A hand-embellished lunch tote

I have spent most of my free time in the last week or so getting ready for starting my new job as a nursery teacher. I am hugely excited and can’t wait to get back into the world of education – oh how I have missed it! It still doesn’t feel real – I can’t quite believe that I have bagged my dream job! Instead of the stress, worry and anxiety that my previous job caused me to feel I have been able to spend my time making plans about all the wonderfully creative and magical experiences I can plan for my new crop of little cherubs! There are so many possibilities!

As well as all the usual boring preparations like reading policies and making plans I have also been occupied with some more aesthetically pleasing endeavours. I threw out my old lunch bag after I finished my last teaching post because it had definitely seen better days and I have been searching high and low for a funky new one. I didn’t want a boring, generic lunch box and back in the summer I had seen some really nice ‘grown-up’ packed lunch bags in TK Maxx so decided I would treat myself to one of them. Alas, that was not to be – they had well and truly sold out of them all, as had every other place I could think to try! The only ones I could find that were remotely similar on the internet cost over £25 and I was certainly not prepared to pay that when the ones I had seen in the summer were less that £10. So here’s what I decided to do instead:

I really should have made the caption ‘hand-embellished’ because I can’t claim to have made the bag, but I did make the decorations.

I am really please with how it turned out. It was a complete bargain. I bought the small red handbag from the clearance section in TK Maxx (when I went bag ‘just in case’ they had found any more of the gorgeous lunch bags I had see before) for £4. The bag had originally been £12.99. The style was just what I wanted but the design was definitely not me. Red wouldn’t have been my first choice of colour but I thought that it would probably look OK once I moved away from the nautical theme.

Here is what the bag looked like to start with:

I unpicked the stitching on the labels (there was also quite a large ugly one on the inside but I forgot to take a picture) and removed them. The one on the side needed some of the seam unpicked and then stitched back up. After I removed the large label on the front I was left with a stich-line all the way around so I knew I had to place my design in this area to cover it up.

I didn’t really start out with a plan as such, but I knew that a small pocket would be a really good way to cover the majority of the stitch-lines so I found some scrap fabric in the same cream colour as the canvas of the bag and made a small pocket. I was really pleased with myself because I even managed to do tiny mitered corners – a first for me!

I back-stitched a decorative border all the way around the pocket then used back stitch to attach it to the bag in a really close second row of stitches. This successfully covered the bottom haf of the stitch-line on the bag.

Next I decided to try something I had seen on Pinterest and had wanted to try for a little while – rolled rag flowers. I used the same scraps of fabric that I used for the pocket. If I’d had some red fabric I would have used it but I didn’t. The process was really easy. The main difference between the tutorial and what I did was that I don’t have a glue gun so I just stitched the flower as I went. It was just as easy to be honest and worked fine. I just made sure that there were lots of stitches going through the flower holding it all together.

I made three different sizes to embellish my bag. I stitched them on and held them in place with a button at the back. It was really that simple! Here is the finished lunch tote (complete with lunch!):

I am really please with the way this turned out and I know that no one will have a lunch bag like mine – its unique! Obviously it isn’t a thermal bag so it won’t keep my lunch cool, but the last one I had didn’t either. I usually just put the whole bag in the fridge anyway. I can’t wait to pack up my first lunch for my first day!! Wish me luck!

2 thoughts on “A hand-embellished lunch tote

  1. Bag looks good 😉
    you’ll get loads of creative ideas for nursery over on pinterest – i have so many things pinned i’ll never have enough time to do them all x

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