Workbench with sewing equipment and a rain jacket.

DIY bread bag: Upcycle an old rain jacket

Long car journeys, school trips, and everyday office life often have one thing in common: the bread bag! After quickly putting it together in the morning, your sandwich disappears into a paper bag for your journey. Paper bags are not always strong enough to keep your sandwich together and they create a lot of waste over time. Cut fruit or vegetables soften the bags and even a crispy bread crust can cause thin paper bags to tear.

The solution is as sustainable as it is simple: you can make your own reusable bread bags from an old rain jacket in just a few easy steps! The water-repellent material of a rain jacket is ideal for storing your lunch and it is extremely strong and washable. Your homemade bread bag will last you a long time and help you keep a sustainable lifestyle.

Sewing instructions for an upcycled bread bag made from an old rain jacket

Upcycled bread bags are as useful as bowl covers for protecting your food for work or outings. The material of the rain jacket is perfect for the DIY bread bag because of its strength and water resistance. If you don’t have an old rain jacket, then you could use other suitable materials, such as an oilcloth tablecloth.

Tools for upcycling a Bread Bag from an Old Rain Jacket.

Checklist: Upcycled bread bags

To make your own upcycled bread bags you will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Old rain jacket
  • About 10 cm of Velcro fastener
  • Matching colour thread
  • A set square, if not, then a ruler
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Clothes pegs and pins

Step-by-step sewing instructions to make a bread bag

First of all, the rain jacket needs to be cut into separate pieces. Cut large pieces along the seams of the jacket to reduce the amount of waste fabric.

Start by cutting out two rectangles of the rain jacket, each measuring 50 by 25 centimetres. The seam allowance is included in this measurement. Simply draw the outline on the fabric and cut it to size, there is no need to use a template.

Set one cutting aside for the time being. Use the nicest looking piece of the two as this will be visible on the finished bag.

Outline of the bread bag on your fabric and cut it to size.
Attaching the Velcro to the outer layer of fabric.

Take the Velcro and separate the 2 sides. Then fold the rectangle piece in the middle lengthways, so the right side is facing outwards. The folded piece of fabric should now be square. Place one side of the Velcro in the centre and parallel to the long edge fabric. Keep three centimetres from the top edge of the fabric. Next, place the second part of the Velcro in the same way on the other side. The aim is for the Velcro to meet when the garment is folded right sides together. Fix the Velcro pieces with a pin and sew them to the fabric. Sew around the Velcro once with the sewing machine.

Once the Velcro has been sewn into place, the piece can be folded again in the centre of the long side. This time with the right sides facing inwards. Next, close the two open sides by sewing along the side edges. Repeat this process with the second piece. Once finished, you will have two simple bags.

Next, take a bag and fold the side seams that you have just sewn towards the bottom centre. This will create triangles at the two corners. Now measure 5 cm inwards from the top of the two triangles and draw a horizontal line. Repeat this step for your second little bag. Then sew along the lines you have just drawn and cut off the excess fabric about four to five millimetres from the seam. The bottom to your upcycled bread bag is now finished.

Fold, mark and sew a three-dimensional bottom.
Place the upcycled bread bag parts inside each other.

Prepare the two individual bags so that one has the right side of the fabric facing out and the other has the left. Now place the two bags inside each other so that the right sides of the fabric are touching. Make sure that the side seams are aligned and then fix in place with the clothes pegs. Where the side seams meet, make sure the excess fabric is folded in the opposite directions. This prevents too many layers of fabric from overlapping and creating a thick area.

CheckIf you sew the right sides of your fabric together and turn the fabric over afterwards, this makes the seams disappear, leaving no open and messy fabric edges.

CheckIf you sew the right sides of your fabric together and turn the fabric over afterwards, this makes the seams disappear, leaving no open and messy fabric edges.

The next step is to stitch the two bags together. Sew along the top edge of the pegged together pieces. Sew either end of the seam and leave an opening of about five centimetres.

Now turn the inside-out through the opening and neatly worked out all the edges. Finally, sew around the top edge. This seam serves as a decorative seam that adds strength to the edge and closes the reversible opening in the same step. Finally turn the bred bag inside-out, so that the Velcro is on the outside.

Join the pieces of the bread bag together and turn them inside out.
Finished: homemade upcycled bread bag.

And there you have it, your very own upcycled bread bag. The bread bag can be sealed airtight by rolling the opening shut. As the bread bag is waterproof, it's also great for other purposes, such as wrapping up damp swimwear after swimming.

Conclusion

It’s quite easy to create useful DIY projects from old clothes that you no longer need. You can make upcycled packaging for the kitchen out of all kinds of materials, such as a rain jacket, or make useful upcycled cloths out of ordinary clothes. Not only are you reducing household waste by avoiding disposable products, but you’re also breathing new life into old items.