• Emily Dawe

How to Make a Fabric Lunch Bag

Make eating on the go a real treat with a gorgeous sewn fabric lunch bag.

We are all trying live as sustainably as possible these days, so why not create a handy fabric lunch bag and matching napkins, using offcuts of fabric or even an old piece of clothing you no longer wear?


I made mine from cotton fabric, but something sturdy like canvas would work well too, then simply add a hair band and a button and voila, you’ve ‘bagged’ yourself a pretty and practical accessory!


This project was created for The WI for their May 2020 issue



Finished Size:

Open - 30 x 18cm

Closed - 23 x 18cm


You Will Need

  • Gridded pattern paper

  • Pen

  • Scissors

  • Two lengths of cotton fabric (we used two different patterns)

  • Ruler or measuring tape

  • Fabric pen

  • Hairband

  • Button

  • Pins

Outer fabric: West End Gathers, £3.50 per fat quarter. Inner fabric: Mini Hearts Petal, £3.75 per fat quarter. Napkin fabric: Venture Caravan, £3.50 per fat quarter, all Cloth & Candy


1 Measure out 30 x 38cm on a sheet of gridded paper and cut out. Lay onto the wrong side of the outer fabric and pin in place. Cut out with fabric scissors.


2 Cut a second piece from the same fabric, then two pieces of the lining fabric.


TIP - You can double the fabric up so you cut through two pieces at once to save time.


3 Cut 5cm squares from the bottom corners of each piece of fabric.


4 Take the two outer pieces of fabric and pin, right sides facing. Using a 1cm seam allowance, sew along the two long edges and the lower short edge, leave the top open. Remove all the pins. Press seams open.


5 To make the bottom corners, match the side-seam with the bottom-seam. Pin in place, then stitch across the pin line with a 1cm seam allowance. Remove the pins as you sew.


6 Turn the bag right side out.


7 Repeat Step 4 for the lining fabric, leaving a 10cm opening along the bottom for turning through.


8 Insert the outer piece into the lining piece, so the right-sides are together.


9 Cut a hair band to 10cm. Fold it in half and pin it to the top centre of the bag, between the lining fabric and the outer fabric. Line up the cut edges of the elastic with the raw edges of the fabric.


10 Line up all the raw edges at the top of the bag and pin them in place. Sew around the top edge using a 1cm seam, sewing over the ends of the elastic hair band so it's secured into the seam. Remove the pins.


11 Turn the bag right-side out by pulling the outer fabric through the bottom opening. Machine or slip stitch the opening closed, then tuck the lining back into the bag pressing into the bottom corners.


12 Pin all around the top edge, then press. Topstitch 1cm around the top edge to hold the lining in place.


13 Measure 5cm either side of the side seam at the top of the bag, and place a pin. Repeat this process on the opposite side seam.


14 Pinch the fabric at the pin to create a small fold, then machine stitch 5cm down from the top, close to the fold line. Repeat on the other three corners. Remove the pins.


16 Measure 15cm from the top of the bag and attach the button in the centre



TIP - To create a base for your lunch bag, measure and cut a 10 x 18cm piece of thick cardboard. Cover with the lining fabric, then insert into the bottom of the bag.



Make the Matching Fabric Napkins



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©2016 by Emily Dawe