly and for another, well, kids are funny about those kinds of things, and I didn’t want to add to his kindergarten jitters. At the time the only option I could find were plastic containers, which I feared he’d loose easily.
My solution was to make a stack of reusable cloth sandwich wraps that could be easily wiped down when he brought his lunch box home each afternoon. Yes, they too could be lost, but by letting him choose the fabric (space aliens!) I didn’t worry too much about it. I also made several as back ups, just in case. Four years on, we are still using that pile of space wrappers for his lunch every day. This year, however, I’m sending my very girly girl off to preschool for the first time. And because she will be eating lunch at school and doesn’t quite dig the alien thing, it was time to make a few wraps for her.
In the years since I made those first wraps, a much better selection of oilcloths and laminated fabrics has become available. For my original set I used picnic tablecloth fabric for the inside and space fabric for the outside. This time around I found some beautiful laminated fabric for the inside, complete with flowers, which made my girl a happy camper. If you are concerned about plastic, you can also use canvas, which is one of the more water resistant fabrics for the lining.
Things to do:
1. Cut a 12″ square from each of the fabrics, making sure you cut away the non-laminated selvage edge from the lining fabric.
2. Pin at the four corners parallel to the edge to avoid holes on the surface of the wrap.
3. Cut a three-inch piece of stretch magic and tuck it between the layers at one corner, pinning it into place.
4. Sew around the square using a 1/2″ seam allowance and leaving a three inch gap on one side unsewn. (Make sure your gap is along a side and not at a corner)
5. Trim the corners to allow for a sharper point and turn right side out.
6. Finger press the seam (do not iron!) and top stitch 1/4″ in from the edge all around to close up the gap and finish the edges.
7. Set the wrap at an angle with the elastic loop pointing up. Place two slices of bread in the center to act as a guide and fold first the sides in, then the bottom up and the top down. Mark the spot where the loop hits the bottom flap, open up the wrap, and stitch a button in place.
8. Wipe down with hot soapy water as needed.