I was really excited to design and sew this lunch bag for my husband to solve some of the issues he was having with his old bag. He always takes his lunch with him not only to work but when he's out and about tending to his beehives across our community. The first issue that needed solving was that he would often forgot his eating utensils. The second issue being that he is terribly fussy about his eating surfaces - even at the lunch table at work. So I went to work and designed a bag with a zip down flap which can be utilized as a placemat with storage for utensils & napkin directly above his eating surface....problem solved! The placemat and lunch bag interior is lined with vinyl for easy
cleaning and the entire lunch bag collapses down for compact storage. The lunch bag measures 9" x 9" x 5" - large enough for a good size lunch with drink plus an afternoon snack or two. Now that he has approved the prototype, I can get to work on a another bag with more suitable fabric choices...:)
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
- 1 yard canvas (exterior)
- 1 yard cotton fabric (lining)
- 1 yard Pellon #100 Vinyl-Fuse Gloss Iron-On Protection
- 1/4 yard or fat quarter contrasting cotton fabric (pocket, bottom support)
- 5/8" ribbon
- 1/4" ribbon
- (2) 9" zippers
- Peltex 71F Single-sided fusible ultra firm stabilizer (approx. 10" x 10")
- 7/16" snaps (Dritz fastener kit #14007)
- 1/4" Large Eyelets (Dritz #14020-65)
- Large Eyelet Tool Set (Dritz #14021)
- Disappearing marking pen
- Basic sewing supplies (threads, basting needle, pins, scissors, measuring tools, cutting mat & rotary cutter)
- Additional sewing machine feet: zipper & Teflon
- Mesh ironing cloth
- Tissue paper
Step 2: Utensil Pocket
- Cut piece of canvas measuring 9.5" x 10".
- Cut piece from contrasting fabric measuring 9.5" x 5".
- Fold top edge down 1/4" & iron.
- Top-stitch using a long stitch length on your machine (I use 4.0 on my machine for all top-stitching).
- Place pocket face up on your canvas with the top-stitched edge towards the center.
- Line up the raw edges with the canvas & pin in place.
- Mark lines for the utensil pockets using a disappearing marking pen. Starting from from the left edge measure in 2" & mark line. Measure 1.5" from this line & mark 2nd line; measure 1.5" from 2nd line & mark 3rd line.
- Top-stitch the 3 marked lines, back stitching at the beginning & ending of each line.
- Machine stitch around the 3 edges that you pinned, about 1/8" from the edges. This will keep the pocket from shifting during assembly.
Step 3: Placemat Flap
- Cut a 9" x 9" square from the canvas, lining fabric & iron-on vinyl.
- Iron the vinyl-fuse to the front side of the lining fabric following the manufacturer's instructions. TIP: I always use a mesh ironing cloth when working with vinyl just in case there is a little bit sticking out from the edges of the paper. This prevents your iron coming in contact with the vinyl & the mesh is see through, so you can always keep your eye on things while ironing.
- Picture 3 just shows the lining after the vinyl has been fused to the fabric.
- Place zippers face down on each side of the canvas & pin in place.
- Be sure to pull the top of the zipper tape over the canvas edge on each side (see pic 5).
- Put the zipper foot on your machine & sew the zippers in place using a 1/4" seam allowance. Be sure to move the zipper head out of the way so you have a nice straight line when sewing (pic 6).
- Place vinyl lining over the canvas, right sides together. Pin in place - the 7th picture doesn't show this, but make sure to unzip the zippers & move the free ends away from the stitch line at the top. You don't want to sew those ends in place just yet.
- Stitch the sides & top using a 1/4" seam allowance. I stitched an angle stitch at each corner so the corners would lay flatter when turned. Also, you will need to move that zipper head out of the way when stitching like you did in #6.
- Trim top corners being careful not to cut through stitching & turn right side out.
- Iron flap flat using from the canvas side - again, I use a pressing cloth to be safe. If you don't have a pressing cloth, you could use the paper backing from the vinyl as a protective layer between the flap & iron.
Step 4: Attaching Placemat Flap to Utensil Pocket
- Place the placemat flap over the utensil pocket, lining up the bottom & side edges. The top edges won't meet as the flap is 1" shorter than the canvas on the utensil pocket.
- Pin in place making sure you pull the zipper tape at the top over the canvas edges on each side (as you did in step 3). Sew sides together using a zipper foot & a 1/4" seam allowance.
