Lunchtime Bag


  • Four 4in (4 1⁄2in unfinished) blocks that look good set on point or use a printed square
  • 30cm of furnishing fabric 140cm wide or 50cm of 115cm wide fabric
  • 24 x 13in (62 x 34cm) of fabric for lining (a fat quarter is not enough)
  • 2in (5cm) of matching Velcro
  • 24 x 8in (62 x 20cm) of lightweight or cotton wadding

Note: Sue recommends furnishing fabric for its strength

Finished Size

6in square base x 9in high plus handles

Skill Level


The Blocks

Figure 1: Adding the triangles
Figure 1: Adding the triangles
  1. Cut four 5 1⁄4in squares from the bag fabric. Cut twice on the diagonal to give 16 triangles. Sew two triangles to opposite sides of each pieced square. Press; sew the remaining two triangles to the other two sides of each block. See Figure 1.
  2. Stitch the four blocks together into a strip – if your block has a top and bottom make sure they are all the right way up. Cut a piece of lightweight wadding to fit the strip, 6 x 23 1⁄4in. Quilt in the ditch between the blocks and 1⁄4in around the pieced blocks. You can add extra quilting if desired.
  3. Cut two strips of fabric 4in wide across the width. Stitch a strip to each long side of the pieced strip. Trim level with the end and put spare to one side to use for the handles. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Adding the strips
Figure 2: Adding the strips
  1. Cut the handles to 2 1⁄4 x 21in (check what length will suit you). Make the handles by folding a third of the handle along its length WS together and press. Fold up the bottom third and press. Cut a piece of wadding to fit inside. Open out the lower third of the handle and fold it in half so its raw edge meets the one above and press again. Open out and insert the wadding. Refold and stitch along the folded edge. You could use a fancy stitch if you have one, the apple bag has "An apple a Day . . ." stitched along the handle.
  2. Cut a piece of lining fabric the same size as the outer bag. Stitch the lining into a tube RS together along the short side. Repeat with the outer bag. See Figure 3.
  3. Fold the outer bag in line with the seams between the pieced blocks. Press to mark. This divides the bag into quarters. Pin the handles RS together, inside two opposite side folds (one of the folds will be the seam). See Figure 4.
  4. With RS together, stitch the lining to the top edge of the bag, catching in the handles. Fold the lining inside the bag and press the top edge. Edge stitch 1⁄4in from the top edge of the bag. Turn the bag and lining WS out and pull the lining back outside the bag.
Figure 3: Making the tubes
Figure 3: Making the tubes
Figure 5: Squaring the base
Figure 5: Squaring the base
  1. To create the square base. Fold the bag top in half, matching the lines along the sides of the pieced blocks. Pin through on the quilting lines that were stitched in the ditch earlier. Stitch the bottom in a 1⁄2in seam, taking care not to catch the handles. See Figure 5 and check to see that your bag is folded the same way; the seam is not at an edge but about a third of the way along.
  2. Pull the bottom out flat with the seam down the centre, creating two points at the ends. Stitch across the points on top of the seam where you joined the bottom strip to the pieced strip. Stitch on the seam line on the side with the wadding showing. If the points are too wide you may have to re-stitch the bottom 1⁄2in seam making it deeper.
Figure 4: Adding the handles
Figure 4: Adding the handles
  1. Divide the lining into even halves as you did the bag. Again the seam will be lie a third of the way across. Pin the bottom edge. Stitch in a 1⁄2in or deeper seam leaving an opening of about 3in through which you can turn the entire bag RS out. Flatten with the seam in the centre and two points extending. Draw a line or pin 3in from the point and stitch. Turn the bag RS out.
  2. Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine. Push the lining into the bag. Cut a piece of heavy card to fit in the bottom of the bag or find a 6in square plastic lunch box. This gives the bag some stability. You may sew Velcro closures on the bag if you wish. Sew next to the handles.
  3. Now go on a picnic or better still an all day workshop with your lunch bag filled with goodies.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 3 - March 2004