Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

DIY Projects for my Pre-schooler: O-Bento Set

This is a continuation from my previous post – The Big Preschool Prep for ME. Of which, I mentioned how I made my own “Transportation & Animal Series” appliqués, and why I had to hand-sew a few bags and pouches for my three-year-old.

Without further delay, here are the step-by-steps for my first three DIY projects:

O-bento (Lunch box) set:
a. Lunch box pouch
b. Pouch for cup & toothbrush
c. Placemat

Lunch Box Pouch

My son is required to bring these to school:Lunch BagThe Bento Bako Bukuro (弁当箱袋/lunch box bags) sold in most stores are too small. So, I needed to make a bigger one, easier for my toddler to toss everything in.Drawstring pouch

Fabric Design & Measurement:

Measurement BentoThe pouch is made up of three pieces of fabric – two pieces of plain blue (A) & (C), and a big piece of patterned fabric (B), sewed together with 1-cm seam allowances. I also use an appliqué that I illustrated, and a name label (D), both produced with my home printer… (Click here to know more).

Preparing the Appliqué

AppliqueBefore I “V”stitched the appliqué with my sewing machine to the bento bako bukoro (what a mouthful LOL), I used a THIN iron-on interfacing to keep the printed fabric from fraying.

Sew ON!

Pre-school pouchAfter sewing (A) to (B), and (AB) to (C), with 1-cm seam allowance each, I folded (ABC) into half. Then, with the seam allowances pressed wide open, I machine-stitched a 1-cm seam along both sides (1) but left the top 4-cm unstitched (2). Next, with the sides pressed wide open, I sewed them slightly before my top 4-cm stitching line (stitched on yellow dashes).Drawstring Pouch(3) I measured both corners, drew a 14-cm stitching line each, and sewed along it. I gave each a 1-cm seam allowance, trimmed off the excess corners and zig-zaged the cut edges. (4) I folded the top to touch my 4-cm stitching line and sewed a 0.5 cm seam all around.

The Finishing Touch

Bento Bukuro(5) I inserted a 80-cm string INTO the hole in the bag (and OUT the same hole). (6) Put a matching colored bead (with its smaller hole faced inward) and tied knot to the ends of the string. Repeated the same thing to the opposite hole to finish off the drawstring pouch.

Pouch for Cup & Toothbrush

Cup bagThe Cup-Toothbrush pouch is the simplified version of the above Bento Bako Bukuro as I used only one piece of fabric.  So, please refer to the steps for the lunch box bag if you do not understand the pictures below.Simple drawstring bagDrawstring pouchschool cup toothbrush


PlacematPlacemat is commonly known as Luncheon Mat (ランチョンマット) in Japan. The one I DIYed was made up of two pieces of fabric – one piece of plain blue (A) and a piece of patterned fabric (B), sewed together with 1-cm seam allowances all around. I also added a name label (C), produced with my home printer… (Click here to know more). Here is how I joined the two fabrics together….Place matPlacemat(1) I trimmed off some fabric to remove bulk so that it would de easier to fold and machine stitch the center. (2) Similarly, the four corners were trimmed off to remove bulk too.

PlacematThe sewing of the placemat was very straightforward but I liked to be the first to admit that the finished work was not of satisfactory quality. I was struggling with a curious case of thread tension and coffee overdose (shaky hands)! LOL

Related Links:

Blackcabbit’s Handmade Adventures

The Big Preschool Prep for ME!

Other DIY projects that I have done for my son includes:
> Shoe Bag
> Lesson bag
> Sling bag


2 comments on “DIY Projects for my Pre-schooler: O-Bento Set

  1. eclecticlamb
    May 6, 2013

    So cute! Thanks for the tutorial!

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2013 by in Craft / DIY Projects, Life in Japan, School Life and tagged , , .
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