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SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles make sewing a denim lunch bag easy

by Julie Plotniko

Yesterday I completed a fabric trinket box that is wonderful to give as a gift or to keep as a treat for yourself.

The trinket box was easy to sew with SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles even with multiple layers of fusible stabilizer and iron-on adhesives.

Today I’ll put these fabulous new Super NonStick needles to a different kind of test by sewing a lunch bag out of recycled denim and hook and loop tape.

Let’s go.

A recycled denim lunch bag


  • SCHMETZ Super NonStick needle size 90/14 – This needle has some wonderful unique features making it particularly well suited for today’s project. It has an extra large eye and distinctive scarf (the cut out section on the back above the eye) designed to prevent skipped stitches. The strong conical reinforced blade and slightly rounded point along with the non-stick coating make it perfect for sewing both denim and hook and loop tape.

SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles size 90/14

  • 1 cut-off jeans pant leg (about 18″ for a good-sized lunch bag) – It’s so important in this day and age to reuse and recycle as much as possible. Denim jeans have always been known to have a long life and have classically been repurposed into shorts and handbags. As a result I seem to have an overabundance of jean legs in the scrap bin. They’re already a sewn tube so part of the work’s done for us. What fun!

The bottom portion of a jeans leg

  • 1 pkg UNIQUE therm fleece – UNIQUE therm fleece is a heat resistant material used to provide hot and cold insulation. I’ll use it to line the lunch bag so food will stay nice and fresh.

UNIQUE therm fleece

Cutting instructions

  • Use a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the jeans leg, evening up the top edge and removing the hem.

Trim the short sides

  • Measure the width of the jeans leg and cut two pieces of cotton fabric ½” wider than your jeans and 1½” to 2″ longer. My jeans were 8″ wide and 18″ long so I cut my two cotton pieces 8½” x 20½”.
  • Cut two pieces of UNIQUE therm fleece the same width as the cotton and the same height as the jeans leg.
  • Cut two 4″ pieces of hook and loop tape

That was fast. I’m ready to sew already!

Sewing instructions

Prepare your sewing machine with a SCHMETZ Super NonStick needle size 90/14 and Gütermann 50wt cotton thread to match your denim. You can use a ¼” foot or set your machine to a ¼” seam using a standard foot.

Use Heirloom quilting pins to pin the fabric lining pieces with the right sides together and all raw edges even.

With the edge of the foot against the edge of the fabric, create a ¼” seam sewn down one long side, across the bottom and partially up the opposite long side. Leave a 3″ section unstitched so there’ll be an opening to turn the lunch bag right sides out. Backstitch to secure and stitch the remainder of the second long side.

Be and sure to leave the remaining short side unstitched.

The stitched lining

Pin the UNIQUE therm fleece pieces with the silver sides together and all raw edges even. I want the silver sides to face in on my lunch bag to form a moisture barrier and keep cold air from an ice pack inside. Stitch together on both long sides and one short side.

Next, turn the jeans leg inside out and pin the bottom only. I chose to turn the existing side seams so they face the front and back of the lunch bag for a bit of fun decoration. Sew the bottom seam.

Sew the bottom edge of the denim

I’m using a treatment called a boxed bottom to give the lunch bag a flat base so it’ll stand better while it’s filled with goodies.

To create the box bottom on the lining, pull up one bottom corner and line the bottom seam allowances up to the side seam allowance to form a nice sharp point.

Pin in place then use the UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen to draw a line 1½” away from the point.

Drawing the stitching line for a boxed bottom

Stitch on the drawn line.

Repeat for the opposite corner then follow the same steps to box the bottom on the UNIQUE therm fleece insert.

I need to box the bottom of the denim section as well. If you’ve turned the side seams to the front and back as I have then you’ll need to mark the side folds where the seams would normally be.

Use this mark to line up to the bottom seam, draw the stitching line and sew the boxed bottom for the outside of the lunch bag. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end for strength.

Boxing the denim corner

Turn the denim section so the right side of the fabric faces out and the boxed bottom corners are folded down against the base. I’m not removing any of the excess corner pieces as they’ll help add extra strength, insulation and stability to the lunch bag.

Slide the UNIQUE therm fleece insert inside the denim section so the shiny side faces to the inside. The boxed bottom corners should be folded flat against the inside base of the bag with the side seams lined up to the marked sides of the denim.

Slide the lining section over top of the denim section with the right side of the fabric facing in. Once again be sure to line up the base and side seams.

Pin the top edge so all three layers, lining, denim and UNIQUE therm fleece lie nice and flat. With a standard sewing foot and a slightly wider seam allowance, sew all the way around the top edge backstitching at the beginning and end.

Stitch through all layers

Now for the magic!

Reach inside the opening in the lining and pull everything through so both the denim section and the lining sections are right sides out. The UNIQUE therm fleece will still be tucked inside the denim section.

Turn the lining

Hand or machine stitch the opening in the lining to close.

Next push the lining down inside the bag. Once again fold the box bottom corners so they sit against the base of the bag. I cut the lining piece a bit longer than the body so a band of the lining will naturally fold to the front. It’s such an easy way to add an extra decorative touch.

Give the bag a press and topstitch just below the folded band to hold all the layers securely in place.

Topstitch just below the fold

Just one more step and the lunch bag is complete.

I like to use a little piece of hook and loop tape to secure the top edge of my lunch bag.
I’ll use UNIQUE Quilter’s Basting Glue to hold the hook and loop tape in position while I stitch.

Apply a small amount of the glue to the backside of the loop portion of the tape. Center the tape on the inside of one top edge of the lunch bag just below the topstitching for the decorative band. Stitch in place with a straight stitch close to the edge of the tape.

Repeat with the hook portion of the tape, lining it up so it’s directly opposite to the loop tape on the inside of the lunch bag.

Wow, SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles stitch hook and loop tape beautifully.

Sewing the hook and loop tape

The lunch bag is quite tall so it can hold a water bottle or thermos along with lunch and still allow me to roll the top just like a paper bag.

This also means I can use it in different ways. Tied with a ribbon or with the cuff folded down, it would be a wonderful gift bag for a bottle of wine making it two gifts in one.

Tie the top with a ribbon for a cute gift bag.

The completed lunch bag has lots of room to pack a yummy lunch. Roll or fold the top to carry just like a paper bag and off I go. My husband wants one too so I’d better get sewing.

Lunch bag is all packed and ready to go.

I’ve had a great time making a lunch bag out of recycled denim.

The SCHMETZ Super NonStick needle proved it can easily handle the difficult tasks of sewing both denim and hook and loop tape.

Tomorrow I’ll finish off the week by using up lots of leftover stabilizer, fusible adhesive and fabric with SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles to make a collection of quilters postcards and trading cards.

It’ll be so much fun!

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: SCHMETZ Super NonStick needles make sewing a fabric trinket box a breeze

Go to part 5: Free your inner artist with fabric postcards and trading cards


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