If you're looking to make your lunch special by adding a cute new accessory, this quilted lunch bag tutorial is for you! Whether you're planning a spring picnic, heading to the office, or looking for a handmade touch for your child's lunch, this project will make your afternoon pop.
Kelsey is a chemist by day, and quilter by night who says she has a passion for experimenting with minimalist designs that enhance the modern home. And Kelsey really does experiment with her quilts, from screen printing on finished quilts to cutting up her quilts to make smaller wall installations!
After screen printing her own fabric lines since 2014, Kelsey released her first line of licensed fabric in 2019. Keep reading below to see all the materials you need and instructions to make Kelsey's Kris Kross lunch bag!
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With schools and workplaces re-opening, now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a cute quilted lunch bag. Go back in style with this trendy and machine-washable lunch bag based on the popular SQ pattern, Kris Kross.
This quilted lunch bag is flexible enough to be made with any of the quilting cottons you have stashed for a washable and durable finish. Or it can be taken up a notch with a ripstop nylon lining, making it not only washable but also wipeable!
Haven’t used ripstop nylon in a project before? Good news, it sews a lot like cotton and can be washed on the same settings; just turn your iron down a click, set aside your pins, and get sewing. Still not convinced to try ripstop nylon? Just wait a few weeks, and I’ll share a quick and fun tutorial using ripstop nylon that you’ll be using to make all your holiday gifts this year.
Supplies for the Kris Kross Quilted Lunch Bag
- Kris Kross quilt pattern
- Fabric - 1/8 yard each of any four colors
- Lining - cotton or ripstop nylon, 12" x 30"
- Batting - 12" x 30"
- Spray baste or basting pins
- Cutting mat
- Quilting ruler
- Rotary cutter
- Sew-on velcro - about 8"
- Sewing pins (or binding clips if you’re going to use ripstop nylon for the lining)
Fabric used in the quilted lunch bag pictured in this tutorial
- Michael Miller Cotton Couture - Soft White
- Kona cotton - Yarrow
- Windfall in Grapefruit from my collection Coastal Orchards for Benartex
- Thrifted coral Pendleton wool
- White ripstop nylon from my local craft store
Step 1: Piece 10 Kris Kross Quilt Blocks
First things first - stitch up 10 Kris Kross quilt blocks. For 10 blocks, you’ll need to cut 20 pieces each for Colors 1, 3, and 4, while only cutting 10 pieces of Color 2. Piece the Kris Kross blocks together into a 2 x 5 block grid that finishes 12 1/2" x 30 1/2"
Step 2: Baste the Kris Kross Panel
Once your Kris Kross panel is assembled, it’s time to baste. I would suggest starting with a piece of batting larger than 12" x 30" and then trimming it down in Step 4.
Lay your Kris Kross panel on your batting, but don’t use backing. The backing/lining will be added later. Baste using your preferred method. I love spray basting, but pinning works perfectly, too.
Step 3: Quilt Your Kris Kross Panel
Once basted, it’s time to quilt! Quilting doesn’t need to be too dense here. Although this may sound backwards, the more quilting you have, the less insulated your quilted lunch bag will be. Some quilting makes insulated pillows; too much quilting squishes out the air pockets that provide natural insulation.
Step 4: Trim Your Quilted Panel and Lining
Now that your quilted lunch bag has some lovely insulated pockets created by quilting, it’s time to trim out the corners to create a flap. Start by trimming your Kris Kross panel to 12" x 30".
Then, from each of the top corners, cut out a rectangle that measures 5" x 2 3/4", using the two raw edges as two sides of the rectangles. The 5" side of the cut rectangle should be parallel to the 30" side of the panel. This will create a flap for your lunch box that measures 6 1/2" wide and 5" long. Check out the pictures above if you’re more of a visual learner.
Repeat with your lining fabric so that you have a quilted panel and lining that are the same size and shape.
Step 5: Attach the Velcro
You know how some days your lunch bag is full to the brim and other days, it’s looking a bit emptier? Well, we are going to attach the velcro so that no matter how full or empty your quilted lunch bag is, you’ll still be able to close it securely.
Cut two 4" pieces of the loop-side of the velcro (the softer side) and two 2" pieces of the hook-side of the velcro (the scratchier side). The loop-side velcro will go on the flap, so that your hand doesn’t have to scratch past the hook-side when getting out your lunch.
Place the 2" hook-side pieces of velcro 3 1/4" from the long edge and 1/2" from the top edge of your quilted panel (opposite end from the flap). Stitch around the edge of the velcro to secure.
Repeat for both pieces of hook-side velcro.
Pro tip: I recommend not using adhesive-backed velcro because it can make your needle gummy and mess up your sewing machine. Sometimes my machine can’t even catch stitches correctly when I try to sew through adhesive-backed velcro and doesn’t work again until I clean off my needle.
