Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ready for lunch

  Last week when I was preparing my refashion for Jenny's event, I had a craft fail that I refused to give up on.  See, it all starts with these jeans...
     I had this pair of jeans.  Just an average pair, but so comfortable and went with everything.  One day Chris took us to the big city to run into Lowes and go out to eat.  I threw the jeans on and away we went.  But as we left Lowes to head to the restaurant, Oren and I had a little accident out front.  An employee spilled a gallon of sidewalk-colored paint and instead of putting up Caution--Wet Paint signs, he chose to go back in the store to refill the paint!!  And wouldn't you know it...Oren and I went down!  I'm talking gray pedicure all they way up to my shoulder blades.  Chris and I just laughed as I in turn waited out front for a manager, was literally hosed off in the garden center and then stood through a conference called at the customer service desk in front of the store.  I was finally told they were so, so sorry, but internal affairs would have to find out if they were at fault before Lowes could do anything for me.  Really, all I wanted was some compensation for the new jeans, shoes and flip flops I was going to need to buy.  Oh, and did I mention that Oren was covered in paint too??  They did give us some plastic tarping and a box of kleenexes for the ride home...  Seriously...

Anyway, I washed the jeans and MOST of the paint came out, but there was a gray stain on the butt that was just too noticeable to continue wearing them.  So, when Jenny's request came for a refashion, I decided to dye them a dark-indigo color and turn them into a skirt.  But...after making a cute denim pencil skirt and then dyeing it, I was sad to see that the paint stain showed through!  Only now, instead of being dark like the dye, it was a lighter gray that showed up worse!!  AGGGHHH!!!

But, I refused to give up.  So, I cut the skirt apart at the seams and turned it into a lunch box for Emma.  As I mentioned last week, I made Emma's lunchbox last year based on this pattern. (Although now I see it comes with a snack bag, mine did not.)  And it worked great!  Only complaint from the whole project and using it EVERY DAY last year--it was too small and I had to cram her lunch in each day.  So, we decided that I'd make it again, only bigger.  I was going to show my new pattern pieces here and give a tutorial, but I didn't stray much from the original instructions and I felt that it wasn't right to the designer to give away her pattern.  So, I will tell you what I did differently and say that if making a bag like this is new to you, then this is a great pattern to start out with.  If you've made bags before, then you shouldn't even really need a pattern for this, it's pretty simple construction.

Please excuse the red thread coming from the E.  I thought I trimmed all the threads beforehand!

--I convinced Em to let me use this denim for her bag, but I could tell she wasn't thrilled, so I offered to jazz it up with some embroidery.  I picked a simple but graphic flower that came with my machine and embroidered each panel of the skirt and the cut the pattern pieces out based on the embroidered design.  I used red because it looks awesome, but also because I already had red and white oilcloth for the inside.
--When it came to cutting the fabric for a handle, I just used a piece of the waistband.  It's already interfaced and doubled over so it saved me a step and looks really cool.

This is the back of the lunchbox
--I also used my spare skirt panel with the paint on it to make the side pocket on the bag.  It was the panel I used for practice with my embroidery so I was able to cut it down avoiding the painted part!  (I only put on one pocket instead of the 2 called for.  We only ever used one last year and I was out of skirt!!)
--The pattern calls for using a fusible fleece or other cotton batting and interfacing to make the bag stiff.  I chose to instead use Insul-Bright as a substitute for both.  I felt that the insulated batting (used in hot pads and insulated bags) would help keep her food insulated, obviously (man that felt redundant to type), and also provide the stiffness needed to keep the bag steady.  (This may be suggested now as my pattern is over a year old, I see she says the instructions are updated...)
--I also used a magnetic snap instead of velcro to close the bag.  I used a snap last year and Emma wanted it again.  This is completely personal preference.  I just think a snap looks better and can be easier for little hands if the snap isn't difficult to undo.
--Oh, and the pattern includes an inside strap to hold a water bottle, but Em takes a big aluminum one each day, so I omitted this step.

This is the side pocket.  It's great for silverware or fruit rollups.

  And there you have it.  I LOVE it!  I think it's so bright and unique.  No one else will have a lunch box like this in the cafeteria. fixation with the perfect lunchbox is not yet complete.  This one is great, but I have ideas for truly making my own pattern.  Something more like a purse, but stil sturdy enough to stand up to a 7-year-old's ways.  I'd also like to try out some other fabric options like quilted fabric (like Vera Bradley bags), patchwork, etc...  I'd also like to play with sizes, so I could take a frozen meal or a salad or something.  I'm usually a one-and-done kind of girl with projects, but you may see some more lunchboxes in the next month or so.  I've got an itch that may need scratching here!

The inside is this red polka-dot oilcloth.  It's water resistant--BIG PLUS!!

   I'm linking this project up with my favorite party girls.  Check out my party page at the top to find great blogs that show off lots of great projects of their own and of others!!


  1. so so so cute. I love it and thanks for letting me know! I will send people your way who want to make it bigger. Your embroidery is great and I love the magnetic snap in the center. Great job!

  2. Love it!! If you need to practice by making more, I have an idea what we could do with them. ;)

  3. What a great way to save those jeans! Sorry you lost your favorite pair (I can feel your pain), but glad you could repurpose them. The lunchbag is wonderful, and I love your embroidery!


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