All my closest friends know that I (Chanel) am forever on the search for the perfect, chic lunch box. And believe it or not, a lot of the prettiest and well-designed carriers out there are super expensive. So with this personal challenge in mind and with Picnic Week in the air, I was inspired to create my very own reusable lunch bag. Taking my pattern directly from the handy-dandy, classic paper lunch sacks that I predict will be around forever and ever, I put together this canvas version that’s reusable, washable and most of all, super pretty. There was a lot of hand-stitiching involved, but it wasn’t difficult at all and I’m head-over-heels in love with the final product. Keep reading for instructions, and I’d love to know how you all transport food around stylishly!

  • canvas
  • lunch sack
  • pencil or fabric chalk
  • stitching awl
  • waxed thread (I got this great multicolored spool at Tandy)
  • 2 needles
  • scissors
  • matches or a lighter

1. Mark numbers on the sides of 2 lunch bags, referring to image #3. Set one bag aside.

2. Cut out numbered sections from other bag.

3. Lay out bag sections on canvas fabric as pictured above and carefully trace around each one.

4. Mark each section on canvas with its corresponding number.

5. Cut out sections

6. Cut a piece of waxed thread that’s twice the length of the fold you’re going to be stitching. Thread a needle onto both ends of the thread, leaving a 1-inch tail.

7. Referring to the marked bag you set aside, line up numbered sections. Note whether the fold faces out or in, and stitch accordingly.
Use stitching awl to make a hole at the top of the two sections.

8. Thread one needle through the hole from right to left, and the other left to right. You can do this at the same time as pictured, or one at a time.

9. Pull through to create an overcast.

10. Use stitching awl to make another hole a few centimeters below the first. You can choose to use a ruler to mark and space holes exactly, but I just eye-balled it. Again, thread needle on the right to the left through the hole, and the needle on the left to the right.

11. Pull through to tighten. To create another overcast, thread one of the needles over the seam and back through the hole.

12. Create another hole with the awl and repeat, but do not create another overcast.

13. Continue down the length of your sections.

14. When you reach the end, create a final overcast stitch and trim the hanging thread down short. Use matches or a lighter to melt the waxed thread down.

15. Repeat to attach all sections, referring to your numbered lunch sack for proper layout and placement.

*tip: for a video demonstration on how to hand stitch like this, refer to this tutorial.

*photos by Camille

18 comments
  1. 1
    eve | July 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    so cute! i must make this weekend!

    Reply
  2. 2
    morgan | July 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    These are amazing! Love it. My toddler’s starting preschool in Sept and she will be bringing her lunch. Perhaps in this.

    Reply
  3. 3
    Giovanna | July 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Such a cute DIY! Love the way it turned out!

    xx
    Giovanna
    http://www.oliveandanarrow.com

    Reply
  4. 4
    Janelle | July 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Very cool, and looks fun to make! I think I’ll whip one up for my cute little granddaughter. Thanks for the great tutorial!! 😉

    Reply
  5. 5
    Taylor | July 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Such a cute take on the little brown bag! I’d much rather be carrying that adorable bag on campus all day. Great DIY!

    Reply
  6. 6
    MidwesternMom | July 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Cute idea!

    Reply
  7. 7
    Ferren | July 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

    tres adorable! makes me want to start carrying my lunch more!

    Reply
  8. 8
    dee | August 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Super cute! I am in love with this idea. Love the chic look. You make lunch look fabulous! I hope you will link this up to The cSI Project. The challenge is back to school. Each week is a new challenge. Come on over!
    http://www.thecsiproject.com
    PS I would love for you to be a guest judge sometime and do a tutorial.
    email me if you are interested.
    dee@thecsiproject.com

    Reply
  9. 9
    HulaGirl | August 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    How about a Japanese bento box? There are sooooo many styles, configurations, and cute designs!!

    Reply
  10. 10
    Dorria | September 26, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Good idea to have lunch sack made ??of canvas to keep it for a longer time.
    Thank you Chanel 🙂

    Reply
  11. 11
    Emily | May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

    beautiful!

    Reply
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