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Bento Lunches
DIY Bento Bags - Pattern and Photos 
4th-Nov-2007 08:32 am
bento-icon onigiri cute

It has taken me the better part of the week, but here is a set of instructions, drawings, and photos which I hope will make it fairly easy to sew a bento bag of your own. If you use 40-inch + wide fabric and cut across the width of the fabric, you can make two bags from the material, which is what I did in this session. It will be easy to make it larger or smaller depending on your needs.

Lots of pics of the inner seams after the cut, especially the folds and seams forming the bottom of the bag.

Once you have made the side seams, you can roll and seam the tube for the drawstring. I made that seam about 1/2 inch wide, but it is easy to make it wider.

I made the handles out of contrasting fabric, about 1 in wide, seamed and turned. You could also use handbag strapping available from the fabric or craft store. Or no handles at all, if you prefer. :)

Sew a seam along the dotted lines to shape the bottom of the bag.

I've turned the bag so you can see the bottom seams.

The drawstring in place and the handles sewn in.

I gave the bottom some further support by adding a plastic insert which is just laid in the bottom of the bag. The plastic was made by cutting up an empty plastic cat litter bottle. Nothing like a little recycling. :)

And the finished bag! This first set took me about 3-4 hours from inital cutting, sewing, pressing, and figuring out how to form the bottom of the bag. I think future bags will go a bit faster.

This is a good way to use up smaller pieces of fabric, and would make a nice patchwork project, too, if you wanted a fancier bag. I've gotten a lot from this community, I hope this little contribution is useful.
4th-Nov-2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
WOW. This is so cute. Thank you for sharing the pattern. Now if only I can saw. =0(
4th-Nov-2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
This would be a great beginning project for sewing. And it is small enough to be do-able by hand sewing if you have time.
4th-Nov-2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
oh this is wonderful! thanks for the pattern! ♥
4th-Nov-2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. :)

I made two more bags of different sizes today, and tried out a different way of sewing the handles that I like better. I'll add some new notes once I take pictures.
4th-Nov-2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
That would be wonderful! I really appreciate it. ^_^
4th-Nov-2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
It's an interesting process to try and design something like this to share -- even a 'simple' project requires a lot of thinking when I try to break it down into logical steps. A challenge is good! :D
4th-Nov-2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Excellent! You put into words and drawings what I had in mind but couldn't express. Well worth waiting for!

Just a thought -- pockets would be nice to hold faux-ice, condiments, chopsticks etc. Perhaps a contrasting liner for such?
4th-Nov-2007 10:37 pm (UTC) - Pockets, good :)
Pockets are a great idea! Or maybe some sort of fold in the bottom of the bag - an internal pocket for an ice pack?

A pocket to hold all the little items like chopsticks would really nice, thanks for the suggestion!
5th-Nov-2007 01:16 am (UTC)
Great instructions! I would add that if you don't sew the side seams all the way up to the top then you can leave the drawstrings out at the sides (hope this makes sense), instead of having the drawstring inside. Sew the sides seams to just below where you will sew the channel for drawstring. Then fold over the drawstring channels (wide enough for two thicknesses of drawstring) and then thread two drawstrings, and you can have a classic "pull to close" set up.
5th-Nov-2007 04:52 am (UTC)
Thank you, *that's* what I've been missing is how to make it so the drawstrings emerge at the top! I want to make some bags that use the drawstrings for handles and how to make it happen gracefully was something I was having trouble visualizing. I'll give this a try on the next one. Cool. :)
5th-Nov-2007 01:36 am (UTC) - Wonderful!
I've been meaning to do this since it came up here a few weeks ago, but I've been soo busy. :)

Thanks for posting these!
5th-Nov-2007 04:53 am (UTC) - Re: Wonderful!
You're very welcome, let me know if there are any confusing bits when you try the pattern. :)
5th-Nov-2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
I love the little hard bottom, that's a great idea. You can also custom fit your bag to the box by adjusting the size of the corners before you sew them. Some boxes are more square, for example.
11th-Nov-2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Yay! I am going to make one today! Thank you so much for taking the time to post this :) I will post a picture of my finished one if it isnt too mangled!!!

13th-Nov-2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
I made one of these today. Thank you for the helpful guide! X3
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