Thursday, 4 June 2015

How to make a fully lined Bento bag

Most enlightened people are making recycling part of their lives now and carrying food is a big issue. Plastic bags are easy and they are convenient but they are not cheap and they are not environmentally sound. There is some compelling science to suggest that they are not the healthiest either so it is a big lose/lose situation.

As usual, the Japanese have it sussed and their gift to us on this occasion is the Bento bag.....



How cute can you get! It has a Japanese elegance to it and it feels like fabric origami. Perfect for toting lunch or a snack or even makeup. In fact you may be interested to know that the word bento in Japanese refers to a home cooked or takeaway lunch for one - sort of the equivalent to our packed lunch. It is usually a box of some kind housing a single portion but our bag fits the bill too. 


Well we are going to make one this week but before I get onto that, I have some more news on the book front. 
The contracts have all been signed by all parties and now an official announcement is on the Vivebooks site! I am beside myself with happiness!  Here is the link so that you can check it for yourself. 

Honestly, I think that this format for crafters is the way of the future. Imagine having videos embedded in a book - just like a teacher so that you can rewind it and see it again and again if that light bulb is just not going on for you. Trust me, there are only so many times that you can rewind a teacher!

Anyhow, back to that bag! Normally, they come unlined and I am sure that I am flying in the face of thousands of years of tradition here but I thought that we would make a lined one and see how we go.

So, what do we need?
3 fat quarters of fabric.

Um....that's actually about it if you don't count the usual sewing needs! So no long shopping list for you this week. 

Mine is a snack sized one so if you want it larger or smaller, simply follow the directions and either add or subtract centimetres.

I am using two fabrics on the outside and then I have a spotty lining so here are my choices.....



The first thing that we need to do is to cut four triangles, one from each of the outer fabrics and two from the lining. They are right angle triangles,  the adjacent is 40cm and the opposite is 40cm and the hypotenuse is 58cm. That sounds a bit like geometry...well it is but it isn't difficult. Have a look at this picture and you will get the idea....



See what I mean? A very easy way to do this is to cut a 40cm x 40cm square from the lining fabric and then cut it in half diagonally and then use one piece of this for a template to cut out the two outer pieces like this....



Whichever way is easiest for you, you will need to end up with two spotted triangles for lining and then one of each of the other pieces to make four triangles in all.

Take one of the lining triangles and one of your outer ones and with the right sides together, sew all around the outside, leaving a small gap for turning out...



TIP: when you decide where to leave the turning out gap, stay away from the corners! Much easier to do this on a straight bit.

Next clip the excess fabric from the points being very careful not to nick your stitches.....



Turn the right way out and poke the corners out with an object like a chopstick (always have one of these in your sewing kit-  and quite topical for the project I think).  Iron very carefully so that your edges are as perfect as possible - wet the fabric with a water mister and roll it between your fingers to achieve this mystical perfection! 

Here is what you have now.....



Repeat for the other two triangles. You don't have to slip stitch the gap closed, just iron carefully and it will all come together in the final sewing up.

Right! Good so far! We now have two lined triangles but that isn't a bag so the next thing is to lay the triangles on top of each other like this....



Choose the one that you want to be dominant and put it on top. I have chosen green. Now pin and carefully stitch down the middle to form the base.....



TIP: fold the triangle in half and lightly iron to find the centre of each and then just match up the creases.
Then close up those side gaps by stitching along the lines on the photo....



As you can see, I have put one of my trademark labels onto the front....



You can get full instructions on how to make one of those here. When you stitch, notice that the seam goes right to the point of each triangle (way beyond the necessary bit)? This is the top stitching that will make the bag look more professional.

Okay, looking good but still not a bag! Next, sew up the side seams like this....



We need to do the corners next. We will use a French seam. To do this, turn the bag the right way out and measure in 3cm and draw a line across the corner like this...




Stitch along the line and then trim back to 1/2 cm like this....



Now turn the bag inside out and stitch with a normal seam allowance to enclose the raw seam...



When you turn it out again you have a neat corner with no bulky corner bit.



French seams are usually used on very sheer fabrics to make a better seam but you can use it anywhere. The beauty of it is that you have no raw or serged seams inside the bag. It is all neat and well finished. Sounds awfully smart too!

And that's about it folks! You now have a sweet little bag with a tie top. Use it for fruit - it has slight cushioning and protective qualities. 



These make great gifts and they would be fabulous on a craft stall. They wash clean too so there is no excuse for horrid plastic in this part of your life! Here is mine again...



Thank you so much, dear friends for stopping by again. I have enjoyed your company as always. 
Before you go, I would love to show you how my garden is looking in this beautiful weather. It was five years ago on  Thursday (4th June) that I came to England with my family and I love it so much. It is a beautiful and friendly country full of lovely people and places. And our weather isn't half bad either.

Anyway, before I get emotional, here is the garden. Enjoy! x







Love and hugs
Debbie xxx