Hello, Sewists! Do you love picnics? Well then, do we have some exciting news for you! Picnics baskets are adorable—you don’t have to tell us twice!—but actually carrying them around can be less practical than desired. Plus, unless you’re food’s all packed up in separate Tupperware containers, things can get messy in there. That’s why we flipped when we saw this sewing project for a picnic BAG from Camelot Fabrics! As far as easy sewing projects go, this one hits all the marks. It’s cute, useful, easy to make, and durable.
A word to the wise: this sewing pattern is a long one. Are you up for the challenge? Of course you are! An amazing picnic for two waits for you at the end of the road.
Project and Fabric Info:
Other Tools and Supplies:
- 4” x 14” piece of foam-core
- (1) 22” closed-end zipper in a coordinating color
- Basic sewing supplies:
- Sewing machine
- Needle & coordinating thread
- Iron & pressing surface
- Scissors & fabric shears
- Straight pins
- Fabric marker & pencil/pen
- Measuring tape & straight-edge ruler
- Cutting mat & craft knife
- Please wash, dry & iron your cotton before beginning, and trim the selvages. Do not iron spacetex or nylon.
- Unless otherwise indicated, use a 1/2” seam allowance throughout.
- Unless otherwise indicated, all seams are sewn with the fabrics’ Right Sides together.
- Backstitch at the beginning & end of each seam.
- WOF = Width of Fabric.
Notes on Working with Nylon…
This slippery fabric tends to shift as you sew, so we recommend using plenty of pins inserted at right angles to the seam. It also helps to maintain an even forward-back tension on the seam by pulling firmly from either direction. The idea is not to speed up or slow down the fabric’s progress under the needle, but rather to ensure that both layers of fabric pass through evenly, without any bunching or slipping.
Now that all that serious business is out of the way, we can get cutting!
Cut the following pieces from each fabric, referring to the cutting diagrams below.
- Diagrams have been resized to fit the page; 44” wide & 58” wide fabric are illustrated to
- To avoid confusion, label each piece in pencil on its Wrong Side as you go.
Fabric A (Shell Cotton)
– (1) Shell Back – 15” x 17”
– (1) Shell Front – 15” x 13”
– (2) Shell Ends – 5” x 13”
– (1) Shell Bottom – 5” x 15”
Fabric B (Accent Cotton 1)
– (1) Pocket – 7” x 9”
– (1) Strap Outer – WOF x 3”
Fabric C (Accent Cotton 2)
– (1) Pocket Binding – 8” x 2-1/2”
– (2) Handles – 24” x 4”
– (1) Strap Inner – WOF x 3”
Fabric D (Nylon Lining)
– (4) Dividers – 5” x 12”
– (2) Ends – 5” x 13”
– (2) Center Sides – 9” x 13”
– (4) End Sides – 4” x 13”
– (1) Center Bottom – 9” x 5”
– (2) End Bottoms – 4” x 5”
– (1) Top Flap – 5” x 15”
Fabric E (Insulation)
Note: Since the Insulation pieces are identical to the Shell pieces, and rectangles are easier
to measure & cut in woven cotton than in Spacetex, we recommend cutting all Shell pieces
first, then using them as guides for cutting the Insulation pieces.
– (1) Back – 15” x 17”
– (1) Front – 15” x 13”
– (2) Ends – 5” x 13”
– (1) Bottom – 5” x 15”
Phew! Are your fingers sore? Take a break. We’ll be here when you get back.
Making the Lining
For many of the seams in this section, you’ll be directed to beginand/or end the seam 1/2” from the fabric’s edge, as shown. This ensures that you’ll be able to move your seam allowance out of the way of an intersecting seam, giving you nice smooth corners. Use Nylon Lining pieces for all steps in this section.
Sew the 4” edges of (2) End Side pieces to the 4” edges of each End Bottom piece, beginning & ending the seam 1/2” from the fabrics’ edges.
Sew the long edges of the adjoining pieces from Step 3 together as shown, making sure not to catch any of the Bottom piece in your seams. The Divider pieces will end 1” short of the top of the (3) other pieces in each grouping – this is correct. Begin all seams exactly at the point where pieces are joined to the Bottom. End the Divider/Side seams 1/2” shy of the top of the Divider pieces, but sew the Side/End seams all the way to the top of the fabric. Clip the corners at the bottom of each End Compartment.
Sew the Center Compartment in exactly the same manner as the End Compartments, except that you’ll use (2) Dividers instead of (1) Divider & (1) End piece, and the Side pieces will be 9” x 13” instead of 4” x 13”.
Sew the top edge of (1) End Compartment’s Divider to the top edge of (1) Center Compartment Divider, moving the seam allowances of the Side pieces out of the way of the seam. Repeat with the remaining End Compartment & Center Compartment Dividers. Begin & end these seams exactly at the points where the Dividers join the Side pieces.
