I discovered the Origami style bags a while ago and it was love at first sight! I’ve made them in every size and in many ways since and my stock keeps rising. You can make them in any size you wish. For the large ones I use for grocery shopping, I usually use old sheets and duvet covers to get the size I need.
For this tutorial, I made a smaller one, as it is easier to take photos this way 😉 I use the small ones to organize my sewing or knitting stuff as I always have a few projects in progress, so they don’t just lie around and mix up.
My strips measure 20 cm x 60 cm (8” x 24”), but you can actually make them any size you want. The only rule is that the length of the pieces needs to measure three times the width.
I recommend you choose a light to medium-weight fabric for the outer layer, and a lightweight cotton for the lining. Or try denim or canvas for a sturdier bag that holds its shape better.
The Bento Bag originates in Japan, also called azuma bukuro and there are many ways how to put them together. The method I’m doing today is for the lined but not reversible bag as you can see the stitches inside.
First, cut your pieces: one strip for the outer side and one for the lining. Place right sides together and sew around the edge, leaving a gap for turning near one of the corners on one of the long sides.
Trim any extra fabric from the seams and corners.
Turn right side out and press. Make sure to press the gap you left to turn the strip.
Fold your strip into thirds and press to mark the thirds. Then unfold again.
Now fold the third where you left the opening towards the middle and sew the edge, closing the opening at the same time.
Fold the corner down to meet outside corner (see picture below).
Now fold the remaining third over and sew along the top edge.
Your bag should now look like this:
Now sew across the peak of the corner and trim the excess.
Turn inside out and press. I usually make a few stitches at the bottom of handles to reinforce this point, especially with bigger bags that carry more weight.
And you’re done!