diy projects: kate’s handy lunch bag

this week’s resolution is definitely one i have every year: “cook more and dine out less.” i spend quite a bit of money on lunch at work, mainly because i can’t get my act together to prepare something (the closest i got was bringing an entire loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter-forgot the knife though). so i thought maybe if i prettied up my lunch accessories it would help inspire me. this tote is just a canvas bag slightly doctored so that it opens to become a place setting, complete with snuggled utensils! i added button closures on the sides so it’s easy to open and close, and like all canvas bags it is machine washable. for all you lucky freelancers out there, maybe your kids or office-bound friends could use a present. happy crafting! – kate

click here for the step-by-step instructions or just click “read more” below.

Kate’s Handy Lunch Bag

What You’ll Need:
1. canvas bag
2. extra fabric for lining
3. elastic
4. needle and thread
5. sewing machine
6. scissors
7. buttons

1.Evenly cut open the sides of the bag and slice off the bottom so you have two flat pieces of canvas.

2. Pin the bottom back together and resew to create a flat bottom of the bag (like a zip lock bag, rather than a brown paper bag)

3. Fold in the rough sides and pin the lining around the entire edge of the bag. sew the lining with your sewing machine.

4. Measure where you want to place your buttons and buttons holes and mark with pencil. Sew your buttons onto the interior of the bag on both sides. Depending on the size of items you plan to place in the bag, you may want to add more or fewer buttons. I did three chunky buttons down each side.
5. Cut and stitch up your button holes.

6. Cut small loops of elastic for your utensils and use a needle and thread to sew them up.

7.Use your needle and thread to sew the elastic loops on the interior lining of the bag.

8. Stitch your design on the front and double check your buttons fit through and your utensils slide into the elastic.


  1. Karen says:

    I have been sticking to this same resolution, and won’t it be so much more fun with one of these sweet bags… I am on this! Thank you for a wonderful DIY! ;o)

  2. Mouse says:

    Hey! Great idea. Now I will have a placemat wherever I need one.

  3. mollie says:

    that genius.
    love it!

  4. Breanne says:

    This is so cute! Great idea, I will definitely be making one!

  5. mollie says:

    oops, mean “that’s”

  6. corinne says:

    Wow, what a wonderful, creative idea. I love it. I will be making these this weekend. Thank you.
    PS: That is so funny about the loaf of bread and pb, no knife!!!….trust me, I’ve been there!

  7. Lindsay says:

    So cute! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  8. juliette says:

    what a great idea! how practical!

    I would love to see how this could be made with a large flat bottom to the bag so the stuff in my tupperware doesn’t slop around. Something like those European paper cake/pastry bags…hmmm

  9. Jacqui says:

    This is just too cute. I might make two so me and my boyfriend can take them on a picnic too!

  10. Jacqui says:

    This is so cute! I’m going to have to make 2, so my boyfriend and I can take them on a picnic too! Although I’ll make his a little more masculine.

  11. Kristan says:

    You know, when I saw the first shot, I thought, “Meh, whatever.” Then I saw the next two pics and my jaw DROPPED. Awesome, adorable project.

  12. lwm says:

    Too cute! I really like the material used for the lining. What fabric is it?

  13. Stacey says:

    That is awfully clever and adorable.

  14. Malinda says:

    I love this idea!! how awesome!

  15. Briana says:

    Wow! This is totally fantastic!

  16. Loora says:

    Great idea !

    Sometimes at work I don’t have time for a real lunch, and now, I’ll be having this super-cool placemat to be hasty but elegant. I’m gonna sew a mini-version of this so that it fits in my work bags.

  17. catherine says:

    I love the fabric used for the lining too! Who makes it? Thanks!

  18. LOVE IT! Can’t wait to make a few.

  19. alexis says:

    this is too cute! sadly, i don’t need one, but i know quite a few people who will be getting one…

  20. Erin says:

    My husband is an avid lunch bag kind of guy. Maybe if I make him a stylish enough one of these he’ll trade in his plastic grocery bag.

  21. Rachel says:

    This is SO cute! What a great idea and great directions! I’ll be linking in The Daily DIY.

  22. kate says:

    hey there!
    thanks everyone for the kind feedback!! the fabric is actually from an erica tanov sample sale in berkeley ( lucked out big time. but it is similar to hable construction fabrics i think. (
    good luck!

  23. tina says:

    Wow! So smart! I love the idea of the placemat because you never know what you’re eating on ;) AND it’s washable! Brilliant. Some have mentioned a more manly version… I’d love to see what people come up with!

  24. terri says:

    What a great idea!!

  25. Heather says:

    that is such a cute idea. I just don’t think my husband is in touch with his feminine side enough to use it at work- dang!

  26. Stephanie says:

    What an awesome idea! I love how it unfolds.

  27. kim says:

    I must admit that I am more motivated to bring my own lunch if it’s a bit cute to look at. The whole Japanese “bento” concept helped me, try for inspiration.

  28. maritess says:

    ooohhh!! and you can iron on the inside liner for easy clean up!

  29. kat says:

    i love this! i think making the bag lining out of plastic fabric (like plastic tablecloths) would be good then it would be wipeclean too.

    i love that bento site too, but i don’t know how people have the time to make such imaginative lunches every day!

  30. Kristena says:

    This is so cute! Great idea.

  31. Sílvia Magali Lossavaro says:

    It`s wonderful!!

  32. Kate says:

    Aww sooooo cute! I’m gluten free so I always take my lunch, but I usually have to use the ugly shopping bags I grab on the way out the door. This is adorable!

  33. chal says:

    \\this is a great idea, i often end up places where i need my own clean knife and fork because of my gluten free diet . But as a bloke i wish someone would come up with something like this but more masculine. Will be making one for my girlfriend though.


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