Sewing is a skill that I wish I had. I really admire people who can make their own clothes, alter clothes they find at thrift stores into one-of-a-kind items, or sew other useful items. My friend Becky Striepe is one of those people. Her website, Glue and Glitter, showcases just how handy she is with a needle and thread. She’s so handy with them, in fact, that one of her sewing projects was featured in the book “Lunch Bags! 25 Sacks and Bags to Sew Today.”

“Lunch Bags!” is one of my holiday gift picks this year. If you’ve got a sustainable crafter on your gift list, this book will provide them with practical, useful sewing projects. Here’s a little information about the projects.

  • Quick and easy to make with basic sewing techniques; everyone in your family will want one!
  • Customize the outside with your favorite fabrics and insulate the inside. You can waterproof it with laminated cotton, oilcloth, nylon or vinyl.
  • Projects are fun, functional and reusable — make your sack lunches even greener!
  • Bags can be washed in your dishwasher or washing machine.
I asked Becky a few questions about the book that includes projects from a simple, reusable sandwich wrap to a sophisticated shoulder lunch bag, and she was happy to share some of her thoughts about “Lunch Bags!” with us.
MNN: What is your contribution to the book “Lunch Bags!”?
Becky Striepe: I contributed a project for whipping up a fully lined bag that's sort of a take on the conventional brown bag your mom probably used to pack your lunch. It's a good unisex lunch tote with a flap closure and a small handle in back that you can use to carry it or clip it to your bag with a D-ring. 
Are the projects in this book truly practical? Could they really stand up to my 8- and 11-year-old boys every day if I sent them to school with their lunch in them?
They absolutely are! The editors compiled a range of projects, simple sandwich wraps to more complicated bags like the one I contributed, so you could definitely find something that's 8- and-11-year-old proof.
If you're worried about the boys destroying something, you can always add a bit of extra reinforcement, like top stitching, if the project doesn't call for it already. Choosing patterned fabric can go a long way, too. Patterns don't show stains as much as solids do.
Who would you recommend this book as a holiday gift for?
The range of projects helps out here, too. Beginners could start out with simpler things like the snack bags — things with lots of straight lines and nothing too 3-D. For more advanced seamstresses, there are projects like Leslie Bowman's Piggy Lunch Bag that require a bit more precision.
I wouldn't get this for someone who has never sewn before, but anyone who's turned out a few successful projects could definitely pick up this book and make at least a handful of the bags and wraps in here.
I'd also really recommend that you use a machine for these, unless hand sewing and patience are two of your strongest qualities.
Aside from your own creation, what is your favorite project in the book? Have you made it yet?
My favorite project (besides my own, of course!) is definitely the Bicycle Lunch Bag by Joan Leppek.  It's got handles that mount on your handlebars that you can also use to tote the bag once you get where you're going. It's also completely adorable!

I haven't had a chance to make this yet, but it's definitely on my list. I wish I'd had one when I was still a bike commuter!

I want to thank Becky for offering some insight into “Lunch Bags!” Who do you know on your Christmas list who would love to get a book with projects like these? 

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