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How to sew a Bento bag

Make your own Japanese-style fabric bag with our free bento bag sewing pattern. Use this step-by-step guide by Jennie Jones to piece together to fold three fabric squares into an elegant me-made accessory!

How to sew a Bento Bag

Feeling inspired by the international-themes you’ve spied on Great British Sewing Bee? The fabrics! The peplums! The wax prints! The harem pants! If, like us, you’re in the mood for a spot of sewing with an international twist, learn how to make a bento bag with this free tutorial.

This Japanese-style bento bag sewing pattern is one of our favourite easy sewing projects from Simply Sewing magazine, designed by Jennie Jones. It’s easy to make by piecing together and folding three fabric squares.

New to sewing? Take a look at our sewing for beginners, how to use a sewing machine and best sewing machines for beginners guides. We’ve also put together some great sewing kits for beginners for you to try. Looking for more summer sewing ideas? Explore our pick of the best swimsuit patterns.

Complete the look with matching hair accessories! Learn how to make a scrunchie.

Read on to learn how to make a bento bag with our step by step guide.

Fabric to use to make your bento bag

Unfortunately the fabrics used to make this pattern are no longer available, but we’ve found some beautiful fabrics that you could use instead…

Owls Prickly Pear fabric designed by Emily Taylor

Use this blue cactus-patterned fabric to replace the one used on the original bento bag. This one features some cute little blue owls perching on the cacti! It’s available in fat quarters, half yards and yards.

Cactus on Black Pima Cotton Lawn fabric

Looking for a more luxurious look for your bag? We love this dark and chic cactus print from MoreSewingShop on Etsy. It’s sold by the half metre, so you’ll have fabric leftover to make some matching accessories!

Visage Textiles Kyoto Crane fabric

Bring a Japanese-inspired look to your bento bag with this beautiful Kyoto Crane fabric from John Lewis. For this fabric, there is a minimum order of two metres, so it would be worth buying this one to make a garment or bigger project and saving a bit to make your bento bag and other accessories.


You Will Need

  • fat quarters (3)
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Iron

Total time:

Step 1

Cut three pieces of fabric to form the sides and bottom of your bento bag. The two side pieces should measure 40x42cm (1534x1612in) and the bottom piece should measure 40x40cm (15¾x15¾in).

How to make a Bento Bag step 1

Step 2

Take one of the side pieces and turn the top edge over by 1cm (38in) twice then stitch down to hem. Repeat with the left edge. Take the other side piece and do the same along the bottom and right edges. With right sides (RS) facing, stitch the right edge of the left side piece to the left edge of the bottom piece. Repeat with the left edge of the right side piece and the right edge of the bottom piece.

How to make a bento bag step 2

Step 3

With the wrong side (WS) facing you, fold the bottom piece along its diagonal. You will now have a V-shaped piece, with the RS facing you on one side and the WS facing you on the other.

How to make a bento bag step 3

Step 4

Turn over the bag then fold the left side in to join the raw edge of the bottom and pin together, RS facing.

How to make a bento bag step 4

Step 5

Turn over the bag and repeat on the other side.

How to make a Bento Bag step 5

Step 6

You’ll now have a U-shaped piece, with WS facing you.

How to make a bento bag step 6

Step 7

Sew along the pinned seams, then turn the bag RS out. Topstitch where the pieces are joined at the opening of the bag to neaten.

How to make a bento bag step 7

Step 8

Create box corners to finish the bento bag sewing pattern. Turn the bag to the WS and draw a pencil line 5cm (2in) in from each corner.

How to make a bento bag step 8

Step 9

Sew along the line and trim the excess fabric. Turn the bag RS out and tie the sides into a bow.

How to make a bento bag step 9

Ta da! Your bento bag sewing pattern is finished & ready to take out to play.

How to make a bento bag