Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to Make a Reuseable Lunch Bag from a Tea Towel

Back-to-School! I know that the 4th of July just got over, but like all the stores around here, we are going to be featuring projects that have to do with going back to school! First up: Reusable Lunch bag!

I have officially joined in on the Orla Kieley band-wagon! I love her designs for the linens at Target. I was so inspired by others who were using the tea towels to make cool things like purses and totes that I decided to make a reusable lunch bag using the tea towels. I found that working with the Iron Vinyl was very easy and it makes a nice inside for the lunch bag so you can wipe out a mess if one happens. I ended up making three bags because I could not choose between the designs! You do not need to use the Orla Kieley tea towels.... any cute tea towels will do!
2 coordinating Tea Towels
Iron on Vinyl
elastic hair band
Sewing machine

FYI- all my measurements are in inches. All of my seam allowances are 1/4 of an inch unless otherwise noted.

1.) Iron your tea towels flat and cut off the finished edge.

2.) Cute a 13 X 28 rectangle out of each towel. (the liner and the outside of the bag are made the same way)

3.) Choose which towel you want to be the liner and iron on the vinyl using the instructions on the package.
4.) Fold in half so that you have a 13 X 14 rectangle and on the folded edge cut out a rectangle in each corner that is 2.5 inches wide and 2 inches tall. (this is for when we square off the bottom) Repeat with the liner towel- which now has the vinyl ironed on to it.

5. With right sides together sew the unfinished edges together. (I allowed for 1/2 inch seam) Sew from the top of the bag to the top of the rectangle you cut out. There should be 2 sides of the rectangle that have unfinished edges.
6.) Now we are going to square off the corners on the bottom of the bag. You want to pull open the rectangle so that the seam that you just sewed is in the middle. Your unfinished edge will be perpendicular to your seam. (Perpendicular means at a right angle)
7. Sew the unfinished edge. I like to use a zig-zag stitch when I do the corners. I feel like i make it stronger that way. Repeat for the other corner of the bag and the 2 corners of the liner.

8. Now your bag is coming into shape. Fold the outside towel out so that the right side is showing. You should see the bag shape now.
9. I like to iron creases where the folds of the bag should be. It helps keep the bag shape and makes the side stand up better.
Here is what it should look like after you iron: You do not have to iron the sides of the liner. The vinyl will give it plenty of strength.

Now you should have 2 bags, the outside and the vinyl-coated liner

10. With Right sides together put the "outside" into the liner and pin together.

11.) When you sew the two sides together it is easier if can take off the part of the tray so that you can place the bag around the sewing machine. My Sewing machine looks like this when I take off the part so that I can get to the bobbin. Sew around the top of the bag leaving a 2 -3 inch opening so that you can flip the bag right-side out.

12.) Flip right side out and top stitch to finish the edge.

13.) Now we are going to make the handle. With the left over material from the towel cut out 2 rectangles the size that you want the handle to be. Mine is about 3 X 12. I used one piece from each towel.
14.) With right sides together sew around 3 sides of your handle leaving one of the short sides open so that you can flip right side out.

15.) Flip right side out and top stitch to finish the edge of the handle.
16.) Now we are going to sew the handle to the bag. I took off the the part of my tray again so I could fit the bag around. It helps to sew the handle on. Sew the handle to the side of the bag. I used the seam to mark the middle. Turn the bag and sew on the other side of the handle.

17.) now we are going to make the closer piece. I cut out a 4 X 8 rectangle and then I cut off the corners on the top to make it look like a tag shape. You can make it any shape that you want. You could leave it as a rectangle or curve the edge or make it pointed. Be creative! I cut one of each towel again.
18.) On the RIGHT side of one of your pieces pin the elastic hair band in the middle of the top. (or where ever you want it to go) I have found that if I put a knot in it first it is easier to pin, just make sure the knot is above the seam.
19.) With right sides together sew you closer piece leaving 2-3 inch gap to flip right side out.

20.) top stitch to finish the edge.

21.) Sew the closer piece to the back of your bag.
22.) Pull on the elastic band to see where your button should go and sew on your button. (-How do you like my pink PJ pants and the camera lense cap in the bottom of the pic... I could have cropped them out but that would take time. : ) )

Ta-Da! Your very cute reusable lunch bag!!

Here are pictures of the other bags I made:

These reusable snack bags would be perfect with this lunch bag!

Do you like these lunch bags but don't have time to make them? I sell them at my Etsy shop Funky Joy! Check them out!
Visit thecsiproject.com


Unknown said...

I LOVE those. They would also make a cute purse!

Annette W. said...

Seriously, that is a great tutorial. I rarely go to Target (far, far away) but you've inspired me!

Jenette said...

So cute! Love it!

Andy Porter said...

OOOh!! I love that! Great tutorial too! Loads of pics which is what I need, especially for a sewing project. Those tea towels are so cute!! I want to jump on the bandwagon too!!

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

Great idea! Great tutorial! I'm linking to this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com

Becky Green said...

Wow! Those look really awesome :) Kudos on taking pictures while SEWING and IRONING too!

LiEr said...

Fawnda, what great bags! I bought some of the other Orla teatowels too, but don't know what to do with them just yet. I love what you did with yours! Have been thinking about vinylizing some of my fabric, too, so your tutorial is wonderfully timely. Now to find some time to head out to the fabric store and get the vinyl. Thank you for the tutorial!

Joanna said...

Stopping by from Kimba's party...I just love this idea and the print is great too! Thanks for showing us how!

frillsfluffandtrucks said...

Very cute!!

~ Sarah

Heidi of Operation Organization said...

cutie-pah-tootie! I can't sew a stitch, but if you sell on etsy, I'm sure you'd have some buyers!

Kristi said...

Where have I been? Tar-jay here I come! Thanks for the wonderful tutorials. Can I use my hot glue gun instead? :-)

Anonymous said...

Just popping over from Kimba's place. Looks super cute! Just as soon as I learn how to sew, I'm gonna try this. (I tried to follow your directions, but unfortunately I got lost at "seam allowances"...I have a long way to go!)

Stacie said...

Ooohhh, I want one and the detail in your tutorial is awesome!

Christina said...

Great idea and great tutorial. Love the tea towel that you picked out.

Marie said...

Oh my goodness, what a fabulous idea! Love these reusable bags, and oh so stylish compared to others out there! Thank you for sharing the great tutorial!


Michael and Jennie said...

Thanks for the great idea and tutorial! I just finished making one...it was my first sewing project ever! It turned out great. There were a few missing directions (or I did a few things wrong =)!!) But, either way it was fun and I'm super excited about having actually accomplished something!

Anonymous said...

Oh these are super adorable! What a great idea:)

Anonymous said...

These bags are beautiful and a great idea for reusing old tea towels, I really love how much detail you have gone into with this tutorial, thank you.

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