More adventures in sewing things to hold other things

In further sewing chronicles, I have made a stab at making lined bento bags, for carrying lunches to work. I started with one for the husband (I feel a bit guilty because I should have made mine first, to work out the kinks, but I wanted to surprise him and do his first, so he got what is essentially the practice version), then made one for me. I also made myself an unlined one.

The husband’s, not pictured, is made from appropriately manly gray chambray with a gray/white lining. Mine, however, has a cute desert-themed lining:
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As the above pictures may suggest, the geometry on this didn’t turn out quite right. These bags’ success depends on straight lines and correct angles, which seems a lot easier on the page than it turns out to be in practice. I think there are a couple of issues (for my sewing skills at this point): first, I need more practice cutting. For my husband’s bag, I marked all the lines and cut with shears, but for mine, I used a rotary cutter and marked only a few places as a guide for the ruler. I think I do a better job getting the angles correct when I draw all the lines and cut by hand, but I don’t get the cutting line perfectly straight, so it’s harder to sew a straight seam when everything’s assembled. When I use the rotary cutter, my cutting line ends up beautifully straight, but I suspect the ruler slips just enough that my angles end up a tiny bit wonky. (It doesn’t help that there’s a nick in my rotary cutter blade that requires me to go over everything twice.)

The second issue is bulky seams. You start by sewing two big triangles wrong-side together, leaving an opening to turn the triangle inside out to have an exterior and a lining. (I was following this pattern, if you want a visual of what I mean.) The pattern uses 1/4″ seams, and I’m not very good at pressing them open in any way that makes them lie smoothly after the pieces are turned right-side out. So I end up with bulky seams, and then I layer two of these triangles on top of each other and sew through the seams again, and it’s a bit raggedy, and makes the handles sort of hard to tie.

On the other hand, I’m very pleased with my turned hems on the single-layer bag, which you can see below:
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There, the issue was folding the fabric and getting the angles lined up exactly – again probably partly due to imprecision in cutting the fabric.

(I also suspect that part of the issue is that these bags originally developed to carry bento boxes, which tend to be wider than they are tall, and most of what I want to carry in the bags is not shaped like a bento box – so some of what seems like failure of execution is actually a design flaw, on my part.)

I’d kind of like to futz with the measurements, to see if I can come up with a version of these that fits our lunch containers (or yarn) a little better. But I have also been having great fun figuring out how to make a lined skirt (more on that later), and want to try another one of those, as well as make some more zippered project boxes/pouches. So we’ll see when/if I get back to bento bags.

In the meantime, let me show you Stripey helpfully ensconced on the not-yet-assembled-at-the-time pieces of said lined skirt (there are lining pieces pinned to the pattern under there, too, but Stripey is not exactly the princess with the pea, so was happy as a clam).



One thought on “More adventures in sewing things to hold other things

  1. Very cute prints. I was thinking just last night how much more room the girls would have to play in the basement if I put away my sewing table. Hmm, hmm, maybe I need to keep the machine out.


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