On the other hand, Miss 3's preschool has a no lunch box policy - their licensing requires that all lunches and snacks be refrigerated and rigid lunchboxes take up too much room in their refrigerator.
I pack her lunch and afternoon tea in two labelled drawstring calico bags. The problem is of course, that I can't put her sandwich straight in the bag, so I've been using zip-lock bags, which she brings home and I wash for reuse next time.
I decided that I'd like to get rid of the zip-lock bags and replace it with a reusable fabric wrapper. I've seen a couple of these sorts of things online (like the Wrap-N-Mat) but I figured that they can't be that hard to make myself!
So I scrounged around to see what I had on hand. I was lucky enough to find a very old packet of black Velcro, and I have fabric leftover from the girls' aprons I made, so that was all good, but I wondered about a lining?
Many ladies I've read about online have been making wrappers from waterproof nappy/diaper PUL or old plastic tablecloths, but a) I didn't have either of those on hand and b) I question the health effects of using non-food grade plastic to wrap fresh sandwiches in. I decided to improvise and use a zip-lock bag; although it is plastic, at least it is food grade.
Making the wrap was very straight forward, even for someone like me with limited sewing skills :-)
1. I cut two 30cm (12") squares of fabric.* I then took a large zip-lock bag I had been using in the kitchen, and cut it open down one side and along the bottom. I opened it out and cut a 30 cm/ 12" square out of it also.
* This makes for a large wrap as we use thick-sliced homemade bread. You can make it smaller if you like.
2. With the right sides of the fabric facing, and the plastic pinned in between them, I sewed around three sides of the squares, and along 2/3 of the fourth side. Using that gap, I turned the fabric inside out, so that now the plastic was on the outside. I folded the edges of the open seam inwards and sewed up the gap on the machine, and then sewed just inside the seam on all four sides so that it all sits flat.
3. Then I sewed small pieces of the Velcro onto the opposite corners of the wrap, two on the inside and two on the outside:
Ta da! The finished wrap (excuse the wrinkling - I can't iron it because of the plastic lining :-):
And here's the inside (although it's hard to see the lining):
To use it, the sandwich goes diagonally in the middle on the plastic:
Fold up two of the opposite corners and secure:
Then fold up the two other corners and secure. Voila! A lovely, wrapped sandwich:
I made this wrap exactly one year ago and it is still going strong. The plastic lining has gone cloudy, as all plastic bags do when they are washed and reused (as you can see below), but apart from a little fraying on one piece of Velcro, it is great!
To clean it, I either wipe it off with the dishcloth, or if the fabric is dirty, I wash it gently in the dish washing water at night and leave it to dry overnight. I have thrown it in the washing machine a couple of times with no ill effect, but I think the machine would make the plastic deteriorate much more quickly.