I usually sharpie my name onto a hard to find blank area, then put it in the fridge at work. I notice lots of coworkers have cute lunch bags and of course they can easily tell whose is whose because the bags are all different.
Since I have some 'oilcloth' and laminated cotton fabrics on hand I decided to make myself a cute, reusable lunch bag too. (once I made 1, I couldn't stop, and made several more-I made 2 in half an hour (!))
A note on 'oilcloth' and laminated cotton-this is what I used because I like how it looks, is practical-and I had some on hand. I put my food in containers inside the bag though. I have read that they are not food safe nor recommended for children under 12. Please do your own research if you have any concerns.
I originally thought about making one from cotton fabrics-but since it will need to be lined and so forth, it was a longer project than I intended to work on that day. I'll get a tutorial up as soon as I make one though.
What I used
- Oilcloth or laminated cotton fabric (18” x 26”)
- Binder clips
- Coordinating thread
- Craft scissors-or used rotary blade and pinking shears if desired
- Teflon sewing foot
- Grid ruler or tape measure
- Seam gauge is handy
- Pencil or marking pen
- Sew on velcro® pre cut circles or squares or pieces cut to about 1” square.
All seams are ½” unless otherwise stated. Don't forget to backstitch at all ends.
I like to ‘pink’ the edges with pinking shears or scallop scissors as I think it gives a cuter look-but it isn’t necessary. I use my craft scissors and a mostly used rotary blade for cutting the vinyl.
Use your sewing machine's ‘leather or vinyl’ setting.
(if I don't forget like I did here in these photos, lol ).
Cut 1 piece of oilcloth 18” tall x 26” wide.
With right sides together, fold the oilcloth in half so that it is now 18” tall x 13” wide. Attach binder clips at the top, bottom and side edges to keep the ‘cloth’ from shifting.
At each bottom corner, trace a section 2.5” x 2.5” square for the gusset. (I used a pencil on the back of the oilcloth-it leave the marks but is erasable, or use a water soluble/air erasable marking pen). Make sure to add a binder clip at each corner to keep things even while cutting. Cut out both corners with craft scissors. Readjust the binder clips all the way around the 'bag' now.
Use a Teflon® foot and stitch down the left and right sides (one side will be an uncut edge-that’s fine- you want to sew this edge too so that both sides are even). Stitch along the bottom in the same way. (Reinforce the seams and the bottom by stitching again using a narrower seam allowance and a zigzag stitch ).
To make the gusset: match a side to a bottom seam and attach a binder clip here and at one of the ends. Make sure to fold the seams in opposite directions so they lay flatter (see photo below). Stitch, starting at the end without the clip, removing clips as you go. Now re-stitch the seam with a narrower seam allowance using a zigzag stitch for reinforcement. Repeat for 2nd side.
Trim the top of the bag evenly, using the clips to hold the oilcloth steady-remove them as you cut. (see photo below). Re-stitch the backstitched ends on the side seams that you’ve just cut through. Fold down ¾” (toward the wrong side) lining up side seams (see photo). Attach clips around the top, then stitch, again removing clips as you go.
Turn bag right side out and push out bottom corners.
At the top of the bag, pinch and fold 1.5 inches on each side of the side seam and attach a clip to hold all the folds together. To do this I like to mark 1.5” on my seam gauge and put the end on the seam gauge on the seam of the bag-then carefully push the fabric onto the gauge up until it hits the mark and add a clip.(please see photo above for reference).
Fold down the top of the bag by about 2” and stitch 2 of the 'female' Velcro® pieces at 1.5” in from each side.
Fold this section down again and using first Velcro® pieces as a guide, place the 2 'male' Velcro® pieces onto the bag.
Stitch an 'x' over the Velcro® pieces to secure.
Your bag is now ready to use…