Kirsten loves making things with her hands and is about to launch her Lunasky blog. She’s been sewing and making things since she was young and learned to knit as an exchange student in Norway in high school. Today she shows you how to make easy reusable lunch sacks and napkins, a perfect project to work on with and for kids. Kirsten’s daughter drew the cat featured in the embroidery in today’s post; you can download and incorporate her design in your own bag if you wish!
Looking for more back to school ideas? We have lots of great projects!
I made a number of bags similar to this when my oldest daughter started preschool a number of years ago. They have held up perfectly with time and it is easy to just throw in the washer and dryer with the rest of the laundry.
She is entering 6th grade in September and created the embroidery design for this new bag to add to the mix. It’s a fun project to involve children, from drawing their own embroidery design to doing the embroidery to sewing all the seams on the machine.
- 1 fat quarter linen or other sturdy fabric for outer bag (Fabric A)
- 1 yard quilting cotton or light linen for bag lining, handle and napkin (Fabric B)
- ½ – ¾ inch colorful button
- Embroidery thread
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery design (included, or you or your child can draw your own)
- Erasable fabric pen (or other materials to transfer embroidery pattern to fabric)
- 3” piece of ¼” inch elastic
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Clear ruler
Wash, dry and iron all fabric before cutting.
- Cut two 15” x 10 ½” pieces from Fabric A for the outer bag
- Cut two 15” x 10 ½” pieces from Fabric B for the bag lining
- Cut one 4” x 8” piece from Fabric B for the handle
- Cut two 18” x 18” pieces from Fabric B for the napkin
Embroidered Lunch Bag
Embroider Side Panel
Cut out embroidery pattern. Place it face down on wrong side of one of the Fabric A pieces with the top of the design centered 6 inches from the top. Tape it in place.
Tape the fabric piece to the window with the right side facing you. Using an erasable fabric pen (or even a pencil), trace the embroidery pattern onto the fabric. See photo above.
Using colors of your choice, embroider the design with a simple backstitch.
Sew Outer Bag + Lining
Pin both Fabric A pieces right sides together.
Stitch around the two long sides and the bottom with a ½” seam allowance.
With the wrong sides still out, pull the bag out so the two long seams come together. This will make a diamond shape. Using a clear ruler and the erasable fabric marker (or a pencil, it won’t show), mark the point on the top and bottom of the diamond shape where it is 4” across. See photos above.
Sew on top of the marked lines and cut off the outer triangles with a ½” seam allowance. See photo above.
Repeat with the Fabric B lining panels to make the lining bag.
Fold both short ends of the Fabric B handle piece ½” to the wrong side and press. Fold the handle in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to make a crease.
Open and fold the two long sides towards the crease (wrong sides together) and press. Fold the pressed lengths together (encasing the raw edges) and press.
Edgestitch around the handle.
Turn the outer panel bag right sides out (push out the corners with a chopstick or knitting needle). Keep the lining bag wrong side out. Press both bags.
Insert the lining bag into the outer bag, lining up the top, bottom seams and side seams. Finger press the top of the outer bag ½” to the wrong side. Finger press the lining bag ½” to the right side. Press the folds (which are between the outer bag and the lining bag) on the top.
Pin the tops together. Fold the 3” piece of elastic in half. Insert the cut ends of elastic a ½” into the middle back side of the bag between the outer bag and lining bag. Pin in place.
Starting on one of the side seams and back stitching at the beginning and end, stitch around the top of the bag a ¼” from the top edge. Backstitch a few times over the elastic for extra strength.
Mark a spot on the middle of the front of the bag, approximately 3 ½” from the top edge of the bag. Sew button to marked spot.
With the back of the bag facing you, mark two spots 2 ½” from the top edge centered 1” apart.
Align the marks with the inner bottom corners of each end of the prepared handle piece and pin the handle to the back of the bag (careful not to pin the front of the bag). See photos above.
Following the edge stitching on the handle piece, sew a 1” square around the end of each handle (handle and back of bag only) then sew an X in each square for extra support.
Pin the two Fabric B napkin pieces right sides together. Starting in the middle of one side, stitch around the napkin pieces with a ½” seam allowance and leave about a 3” opening.
Back stitch at the beginning and end. Clip the corner approximately 1/8” from the corner stitch.
Turn the napkin right side out through the opening. Push out the corners with a chopstick or knitting needle.
Finger press the raw edges of the opening ½” to the inside of the napkin. Iron the napkin.
Using a zig-zag stitch, sew around the entire edge of the napkin a ¼” from the edge.
This will close the opening in the process.
All set. Now it’s time to figure out what’s for lunch!