Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oilcloth Lunch Bag

Now that Little K is in Middle School - and has to carry around her lunch (since her school doesn't have lockers) - we try to use smaller lunch bags that don't take up too much space in her back pack.

Usually that means I pack her lunch in a Paper Bag (decorated with drawings and Washi Tape of course).

I try to include re-usable containers.  Because I still like making {simple} Bento Lunches, plus it helps reduce the amount of wasted plastic baggies.

This sweet stack able set from Paper Chase is one of our favorites.  Unfortunately the containers are just a bit too big to sit flat in the bottom of a paper bag (as are most of our Bento containers).

I decided it was time to maker a New Lunch Bag that fit all our needs:

Not too bulky
Big enough to hold Bento Containers
Washable & Foldable

Here Is My Creation

A colorful, re-usable Lunch Bag made from durable/washable Oilcloth Fabric.

I have had several pieces of Oilcloth in my stash for some time.  
I purchased them from an Online retailer - back when it was hard to find Oilcloth.  Now most of the big fabric stores carry lots of adorable designs in stock every day.  

I think this Pink Strawberry and Green Gingham was originally planned to be a Splat Mat for Little K.  She's almost 13 now - and pretty tidy these days - so probably won't need to make that project. 

Because the fabric had been folded for several years - there were deep set creases that I was afraid I would not get out.  I was pleased to discover that they were easily removed by ironing on the reverse side using medium heat.  The Oilcloth will get very soft under the heat of the iron and can easily be stretched out of shape (be careful not to pull too much), but it quickly cools down and regains it's stiff form.  

I decided the dimensions wanted for this little lunch bag - and cut them out using a Rotary Cutter.  

There are only 3 Pieces needed - so the cutting is pretty quick.  

Only basic sewing skills are needed to put this bag together.  The oilcloth fabric is a little sticky and can be tricky getting it through the machine - with a little gentle coaxing and some patience it moved along as needed.

Thanks to my Mum for doing the sewing while I took pictures.

You can download the complete tutorial for free HERE.

I added a unique feature on my Original design:

Gross Grain Ribbon Ties to keep the bag closed.

Most often these bags have a velcro closure
(I found the stress of daily opening causes the oilcloth fabric to quickly wear and tear away)

They also look very sweet using an old fashioned clothes pin clipped to the top
(but its not very practical for a lunch bag that gets smashed into a back pack)

The ribbon tie solution is working perfectly.
(Little K has been using her new bag for a week)

Plus it adds another opportunity for some color coordinated details.  

Some of the bags we made had contrasting side panels.

And some had self fabric.

With just these 4 fabric patterns - there were so many fun combinations....I could stop.

And I still have some oilcloth fabric left - so there may be more to come.

I hope you enjoy making some of these cute lunch totes.  

If you don't feel like sewing them up yourself - I have listed a few of the extras for sale in the SHOP if you would like to buy one pre-made and ready used. 


  1. I have a thing for oilcloth. I just love it. Your bags are gorgeous!

  2. Cheerful and beautifully made! Wow. Curious--did you also decorate the adorable bento boxes pictured? And...what's your recommended source for washi tape? Lovely post Karina!