Monday, September 12, 2011

Tutorial: Bento Lunch Bag

Thanks for the interest in a tutorial! Here's how I made the bento lunch bags.

First, gather your materials. I used a home dec weight material for the exterior and a quilting weight cotton for the interior. For the drawstring cover I used linen.

From your exterior fabric cut two panels 12" x 13"
from your interior fabric cut two panels 12" x 13"
From your drawstring cover fabric cut two panels 6.5" x 13" (or one panel 6.5" x 25")
From fusible fleece cut two panels 11" x 12"
1" cotton webbing - 24"

Other supplies:
one cord lock
one yard of cording
sewing machine

Note: all seams are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.

If you've never used a cord lock before, they look like this:

Cut a 2.5" square from the bottom corners of your exterior, interior, and fusible fleece panels. This will make it easier to do your boxed corners later.

Fuse the fleece to the exterior fabric, centering the fleece like this:

Sew the side seams and bottom seam.

Then box the corners by bringing the bottom seam up to meet the side seam. Stitch across the edge. Repeat for other side.

You should end up with something like this:

Press seams open. Turn exterior right side out, gently poking the corners out using the pointy device of your choice. I use an old knitting needle.

Repeat for interior, but keep interior wrong side out. Now you should have this:

Set the interior and exterior aside.

Take your drawstring cover panels and sew along the short side. Of course, this is when I realized that this could be done with one piece measuring 6.5" x 25" so feel free to do that if you prefer. (Note: To prevent fraying, serge or zig zag along the short sides and top edge.)

Press center seam open.

Fold top edge down 1/2" and press well.

Fold cover panel in half, right sides together. Stitch along seam, stopping just below the folded down top edge.

When you're done, the edge should look like this:

Open the top edge and fold in one corner to the pressed line like this:

Then fold back down along the pressed edge like this:

Pin in place and repeat on other side.

Stitch around the top, creating a casing for your drawstring. Press side seam open.

Next, cut your cotton webbing into two 12" lengths.

Find the top center of your exterior. Place handles 1-1/4" to each side of the center and pin in place. Be careful to not twist your handle.

Repeat for other side.

Place the interior inside the exterior of your bag (wrong sides together) and pin in place (matching side seams).

Then take your drawstring cover and place it outside the exterior and handles (right sides together) and pin in place.

Sew around the top of the bag securing the lining, exterior, handles, and cover.

Tuck the cover inside the bag and neatly press the top edge.

Topstitch around the top edge of the bag, about 1/4" from the edge. The place a second line of topstitching about 1/2" in from the first. This will give your bag a nice finished look.

If you look in the bag, you'll also see that the second line of topstitching will conceal the raw edges inside your lunch bag!

Thread your cording through the casing and secure in the cord lock to finish your bag. (If you need detailed instructions about how to do this, check out my reversible drawstring bag tutorial.)

And there you have it! A fantastic new lunch bag!

If you have any questions, just ask. And if you make one, I'd love to know about it.

Happy Crafting!


  1. Meg, great tutorial! I love the finished products. Definitely on the to do list!

  2. I use your other bag tutorial all the time, can't wait to try this one out too!

  3. How adorable! Loving the very clear tutorial, I'm inspired :)

  4. tu es douee bravo ma belle bisesssssssssssssssssssssss

  5. Super cute and great tutorial!!


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