Ruby of Zaaberry is here to share a tutorial for this awesome washable, insulated, lunch tote!
Hi there. I’m Ruby visiting today from Zaaberry. I’ve been sewing and crafting my whole life, but having kids really put it in a whole new perspective. The inspiration for my etsy shop came when I was looking for a going home outfit for my son. It was really hard to find cute boy clothing that was a little outside the box. Then more recently as I started to discover all the cute blogs out there, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and share my own sewing adventures on my own blog.
And I’m so honored to participate in Handmade Christmas in July! I came up with this insulated lunch tote idea because I hate not being able to adequately wash my lunch bags. This tote is completely machine washable, and works really well for taking your lunch to work or heading out to the playground with the kids. Perfect for anyone on your holiday list.
DIY Lunch Tote
Here’s what you need:
- 2 pieces of medium weight fabric, main part of tote (16 in. X 16 in.)
- 2 pieces of medium weight fabric, contrasting part of tote (16 in. X 7 in.)
- 2 pieces of PUL waterproof fabric (16 in. X 16 in.)
- 2 pieces of Insul-Bright insulating fabric (16 in. X 16 in.)
- 12 inch zipper
- 2 pieces of 1″ cotton webbing, 24 in. each, for straps (or make your own)
Take the contrasting pieces of fabric and fold over 1/2inch along the long side, toward the wrong side of fabric. Place on top of main fabric pieces, with folded side at the top, wrong side facing the right side of main panel. Sew in place.
Now, we’re going to shape the bag a little. On the bottom edge of the bag, measure a 4in. X 4in. square in the bottom 2 corners, and carefully cut it out. Keep in mind you should be cutting through the contrasting fabric piece you just sewed in place. If you’re not, you’re at the wrong corner.
Do this for all layers (both main panels, PUL and Insul-Bright layers)
Now that we’ve got our bag shaped, here’s some quick instructions if you want to make your own straps. Since the straps are 24inches long, cut a piece of fabric 24 inches by 4 times what you want the final strap width to be, in this case 1 inch. So you should have 2 pieces of fabric 24 x 4 inches.
Fold in half lengthwise, iron. Open it up, fold in half again, iron. Fold the ends in 1/2 inch, to finish. The following pictures should be pretty self explanatory.
OK, back to our lunch tote. Mark 3 inches in from each side, and 3 inches down from each side and pin strap. (pardon the fabric change here, needed to add a few pictures after the fact…)
Sew in place making sure to not sew all the way to the top, since we still need to attach our zipper.
OK, on to the zipper, my least favorite part of any project. Pin the right side of zipper (zipper pull facing) to the right side of one of your main bag panels. Lay the shiny side (right side) of the PUL on top of the wrong side of zipper, and the Insul-Bright on top of that. Using a zipper foot, sew a 1/4 inch seam through all layers.
This is how it should look after sewing and folding back so right sides are out. (I had to get my seam ripper out a few times at this stage, so don’t feel bad if you have to as well)
Now for the other side of the zipper. Again, pin the right side of the zipper to the right side of the other main panel. The shiny (right side) of PUL to wrong side of the zipper, and the Insul-Bright underneath. Sew through all layers again.
Here’s what is should look like when all the layers are folded back.
Fold the layers back so the main panels are right side together and the PUL right sides are together (Insul-Bright will be on the outside). Sew along the edges, the bottom of the main panel, and just 1 inch in from either side of the PUL/Insul-Bright lining. You NEED to leave this opening in the bottom for turning. Also, at this point, you should open your zipper, otherwise you won’t be able to turn it. Last, be VERY careful sewing the sides, that you don’t hit the metal at the end of the zipper. It can damage your machine, break your needle etc.
The next step is to shape the bottom. Match the side seam with the bottom seam at the centers. Pin and sew across with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Do this for both corners of the main panel and both corners of the lining (PUL/Insul-Bright layers together).
It’s a little hard to photograph, but here’s what it should look like.
Almost done! Carefully turn the bag right side out.
Now we’ve got this opening to deal with. The best thing to do would be to hand sew it closed. I’m not that patient.
I folded the edges in, and sewed a little seam across to close it up.
Push the lining into the lunch tote and zip it up. Ta-dah! Done.
Hope you hung in there. The finished product is really worth it.
Check out these other DIY Gift ideas.