Dine in style: Dress up your lunchtime tote with this DIY project that’ll place you solidly at the head of the popular table…and it’s waterproof!
Pre-wash and dry your fabric so your bag doesn’t shrink. Iron it flat. Cut one length of fabric measuring 11 1/2 inches by 29 inches and another measuring 1 inch by 5 inches.
The larger rectangle will be the body of the bag, and the small piece will become your button loop.
Using the 1 x 5-inch strip with the wrong side up, press each long edge 1/4 inch towards the center of the strip, wrong sides touching (It will look like french doors). Fold down the center line and pin, so the folded edges touch and the raw edges of your fabric are tucked inward. Sew along the folded edges and trim to 2 3/4 inches.
On the larger rectangle, fold fabric in half lengthwise to find the middle and press to crease. Fold one short end of the rectangle down 1/2 inch, press and fold over again 1/2 inch. Slide the raw ends of the button loop under the fold and pin so the loop is centered on either side of the crease without twisting the fabric. Sew along the inner fold of the short edge of the rectangle to stitch the button loop in place and complete the hem. Repeat these steps on the second short edge without the button loop.
Fold the piece in half with the wrong sides touching by drawing the bottom hemmed edge up to meet the top hemmed edge. Pin together along the two long sides. With an overcast stitch to prevent fraying, sew both sides at 1/4 in seam allowance.
Once the two sides are stitched together, flip the bag over so the bottom of the bag is up. Separate the two layers of fabric away from each other and the corners so that the bottom of the bag forms a diamond and the bottom fold (red line) lines up with side seams (This feels like origami). Measure 1 3/4 inches down from each corner and make a line (green lines) at this point, which will be perpendicular to the bottom fold. Cut and sew along these lines.
Coat the entire piece with Otter Wax. The friction of the bar against the fabric is usually enough to soften the wax and allow it to spread into the fabric. If you are having trouble getting the wax to absorb, you can use a hairdryer and rub in with your fingers. Allow the wax to cure for 24 hours before applying a second coat.
On the side of the bag without the button loop, mark a spot 5 inches down from the top hem, centered from left to right. Sew your button here. I waited to sew on my button until after I had waxed the bag, so I didn’t skip coating any parts.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 181