It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school and the rest of us settle into a regular work routine. What better time to pick out some fun fabric patterns for lunch bags and masks to express yourself.
If you’re looking for something ultra-useful and reusable to sew up for your household, what about a lunch bag? There are oodles of patterns and tutorials out there to suit all sizes and shapes of lunches, and they can be as simple or as complex as you want. And if you mostly make quilts, tackling a lunch bag might be a great first step into sewing a 3D item, and maybe even serve as a gateway to making all kinds of bags and purses in the future. Here are a few patterns we’ve come across which we think you will love.
This bag looks like a traditional paper bag, but is a lot more fun to look at—and much more reusable, too. It comes together quickly with no extra pattern pieces: just cut the rectangles and go! For our sample we didn’t use oilcloth; instead we used regular quilting cotton and laminated it with Iron-On Gloss Vinyl to make sure it easily wipes clean. The lining is PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate), as well, to ensure that any leaks are not absorbed into the fabric. Please note that this project finishes with raw edges, so you may want to serge or use pinking shears on the edges before you begin (if you’re not using vinyl).
… and keep reading for more information about fabric choices and fabric patterns for lunch bags and masks!
If you’re looking for a wider lunch bag to accommodate a box rather than loose lunch items, this might be just what you’re looking for. This lunch box bag folds flat for storage but when in use makes it easy to carry a reusable box. And you’ll be so proud of that drawstring closure!
This project features a separating zipper and side pockets—handy indeed! Designer Rebecca Mae suggests canvas as her personal fabric choice in this project, but you can easily use quilting cotton that’s interfaced instead. This one’s definitely a more intermediate project than the first two, but should prove a satisfying sew.
Food-Safe Lining: If you’re looking to make a bag where food might directly come into contact with the lining fabric, you’ll definitely want to ensure that the fabric is food safe. So be sure to note that while vinyl and PUL are both great options as wipe-clean linings for drink holsters or insulated bags, they are not suitable materials for reusable snack bags. When searching for fabric that will fit this purpose, search for “food safe PUL.” There are vendors in Canada. Some brands to look out for in particular include: Procare, Prosoft and EcoPUL. Other options to consider include nylon ripstop or waterproof canvas, both very sturdy. If going this route, just make sure that you have heavier needles installed in your machine, as the layers might be thick.
Making It Sturdy: In terms of ensuring that your lunch bags are sturdy overall, you have a few options for interfacing and batting. You can quilt your layers with regular batting, for example, or you can look out for Insul-Bright: a specially designed product for maintaining the temperature of the food that’s put into the bag. It’s great for pot holders and table mats too. You may also want to check the pattern to see if it requires batting or interfacing at all. Sturdier fabrics, or those that are laminated, may not need any additional support to make a great looking—and sturdy—lunch bag.
Outer Fabric: This part is always the most fun to choose! A great option is to laminate any quilting cotton of your choice with Heat N Bond Iron-On Vinyl, and use that in place of oilcloth or vinyl—this gives you total creative freedom. Just be careful not to apply heat from your iron directly to the glossy side. And if you’re using this vinyl, you will want to avoid pins so you don’t make holes in your work. Clips are a great alternative.
Don’t miss our post from March this year where we share some of our favourite mask patterns available online for free! Click to find out more about fabric patterns for lunch bags and masks and our tips for construction. The example shown in the post is the Olson style mask from Sew Can She, made from a print in the Zoo Keeper line from Hoffman. Best news: there are still a few school- and kid-friendly prints from this collection available in our shop.