Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lunch Buckets With Zippered Straps

In a few days I will have a dozen lunch buckets for you to buy - they just need buttons sewn on, and then they’ll be in the shop. Until then, I thought I’d share some photos of a strap variation I’m trying out with this year's batch.

I usually make my lunch buckets with buttons and buttonholes, but I'd made a trapezoidal bucket with a zippered strap in my 2016 Zip A Bag series and thought I’d add that to a few of this year’s lunch buckets as well. 

With no buttons, the strap isn’t detachable but it unzips, 

splits apart and folds down on either side, out of the way of the top drawstring opening. 

The construction sequence is the same, except that the zippered strap must be constructed (separately) first, and attached to the outer body of the bucket while it is still “in the flat”. For those of you who have the Lunch Bucket pattern and would like to try this variation, here are a few in-progress shots to help you visualize this process. This is the outer body of the bucket “in the flat”, and this sequence takes the place of Step 6 in the pattern. 

Here are the dimensions of my zippered strap: 
  • length: a total of 21” including the seam allowances at both ends; 
  • width of the fabric portion on either side of the zipper coils: 5/8” to 3/4”. 

Attach and topstitch the accent band to the RS of the outer body (if you are using a lightweight fabric for the outer band for this zippered strap variation, I recommend stabilizing the entire band with a medium sew-in interfacing on its WS for added strength at the attachment points). Attach the lower edge of the band first, as shown. 

Attach the ends of the zippered strap to the outer body so that
  1. their final positions will be on opposite sides of the finished bucket (i.e. 11” apart) and 
  2. their ends lie below the upper stitching line of the band. 

Here is a close up of the stitching pattern I used (a simple rectangle) but use whatever pattern you prefer to ensure it is securely attached to the outer body. Remember to ensure that the zipper pull faces out! 

Flip the band RS up into its final position, tuck its upper seam allowance (SA) to its WS, and topstitch along this upper edge, securing the ends of the zippered strap between the layers in the process. 

Now continue assembling the layers of the bucket as usual. In the later stages when all the individual layers of the bucket come together to be bound, the strap might require some maneuvering to work around, but otherwise, it's an easy variation to the classic bucket pattern, especially if you'd rather install a zipper than a buttonhole!

Look out for the 2017 Lunch Buckets in the shop in the coming week. I'll make an announcement here on the blog when they're ready!


  1. The zippers lend a certain elegance somehow. I think it's the symmetry?

  2. How clever! Straps that unzip (at first I thought there might be a pocket there and I wondered what on earth would fit into a long skinny flat pocket that would be good for lunch - ha).


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