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Lined Lunch Tote - How to Sew Series


I frequently take lunch to work to save money (more to spend on fabric, right?) and I have found that most lunch sacks are too small to fit some of the larger sized containers that work best for salad. So, I designed this lunch tote to specifically fit the Fit & Fresh Lunch on the Go Container Set that I use often.

This tote bag is lined, has a box bottom, a button tab closure and an optional interior pocket. This project will reinforce the straight seam stitching and pressing skills that you have learned in previous lessons.
finished lunch tote bag


Project Supplies:

  • 1/2 yard outer fabric (44-45 inches wide). On the example, I used a leftover piece of heavier home decor fabric that I had and it gives the bag a nice sturdiness and feel. If you use a heavier home decor fabric, be aware of the care restrictions; many are dry-clean only.
  • 5/8 yard coordinating cotton fabric for the lining and straps.
  • 3/4 - 1 inch button
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Marking pen/pencil/chalk
  • Ruler or yardstick
  • Pins
  • Thread to match both fabrics
  • Optional: square ruler

Preparing Your Fabric


If you want to be able to wash your lunch tote after using it, pre-wash both fabrics first. Press both pieces so that they are flat and wrinkle free.

Cutting Instructions


Place your fabric on the cutting surface and fold over one edge so that the selvedge edge is 15 inches away from the fold (see photo). Measure the distance at both ends to make sure the selvedge is straight (this ensures that the grain is straight).
cutting lunch tote pieces


Using your ruler and marking tool, mark a 12 inch by 14 1/2 rectangle. Cut along the marked lines through both layers so that you have two pieces. Repeat this step with the lining fabric. You will now have four rectangles; two from each fabric. These make up the body of the bag. The longer edges (14 1/2 inches) are the top and bottom of the bag.

From the remaining lining material, cut two strips that are 4 inches wide by 27 inches long and another strip that is 2 inches wide by 6 inches long.

Optional inside pocket: From the outer fabric cut a 5 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch square. (Note: this size works great for holding a cell phone, disposable silverware or a pocket pack of tissues - if you would like to carry standard sized silverware, cut the pocket 2 inches longer.)

The photo to the right shows all of the pieces after they have been cut out (including the optional pocket shown on the bottom left).
cutting lunch tote pieces



In order to make the box bottom, the bottom corners of the main bag pieces need to be trimmed out. If you have a corner ruler like the one shown here, you can measure 2 1/2 inches from each corner and mark around the edge of the ruler and then cut out the square.
Cutting box bottom corners


If you don't have a square ruler, you can use an index card to make a template to cut around. Use a ruler to measure a 2 1/2 inch square and cut it from the index card (don't forget to use your craft scissors, not your fabric shears!).
Cutting box bottom corners


Using a ruler or template, cut 2 1/2 inch squares from the bottom right and bottom left edge of all of the bag body pieces. This photo shows how they will look when done.
cutting lunch tote corners



Click to see Lined Lunch Tote - Sewing the Bag

If you like sewing bags, here are some books to inspire you!


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Content copyright © 2014 by Tamara Bostwick. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Tamara Bostwick for details.

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