I already mentioned I’m becoming enamored of the idea of making my lunches bento-style this year. I’m also about to start the eating plan named after that beach near Miami, so we’ll see how the two come together later.
For now let’s talk lunch boxes. I came across the instructions for this cute little make-it-yourself bag called Kate’s Notebook Lunch Bag on Design*Spongethe other day. You could conceivably make this bag for many purposes out of nearly any fabric that has a little body to it. I thought I’d try Kate’s design, though, because it’s so perfect for a teacher. Since the original plans call for a 1-layer bag made of ticking, a very light canvas sort of material, I made a few of my own adaptations. I am an amateur seamstress so some of the details were made up as I went along; I feel certain a real seamstress with more experience could make it look much fancier if they chose to try. I am proud of my bag because it is made of 100% upcycled materials. Here’s what I did:
I wanted some insulation and protection for the fabric against moisture coming off my frozen leftovers, so thought I’d attempt to modify the directions. I dug out a vinyl tablecloth and old quilt I wasn’t using. Then I went to the thrift store and found a pillow case that closely resembled ticking for $1.
I cut all three fabrics with the pattern from Design*Sponge. I had to rip out the seam of the pillowcase so that I could take off the border and press it flat. Even opened the pillowcase was too narrow, so I just cut one of the “flaps” separately with a 1/2” seam allowance and sewed it on. This seam is part of the bottom of the bag so it doesn’t show anyway.
I sewed a red top stitch, drew the “holes” with a fat permanent marker, and wrote the words with a fine-point permanent marker. (I did trace the letters first in light pencil.) I learned later that I should have put my words lower on the bag, maybe about an inch or two above the bottom.
I sewed the quilting to the vinyl. You could skip this step I think, and just pin or baste it, but I was afraid everything would get out of alignment and slip around. Then I pinned my insulation and lining piece to the wrong side of the ticking and sewed all the layers together as directed by Design*Sponge.
I carefully pinned all three layers together with the right side of the ticking and the plastic side of the vinyl facing outward. Then I sewed them with white thread twice: once with a regular stitch and once with a zigzag stick to prevent unravelling. I trimmed the seams.
The last thing to be done was to hem the open edges. I had to trim the lining and fold the ticking to the inside. I used a double top stitch in white thread. The pictures show that in detail.
I am satisfied with the bag but it is both thick and floppy, making it hard to fold and seal. The lining makes it look a bit “fluffy” or pillowy, which I don’t really like. But it will do!