Saturday, April 30, 2011


Linking up this May Day (or a day early), with Old Grey Mare’s "Project Genesis".  One of the most consistent things I do to try and help the environment, is faithfully haul my reusable grocery bags with me each week when shopping (if you carry them back out to your car once groceries are all unloaded, and keep them in the trunk, you can never forget them). This got me thinking of doing the same for my daughter, to alleviate the glut of brown paper bag lunches she carries to work now (and knowing it would be a little more cheerful, also. Z also has a simple Bag Tutorial on her blog, which she posted last year).

Gathering up some fabric I had on hand, I set forth to make her a reusable lunch bag of her own. One that is easily folded up and brought home in a purse each night, to be used again the next day. Following is a quick tutorial I threw together, in case you get the urge to ditch your own paper (or, GASP! Plastic) lunch bags – this bag goes together in no time.  It's a tiny step, but every little bit helps in the long run...

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Main Fabric – ½ yd.; Lining fabric – ½ yd.; 1-1/2” piece Velcro; thread and sewing machine. ALL SEAMS ARE ½”.  Since main and lining pieces are constructed the same way, you will construct both at the same time.
1.  Cut two pieces of main fabric, 16” long X 12” wide.

2.  Cut two pieces of lining fabric, 15-1/2” long X 12” wide.  (Quick Tip: Ever made a bag and had the lining “pool” up in the bottom, like it was too long? It was! Try cutting it ½” shorter in length.)

3.  Cut a 2” X 2” square from each of the bottom corners.
4.  With right sides together, sew across bottom seam of both the outer bag, and the lining.  Press seams open.  On right side of each piece, stitch ¼” on each side of seam line.  This will hold your bottom seams flat.
5.  On main bag (with right sides together), sew both side seams, from top to bottom.  On lining (right sides together), sew ONE side seam from top to bottom.   Sew the OTHER side seam, leaving a 3 - 4” opening in your seam.  Press seams open.
6.  Your bottom corners will now have formed an opening.  Open out edges and, matching side and bottom seams (right sides together), stitch across opening – this will “box” your corners.  Do this for both main bag and lining, on both corners.
7.  Turn main bag, right side out.  Leave lining WRONG side out.  Slip main bag inside of lining, right sides together.  Matching side seams, stitch around upper edge.
8.  Gently pull main bag through opening in lining.  Stitch side seam closed on lining, and push lining down into main bag.  Iron and top stitch ¼” from edge, around top of bag.

9.  Center 1-1/2” piece of Velcro (the stiff side) ¼” from bag edge, at upper center of bag.  Sew in place.
10.  Center remaining piece of Velcro on opposite bag side, approx. 4-1/2” down from top edge.  Stitch in place.  If you have placed these correctly, you will be able to roll top down twice, and Velcro in place, to hold.

11.  Measure over 1-7/8” from each upper side seam, and mark with pin.  Smoothing lining on inside, fold your fabric between lower edge (at boxed corner) and your pin at the top.  Pin along fold that forms, making sure you catch your lining in at same time, also.  Sew a 1/8” seam along this folded edge.  This will help your bag hold its shape, like a paper bag.  Do this for each of the four sides/edges.
12.  Just about done…fold your two sides in towards the middle of the bag (you will have a "V" from the folded/stitched edges in towards seam), and the bottom up (grab a paper bag if you need a reference, but it should pretty much fall into place, once you start easing it into place), and iron to hold shape.  Finished bag will be the size of your standard brown paper lunch bag, but much more fashionable, and certainly reusable.

Project Genesis - Creating change, one day at a time...


oldgreymare said...


Loving that fabric> these would make such great gifts for office mates and teachers etc. Something practical, useful and not just another chotsky...
lovin' it..


By the Bluegrass said...

This is great! I need to make some of these as well! Starting year after next, our youngest daughter will be taking her lunch everyday for the next six years! Our other three kids did the same in lower school. But, this time around, I'm going to make sure she takes a reusable bag like this one. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm bookmarking this one.

Dorthe said...

Thankyou Tanya, for your tutorial, making the beautiful lunchbag- it is great and very detailed -thanks.

Razmataz said...

I too think this is a great gift. Or, even better use it as gift wrap instead of bought gigt bags. 2 gifts in pretty.

The Primitive Bucket said...

So pretty, Jaci will have a stylish lunch now!!! Maybe I'll even try one for Ash, she always takes a lunch with her!!
Happy May Day to you too sis!!

Colleen said...

Absolutely beautiful fabric and you do such a fantastic job on everything you do - you are so talented, girlfriend!

Theresa said...

Love this! Thanks for the tutorial.. I'll have to look back at Z's too! Your fabric is so pretty, your daughter must love it. xoxo