Snap Lunch Bag

We bought a new camping tent this year.  Our kids take up a lot of space and wanted to bring the dog.  We were shoulder-to-shoulder two years ago, so I drew the line at also having the dog sleeping on my head.  We took it out for the first time and discovered a fantastic feature.  The window coverings have what is essentially a snap bracelet inside.  All you have to do is snap them and they roll down.  It isn’t often I can say I made a craft project inspired by a tent.

lunch 1

This lunch bag has a snap bracelet inside to hold the top rolled down, is lined and insulated and has a little window on the front to send a note for your student or make sure their name is visible on their bag.  You want one now, don’t you?

To make this bag, you’ll need a snap bracelet.  It doesn’t have to rock like this one.

lunch 2

You’ll also need to cut the following:

From cotton fabric:  30” by 12” (for the outside of the bag)

From a coordinating cotton print:  2 1/2” by 65” (for the handles)

From another coordinating cotton:  2” by 3” (two, for window)

From ripstop nylon:  30” by 12” (for lining)

From Thermolam fusible fleece:  30” by 12” (for insulation)

From clear vinyl:  3” by 4” (for window)

lunch 3

I have a couple of things to note here.  I used 1/2” seams throughout this bag, instead of the typical 1/4” on craft items, except on the handle.  You’ll see a piece of Velcro used in some of the photos as a closure for the top.  You can ignore it.  It turned out I didn’t do that bit of math before the started and the two sides meet in the middle when folded, rendering the Velcro useless.  Oops.

To prepare the window, fold the 2” by 3” bits of fabric in half lengthwise.  Press.  Fold the edges inside to the center.  Press again.

lunch 4

Slide the 3” side of the clear vinyl into the fold on both sides.  Stitch near the inner fold on both sides and near the outer fold on one side only.  Set aside.

lunch 5

To prepare the handle, stitch pieces together, if necessary, to measure 65”.  Turn one short end under 1/4” and press.  Fold right sides together and stitch 1/4” from the long edge.  Turn and press with the seam centered.

lunch 6

Straighten the handle out so there are no twists.  Feed the short raw end into the pressed end, creating a large loop.  Stitch through the ends.  Set aside.

lunch 7

Apply the fusible Thermolam to the back of the outer bag piece.  Be sure to follow the directions, by ironing the fabric on top of the fleece.  I find it works best to start from the center and work outward while ironing.  I recently discovered Thermolam and I’m hooked.

lunch 8

Position the nylon lining piece right side down.  Layer the outer piece on top with the fleece down.  Lay the strap on top, pinning down so it’s equal on both ends and the edge is 4” from each side of the outer piece.

Slide the window under the edges of the straps, 7 1/2” from the left edge, with the doubled-stitched end closer to the left.

Stitch near the edge on both sides of the strap, stopping and stitching across 6 1/2” from each end.

lunch 9

Roll up one end.  Pull the lining out from underneath.

lunch 10

Fold that lining piece up over the roll, making sure to tuck the handle out the the way, and pin the edge even with the opposite edge.

lunch 11

Stitch 1/2” from edge.  Pull roll out and turn.

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Press and repeat on other end.

lunch 13

Slide the slap bracelet in on the end without the window.  Make sure it’s going to roll in the direction you want.

lunch 14

Center the bracelet between the straps and about 1/2” from the top.  Stitch near sides and 1/2” from top and bottom.  Topstitch top edges.

lunch 15

Fold the bag, lining together.  Stitch down each side a scant 1/4” from the edge.

lunch 16

Turn.  Push seams out with fingers and make sure there are no holes in the seam.  Stitch a scant 1/2” seam down both sides.

lunch 17

Flatten the bottom corners so the seam and center of the bottom meet.  Mark a line that measures 5” across opposite the corner.  Stitch.

lunch 18


Turn and press the seams.  Press the folds in from each bottom corner to the top edge.  Stitch through, close to fold.

lunch 19

I also made a bag, using the directions for my Reusable Snack Bags but adapting the size to fit the bottom of the lunch bag, to use for ice.

lunch 21

Add a note to the front, some lunch inside, snap the top down and your student is ready for school!

lunch 20

18 thoughts on “Snap Lunch Bag

  1. Pingback: Tutorial: Snap Lunch Sack with clever rolled top closure · Sewing |

  2. Too cute! LittleGirl wants a new lunch bag (even though I sewed her one last year!) and this is excellent. Thanks for creating the tutorial. Happy Saturday!

    PS…Found you through Craft Gossip and am so glad I clicked the link ☺


  3. Hi Staci,

    I tried making this and got all the way to the step where you flatten the bottom corners so the seam and center of the bottom meet. Mark a line that measures 5” across opposite the corner. Stitch. I need some clarification on this.

    Do you bring take the corner and make a point and then measure 5 inches across the point and then sew? I tried it and ended up taking it out because it looked really weird. Thanks!


  4. Are you kidding me??? This is (by far) my favorite lunch bag tutorial ever, and I’ve been looking for a while! I can’t get over it. Thanks so much!


  5. I guess I am just not getting the part where you roll up the bag and sew. Not sure what I am sewing at the time. I would LOVE to make this lunch bag for my husband so he will stop carrying a grocery bag! hehe. Hope you can help! Please email me back at


  6. Pingback: DIY Teacher Gifts | Crafty Staci

  7. Hi, I am at the point where you roll up the bag and sew, too…I am so confused. I don’t understand what to sew. Is it the long edges I am sewing? How do I sew the top part. Please e-mail at I am entering this bag at our County Fair for judging. Please help soon!


  8. Pingback: Free Lunch Bag Pattern – There IS such a thing as a free lunch! | Sewing Furniture

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