In my mind, there are lunch bags and then there are lunch bags. The former being the one you choose for your, say, 2nd grader, and the latter being the one you choose for your kindergartener. Your baby. Your precious little sweetheart that can’t possibly be old enough to go to school. You do get the difference, right? There’s just something monumental about that life-changing first year of school and it deserves a special bag.

It’s this philosophy I have on lunch bags, combined with my recent shopping trip with Lola all around town where we found only lunch bags, that inspired this little handmade lunch bag.

My sister says I’m just super-picky, but I say this is much more like Lola.

And for those of you not scratching your head and wondering if I’ve finally lost it, I’m sharing the how-to in case you’d like to sew a little lunch bag for your own little sweet pea.

I will preface by saying this may be a little harder than some of my sewing tutorials, and there are several steps, but don’t let that scare you. You can do this.

I started with 2 types of fabric: canvas drop cloth, because I’m predictable like that; and some yellow & white print that I had left over from her curtains.

One fabric will be the outside, the other will be the liner. You’ll need 2 pieces of each fabric for the fronts/backs and sides and one of each for the bottom, all cut to the measurements above.

You’ll also need a piece for the handle that measures 11″ x 4″. And for a ruffle, you’ll need a piece approximately 5″ x 60″ (several pieces can be sewn together to get this length if needed).

I started by adding her name on the front panel piece using my favorite freezer paper method.

While that was drying, I sewed together the front, back and sides of the liner, creating a “box”…

Then I pinned and sewed the bottom on to get a little sack…

Once the paint was dry on the name, I sewed together the outer shell of the bag.

Then I made the ruffle by folding the long strip of fabric in half longways and then sewing a gathering stitch.

Then, I gathered it up to the length I needed for it to go around the entire top edge of the bag. It should be approximately 28 inches. Fold and sew the raw edges of the ruffle in on each end to finish the edges.

The next step was to place the outer shell of the bag into the inner lining as pictured…

The ruffle is then “sandwiched” in between the inner and outer layer with all raw edges up and the seams lined up at each corner. (If you don’t want a ruffle, just sew omit this step and sew the two “sacks” together without it.)

I pinned it in place all around, then sewed, leaving a few inches open on one side so the bag could be turned inside-out.

Then, I turned it inside-out through the hole…

After pressing it with the iron, I top-stitched around the top edge to close the opening and give it a more finished look.

I also sewed the ends of the ruffle together where they meet. Did I mention you don’t have to be a perfect seamstress to make these things?

Then, to give the bag more stability and a more finished look, I sewed along each side and bottom edge.

Then, I added velcro to the inside lining to hold it shut…

And more velcro to hold it when the top folds over…

For the handle, I folded the fabric longways & sewed around the three open sides, once again leaving a gap for turning it right-side out. (You can use an artist paint brush handle to help poke the corners out.)

Then, I ironed it and sewed a top stitch all around the four edges, then sewed it onto the bag.

And finally, it was done.

Despite the many steps and the time it took to make, it was all worth it because Lola loves it. And I like it because it’s machine-washable! But I love it because it’s not just a lunch bag.