Saturday, 17 January 2009

Washable Lunch Bag Tutorial

I was inspired to design these after seeing the one Sara made on Crafty Mamas.

This is a great project for using up those odd fat quarters you have in your stash.
I have 5 children off to school so made 5 bags. As i am production sewing them I didn't take the time to embellish. You may want to try adding some embellishments to make yours special. Appliquing your child's name or a cute applique would look wonderful.

  • 1/2m of fabric ( or 2 Australian Fat Quarters (20 inches by 22 inches) ..they are bigger than the American ones)
  • 1/2m of wadding (or Australian Fat quarter)
  • Thread
  • A walking foot (optional but does make it easier)
  • A snap press ( you can use a button but the snaps are so easy!) I got my snap Press from Snaps Australia and can highly recommend them.

  • One Bag outer 16 inches by 22 inches
  • One Lining 16 inches by 22 inches
  • One wadding (I used cotton) 16 inches by 22 inches
  • One Strip for the strap and closure 4 inches by 22 inches
(if making from fat quarters you cut 4 inches off the long edge, this will give you the strap and the bag piece.)

Here are my pieces cut and ready to go.
The orange is my outer the green my lining.

Start by making the straps.
Hot Dog fold your fabric to mark the center line
Then fold the sides into the center and over again
You now have four layers of fabric and the raw edges are enclosed.

Cut 6 inches off the strip.
This will be your closure tab.

Turn in the raw ends of each strip.
And top stitch all the way around both the tab and the strap.

You need to find where the center front of your bag will be
To do this fold the two shorter sides to meet, then fold again with the edges about an inch apart (this allows for the seam allowance).
Pin the tab into place as in the photo.

Baste the tab into place through the bag fabric and the wadding.
Treat the wadding and fabric as one fabric.
My wadding clung to my fabric so I did not bother to baste it.
You could use an iron on wadding if you prefer.

Layer your fabrics. Batting, outer and lining.
As in the photo above the outer and lining fabrics should be right sides together.

Stitch along the top of lining, wadding and bag outer.
Catching the tab in the seam.

Hot dog fold your lining and bag
Matching the seam.

Sew around the three sides leaving an opening for turning in the lining.

Put your hand in the opening in the lining and push out the base of your bag.
Be careful to make sure the fabric inside is not puckered.
Pinch out the corners and stitch across them about 1.5 inches from the point.
As shown in the photo above.

Turn the bag through the hole in the lining.
Top stitch the hole closed and push the lining into the bag.

Top stitch around the top of the bag.

Fold the bag until the tab reaches the base.
then turn the bag over and position the handle.

Pin the handle into place.

Sew the handle into place with a box and cross
Be careful not to sew through the front of the bag.
It can be tricky getting all those layers out of the way as you do this.

the last step is to apply your snaps.
One on the tab and one on the base of the bag.
You can sew a button onto the bag and work a buttonhole onto the tab if you prefer.
I put two snaps on this bag but only put one on the others I made.
There really isn't a need for more than one.

Here are my children's five bags ready for the new school year.

Other options you could consider:
  • Using a nylon fabric as the lining
  • Using the iron on vinyl to make a waterproof version

If you come across any errors in this pattern please let me know so I can edit them.
If you make a bag I'd love to see it.

You are welcome to make and sell these.


Jack said...

Great idea Tracy!

Knit and Piece said...

Tracy, these are really really nice. I think I'll make one.

Lola....L..O..L..A....lo--oh--luh! said...

Thanks Tracy! I'm going to make a bunch of these for my bunch of kids! Great pattern!

Sara said...

Oh I'm famous! *bg*
Great bags! It's so nice to be able to make something fun and useful for the kids, and they can't get confused with anyone else's bag!

mirage said...

very nice bags, i am wondering could you make them with PUL or would it be too stiff?

twoveganboys said...

Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I just love your blog.


Stevie said...

Thank you so much for all the yummy ideas of things to make AND figuring out easy ways of making them. I'm new to sewing so your generosity in sharing is awesome. Really enjoyed your projects...keep crafting.

Thanks again. Stevie

Diane said...

I really like like your tutorial. I needed something that my husband wouldn't be embarrassed to carry and this will be perfect! Thanks for sharing!