Bento bag with my stash

Bento bags are a great way to carry small goods. Individual produce bags for your fruit and veg, wrap a present in or my favourite a project bag.

I found these little treasures are a gem to pop in my bag. They're a pint sized replacement to my other project bags. Small projects pop straight in and protected from the unspeakable rubbish that lurks in my handbag.

There are numerous blogs and instructional videos into how to create them. There are two main methods, one starting with a square piece of fabric and the other a rectangular piece.

These bags don't require a pattern and both will give you the same result.

In this version I want to walk you through not just the 'how to' but also how to problem solve the measurements to fit any size fabric piece.

My main aim was to adapt whatever fabric remnants or old clothing I had stashed. Particularly while I’m practising I don’t want to invest in new fabric. Or if this is a plastic bag replacement in your produce shop, used fabric is perfect!

To know which method you’d like, to start with you'll either need a square or rectangular piece of fabric.

Lessons learnt:

I confess I'm a lazy sewer, I don't always press my seems and if something doesn't fit I'll try and fudge it. Apologies to those skilled sewers reading this, I'm sure you've cringed.

But being precise is key here! Particularly for the rectangle technique, it really matters, odd lengths will leave you with a warped bag when compiled. I'll show you later what that looks like.

  • Be precise

  • Press seams

  • Light to medium weight fabric works best

  • Keep to the grain line, could be tricky keeping sides aligned if working on the bias

  • Don't go too large with bag, it'll loose its shape


The first and in my mind the simplest is the square. This method was perfect for the back of my hubbies old work shirt. I'm going to work in centimeters, these are sizes I've fiddled with and found worked.

Small: 30cm x 30cm

Medium: 50cm x 50cm

Large: 70cm x 70cm


I've used an overlocker on these seams. Either leaving them exposed or turned once to hide the seem. If you don't have an overlocker, I would do a zigzag stitch over the edge. It's your choice what seams you'd like to use.

Working from scraps:

Figure out what size square you can get out of your remnant or fabric piece you've chosen.

Before you commit you can work out the size bag. To do this you'll need to figure out the diagonal length (hypotenuse) of the triangle.

If you have a 50cm x 50cm square you'll have a diagonal of 70.7cm. Half the diagonal is 35.4cm which will be the height of the bag and also the width of the base.

To find out the hypotenuse of your triangle, you can either use your high school math skills or this easy link to a hypotenuse calculator. There are others out there, I just found this user friendly.

Lets start:

  1. Cut a square

  2. Cut a diagonal a