Fabric Food

DIY Lunch Tote

Standard, April 2, 2017, Marie, 2633 Views 2 Comments

I do not often get a planned or sit down lunch.  On these days,  I bring my tiffin, tea, extra water and a smoothie.  The issue with a normal size lunch tote is fitting all of this food and drink.

With inspiration by Thirty-One and Pink Penguin, I dove into my fabric stash and came out the other side with an awesome and functional bag easily convertible from lunch tote to work files to trip snack box.  It’s also super-cute.

I can not share how proud of this project I am, as while some might look at it and say, ‘meh’, it is a true feat for me and my lack of spatial intelligence.

Lunch Tote: Supplies

This can be as scrappy as you want, but the overall needs are as follows:

  • 1 1/2 yards of double-sided fusible ultra firm stabilizer; I used Pellon Peltex 72F
    • 2 panels 15 x 21″, 2 panels 5 1/2 x 14″, 2 panels 5 1/2 x 9 1/2″, 2 panels 5 1/2 x 5″
  • 2 2 x 21″ strips of flexible sew-in batting
  • 8 sets of Velcro 7/8″ sticky-back squares or similar
  • 1 yard of fabric, total
    • 2 panels of fabric, 16 x 44″, folded in half and open seam opposite fold sewn together; turn so right sides are exposed after sewing
    • 1 panel of fabric, 6 1/2 x 32″, folded in half, open seam opposite fold sewn together; turn so right sides are exposed after sewing
    • 2 panels of fabric, 6 1/2 x 21″, folded in half and all but bottom seam sewn together; turn so right sides are exposed after sewing
    • 2 panels of fabric, 16 x 6″, folded in half and all but bottom seam sewn together, turn so right sides are exposed after sewing
    • 2 strips of fabric, 3 x 44″, folded in half and sewn on two sides with narrow bottom remaining open, keep right sides together
  • 1 spool of matching thread
  • 1 bottle liquid stitch or similar
  • Rick rack or other decorations, optional

Lunch Tote:  Sewing the Main Panels

1.  For the fabric panels, insert the corresponding panel of stabilizer, spray and press both sides with your iron, ensuring that all seams that will be sewn to another panel have at least 1/4″ between the stabilizer and edge of the panel.  **Leave about 1/2″ extra space on the 16 x 22″ panels, position this at the ends as it will end up folding over as a decoration at the end.

2.  Sew the two 16 x 44″ (now 16 x 22″) panels to the 6 1/2 x 32 (now 6 1/2 x 16″) panel along the 16″ edges with 1/4″ seams.lunch tote step 2

3.  Sew the two 6 1/2 x 21″ (now 6 1/2 x 10 1/2″) panels to the central panel from Step 2 along the 6 1/2″ edges with 1/4″ seams.lunch tote step 34.  Sew the sides of the box together with 1/4″ seams.  This part is super hard, at least with my machine, so pin heavily and smoosh the box as necessary!

5.  Turn the box inside out so that all the seams are now on the inside.


Lunch Tote:  Finishing Touches

6.  Using the two strips of fabric, 3 x 44″, now 3 x 22″ and the two 2 x 21″ strips of flexible sew-in batting, sew the narrow end of the batting to the folded end of the fabric strip.  Now turn the tube right sides out and the batting will sit nicely in the tube.  Snip any excess batting and fold seams together on open edge to neatly close.  Repeat.

lunch tote straps

7.  Quilt each of the straps as desired, I was lazy and went with straight line designs.  Fold each of the narrow ends in half and stitch in place.

8.  Measure 3″ in from each end and affix the straps using multiple straight line stitches back and forth, about 1/4″ below the top of the stabilizer edge.

9.  Fold over the top edge of the fabric to cover the stitches used to affix the straps using liquid stitch.  I added in some rick rack here for a nice scalloped edge decoration

10.  Using the two 16 x 6″ panels, affix four sets of the Velcro, two on each side and position in the bag.  Repeat for second panel.

Wrapping It Up…

It seems like a lot of work, and it did take some time, but good things take time.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and try your hand at one.  Let me know how it turns out!  As always, thank you and please use my Amazon Affiliate links if you want to support this blog as I don’t have sponsors 🙂 Yet…

lunch tote with tiffin, extra water and tea

  • Molly Morgan April 2, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Awesome job! ?

    • April 3, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Thank you! The test run today went perfectly 🙂