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  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

Nautical Patchwork Lunch Box

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

A lunch box has been on my to sew list for months since George lost his old one. I have been waiting for the perfect fabric and the Craft Cotton Company's "Explore the Oceans" collection is definitely it. Towards the end of 2018 I got the chance to visit their warehouse, along with the rest of the team I got to meet Victoria who designs all their fabrics. It was fascinating to hear how they all start off. This collection has been put together alongside the Natural History Museum and all the illustrations are taken from real illustrations from their archives. Teamed up with facts and names of the animals, this is the perfect fabric to take to nursery everyday.

There are a few things you will need that you may not have in your stash. The first is the thermal wadding. I used it to help keep his lunch cool. It is fully washable and can also be tumble dried which is great news since it will be holding a 2/3 year olds lunch. Due to the number of thick layers I found that I needed to use my walking foot attachment on my sewing machine.

This was a little fiddly to make so not a great first project and you will need to set aside a couple of hours at least.



  • Explore the Oceans fat quarters

  • 8x8" plain cotton

  • Thermal wadding

  • Heavy weight interfacing

  • 8" velcro

  • Rotary cutter, mat and quilting ruler

  • Clips or pins

  • Sharp scissors

  • Sewing machine

  • Walking foot

  • Iron and ironing board


Cut out all your fabric, interfacing and wadding.

  • Pocket lining - 8" x 10" (plain blue)

  • x2 side panels outer 5" x 10" (whales)

  • x2 side panels inner 5" x 10" (fish)

  • x2 front/back panels outer 17½” x 8" (penguins)

  • x2 front/back panels inner 17½” x 8" (fish)

  • x2 handle strips 8" x 2" (penguins)

  • x2 interfacing for handle 8" x 2"

  • 2.4 metres" 2" wide bias binding (ships)

  • Wadding 8" x 10"

  • x2 side panel wadding 5" x 10"

  • x2 front/back panels wadding 17½” x 8"


If you have decided to do the boat panel follow these steps. If you are keeping it simple cut a 8 x 8" piece in which ever fabric you prefer and skip to the lunch box method.

When I put together this boat block for George’s lunch box, I created it in my unique “make it up as I go along method”. It made me realise how much I need to up my quilting game so I have set myself lots of quilt along challenges to start 2019. I have already learnt lots of techniques and my head is spinning with new ideas.

Start by cutting your fabrics. The measurements are given in width x height which is important if you are using directional fabric.

White Background

A - 2 ½” x 4 ½”

B - 3 ½” x 3 ½”

C - 1 ½” x 1 ½”

D - & E 2” x 2”

F - 1 ½ x 4 ½”

G - 3 ½” x 1 ½”

H - 1 ½” x 3 ½”

I & J - 1 ½” x 2”

K – 3 ½” x 1”

L – 4 ½” x 1”

M – 8” x 1 ¼”

Turquoise Sails

A - 2 ½” x 4 ½”

B - 3 ½” x 3 ½”

C - 1 ½” x 1 ½”

Blue Ships

N – 6” x 2”

O – 1” x 5”

Blue Whales

P - 8” x 1 ¼”

Step 1

You will need your As, Bs and Cs to make your sails. I don't know if my rectangle method is an official technique but it gave me the result I needed. You will need to pair them up to make half square triangles and a rectangle. Use a fabric pen or chalk to mark from one corner to the other and sew along the line. Place your turquoise fabric facing up and your background on top, right sides together, it will need to be on its side so when it is pressed out it is facing the right way. You may need to have a play around and look at the next few pictures so you understand what I mean.

The B & C squares are placed exactly on top of each other but the rectangle needs to be placed as the picture shows and sewn from one corner to the other. Trim the access and press your seams open.

Step 2

You need to use the same method to make your boat using D, E and N. Trim the access and press the seams open.

Step 3

You now need to sew this sections together as shown in the picture:

  • A & F

  • C & G

  • B & H

  • D, N & E

Press your seams open. You should now have 4 sections that look like this.

Step 4

Join your small and large right hand sail and piece L to the bottom of this section.

Sew K to the bottom of the left hand sail.

Sew P to the bottom of the boat.

You should now have these 3 sections.

Step 5

Join O in between your two sales.

Step 6

Join your sails to the bottom part of the boat. Trim and press. Your boat is complete!


Step 1

With your boat finished you can now start piecing everything together. The boat will be the front pocket. Since the inside won't really be seen I have used a plain bit of blue cotton from my stash. Layer up with right sides facing out, the boat, wadding and lining with the shiny side facing the lining. Pin in place and baste the edges.

Step 2

Apply binding to the top of the boat panel. Trim.

Step 3

Layer up all your other panels with right sides facing out and the shiny part of the wadding towards the lining. Baste the edges.

Step 4

Place the boat pocket on top of the front panel, match up the bottom edges. Pin in place and baste the sides.

Step 5

Sew on your Velcro. One half needs to be sewn on to the top of the front panel, around 1" from the top edge. The other half needs to be sewn to the inside of the back panel, around 1" from the top edge.

Step 6

You now need to sew your binding to the top edges of all of your panels.

Step 7

Make the straps next by sandwiching the pieces right sides together with the interfacing on the outside. Sew all the way around with 1/4" seam allowance, leave a gap to turn it out.

Trim the corners and turn it out.

Step 8

Top stitch all the way around close to the edges to close the gap.

Step 9

You need to pin the strap to the outside of the large back panel, around 1" from the top and side edges. The strap will not lie flat. I have sewn a square and a cross on each side of the strap so it is extra secure.

Step 10

With wrong sides together and the bottom edges lined up, pin or clip your back and from panel together.

Baste them together. This is when I found my layers were getting to thick and I switched to my walking foot.

Step 11

Apply binding to this bottom edge.

Step 12

This is when it gets tricky. I found clips were the easiest way of doing it. One side at a time, clip your side panels to your front and back. Match up the bottom corner with the front panel corner and fold the back panel around.

Step 13

Sew them together with raw edges exposed and repeat on the other side.

Step 14

You need to hide all of those raw edges now using your binding. You will probably need to trim off some of the bulk first. Clip it into place. I found I couldn't get away without a few folds around the bottom corners. When I got to the ends I folded it over and back stitched. With hindsight I would have left the top edges of the front and back panel until this point and and done a mitre corner here.

Well done, you are finished! If you gave this tutorial a go I would love to hear from you. I have a YOUR GALLERY page dedicated to all your Fabric Squirrel makes and share them each month on my Facebook page with prizes up from grabs. Fore more free tutorials make sure you have subscribed.

Made by Katie Done for The Craft Cotton Company 2019

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