Fold the Divider seams from Step 6 back on themselves so that their Wrong Sides are facing, and topstitch 1/16” from the seam.
Sew the side edges of adjascent Side pieces together where they extend above the Dividers; these seams should run from the tops of the Dividers to the tops of the Side pieces.
Making the Shell
Baste each Fabric A Shell piece to its corresponding Insulation piece, Wrong Sides together, 1/4” from all (4) edges. Each of these pieces will be treated as a single layer of fabric from now on, and referred to as Shell pieces.
Place the Fabric B & Fabric C Strap pieces Right Side down on your ironing board, and
cover them with a piece of fusible interfacing, glue side down. Press well to bond the
interfacing to the cotton, peel all layers off the ironing board and trim the interfacing to
match the (2) Strap pieces.
Sew the Strap pieces together, leaving one end open. Clip the corners, press the seams
open and turn the Strap Right Side out through this short end.
Topstitch around all (4) edges of the Strap with a 1/8” seam allowance.
Fold each Handle piece in half lengthwise, Right Sides together, and sew the long edges together. Press the seams open, and baste across (1) short end of each Handle. Turn the handles Right Side out, rip out the basting stitches, and press them flat with the seam in the center of one flat side.
Fold the Pocket Binding piece (Fabric C) in half lengthwise, Wrong Sides together, and press. Unfold the piece, fold the long edges into the crease and press again. Fold in half lengthwise once more and press to create an 8” long strip of double-fold binding for the top of the Pocket.
With the Wrong Side of the Pocket facing upward, open up your binding and line it up with the top edge of your Pocket, with the outside of the binding against the Pocket. Sew the binding to the Pocket’s edge along the outermost fold line.
Turn the Pocket over so that the Right Side is facing up. Wrap the binding around the Pocket’s edge, with its own long edge tucked in toward the center of its fold (it’ll want to do this naturally), and stitch it in place with a seam 1/8” from the inner fold. Clip any excess binding.
Center the Pocket on the Shell front, with the Pocket’s Wrong Side against the Shell’s cotton side and the bottom edges of the (2) layers aligned. Topstitch the Pocket to the Shell front at the sides, 1/4” from the edges, but leave the bound edge open.
Topstitch the ends of (1) Handle over the sides of the Pocket, making sure that the Handle isn’t twisted and its seams are against the Shell. Its outer edges should be 3” from the Shell’s sides. Stitch back and forth across the Handle as you did the Strap, 2” from the top of the Shell Front.
Construct the Shell as you did each one ot the Lining units, first sewing the Front, Back & (1) End to the edges of the Bottom
piece, then joining them at the sides with seams beginning exactly at the Bottom seams.
Baste the second End to the Bottom and sew its (2) 13” edges to the Front & Back with regular seams, then remove the
End/Bottom basting stitches. This will be the gap through which you invert the hamper & insert the foam-core base.
Note: Remember to begin and end your Bottom seams 1/2” from the edges, and to clip your corners once the Shell is sewn!
Almost there, champ! Just a few more steps until lunchtime.
Trim the corners of your Shell Back so that they are curved at the tips. Keep the curve small, about 1” in diameter, to avoid reducing the perimeter of the Back flap too dramatically.
Pin (1) side of your zipper’s tape to the top edge of the Shell’s Ends & Front, with the Right Side of the zipper tape against the cotton side of the Shell and the zip’s teeth pointing away from the fabrics’ edges.
Pin the second side of the zipper tape to the edges of the Back flap, with the Right Side of the zipper against the cotton side of the flap and the zip’s teeth pointing away from the fabric’s edge.
With your machine’s zipper foot mounted on the right-hand side of the presser bar, sew the zipper’s (2) tapes to the Shell, stitching about 1/8”-1/4” inside the zip’s teeth.
Trim the corners of the Lining’s Back flap as you did the flap of the Shell.
With the Lining turned Wrong Side outward, sew its top edge & Back flap edge to the Wrong Side of the zipper in the same manner as you sewed the zipper to the Shell. This seam should run slightly farther from the zip’s teeth than the seam joining the Shell to the zipper. When you turn the Hamper Right Side out, the edge of the zipper tape will be completely enclosed.
Turn the Hamper Right Side out through the opened End/Bottom seam in the Shell. Insert your foam-core rectangle between the Shell & Lining, and sew the gap closed by hand.
If there are any gaps at either end of the zipper, close them with a little hand-stitching.
To keep everything from shifting, hand-tack the corners of each Lining Compartment to the Shell through the seams around the Shell’s Bottom.
You’re done! Pack a yummy lunch for two. Better yet: get your lunch-partner to prep and pack the lunch—you’ve done enough!
Have you ever seen a picnic bag before? Would you add this to your list of favorite easy sewing projects?
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