Tuesday, September 7, 2010

a handmade lunch bag {for the first-time preschooler)

My four-and-a-half-year-old will be attending preschool for the first time this week.  I'm not worried about him at all.  He is mr. social and feeds off interaction with other kids.  We enrolled him in a preschool for two , four-hour days a week and he has to bring a lunch.  After clarifying that peanut butter is an acceptable food this year as no child enrolled has a peanut allergy (whew...he'd rather starve than eat turkey, ham, or bolonga), the hub and I got to talking about backpacks and lunch boxes.  I fully intended to buy him a lunch box but the hub suggested to Logan that I make one.  Nothing beats a hub-prompted project because I get to spend all kinds of time working on it with no questions about what I'm up to.

A few days later, Logan and I set out for the fabric store in search of fabric with school buses (his choice).  After what seemed like hours to him (but was in fact about 4 minutes) to no avail, we (I) came across this fabric.  It's so colorful.  I love it!!  I was afraid it was too girly but gave him the choice.  He loved it.  Yes!  I knew it would make a cute lunch bag and I began pondering what to do with the rest of the yard.
Of course, there are a bunch of ways that I could have made this.  A very simple rectangular bag with a velcro closure would have been a quick way to go.  But I am neither simple nor quick, so I chose just about the toughest design I could think of.  I used a very thick stablizer as interfacing to give the bag extra support.  This extra thickness definitely made the bag much harder to handle.  I used a similar design for this overnight/gym bag and it wasn't nearly as difficult to put together (although I've learned a little about stablizing bags since that project).

And, by request, I added a pocket for I'm not sure what.  Napkins?  Bugs maybe?  The client requested it so I delievered.

For the lining, I was going to go with cotton.  But then I ran across a placemat that we bought for Logan a few years ago.  It never really gets used, so I decided to repurpose it.  It's made of a fabric that wipes cleaner than cotton ever would.  I also decided to use it for the bottom since I know that might get pretty dirty (and because I couldn't decide which way the bottom fabric should face).

I hope the opening doesn't end up too small.  I only had 7 inch zippers.  I added a little extra fabric to the end of each zipper to make the bag longer, but the opening barely fits a mini bag of chips.  I shouldn't have a problem getting the food in there, but it might be a task to get it out . . . especially for a little boy who will probably only eat what he can easily pull from the bag like fruit snacks and a juice box.  Logan picked out the green zipper to match the fabric, so at the very least, the zipper looks fabulous.

I also equipped the lunch bag with a removable strap.  I originally had no other reason to do this other than my desire to use my new snaps.  But then I started thinking about where to put his name on the bag.  Writing directly on the fabric is not an option (way too much work went into that thing to deface it with permanent marker), but I'm okay with writing on the strap.  Plus, if the bag holds up long enough for my next son (or me) to reuse it, I can just change the strap with a new name.  Sometimes I shock myself with my genius ideas.

So here we are . . . the first day of preschool with the new lunch bag.  If nothing else, it comforts me to know that he has a part of me with him on his new venture (and that no one else will have the same lunch bag).  Have a great time, little man!  I know you will.


  1. what a great mommy you are. Will there be a pattern or tutorial. My grandkids would love this..

  2. That is fantastic!!! Love your design.

  3. You amaze me sometimes Michelle! I still wish I had half your creativity and talent. Love the bag and I know Logan does too!

  4. Oh Michelle, it is so cute! And I know that he had fun helping you.