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Make you own lunch bag (FREE pattern!)

Whether you need to carry your lunch to work or pack some snacks for your kids’ after-school hobbies, a separate lunch bag is a good idea. You don’t want to spend hours cleaning yoghurt out of your kids’ schoolbooks, do you? I designed this handy little bag that can easily be carried or fastened onto your purse. It fits the plastic box with a lid from Clas Ohlson that is about 19 cm long, 15 cm wide and 9 cm tall.

Use woven fabric with some stiffness on it. I used scraps of Nuppu print company cotton that I had made a dress out of. The lining is pink quilting cotton. I think cotton canvas, denim or linen would work nicely, too.

What do you need?

Besides your normal sewing tools, you’ll need:

  • 25 cm of floral cotton fabric or something similar (width 150 cm)
  • 25 cm of cotton fabric for the lining (width 150 cm)
  • 25 cm of fusible felt interfacing (width 150 cm)
  • 130 cm piping
  • 50 cm zipper
  • A button
  • Matching thread

The lunch bag pattern

Constructing the lunch bag: pattern pieces.

The main panel pattern can be downloaded here: Lunch_bag_pattern. The pattern does not have seam allowances, so add 15 mm  (5/8″) seam allowance! You’ll need 2 of these out of both the main fabric and your lining fabric.

In addition, you’ll need the following pieces. These pieces have a seam allowance of 15 mm included:

  • Bottom 17,5 cm x 12,5 cm (cut 1 out of the main fabric and the lining)
  • Bottom interfacing 14,5 cm x 12,5 cm (cut out of the interfacing)
  • Sides 53 cm x 7 cm (cut 2 pieces out of the main fabric, the interfacing and the lining)
  • Handle 9 cm x 26 cm (cut 1 out of the main fabric)
  • Handle interfacing 3 cm x 23 cm (cut out of the interfacing)

Don’t be alarmed by the fact that my handle pieces are super long (and there’s two of them in the picture above). I originally was thinking of making long straps but that didn’t look so good…

I made my own piping by cutting long bias strips out of the lining fabric and sewing a cotton cord inside the strips. A good idea is to pre-shrink the piping cord so that it doesn’t get shorter in wash.

Constructing the lunch bag

Iron the interfacing onto all the main fabric pieces except the handle. The handle is handled separately!

Fold the seam allowances in on the side pieces and centre the zipper between the folded edges. Pin the zipper in place. Topstitch the zipper between the side pieces.

Turn the seam allowances in from the bottom piece. Pin the bottom between the ends of the side pieces, covering the ends of the zipper. Topstitch in place.

Take your piping and pin it along the edge of the side/bottom piece. Start sewing about an inch from the end of the piping staying very close to the piping cord. (I put the seam in the piping at the bottom corner.) You can use a zipper foot or an applique foot with a centre groove for the piping cord.

I will now try to explain how to get a neat seam at the piping where the beginning meets the end: When you get almost to the end and close to the place you started, stop for a little while. Trim the piping cord so that it is about 4 cm longer than the edge you are piping. Now unravel the 2 cm from the beginning of the piping cord. Cut 2 cm off the cord inside the unravelled piping and turn the fabric edge in. Tuck the other end of the piping inside the unravelled end trimming any excess piping and pin in place. Continue sewing until you have gone around the whole circle.

Repeat the piping steps for the other side/bottom edge.

The lunch bag side bottom view.

Mark the middle of the side pieces with a notch. Mark also the centre points of each of the sides of the side panels and the centre points of the bottom pieces. Align the notches at the long edges of the side panels with the centre points of the bottom piece and the side pieces. Start carefully pinning the edge in place. Snip the seam allowance of the sides and the piping at the corners. Sew very close to the piping cord. Trim the seam allowances. Repeat on the other side.

Construct the lining similarly to the outer part, leaving out the zipper fastening and the piping. Do iron in the seam allowances at the zipper edge and leave space for the zipper between the side pieces. Pin the completed lining to the inside of the lunch bag. Slip stitch in place by hand.

My lunch bag, side top view.

Sew the handle piece into a long tube, trim the seam allowances and turn around. Press. Now slide the fusible interfacing in using e. g. a safety pin to help to thread the interfacing through. Check that the interfacing lays flat and that the seam is neatly at the side edge. There should be 15 mm seam allowances at both ends that are left uninterfaced. Press fusing the interfacing in place. Turn the seam allowance in at one end and topstitch, closing the end. Determine where you want the handle to sit at the top of your lunch bag. Turn the seam allowance in at the other end and pin that end of the handle on the top of the bag. Topstitch making a rectangle to fasten the end of the handle.

Take your button and measure the length of the buttonhole that goes to the other end of the handle. Mark the buttonhole and sew it in place. Sew the button at the top of the lunch bag and button up your handle!

Enjoy your new lunch bag!

The finished lunch bag!


I hope you liked this post and do share it with your sewing friends! Happy sewing!





I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

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