Bento box lunch bag – version 4.0 tutorial

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I’ve been trying to find a tutorial for one of these gorgeous Japanese style lunch bags and I’ve tried a couple out but haven’t been happy with the results. I can’t stand raw edges anywhere in my projects and both the tutes I tried left me with at least some. So, after a bit of twerking – sorry, tweaking – I came up with my own.

It’s here, hope you can follow it and if you do, feel free to it use in any way you like.

I’m not a very organised person and I tend to work in a bit of a muddle as you can probably tell from the photos. I also wing it more than I should, so I’ve started making myself write everything down in pencil, making corrections as I go along.

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By the way the gorgeous cat fabric I used for my applique is from myfabrichouse.co.uk

Start off by cutting all your pieces. All measurements are in inches. seam allowance is half an inch unless otherwise stated:

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From outer fabric, lining and interfacing (I used insulbright to keep the contents cool) cut one 7.5  square and four 7.5  x 6 rectangles.

Handles and band

From contrast fabric cut two pieces 3.5  x 10 inches or the length you would like your handles.

from contrast fabric  cut four pieces 2.5 x 15, from vilene cut four pieces 2.5 x 13

From your drawstring bag fabric cut 1 piece 7 x 29. You could make this a bit bigger for a more gathered effect.

Method

If you are using fusible fleece, iron it onto your outer bag pieces. I didn’t so I used 505 spray to hold them while I sewed.

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Sew the four rectangles right sides together to form a tube. I put a little tab in at this stage – I’m going to make a little stuffed toy from another of these cats and dangle it from the tab.

Then sew in the bottom piece, keeping right sides together.

I eyeball this bit because it’s hard enough wrangling it through the machine but pin if you prefer. Trim your seam allowances and turn it right sides out.

AHH she’s so cute..

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Repeat the process with your lining BUT leave a gap along the bottom for turning out.

This bag takes a lot of fabric but you don’t see much of the lining so I used some of my ‘whatever possessed me to buy that?’ fabric. I’m sure you’ve got some!

Next make the handles. Fold in half and press lengthways, then open up,  fold the edges into the middle and fold in half again so the raw edges are contained.  If you want you can stick a thin strip of vilene inside for extra stiffness.

Top sew close to each edge.

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Time for a new ironing board cover haha.

Next add the band. Fuse the vilene to the wrong side of the four band pieces, leaving an inch at each end with no vilene on – this makes it easier to make your french seam later.

Lay one right side up and position your handle aligning the raw edges. Lay the second piece on top right side down and pin the handle in place so it doesn’t shift while you are sewing.

Join along the edge with quarter inch seam. Press open.Image

Fold closed again with the handle sticking out.Image

Repeat with the other handle and band pieces.

To avoid any edges showing I joined the 2 band pieces using a french seam, ie join them wrong sides together with a narrow seam then flip them inside out and seam again just on the outside of that seam – all raw edges are enclosed.

Drawstring bag.

There are various methods for making drawstring bags; you can make a feature by creating channels in a different fabric on the outside, but I’m lazy so I did it this way. 

Press a quarter inch hem along the short sides of your fabric, then press in another quarter inch and stitch.

Join the short sides with a quarter inch seam but stop sewing about 2 inches from the top. 

Back to the iron, fold the top over quarter of an inch and then again down to where you stopped sewing. When you sew along the bottom edge of this fold you have created your drawstring channel.

Putting it all together,

Take your outer bag and put your handle band around it, handles facing down, seam facing outwith all the raw edges aligned. position it so the handles will be at the front and back of your bag.

Next put your drawstring bag inside out and upside down around the bag, raw edges aligned. I find it helpful to pin and then re-pin as I add each layer during this process.

Finally put the whole thing inside your inside out lining bag and pin all your raw edges together at the top. It should look like this:Image

A bit of a hot mess – I forgot to trim my seam allowance after making the lining bag.

Now sew all around the top of the bag – you have a lot of layers there so be slow and patient as you go around. (do as I say not as I do!).

Now carefully pull everything through the gap you left in the lining bag – mine wasn’t really big enough.

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Once you’re happy that you’ve turned out all the corners etc you can sew up the gap in the lining either by hand with a ladder stitch or just machine it closed – who’s going to see it anyway?

After some pressing one lovely lunch bag!

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