During August, students of all ages get ready to go back to school. Teachers, parents and many professionals in other fields also get ready for the change of season with new gear or supplies. In this post I review the Chubby Lunch Tote by Caroline of SewCanShe.com
Read the online tutorial here:
Note this project is for personal use only.
For the purposes of my review, I’m going to summarize the tutorial, tell you what I did differently (if anything) and share my general thoughts about sewing the project.
The tutorial beings some photographs of finished Chubby Lunch Totes and a description of the project. This project is fat quarter friendly but can also be made using yardage. The materials list, two cutting diagrams and cutting list are next. It’s extra work for the author to provide cutting diagrams, but I find they make fabric selection easier.
Step 1 Prepare your materials
I didn’t have any Insulbrite Insulated Batting so I applied fusible fleece to both my exterior and interior pieces. It was easy to fuse my fat quarters before cutting out the pieces.
After all the pieces are cut, panels are prepared for the front, back, and bottom of the tote. Basting spray is recommended. I didn’t have any basting spray so I used my sewing machine to baste the interior and exterior front, back and bottom pieces together. As per the instructions, I used a 1/4” seam allowance to do so.
At the end of this section, there is a list of the panels and pieces you should have created. This is a handy way to verify that you’ve basted the correct pieces together.
Step 2 Attach zipper
Using my narrow zipper foot made attaching the zipper a snap.
Step 3 Attach side pieces
I basted the exterior side pieces in place before pinning the interior side pieces.
Step 4 Handles
I have a lot of experience using the described technique to make bag handles. I cut my hands from a scrap of home decor weight cotton that was thinner than quilting weight cotton. I fused medium-weight interfacing to the wrong sides of my handle pieces for added strength and rigidity.
The handles were sewn on with a 1/4” seam, but then things get interesting. After some fancy folding and additional stitching, the front and back panels look odd.
As it turns out these extra stitches give the Chubby Lunch Tote it’s unique shape.
Step 5 Assemble sides
This is the first step in the second half of the tutorial. The zipper panel to front and back seams were tricky due to the number of layers being sewn. I sewed the section between the handles with the zipper panel on the bottom and the two seams outside of the handles with the zipper panel on the top.
Step 6 Finish edges
I made a length of 1/2” wide double fold bias tape from a scrap of interior fabric to finish my edges with. (Read my tutorial on making continue bias tape here.)
Even with 1/2” wide bias tape, I found sewing around the handle flaps to be a challenge. I hand-basted my bias tape in place then sewed it with my sewing machine.
Step 7 Attach bottom
I should have started and stopped my side seam bias tape 3/8” from the ends of the seam to reduce bulk when I sewed the bottom panel. Not doing sew made the bottom seams quite thick. It was difficult to sew
That’s it! There are seven steps.
Here are some photos of my finished Chubby Lunch Tote:
This tutorial was well written and beautifully photographed. It really made the instructions much easier to follow with so many photos to reference. This was particularly important for sewing on the handles as the technique was as unfamiliar one.
The structure of this this bag allows it to stand up even when empty. The thick seams and slow sewing means this project requires patience to get good results. This unique project is worth the effort.
While the title of this project is Chubby Lunch Tote, the bag can be used for other purposes. I look forward to making another one as a handbag. I’d be using one layer of fusible fleece and anticipate have much less trouble sewing through thick fabric layers.
Have you made a lunch tote? Did you try the Chubby Lunch Tote tutorial? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!