My daughter and I got into bento in a really big way when she returned to public school in January '09. She tried the school lunch about one time and declared that she'd make and carry lunches from home so she a) could save us money (awwww!) and b) have actual food to eat. (I saw the "food" with my own eyes, and she made a good call. There's nothing pretty about a school cafeteria duplicating fast food that was already gross!)
We had some bento bags, but they were very small and uninsulated. My daughter needed a bag that was a) insulated b) a decent size c) cool, which meant it had to feature some of her art. She chose a piece of Evangelion fanart she painted called "Thinking."
(My daughter's a ridiculously talented plush maker, and she's about to start a Craftster account to share her work.)
I almost made the lunch bag with the fold-down top, but then I found this pattern for a lunch bag with a drawstring top from Oh Fransson!
The Oh Fransson! pattern calls for a quilted interior and vinylized exterior (puzzling choices). I used iron-on vinyl on the lining fabric, and used ThermoWeb HeatnBond Lite to laminate InsulBrite (an insulating batting made by needlepunching mylar with polyester batting) to the exterior fabric.
I didn't have any trouble getting a universal-sized (15) needle through the Insul Brite or the vinyl.
OF! laminated vinyl to the handle fabric, which gives the handles body. Since I didn't do that, I stiffened the handles with heavyweight fusible interfacing.
On to the pictures!
The great thing about the InsulBrite, besides its insulating properties, is that it makes the bag stand up on its own and the corners are very crisp! Since I'm a fiend for sharp corners, I'm delighted.
The drawstrings are recycled from a pair of her brother's shoes. (Yes, I put new laces in before I took these!)
This is my daughter's favorite work from her deviantART gallery
. She's really gotten into Neon Genesis Evangelion (I remember when it first came out, haha!), and chose this piece she painted of Eva 2. I printed it on to inkjet t-shirt transfer paper, ironed it on to cotton twill, then stuck it to the bag using HeatnBond Lite. (Something I LOVE about HeatnBond Lite is that it's a low-temp adhesive and NO STEAM REQUIRED!)
Pieces attached with HnB Lite aren't completely fixed without stitching, so I did zig-zagged the hell out of it.
For fun, I did it with glow-in-the-dark thread.
NOTE: I added the patch BEFORE I sewed a single seam.
A closeup of the stitching on the patch. When the thread is "charged" and the patch seen in a dark room, the outlines of the art look like a teeny constellation. :3
Here's the interior! In Evangelion, the Evas fights aliens called "Angels." I picked a fabric that had ghosts that resembled the Angels. From this angle, they look like they're swirling madly in there, like they might take lunch to another dimension.
OF! calls for hand-sewing the lining to the bag, but this gal's not interested in getting a sewing needle through vinyl. I sewed the lining to the exterior by pinning (pinning pinning) them together and following the topstitching lines.
Last, a maker's tag. Tags are a little thing that really make a huge difference! Everyone should use them!
(That's my name "Lea Ada Franco", and "Her Work" on the back. I used the "K" in work as the "K" in 2K9, 2009.)
Hope you dig it!
I learned a lot from making this bag, since I'd never used InsulBrite HeatnBond Lite or iron-on vinyl before. If you have any questions about the materials, please ask!