For Ben's return to school a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make him a lunch bag. What better fabric choice for a little boy than some adorable robots?
When Ben began preschool last spring, we used a handmade but unfinished insulated bag for his snack and lunch. It was a project I'd started for the husband, messed up on, and never had the motivation to complete. It was functional but without closure or handle. Every time I packed Ben's lunch, I kept thinking "I really should make Ben a lunch bag", but kept pushing it off. With the start of school looming closer in early September, it was time to get to it!!
I had found some of Rashida Coleman-Hale's Cute Bots fabric (from the I Heart collection) at my local fabric store. I bought a half-yard of the blue colorway in the linen blend. It is such lovely quality and the design is just adorable! It was great to sew with.
I decided to use Ellen Luckett Baker's lunch bag pattern from The Long Thread for this, but made a few modifications. I added a flap (that I drew with a dinner plate), I attached one handle instead of two, and I made the base a tiny bit bigger to fit Ben's lunch box.
The enlargement turned out to be unnecessary, Ellen's pattern is pretty big as it is. I wish I hadn't enlarged it! I only added about 1 inch in width, but it was overkill for a little boy's school lunch, there's a lot of empty space. I guess we'll be able to use the bag for family picnics or trips to the zoo.
I also ran into trouble when putting my layers together. The area where the flap is attached to the body of the bag turned out to be problematic. You can see the bunching in the photo below. I am not sure what I did wrong or how to avoid this kind of issue. Any ideas or tips?
Overall I'm pretty happy with the results. The pattern was really easy to follow and I think the fabric really makes this bag sing! I used a layer of insulated batting and lined it with white PUL that I had in my stash. The closure is a simple velcro strip. For the strap, I just used some one-inch webbing, in the only available color that matched the Bots fabric at my local store.
Here's my big boy on his first day of school. He was a leeeettle excited.
In case you're wondering: the stainless steel lunch box is from Lunch Bots, the round containers are from a Kids Konserve nesting trio, the bottle is Klean Kanteen, and you can find a tutorial for the monogrammed lunchbox napkin here.
While I was a little disappointed by how big it was, I am really happy to have finished this in time for school to start. Ben finally has a proper bag to bring his lunch to school! I am also pleased to see that my stitching skills are improving! My top-stitching was pretty even all the way around and my measurements and assembly were more accurate than in previous bag-making experiments. So that was nice!
Update: A reader asked on our Facebook page if these fabrics are food-safe and that is an excellent question. You can google PUL and find all kinds of answers about that. I'm pretty paranoid about this stuff. Both the outside cotton-linen blend and the PUL have been laundered and the bag will be washed regularly. More importantly, all the food that I put in the lunch bag are in stainless steel containers, so they never directly touch the inside of the bag. I don't think they are any perfectly food safe fabric options out there. If there are, please let me know as I plan on making some snack and sandwich bags in the near future!
Have you sewn with Rashida's I Heart fabric line? What have you made? Do you have a favorite lunch bag pattern? Let's chat in the comments!