embroidered lunch bag

I still can’t get past my love for white-on-gray linen embroidery. It’s simple, pretty, and decorative without being ostentatious—perfect for things I want to use daily. I decided to make this latest project after realizing that a bag to carry my lunch in would be useful. My normal schoolbag is a leather satchel, which while perfect for keeping papers un-crumpled, isn’t that spacious. I usually clip my water-bottle to the handle, and figured I could do that with a lunch bag too!

I used this zakka book once again for inspiration (the last project I used it for was my pincushion). The bag will be a simple drawstring one, with embroidery on both sides—although I might just put a decorative initial on the back.

You can see I still have a lot of work to do! While I love the look of chain stitch, I’m not very fast at working it yet. Oh well, practice makes perfect. 🙂

I’m designed this bag to fit the box I used for these lunches, but I hope it also fits the new (slightly bigger) lunchbox I just ordered. While I like my other one, I wanted one that a) looked somewhat more like an adult would use it and b) was stainless steel. I haven’t used my new one yet, but I did test the seal—it didn’t spill anything!

Embroidery and sewing things that I can use frequently is one of my favorite things about these crafts. Every time I spot my handmade item, I feel like the day gets a little more special. 🙂 What are your favorite things to make?

pattern: embroidery project pouch

The last time my parents were visiting, I was working on some basic redwork embroidery. While sitting and chatting, my mom kept staring at the needle going back and forth through the hoop, and finally admitted that she couldn’t believe how relaxing embroidery looked! While I’m sure most embroiderers have experienced plenty of moments in which embroidery is the exact opposite of relaxing, I do think it’s a very enjoyable craft to pick up. Not only can embroidery be used to decorate almost anything made of fabric, but it’s also relatively inexpensive to get started with, and can achieve great results with only a bit of practice.

My mom is probably the least crafty person I know, but I thought she might enjoy trying some embroidery herself, so I threw together a kit for her. Of course, once I’d gathered all the supplies, I realized they really needed a cute way to keep them together—hence this embroidery project bag! It requires very basic sewing & quilting skills, although of course you could make it fancier by doing embroidered decorations, more patchwork, or adding appliqué. I made it sized for a 5″ hoop, but you could also easily increase the dimensions.

embroidery project pouch

materials:

  • lining fabric: cut 9″ x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, 6.5″ x 6.5″ square, and 34″ x 2.5″ strip (for binding)
  • back fabric: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece
  • front patchwork section: cut three 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares
  • front fabric: cut 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • top pocket flap: cut two 3.5″ x 6.5″ pieces (either of same or contrasting fabric)
  • bottom pocket flap: cut two 4.5″ x 6.5″pieces (either of same or contrasting fabrics)
  • scissor sheath: two pieces cut according to pattern (download )
  • batting: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, and 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • wool felt: cut two 3″ x 2.5″ pieces with pinking shears
  • ~2″ piece of elastic
  • one button
  • one 7″ zipper

instructions:

  1. Cut out all the pieces as specified in the materials.
  2. Sew together your three 2.5″ squares, using a 1/4″ seam, and press.
  3. Take your three 6.5″ square pieces: the front fabric, lining, and batting, and your zipper. Pin the front fabric to the batting, and lay them together on top the zipper, facing towards the zipper. The top edge of the front + batting should line up with the bottom edge of the zipper, and the lefthand edge should fall 1/4″ beyond the zipper pull. Lay your lining fabric, facing towards the zipper and front fabric, on the other side of the zipper and line it up to match your front fabric + batting. Pin all of this in place—you should have a fabric sandwich of batting, front fabric, zipper, lining fabric.  IMG_3246
  4. Sew together, 1/4″ from the edge. Unpin and press down. IMG_3250
  5. Repeat this process with your patchwork strip, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece of batting, and your matching lining fabric on the other side of the zipper. Press up. IMG_3251
  6. Top-stitch around both sides of the zipper, and trim whatever of the zipper sticks out beyond the edge of the fabric.
  7. Take your three 9″ x 6.5″ pieces: the back fabric, lining, and batting. Pin them with the batting sandwiched between the back and lining fabrics, and quilt them together. Pin this quilt to your zippered piece, with the lining fabrics facing each other.
  8. Fold & press your binding strip in half. Line the unfolded edge up against the edge of the front of your pouch, and sew around your pouch with a 1/4″ seam.
  9. Fold binding around the pouch, pin, and whip-stitch in place.
  10. Now take your pocket flap pieces and piece of elastic. Pin the pieces with wrong sides facing, and sew around with 1/4″ seam, leaving a small opening to turn them inside out. For the top flap, add an elastic loop before sewing.
  11. Turn pieces inside out and press. Pin in place on your pouch and sew them along the top, continuing (without sewing them to the pouch) in order to top-stitch the rest of the sides.
  12. Take your scissor sheath pieces and cut out the pattern from them. Sew together with 1/4″ seams, wrong sides facing, leaving a small opening to turn inside out.
  13. Turn scissor sheath inside out, and press. Then pin to your pouch, and sew around (leaving top open).
  14. Sew your felt pieces to the pouch. IMG_3260
  15. Sew a button on the bottom flap, matching the elastic loop.
  16. You are done!

You can use whatever combination of fabrics you like. I went for a blue & yellow theme, with gray accents in the scissors sheath, lining, and binding fabric. To draw things together, I used the inside fabric of the flaps, the outside fabric of the flaps, and the back fabric for my trio of patchwork squares. I also added a bit of purple ribbon as accents because I thought it was cute. 🙂

If you make this project, please link your pictures/blog in the comments! I’d love to see other people’s take, and of course, go ahead and ask if you have any questions! I’m not that practiced at sewing tutorials yet, so I might have missed explaining some things. 🙂