- Cut a strip of contrasting fabric measuring 1.5" x 9.5". Fold one of the 9.5" edges down 1/2" & iron. Place raw edge of the strip along bottom edge of the flap, pin or clip in in place.
- Top-stitch the strip to the flap along the fold, then around the 3 remaining edges of the strip (about 1/8" from the edges). IMPORTANT: Take note where the metal zipper stop falls on each side & make sure you don't top-stitch over them or you'll break your needle.
Step 5: Lunch Bag Exterior
- Cut a 6" x 29.5" piece of canvas for the sides/bottom.
- Measure in 10" from each end & mark - this leaves 9.5" in the center which will be the bottom of the bag.
- Place the bottom edge of the front pocket panel in between the lines marked in the center, right sides together & pin or clip pieces in place. Sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance, starting & stopping 1/4" in from each end Again, be very careful that you do not sew over the metal zipper stops.
- Cut a 9.5" x 14" piece of canvas for the back/top flap.
- Place this piece in between the marked lines in the center - on the edge opposite the front pocket panel. Pin or clip in place then sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance, starting & stopping 1/4" from each end.
- Iron seams the best you can so that they lay flat- remember to use some sort of barrier when ironing close to the vinyl.
- Your exterior now looks like a "t". Normally, we would sew the sides together at this point, but we're going to use this piece as a template to cut out the lining in the next step. This will ensure that the lining fits your bag perfectly & we don't have to worry any discrepancies in our seam allowances.
Step 6: Sewing the Lining
- Place your lining fabric on your work space, facing up. Place your sewn canvas exterior over the fabric, facing down (basically, right sides together). Pin the exterior to the lining & cut the lining out.
- Place the vinyl-fuse on your work space, vinyl side up/paper side down. Place canvas/lining piece (still pinned together) over the vinyl-fuse, lining side down. The vinyl fuse will not cover the entire lining, so it has to be pieced together on the front & back panel. You'll want to cover the 6" edges entirely & position the vinyl so it is 2 1/4" from the front edge & 6 1/4" from the back edge (pic 1). Tape the vinyl in place & cut out. Next, you'll cut out the 2 1/4" x 9 1/2" vinyl piece for the front & the 6 1/4" x 9 1/2" vinyl piece for the back.
- Remove all tape & pins. Set the canvas exterior aside.
- Iron the vinyl-fuse pieces to the lining following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Cut 2 pieces of 5/8" ribbon measuring 9 1/2" in length.
- Center each ribbon piece over the seams where the vinyl was pieced together (pic 3). Pin in place.
- Attach the Teflon foot to your machine & top stitch along the edge of the ribbon on both sides (pic 4). This foot will easily glide over the vinyl. Pic 5 shows both ribbons sewn in place.
- Measure 4" down on back (the longest panel) & mark (pic 6). This is where the top flap begins & the side panel ends. Line up the top edge of the left side to the mark you just made on the back, vinyl sides together. Pin in place & sew together using a 3/8" seam allowance. Repeat with the right/back side.
- Sew the front panel to the left/right sides using the same 3/8" seam allowance- the top edges should line up nicely with no overlaps.
Step 7: Sewing the Exterior
- Sewing the exterior together is done exactly the same way as the lining with the following differences:
- You will use a 1/4" seam allowance.
- You will need to use your zipper foot when sewing the front/side seams.
- You will need to leave a 4" opening along one of the back/side seams for turning (pic 1).
Step 8: Attaching the Lining & Exterior
- Turn the exterior inside out & the lining right side out. Place lining inside the exterior, right sides should be facing each other - you should only see the seam side of each fabric at this point.
- Line up the top flap corners, top edges around the front & sides as well as the side seams. Pin or clip everything in place.
- Sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance (pic 1).
- Snip outside & inside corners at flap (pic 2).
- Turn right side out through the opening in the canvas (pic 3).
- Push the lining inside the canvas - matching up the bottom corners, side seams, side folds & top flap.
- Iron entire piece from the canvas side, but still use your ironing cloth or the paper that came with the vinyl around the top edges & flap.
Step 9: Stabilizer - Bottom Support
- Cut a 10.5" x 10" piece from contrasting fabric & vinyl-fuse.
- Iron the vinyl-fuse piece to the right side of the fabric following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Fold in half, vinyl sides together so that the piece now measures 5 1/4" x 10".
