Today’s DIY sewing project: a drawstring lunch bag, tailor made for the massive salads I like to take to work.
Do you remember that cute turquoise patterned tote from Skylark + Owl? They used a cloth bag to wrap their bedding for shipping and of course I was smitten with the print:
In theory, I love the idea of wrapping bed linens in a tote for shipping because it reduces shipping waste, but in reality I couldn’t actually find a use for the tote bag because I have so many open tote bags and this one was a bit floppy and useless. I originally wanted to sew the fabric into a cute throw pillow, but I actually needed a lunch bag big enough to fit the awkward container I use to bring my lunch to work, so my Mom and I whipped up a drawstring lunch bag instead!
- Fabric (a sturdier, upholstery weight)
- Sewing machine + thread
- Single fold bias tape (optional)
- Satin cord
- Large crimps (check local craft stores)
- Craft glue
- Large safety pin
- Needle nose pliers
How to Sew a Drawstring Lunch Bag:
Because I was hacking fabric already sewn into a tote, I could skip some steps – like sewing up the sides (yay)! However, I also had to do a bit of seam ripping to remove the handles and open up the top seam, so it probably didn’t save me any time in the long run. But I love any opportunity to use my new teal seam ripper…
I wanted this lunch bag to offer up a nice big base so my salad containers can sit upright – and not on their side, threatening to leak – so I sewed the corners straight across, eyeballing the size:
You can see my lunch bag taking shape, once I removed the handles, trimmed the top edge and sewed the bottom (I trimmed those “ears” after snapping this photo):
This fabric was too heavy to turn under twice for a neat hem (we worried my poor old sewing machine wouldn’t be able to handle it), so we opted to sew on bias tape to hide the raw edge instead:
Then we opened the side seam a little to create a hole for the drawstring. We sewed around the opening, to keep it neat and tidy:
With the drawstring hole sewn, it was time to form the channel for the drawstring.
The drawstring closure is comprised of two continuous loops of silk cord, running parallel inside the channel, which is how we created the “handles” and avoided any raw, unraveling ends of cord or awkward knots.
To thread the drawstrings, my Mom had this handy tool, but you can also use a large safety pin to help guide the silk cord:
The last step doesn’t have an in-progress photo because it was messy! Like I mentioned above, because I didn’t want dangling ends of cord or having to make knots to keep it from slipping back inside the channel, we created two continuous loops by gluing the ends together and sealing with a large metal crimp:
I used my favorite gel epoxy for this, but you can use your favorite fabric or craft glue. Place the end of the cord in the crimp, apply glue, let dry to a slightly sticky (not goopy) state before closing the crimp with needle nosed pliers. Keep the crimp as round and smooth as possible – with no sharp edges to catch the fabric.
Here’s what it should look like:
Once the glue has dried completely, we worked the cords around so the sealed crimp is in the middle of the channel and it won’t be seen when the drawstring bag is cinched closed.
And that’s it! I love that I could customize the size of this DIY drawstring lunch bag to fit the containers I use for lunch – plus it folds up into a tiny square on the weekends 🙂
I am really loving the challenge of making things using supplies I already have on hand, but if this is going to be a regular feature, I’m going to need some suggestions for a better name!