Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lunch Bag Tutorial

Elle goes to a small Montessori school (I should post about Montessori one of these days… we’re completely in love!). They don’t have a cafeteria, so all the kiddos and I’m assuming teachers, bring their lunches… or bentos in our case… to school. So I thought pretty lunch bags would be a useful little gift to give Elle’s teachers for teacher appreciation week!

I was originally thinking I would make the lunch bags from oilcloth, but I didn’t have enough time to drive up to the fabric shop that I knew would have a good selection. Even if I had made the drive I would’ve had to make them all from the same 2 prints or have lots of scraps since you only need a little fabric for this project. Laminated cotton was the perfect solution! It took 3 and a half yards of this particular laminating material (I bought glossy, not matte), I had a 50% off coupon, and I got to use up some of my favorite scraps!

Confession: I finished the bags Wed. night and was planning to design cute tags and take some nice photos of the bags all lined up Thurs night in time for Elle to give them to her teachers on Friday. Thurs. morning I woke up and realized my plan wouldn’t work because Elle is off of school on Friday! So tags and photos were done while packing Elle’s lunch, feeding the girls breakfast, and getting myself ready for work.

So I know we’re too late for teacher appreciation week, but I think you should make these as an end of the year gift for your kid’s teachers, a “thanks for being so great to work with” gift for a co-worker, a “I just wanted to do something special for you” gift for your kiddo, or “I want to take a pretty lunch to work” gift for yourself! Here’s how I did it:

Cut one strip of fabric for the main part of the bag 29 ½ inches by 8 inches.
Cut two strips for the sides of the bag 12 ¼ inches by 5 inches.

Laminate the 3 pieces of the bag by following the instructions that came with your laminating material  Tip: I used paperclips when needed… pins will leave holes in the lamination.

Fold the main fabric in half and make ¼ inch long slits in both sides of the fabric strip 2 ½ inches from the fold.

So when unfolded your main strip of fabric will have four ¼ inch slits 5 inches apart from each other on both sides of the center of the strip.

Sew-in the side panels - With right sides (i.e. laminated sides) together sew one long side of a side panel to the main bag with a quarter inch seem allowance. Stop a quarter inch from the slit you cut. Turn the bag and line up the short side of the side panel between the two slits and continue to sew stopping a quarter inch from the slit. Turn the bag again and sew from the slit back up to the top of the main fabric. Repeat on the other side.

Turn the bag right sides out & finger press the seems.

Top-stitch all around.

Fold the sides of the bag in and cut along the top of the bag with pinking shears.

Sew a length of hook and loop tape to the main part of the bag, centered 3 inches from the top. Sew the other side of the tape to the other side of the main part of the bag, centered ½ inch from the top.

Roll down the top of the bag, fasten is with the hook and loop and clothespin a little tag to it.



Amanda said...

Love love LOVE this idea! What a cute lunch bag and a great teacher gift! I may just have to do this myself! Thanks so much for a great tutorial!


PickleDiva said...

How was the iron on laminate to work with? This is a great idea, and I've been trying to find laminated fabric that my mom would love to have an apron from! She lost the nice one she got in England, and now that I can sew, I would love to pick any cotton and use the iron on. That way I can use the ultra cute, but absolutely not practical for any of my normal craft project material I found on etsy! I've been just dying for an excuse to buy these hula dancing lobsters fabric!

Where do you find fabric like laminated cotton? I didn't notice any when I was in Jay's, and Jo-ann's is the only place it seems to find fabric. Now that I'm more confident and want to try new projects, I would love some more fabric options.

Stacey - Elle Belle said...

Hi Pickles!
The laminated cotton was a lot easier to work with than I anticipated! I just followed the directions that came with the clear laminating vinyl to laminate some cotton scraps I already had in my stash. I bought it at Jays, they had it under the first cutting counter to the left when you walk in the door. Good luck and have fun!

Stacey - Elle Belle said...

oops I mean the right... when you walk in the front door, the first counter to your right.

Nancy said...

I love these! It is great you could use cute fabric scraps instead of whatever oilcloth they had in stock. I am sure the teachers appreciated them.

AsylumTanya said...

I have never heard of laminating material for cotton before. I can't wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea!

Unknown said...

Hi I am desperately trying to make oilcloth sandwich bags as gifts for my sons teachers but keep stumbling at getting a tidy finish in the 4 corners of the bag and also then the same when doing the top stitch. Have you got any handy tips that might help with this problem. Many thanks Charlotte

Elle Belle Creative said...

The laminate is kinda sticky so it can be difficult to work with... If you put a piece of tissue paper between the presser foot and the fabric it'll help you sew smoother. Also when you turn the bag right side out you can use a chop-stick to push the corners out and get a crisper finish there. Hope that helps some! -stacey

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