- Place a 4.5" x 9" piece of tissue paper in between the vinyl (this is to help with turning since the vinyl will stick together & make it very difficult to turn. As you can see in my first pic, I used a full size piece of tissue paper & sewed it right into the seam, it was tedious to pick out all the paper, so I'm having you cut yours short so you don't have to deal with that frustration...:))
- Pin at the corners & mark a 6" opening along the top edge.
- Sew sides & corners together using a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving the 6" opening at the top. Snip corners & turn right side out.
- Cut a 4 1/2" x 9" piece of ultra firm stabilizer (71F). Roll one end up & slide into the opening. Unroll the end & work the corners into position.
- Fold the seam allowance under at the opening & iron the entire piece flat - as always, making sure you use a ironing cloth or the protective paper that came with the vinyl. (I know I'm repeating myself here, but I ruined a vinyl piece once by not being careful with my iron & I want to prevent you the heartache of that experience).
- Pop your Teflon foot on your sewing machine & top stitch around the outer edge (this will close the opening as well).
- Place the support inside the lining of bag.
Step 10: Stabilizer - Top Flap
- Cut a 2 3/4" x 8 1/2" piece of ultra firm stabilizer (71F).
- Insert stabilizer into opening in canvas with the fusilbe side facing the canvas. Slide up to the seam on the top flap. Pin in place with glass head pins then fuse the stabilizer to the canvas following the manufacturer's instructions. Remove pins.
- Cut 5/8" ribbon measuring 20" in length.
- Wrap ribbon around the flap, directly under the fusible stabilizer with ends meeting on the lining side.
- Fold raw edge of the ribbon under 1/4" & pin in place. The top of the ribbon should fall about 2 5/8" from the top seam of the flap. Pin ribbon in place on the front side as well.
- Using your Teflon foot, top stitch the around the 4 sides of the ribbon on the lining side, removing pins as you stitch. Note: you can top stitch from the canvas side of the bag if you like, I just wanted to make sure the ribbon didn't shift in the center where the ends meet.
Step 11: Stitching the Opening Shut
- Pin or clip opening shut to keep fabric lined up while stitching, remove the pins or clips as you near them.
- With thread to match your canvas, ladder stitch the opening shut, if you're not familiar with this stitch there are many resources online that explain this stitch and I've included pics to help you visualize the stitch as well. This seam is visible, so you want your stitches to be as neat as possible.
Step 12: Side Snaps
You will need a 7/16" snap fastener kit and a hammer for this step.
- Mark 5/8" down from the top seam & in from the front/back seam on each side of the bag (2 marks each side, 4 total).
- At the back/side seam, place the prong on the lining side with the socket on the canvas side.
- Place tool over the snap assembly as described by the manufacturer & hammer both sides until the snap is securely attached.
- At the front/side seam, place the prong on the lining side with the stud on the canvas side.
- Place tool over the snap assembly as described by the manufacturer & hammer both sides until the snap is securely attached.
- Attach snaps to the opposite side of the bag.
Step 13: Top Flap Closure
You will need 1/4" large eyelets as well as the tool set kit for this step. Note: the 1/4" measurement is the hole inside of the eyelet, the actual eyelet measures 1/2".
- Mark eyelet locations: 5/8" from the top seam & 3 3/4" from the edges.
- Place an eyelet over the marks & trace around the inner 1/4" circle (pic 2).
- Cut away the 1/4" circles (a pair precision scissors that have a very sharp point are ideal for this task). Insert top eyelet (deep half - see pic 3, I have the eyelets on their side so you can see the difference between the 2) into the hole from the canvas side.
- On the lining side, place bottom eyelet (shallow half) over the center of the eyelet top (pic 4).
- Attach the eyelets using the tool set, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Fold flap over the front panel & place a pin in each eyelet hole (pic 6).
- Lift flap up over the pins & mark the center of the pins (pic 7).
- Cut a piece of 1/4" ribbon measuring 21" in length. Stitch the center of the ribbon to the mark on the bag (pic 8).
- Tie a knot on each end of the ribbon.
Step 14: You're Done...:)
All that's left to do is fill up your bag. Snap the sides shut, thread the ribbon through the front side of the eyelets & tie a bow!
Thank you so much for visiting my instructable. I hope you enjoyed it and have fun making your very own lunch bag with placemat!