You may remember that part of the new school-year disaster was the lack of lunchboxes for the boys. Well, I'll just say that my attention was brought to it last week at preschool. So I had to dig out the stuff that I used to make my oldest his bag last year (and repair the handle so he could take it to school before they had to mention it to me...) and get to work.
I used this tutorial for an insulated and laminated lunch bag. But it had to be modifided just because it has unfinished seams. There is an alien in my head that screams when there is an unfinished seam, and then goes on and screams some more until I have to make a "properly" lined bag. So of course it ended up being so heavily modified that it justified a new tutorial.
So let's get to it, shall we?
- 1 yard of laminated cotton (less if you don't have a directional print)
- 1 yard of insulated batting (I used insul-bright)
- 1 yard of waterproof lining like PUL
- Extra-wide double-fold bias binding
- 1-inch side-release buckle
- 1 yard of 1" polyester webbing
- Denim needle for your sewing machine
- Walking foot for your sewing machine
- Zipper or Blind Stitch foot for your sewing machine
- Fabric marker or pencil
- Glue stick
- A circular dessert plate or some other circle to use as template
- The obvious: scissors, ruler, pins, clips...
- You will be using 1/2" seam allowances (included in the pattern); even if you normally reduce your seams to 1/4", I strongly recommend that you keep them this large. You will be working with bulky batting and slippery laminate and PUL: things will shift, so it is not a bad idea to have a seam allowance wide enough to pin or (like I do) baste.
- And since we're talking about it: BASTE. It really is worth it: it doesn't take much more time than pinning but with bulky layers it is much more efficient.
- Another little trick is to spread a little glue in between layers to encourage them to stay together (just make sure it's not where your sewing machine needle will go through). It will dissappear eventually or with the first washing.
- Since we're talking about washing... yes, this bag will be washable. I made another one a year ago using the same materials and wash it regularly on a delicate program, then air-dry it.
- You want to go s-l-o-w-l-y. Really, when you're dealing with slippery fabrics and multiple layers, it's the only way to go.
1. You are going to cut all layers in the same exact way, following this template:
2. Layer all three fabrics, center your plate or other template on the narrow end of the fabric and cut around it.
4. Arrange the batting with the fluffier side up and lay the laminated cotton on top, with the right side up. Use your clips to hold them together.
5. The next step is to top-stitch the folding lines. These are the lines where the bag will fold once finished (basically, they're mock seams, and they help keep all layers together.) Mark the lines on your fabric, following the illustration below. After you sew this lines down, you are going to make a notch on the seam allowances (1/2" deep) right under the seam placed 5.5" from the narrow end (this end will be the flap).
6. Cut a 9" piece off the webbing, melt the ends to avoid unraveling and set aside. Melt the ends of the long strip and thread through each buckle piece and lay the strap on the fabric to position it.
7. Now is time to put that little glue stick to work. Glue the strap to your fabric. Measure to make sure it is centered. Once it is properly placed use your zipper foot or, even better, your blind hem one, to sew it down on both edges and accross the ends near the buckles. Now, don't go right against the buckles, leave about an inch free on each end to allow for the bag's bulk when full.
8. We're going to secure the handle next. Lay the short piece of webbing against the seam closest to the curved edge as shown. Clip all the layers together and sew a 1/4" seam around the curve, securing the ends of the strap.
9. The next thing to do is to shape the bag. Fold one side of the T onto the main body with right sides together, aligning the edges. Clip or baste together. Sew a 1/2" seam, starting at the folded end and stopping 1/2" from the edge. (The picture is of the lining, but the shape is the same.)
10. Repeat on the other side, and then sew the third side in place (two seams). Remember to always stop 1/2" from the edge.
11. Do the same with the lining (steps 9&10). Now you have to bags. Place the bag inside the lining, right sides together and use your clips to hold the top edges together. You will be much happier if you baste them before sewing (believe me, otherwise there will be cursing).
12. Sew around the three short edges, using a 1/2" seam. Turn inside out so the lining is on the inside. You will notice that it is a bulky, unruly seam. Use your pins to pull the lining towards the inside and hold the same three sides in place. You will be top-stitching them in a little bit.
13. Now you need to align the flap lining with the other two layers and pin them together. You will see that the edges of the flap lining pull in a weird way but it has an easy solution: Remember those notches you made on the seam allowance on step 5? You need to find them and clip the lining at the same spot. Now your flap is free.
14. Top stitch the three short sides 1/4" from the edge. Now, this is a bulky situation where you really want to have a walking foot that can handle all those layers.
15. Rearrange the flap layers and, if necessary, trim the lining to fit the top layer. (You can quickly top-stitch the three layers together at this point, but it's not essential.) The last step is to bind the flap with your bias tape (it is a good idea to curve it into the approximate shape of the flap with your iron). Use your pins to clip it in place and baste it (yes, do baste it, it will be way faster than undoing). Use your zipper or blind-hem foot to stitch it in place, making sure that you fold the ends in right at the edges of the flap, you can hand stitch them together later if you want.