Saturday, November 23, 2013

Apple Lunch Box and Purse- free pattern and tutorial

A few months back I had the special honor of being a guest at The Cottage Mama blog. There I shared a free pattern and tutorial for an apple lunch box. With the holiday season approaching I thought an adorable apple lunch box would make a great gift. So today I am bringing it home!

I also think that this would make a sweet apple purse!
*Modifications to make an apple purse are below the lunch box tutorial.*

This tutorial will guide you through, step by step, how you can make your own insulated apple lunch box. It features a cotton laminate fabric for the exterior (I found this cute Greenhouse Laminate by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit at, a durable Peltex interfacing, an Insul-Bright thermal insulation layer, and a nylon lining (I prefer Rip-Stop nylon) that is easy to wipe clean.

Puny lunch boxes need not apply, this tutorial makes a mama sized lunch box measuring 11" wide (at the widest point) by 3.5" inches deep. The pattern is available for free download here. So let's get started!
  1.  Print pattern at 100% (no scaling) and cut out all pieces as directed. *Tip: Cut apple piece from Peltex first an you will have a durable shape to trace onto other fabrics.
  2. Lay your Peltex apple piece, fusible side down, over your laminate, right side down, and fuse together with iron. Repeat for other side.
  3. With laminate side of apple still facing down, lay Insul-Bright on top with shiny side up. Then lay your nylon lining over those and align all layers.  
  4. *Tip: Holes in laminate and nylon will be visible. "Pin" layers together with paper clips to avoid unnecessary holes. Other common household items suitable to "pin" with include hair clips, bag clips, and fridge clips.          
  5. Edge stitch to secure all layers together. Repeat for other side. 
  6. Set apple shaped pieces aside. We will now assemble the top and zipper panels. Start with your 3" wide zipper panels first. Layer your pieces over each other and align one long raw edge in this order: Insul-Bright shiny side up, nylon lining, zipper right side up, laminate right side down. Sew together with 1/2" seam allowance.                                                                       
  7. Trim seam allowance to 1/4" with out clipping through zipper. Fold layers away from zipper and topstitch 1/4" away from zipper.
  8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the 1.5" zipper panels. *Tip: If using a zipper that is longer than your panels you can unzip it all the way to the end before sewing. This will place your zipper pull out of the way when attaching panels.
  9. If you used a longer zipper, secure it near the panels short edge and trim excess.
  10. Align your top panel pieces over one short edge of your zipper panel in this order: Insul-bright shiny side up, nylon lining, zipper panel, laminate right side down. Sew together using 1/2" seam allowance. Trim seam allowance to 1/4".
  11. Fold top panel pieces away from zippered panel and topstitch in place.
  12. Align raw edge of top laminate panel with raw edge of zipper panel with right sides together. Your zipper panel should now be folded to make a loop with the top panel. Push the folded/looped end to the side and pull your Insul-Bright and nylon lining layers of the top panel up to match raw edges. Stitch raw edges with 1/2" seam allowance. Trim seam allowance back to 1/4".       

  13. Flip panels so all layers are right side out. Topstitch the top panel 1/4" from seam we just made. 
  14. Align cording down center of one Nylon webbing strip.  
    Place second webbing strip over the top, sandwiching the webbing between. Stitch near ends of cording to hold in place. Then stitch along the long edges. Gently melt the unfinished ends to prevent fraying. This can be done by holding ends just above the flame of a candle or lighter (do NOT touch flame to webbing).
    Attach the handle near the top panel seams.
    Your top and zipper panels are complete! Now let's start putting it all together.
  15. To find center of top panel fold it in half lengthwise, matching seams where they attach to zipper panel. Mark center point on both raw edges.
  16. Align center point of top panel with top center of apple shaped piece with nylon sides together. Pin in place. Continue to pin all the way around apple piece. Baste together using scant 1/4' seam allowance.
  17. Repeat for the other side.
  18. Set aside the lunch box. Press bias strips to make tape as follows: fold in half lengthwise and press, open up fold and turn long raw edges in to meet at center and press, fold in half lengthwise again and press.
  19. Open up folds at short ends and align with right sides together. Sew together using 1/4" seam allowance. Press seam open. You should now have a continuous bias tape loop.
  20. Repeat steps 18 and 19 for other bias strip. 
  21. Place bias tape over raw edges of lunchbox. You should have to stretch it slightly. This will help it lay flat around the curves. Sew bias tape in place. Repeat for the other side.
    1. **Optional** To make leaf shaped zipper pull simply lay leaf pieces over each other, right sides together, aligning all edges. Sew together with 1/4" seam allowance, leaving opening on one flat side of leaf for turning. Trim seam allowance to 1/8". Turn leaf right side out, fold under opening, and press. Topstitch close to edge around entire leaf.  
    2.   Loop stem through zipper pull. Fold end under 3/8" and then fold another 3/8" and secure to stem

    All done. Hooray! Time to start packing a lunch because you now have a cute new lunch box!

     ***Apple Purse***

    To make this lunchbox into a purse it just requires a few small modifications. The main differences are - 1. The zipper and flat panels are reversed in position and length (The zipper will be where the flat panel is in the lunchbox, and the flat panel will be where the zipper is.); 2. The zipper panels are equal in width on the purse; and 3. Instead of the small handle the purse has a shoulder strap.

    The purse pattern is available for download here.

    Cut your fabric pieces according to the pattern. 

    To make the strap fold and press in half lengthwise. Open your fold and turn long raw edges to center fold and press. Fold back in half lengthwise and press again. Edgestitch 1/8" on both long sides. Your strap is ready.

    Assemble purse following lunchbox tutorial with the following differences:
    *When attaching flat panel to zipper panel on short ends place one end of shoulder strap centered and sandwiched between the right sides of panels. Do the same thing for the other end of the shoulder strap and panels.
    *Center zipper at top of apple shape (rather than the flat panel as is in the lunchbox) and attach in the same manner as lunchbox tutorial. 

    And that is it! You will now have a super cute apple purse!

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