Sewing: lunch bags

Today’s projects were three lunch bags, and an over-dress or kirtle or cote in a sci-fi/fantasy/cosplay style for a friend.  The shell of the dress is done, but the lining is not going well.  That may get posted next week — but more likely after Memorial Day.

I’m glad I started my day with a trio of lunch bags.  These are fairly large komebukuro or gift bags used for exchanging gifts in Japan; they’re also used to transport bento boxes from home or a restaurant to work or to a residence.  They used to be more common in Japan before the advent of plastic bags, but they’re still a delightful part of the culture — beautiful, reusable, and aesthetically pleasing.  I plan to give these three as gifts.

A Komebukuro is pretty simple in design.  The bag contains ten squares of any size.  Five form the shell and are turned outside-out; five more form the lining and are turned outside-to-the-inside. Eight button holes are sewn at a proportional distance around the top of the bag. These are threaded with a cord that acts as a drawstring.

These bags have a purple base or bottom, inside and out; the sides are made of alternating fabric with a kimono print, and golden cranes on a blue background.  I used red grosgrain ribbon for the bag drawstrings. They’re pretty stunning, and part of me wants to put them on the Etsy site for sale.  But no — I know I need these for presents later in the week.  However, if you want to commission one, you just let me know, OK?

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