June 22, 2011

Make your own Insulated Lunch Bag

Summer's been here now for a while. High temperatures mean an increase in my ice cream intake and also playtimes in the park with Tim. Both activities I love to bits, but both activities have also been a little difficult in realization lately.

Let me explain:

I love ice cream. I love ice cream and I want to eat it in my lounge chair on my terrace and not in my car outside the supermarket before it melts.

Traveling with my little guy often means lunch in the park. Now it doesn't feel right for me packing his lunch when it contains for example meat and I have to carry it along with me in the sun for a while. 

So I created this bag which keeps food/drinks hot or cold for at least 1 hour - its also a lot more stylish and easier to carry along than those big plastic cooler bags you get in the supermarket for your frozen foods. The elastic band keeps the bag securely shut and your content nice and cool or warm. Perfect! 
I now go the park with Tim's food in the bag and return home with ice cream in it for me. Life doesn't get better than that now, does it? :D 


Make your pattern for the lunch bag - mine is 15" x 12".
Then cut 2 squares from the bottom - mine measure 3" x 3".
My pattern is made from cardboard - I've been using it so much it looks a bit 'rough' - sorry!

Grab your insulated cooler bag from the supermarket and cut 2 pieces using your pattern.

Mine had a plastic layer on top - remove that. 

Make sure you use the right side for your interior. 
One usually is more shiny, that's the wrong side.

Now cut 2 pieces from your fabric. I used heavy cotton (IKEA).

Pin the foil and the fabric piece wrong sides together. Repeat with other two foil/fabric pieces.

Now lets get sewing! Pin the 'lined' fabric pieces facing right sides together.

Sew the 7" long side together. 

Now cut a 7" long piece of elastic and a 15" long piece of fabric. 
I had to sew my fabric together to get the desired length and color coordination. 

Then, with right sides facing, fold your fabric and 
depending on the width of your elastic sew a tube for it.

Turn the tube inside out and insert your elastic with a safety pin.

Prepare your sides of the bag by pinning them together. 3" up from the bottom insert
one end of the tube (incl. elastic) as shown in the picture and sew close.
 Insert your elastic up higher if you wish - this is up to you!

Mark 3" on the other side of the bag where your tube end should go, insert tube with 
elastic and sew close. It will scrunch up your fabric because of the elastic - don't worry!

Now you'll have to sew the bottom of your bag close. 
Pin the side seam to the bottom seam and sew the bag close. 
Repeat on the other side. Clean the seams.

Finish the top of your bag by folding the fabric over twice and sewing close.

Finished seam all around the top.

Now top stitch all 4 sides if you like to create a nice effect.  
Fold your bag as shown below to create the folds and stitch along them.


The bag top will fold down nicely and is secured by your elastic.

Switch the elastic to the other side if you want.

This bag holds a lot and best of all - keeps it cool or hot!!


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  1. This looks great. Thanks, I'll try it.

  2. Very nice tutorial! Thank you for sharing it!

  3. I like it very much, think I'll do it myself1

  4. What a "cool" idea **LOL**
    My kids are grown up but I would use this for playground afternoons!

  5. AnonymousMay 30, 2012

    You're lunch bag is awesome. I came across you site because I wanted to make one of my cool hand bags into a lunch tote, but I could not figure out what insulated fabric or quilting batting was. And then I read what you suggested and I swear it is a genius idea. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Great tutorial - thank you!

  7. I'm gonna make this but am going to use insulated batting like in hotpads.

  8. This is a really cool insulated lunch bag. The fact it can change size and shape due to the elastic is really smart.


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