How to make a cute little Lunch bag – very easily!

fabric lunch bag diy

Let me start with a revelation – I am a messy lunch packer.

Long story short – my lunch packing really sucks, it seems.  This is what I get for all the hard work of getting up in the early morning before the rooster does, every single working day and make and pack lunch.

But to be fair to my kids, it seems they endured it for years before confiding in me. I blamed it all on the lunch box, of course.

Carrying lunch in another specially designated lunch bag is the only practical solution I could see to leaking lunch boxes; other than trying to be superwomen and learn packing skills as well or buy a better lunchbox. With this fabric lunch box cover bag no more messy leaks inside school bags ( and other bags) which are not washable.

Buying a lunch bag makes a lot of sense – but making one makes better sense. I have a cupboard full of fabric scraps with which I could make 365 such lunch bags for all the days of the year or more. But with the one hour it takes to make it, I would have to work 15 days continuously to make these many. Yes, even Craftiness (craziness) has a limit. So as of now, on to the first bag

Lunch Bag Pattern.

Step 1 Cut out the pattern pieces for the bag from a thick decorator weight fabric as per the picture below

ie. One big piece which is 19 inches by 6 inches ; 2 smaller side pieces 9 inches by 6 inches ; 2 pieces 3 inches by 10 inches for the zipper placket; 2 strips of piping (optional) of length 20 inches made with a bias cut fabric strip 20 inches long and 1 1/4 inch wide

Check out the post on making piping here if you do not know how to.

cloth lunch box cover

How to make the lunch bag

Step 2 Join the big middle piece to side piece

Find the center of the long edge of the big piece and the center of the short edge of one of the side piece. Mark this with chalk.

Keep these together (rightsides touching together) aligning the centers you have marked. Keep the piping in between with the cord side to the inside (see picture below).

You will have to use your zipper foot to stitch this as the piping needs this foot for the needle to stitch close enough to the cord.

fabric lunch box cover

When you open it the piece will look like the picture below.

cute lunch bag

Now you will have to take the long edge of the side piece and join it to the side of the long piece ( right sides touching together).

make lunch bag

Stitch in place. You will find that the side piece is a little longer and there will be a projection to the outside of the side piece – that will be taken care of later

make lunch bag cover

Here it is one side joined.

lunch box cover cloth

Here it is the other side joined as well, the same way.

make lunch box cover

Do this with the other side piece also. The bag will look like this when all stitching is done – 3 dimensional. Do not worry about the mess inside ; we will deal with them later.

lunch box cover diy tutorial

Step 3 Make the zipper placket

Take the small narrow pieces 3 inches by 10 inches  – you have to join the zipper in between these pieces.

how to make a lunch bag

Keep the zipper face down on the long edge of the fabric piece right side up. Stitch in place with the zipper foot on again. Then when it is joined, keep the other side of the zipper edge face down on the other fabric piece right side up and stitch. Here is your zipper placket.

make a lunch box cover

lunch bag cover

If you had cut a long zipper ( you will need to to get a 10-inch piece) you should stitch across the zipper teeth at the ends so that it does not open up accidentally or reattach the metal thing from the end to where you want to. You can see this in action in the post – repair and fix zipper problems

Step 4  Join the zipper placket and bag

You will now be joining the long edge of the zipper placket and top edge of the main big piece on both the side of the zipper placket.

As the zipper placket is 10 inches long and the bag edge piece is only 6 inches understandably there will be some left over on either side of the zipper placket. You will be stitching this to the projecting sides of the side pieces – this will create the interesting shape of this lunch bag

As said, keep the zipper placket and the bag top edge with the center of both the pieces aligning. Stitch in place. This is a slightly twisted seam – just a warning beforehand

lunch bag cover tutorial

When you open up it will look like this.Clip the seam allowance to avoid bunching at the seams

lunch bag cover

Open the zipper slightly ; Turn the bag inside out

Stitch the other side of the zipper placket and the bag top edge together as done earlier –  the top will look like this.

make a lunch bag

Step 5 Make handles for the bag

For an easier version use webbing pieces each 14 inches long

Cut out 2 fabric pieces 2 1/2 inches wide and 14 inches long and make two handles – I turned under the long edges 1/4 inch to the inside and stitched in place -as it is a thick fabric otherwise it would not behave and go all twisty knotty.

Then turn by the middle and stitch to make your handles

Step 6  Join the side edges with handles

Open up the zipper . Keep one of the handles along the side top edge to the inside as in the picture below and arrange the zipper placket on top and then stitch in place.

lunch bag pattern

Make two or three stitching here as this seam will take a lot of weight – of whatever is in the lunch box

Do this to the other side and attach the handle and stitch securely

The top will look like this now.

lunch bag tutorial

Step 7 Finish the inside seams with bias strips

As this bag is not lined the fabric edges will be a big mess inside if not now atleast when you wash the bag. Most decorator fabrics frays a lot 

A bound seam edge looks good and prevents fraying of the thread. To make this edge finish you need to cut out long fabric strips and then bind the fabric edges with this. If you are not interested in this added trouble, do finish with zigzag stitches or serger. 

Turn the bag right side out to a complete lunch bag.

how to make lunch bag

Take this outside immediately to the garden for a small picnic ( or a photo session)

how to make lunch bag

When you use this bag do not expect insulation, waterproofing etc. This is a simple fabric lunch bag you can easily make and use with a small lunch box covered in a napkin. 

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