Place the 4" loop-side pieces of velcro on the flap of your lining fabric, 1/2" from each edge of the flap. Stitch around the edge of the velcro to secure. Repeat for both pieces of loop-side velcro.
Step 6: Sew the Side Seams
We are now going to start giving your quilted lunch bag shape by sewing the side seams. Fold your quilted lunch bag panel in half (right-sides together) so that the bottom edge aligns with the 2 3/4" edge of the cut-out rectangle.
Sew a quarter-inch seam from the folded edge to what will be the top edge of your lunchbox (no stitching around the flap), back stitching at the raw edge.
Repeat for the lining, keeping right-sides (the side with the velcro) together.
Pro tip: if you’re using ripstop nylon, you’ll want to avoid using pins, as these leave permanent holes in the nylon. Instead, use binding clips (or paper clips in a pinch).
Step 7: Trim Out the Bottom Corners
It’s time to give ourselves a secret trapdoor. This sneaky step makes it so that we can sew the quilted panel to the lining without leaving a gap to inside-out the lunch bag.
From each of the bottom corners cut a square that measures 2 1/4" x 2 1/4", using the sewn/raw edge and the folded edge as two sides of the square. Do this for the quilted panel as well as the lining.
Step 8: Attach Quilted Panel to Lining
Leave your quilted panel with batting-side out, but turn your lining inside out so that the right-side of your lining is facing out and the seams are to the inside. Slide your lining into the quilted panel pocket (right-sides together), aligning the flaps and side seams.
Pin as desired around the top edge of the lunch bag and flap, pinning the seams open at the sides. Remember, if you’re using ripstop nylon, use clips rather than pins.
Sew a quarter-inch seam around the top edge of the lunchbox and the edge of the flap, back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam. Your seam will start and stop in the same place.
To get neat corners on your lunch bag flap, trim the top corners of the flap close the seam and clip the seam allowance up to the seam where the flap meets the rest of the lunch bag (see the photos above).
Step 9: Turn Your Lunch Bag Inside Out and Topstitch
This is where we get to use our sneaky trapdoor. Using one of the holes you cut in the bottom of the bag, reach inside and pull out the lining. Keep pulling and shimmying until your whole quilted panel is right-side out and your lining is neatly tucked inside.
Poke out the corners of the flap. Anything pointy but dull (hera marker, pencil eraser, your fingers) will work perfectly for this job.
Use your iron to press this seam flat and then top-stitch 1/4" from the edge to keep your lining in place.
Step 10: French Seam the Base of Your Quilted Lunch Bag
If you made the Sugar POP tote, then you’re familiar with boxing the corners of a bag. If not, do not fear; it’s a simple seam with magical results.
Make sure your lining is tucked neatly all the way into the lunch bag and pin (or clip) the lining to the quilted panel at the folded bottom edge. Now, take your trapdoor and fold it so that your pin is lined up and touching the side seam of the lunch bag.
You should now have folds at what used to be the cut corners of your trapdoor. Pin (or clip) as desired and sew a quarter-inch seam, making sure to catch both layers of lining and both layers of quilted panel. This is your box seam.
After sewing the seam, trim off as much of the seam allowance as you dare without snipping the seam. Your lunch box should now be 3-D but have an unsightly seam facing the outside. Halfway there.
Time for the French seam. Turn your lunch bag inside out and flatten the bag like you just did to sew the box seam. Make sure the quilted panel is laying flat on the inside and the lining is pulled taut away from the box seam.
Sew a another seam a generous quarter-inch from the folded edge, right where you sewed the first box seam. Voila! You have sewed a French seam. Right-side out your lunch box and view your beautifully-finished box seam. Repeat for the other side of the quilted lunch bag.
If you see little threads sticking out of your French seam towards the outside, this could be because you didn’t trim close enough to the seam allowance. No worries; just inside-out the lunch bag again and sew another line of stitching a bit more than a quarter-inch from the folded edge.
Step 11: Finish Your Kris Kross Quilted Lunch Bag
This last step gives your quilted lunch bag a bit more structure, especially after being machine-washed. With quilted side out, fold your lunch bag along the back edge so that the back corner of the French seam is at one end of your fold and the corner at the base of the flap is at the other end (see picture).
Press with the iron. Now, topstitch along this fold a generous 1/8" away from the fold. You may or may not catch the lining here, but I don’t think it matters.
To make the front corner of the lunch bag, press a fold from the front corner of the lunch box up to the top edge, using your Kris Kross block as a guide to get a straight fold. Topstitch. Repeat for the other side of your lunchbox.
Just like that, you’re done! You have a beautiful quilted lunch bag to bring with you to work or send with your kids to school. Check back in a few weeks for the perfect accessory to whip up for your quilted lunch bag in less than an hour!
Did you enjoy this quilted lunch bag tutorial? Let us know in the comments! And if you have tips to add, please share!