Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bread Bag Tutorial

When I wrote last week's post Bread Storage Without Plastic , I had hoped to find some time this weekend to make some bread bags. And fortunately, I was able to do so.

On Saturday, I stopped by a favorite antique store in town and found an old vintage linen table cloth that must have been about 4' x 4' (just guessing). It wasn't a tea towel, but it was a lovely linen fabric, some of the best I've seen. The edges had a nice binding which meant less finish work for me! And it had a simple but pretty hand stitched pattern that looked a bit like wheat to me (just a bit; just imagine that it is!).

To make a bread bag, I suggest you bake a loaf first so that you can use it as a guide for how big  you need to make the bag. I wrapped the fabric around my bread and then added a bit for extra room and to make it easy to get the bread in and out. So sorry I don't have any exact measurements for you, but as long as you make it big enough, you can always cut it down later if it's too big.

Next, use pinking shears or a serger to finish of the edges that are not already finished. This will prevent raveling when you wash your bag.

Press the top edge over about 1 1/2" toward the inside of the fabric (also known as the wrong side of the fabric). 

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise so that the right side of the fabric is now on the inside. (This is really hard for you to tell in the photos because the linen is the same on both sides. I had to keep looking at the embroidery to tell which was the right side!). The top portion that you pressed down in the prior step should now be on the outside.

Pin and stitch on three sides, leaving the top open. (It doesn't really matter how far from the edge you stitch on this project).

Using your pinking sheers or scissors, cut a diagonal across the bottom corners to reduce bulk when you turn your bag. Just don't cut too close!

You should now be able to open your bag at the top and see the correct side on the inside of the bag.

Press open the side seam at the top of the bag as far as you can (if you have a pressing ham, you can get all the way down. I just pressed about 5 or 6 inches down.

Now, turn the top down again on top of itself, so that it are three layers of fabric at the top. (Does this make any sense? I don't think I'm explaining this very well. Think of rolling a cuff on a sleeve two times.)

Go back to your machine and stitch two rows, taking care to space evenly. Leave enough space between the two rows for whatever string you are going to use - and leave extra room. For example, if your cording is 1/4", leave 1/2" between the two rows.

I hope you can see in the above photo that I stitched over this area back and forth a couple of times right at the seam to reinforce the horizontal stitching that runs parallel to the top of the bag. Next, turn the bag right-side-out and use a seam ripper to open up the side seam only between the two rows you just stitched.

Add a safety pin to your cording or ribbon and thread it through this opening (the casing) and back around to the other side. Knot the ends or tie them together.

Press side seams and voila! You're done! Now you can enjoy your bread bags. Hopefully, for many years to come. Since I used a tablecloth instead of a hand towel, I was able to make two loaf size bags and a square artisan bread bag. 

Please feel free to email me if you are having trouble with this project and I would be glad to try and help you. Or perhaps a seamstress friend can do a better job explaining it than me! 

Let me know if you make some bread bags. I'd love to see pictures. Amber, a long time friend and fellow blogger, already got on this project. Be sure to see her bread bag and reorganized pantry at More Than Rubies.

May God continually fill your bags abundantly with bread!


  1. Those bags are beautiful, I especially like the embroidery on them. Lucky you, what a great find.

  2. This looks like a good project for a beginner sewer, like me! : )

    I like yours, very pretty and practical.


  3. These are so pretty! I love the wheat's perfect for the bags.

  4. These are simply beautiful. I will be giving them a try in the near future. I used your recipe for bread and it was a hit with my children. They are all for no more bread from the store. I even posted photos on facebook so my husband, who is deployed, could see what he has to look forward to when he returns. The "country girl" has been away for so long that she all but forgot these "simple" pleasure of homemaking/homesteading.

  5. Thanks, ladies for your kind comments!

    Jenny, I love how you posted that for your husband! I never heard of a man who didn't love homemade bread. He'll be thrilled! Saying a prayer today of thanksgiving for his service to our country and his safe return.

    And welcome back to the simple pleasures of homesteading!

  6. I've only recently (a few days ago!) found your blog and I'm itching for a few hours when I have time to go back and read EVeryTHing!!!! I love the name too!!!!
    While I know this post is more on how to make something for something else, I just have to say that the sewing tutorial is just so beautiful!!!! I can almost feel the fabric slipping through my hands, imagining how it was used before! I love to collect old, embroidered cloths, but never really use them. Now I will!!!
    I just loved this post! The pictures are lovely!
    It really takes me back to a homestead!!!
    Thanks for starting my day!!

  7. It reminded me of wheat too. Very pretty.

  8. I love the bags,they look so easy to make,how fresh do they keep the bread? I also love your blog I just came across it for the first time and now following it.I too have a blog on basicly the same lifestyle but mine is just starting out. I am cheap and do everything from scratch to save money and get out of debt.

  9. These are sweet. I like having non-commercial "reminders" (aka labels) on foods. The embroidery gives them an even more special touch!


  10. They're just beautiful...Would make great gifts too.
    I'm going to be trying these after we move and get settled a bit.

  11. Someone suggested your tutorial on GNOWFLINS ecourse forum. I'm grateful. We don't use ziplocks a lot but do use them for homemade bread and crackers. I would like to try this.

    what is your experience on freshness? Do you store your bread in the refrigerator with these cloth bags?

  12. Carmen,
    I love my bread bags, but they are not as good as keeping the bread fresh as the zip lock or plastic bags. It must be used within a day or two and I find that the first slice each time is dry. I do NOT store it in the refrigerator as that would dry it out, but I do place it in a metal container, similar to a bread box. Actually, I use an old tin with a lid. This keeps out some of the air. HOWEVER, if you are storing artisan style bread (as opposed to sandwich bread), you don't want it in a totally airtight container. Place it in the cloth bag and then in a bread box (which are designed with some air holes).
    Thanks for visiting and following Homestead Revival. Hope your bread is wonderful in the bags.

  13. These bags are so special! I mentioned your tutorial on my blog today. Thank you!

  14. These bread bags look easy enough with your instructions. I got this from Toodie and I put you on faves so I can find you, it's bedtime here. The embroidery is a nice touch.

  15. This tutorial is awesome and the bags are awesome. May I ask one question? Regarding: Pin and stitch on three sides, leaving the top open. (It doesn't really matter how far from the edge you stitch on this project).

    Does this mean that I would stitch on the "folded" side too? Sorry, I'm a beginner sewer.

    Thanks again!

  16. Jackie, good point.... I only had to stitch two sides because my bag was one piece of material folded over. However, if you had to cut two pieces of fabric to make the bag, you would need to stitch on three sides. And yes, stitch all the way to the top, BUT leave the top open. The reason you can stitch all the way to the top is because you'll use a seam ripper to open the casing to put in the draw string (see 4th picture from the bottom). Sorry I confused everyone by saying stitch 3 sides when I folded my fabric and I only needed to stitch 2 sides! Hope this helps!

  17. Replies
    1. I'm sure you could. Just be sure to read my note above to Carmen... these are obviously not airtight!


Thank you for visiting Homestead Revival™! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation by leaving your comments. "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29


Related Posts with Thumbnails