Back to School Lunch Bags

We’ve got three heading to school this year:  our oldest is a sophomore (!!), Miss #2 is heading to all-day pre-K, and Mr. #3 will be at preschool three days a week once he turns two.  That’s three lunches most days of the week.  We’ve been sitting pretty on the lunchbox-rescued-from-yard-sales tip for a couple years, but this year, I felt the siren song of a new indulgence: laminated fabrics.

Ever since Anna Maria put out her Good Folks laminates, Westminster/Free Spirit has had the good sense to put some of their top designs out in this format.  These are not oilcloth, they’re the actual fabric coated in a thin layer of PVC laminate, and they’re positively fabulous to work with.  You can pleat and gather them, they’re supple and forgiving, and the prints are amazing.  I pulled from the selection we have in the shop and whipped up three new lunch bags for this new school year.

Yes, I said three.  Miss #1 loves hers so much she declined to be deprived of its company for the day to allow it to be part of this photo shoot.  Rest assured, it’s faboo.

I used Ellen’s free pattern from over at The Long Thread, and these whipped up in a snap!  I’m especially fond of the leather handles on Mr. O’s bag (the leather came from a salvaged interior designer swatch book).

Loving these, and very excited that all my Twitterfolk gave me excellent suggestions for bento boxes to put in them!  I ordered these via Cool Mom Picks, and also popped for some back-ups here.  Looking forward to whipping up school goodies all year long!

Happy stitching, y’all!

Project details:  Pink lunchbox was made from 1/4 yd of Lindy Leaf laminate from Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane, plus 1/2 yd of Bite Me quilt-weight cotton from Michal Miller.  Black lunchbox was made from 1/2 yd of Slim Dandy laminate from Nicey Jane and 1/2 yd of Rat Race quilt-weight cotton from Michael Miller.  Handles are in red 1″ cotton webbing and black remnant full-grain leather.

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  • dana
    August 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    so fun. very cute! I’ve been meaning to do this very thing for a while. Maybe it’s time to do it!

  • Cathy A
    August 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    I love the laminated race cars!!

  • Belinda Gelhausen
    August 12, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Really want to know what the lunch bag for Miss #1 – must be way cool for a 15 year old to actually use and take to high school!

  • Leslie Limon
    August 12, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    These bags are so cute! I was just thinking if there was a way I could make lunch bags for my 4 kiddies, instead of having to buy them.

    I do have one question…Do you think these bags could be made using vinyl? My hubby has an upholstery shop and we have TONS of vinyl scraps that I could use!

    • Deborah
      August 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm


      Sure! The laminated cotton is lighter and a little thinner than most vinyl, but that really shouldn’t make any difference. I’d love to see photos when they’re done–it’s such a quick project, I know you’ll make a pile of them!