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With my daughter taking lunch every day, it doesn’t take long before her lunch box is dirty and in need of a good cleaning. This year I decided I wanted an easy to clean alternative to her commercially purchased, one that could be easily cleaned by simply throwing the bag into the laundry. Because she enjoys the process of picking out the character and design on her bag each year, I took her along to the fabric store and let her choose a variety of fabrics. Since the bag takes only 1/2 yard of fabric, we were able to pick up several designs so that she could have several bags to use.
Create a pattern for your bag using paper or scrap interfacing. I made my pattern from printed grid interfacing (Therm O Web HeatnBond Non-Woven Quilter’s 2” Grid Interfacing). The texture of the adhesive creates a “grip” which helps hold the pattern piece in place while working.
The pattern should be 15” tall by 12” wide. Cut two 2” squares from the bottom left and bottom right corners on the 12” side.
Cut two pieces of the outer fabric, two pieces of the inside fabric, and two pieces of batting.
To save time, I stacked all of my fabrics together and cut them at the same time. I used a rotary cutter and clear grid ruler to cut through my stacked fabrics along the edge of my pattern.
Stack the cut pieces in the following order: liner fabric (right side facing up); batting, both outside fabrics (right sides facing each other), batting, and liner fabric (right side facing down).
If you plan to apply clear vinyl to any pieces with iron on vinyl coating, apply the vinyl to the correct sides of your fabrics before stacking them. Optional: A fun idea to help include your children in the project would be to allow them to decorate a piece of fabric with laundry safe stamps and markers. Apply the clear vinyl to the decorated fabric to seal it.
Pin the stacked pieces together.
Sew the assembled stack of pieces together with a 1/2” seam allowance along the two long sides and the one short side (the bottom).
Turn the bag so that the side (long) seams line up with the bottom seam. This will bring the two notched corners on each side together so that they create a straight line. Pin the sides together and sew 1/2” from the edge.
Turn the bag right side out. The outside fabric should now be the outer layer on the front and back of the bag. Pin the top edges of the layers together around the top of the bag. Zigzag stitch around the top of the bag near the edge.
Fold the bag so that you create a crease from the bottom corner to the top of the bag about 2” above and 2” below the center side seam. Press the fold. (Skip this step for bags coated in vinyl.)
Optional: To help keep the crease and add shape and structure to the bag, sew along the edge of each of the side folds (skip this step for bags coated in vinyl).
Repeat the folding, pressing, and sewing on the bottom of the bag (skip this step for bags coated in vinyl).
Place wide bias tape around the opening covering the basting stitch. Sew the bias tape in place.
Place one half of a 2” piece of Velcro on each side of the bag on the inside just below the bias tape. Stitch the Velcro in place to secure it.
Place one half of a 2” piece of Velcro on the outside front of the bag about 2" from the top of the bag. Place the second half of the piece of Velcro on the front outside of the bag about 4" from the top edge. Stitch both pieces in place.
1/2 yard of fabric (outer bag)
1/2 yard of fabric (inside fabric)
1/2 yard of fusible fleece or batting (creates structure and provides insulation. I used Therm O Web’s HeatnBond Fusable Fleece)
1/2 -1 yard of vinyl coating (optional, may cover inside and outside fabrics for a wipe clean finish)
22” of 2.75m wide double fold bias tape (quilt binding)