School Reader Bags

Will is now a couple of years into his schooling, and I have been increasingly frustrated by the plastic envelopes he is required to use for transferring items in his school bag. Our school sends notes home in one envelope, readers in another, plus there are two more envelopes for use at school.

I hate using these things! They don’t survive long in the school bag, and I usually reinforce them with cloth tape to stop them falling to pieces.


The worst thing of all, is they are made of plastic, and there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to use this unsustainable material!

I asked Will’s teacher if I could make a cloth bag for the readers, since the library bag is cloth. She said yes — as long as it is waterproof! Apparently the children often get their readers wet because their drink bottles leak in their bags.

Alright, I can understand that. So I just needed to interline my cloth bags with something water repellant.

Nylon rip-stop fabric

I happened to have some nylon rip-stop fabric that came home from preschool one day last year, so that was a quick and easy solution. This fabric is the stuff they make modern camping tents out of, I think, so I figured it would be water repellant enough.

Working with the nylon was a right PITA because it was so slippery. However, I used my walking foot, which helped, and I chose to make a simple bias-bound edge on my bag. This meant I could sandwich my layers together and create the structure of the bag in one go.

No need to turn anything inside out!


The zippers are pulled out of old items: William’s came off a handbag that had disintegrated, Evie’s from a skirt that I cut up for my sister’s wedding quilt top. It is an invisible zipper, but it actually works pretty well regardless! I used a regular installation method to make it sturdy. 🙂

The rest of the materials were all bits I had left over from other projects. You might recognise the fabric from Will’s pyjama shorts, or the napkin fabric I used for my Christmas crackers! 😀

I have to say, I couldn’t have made such a professional looking job of the zipper installation without referring to ikatbag‘s wonderful tutorial series, Zip-A-Bag. LiEr does an exceptional job of explaining how to do things with zippers, and bags in general. If you are a Maker, I can’t recommend this site enough!

Overall I am delighted with these bags — cheerful fabrics go a long way to encouraging some interest with the readers within. Of course, the kids love them too!


I really love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment! :)

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