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Sew Your Own Insulated Lunch Bag {TUTORIAL + FREE PATTERN}

About 3 years ago, I made an insulated lunch bag, and I feel like I’ve had healthier lunches ever since. I used to slap together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before work, and stuff it in to any paper or plastic bag I could find.


But this lunch bag inspired me to get more creative in the kitchen, and start eating more like an adult. While I still indulge in the occasional PB&J, I often prep healthy lunches for the week on Sundays and portion them off into containers. This lunch bag can hold all the containers you need, keeps things cold, and it can be reused over and over again! Let’s get sewing!

This is a great project for the beginning sewist. Or if you’re advanced, I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this too. If you know how to work a sewing machine, you can do this.

This lunch bag is fully customizable. You don’t have to use the same fabric that I chose, but I do recommend using an outer fabric with some heft, like a canvas or cotton duck. If you plan on adding a design to your fabric, I suggest doing that  before starting to sew (see STEP 2). You could do some stenciling, iron on vinyls, embroidery, or bust out that Bedazzler! For some ideas, you can see my lunch bags here!

The finished bag will be about 13 inches tall by 7 inches wide and 5.5 inches wide at the base. Perfect for adults or kids!

You will need:

Time: With cutting and sewing, you can complete this in about 2 hours. Once you get good at it, you can sew a bag in under an hour!

*I always wash my fabric before starting. Sometimes I’ll iron it too if it’s extra wrinkly.

Step 1: Print and cut pattern

Print your pattern. Print file at 100%. Tape pages together in a square, lining up as best as you can. I fold down the edges of the paper a bit to get everything lined up. Cut out pattern along outer edge. Use more tape if necessary to keep pages together.


Step 2: Use pattern to cut out fabric

Lay pattern on top of outer fabric and cut around. Repeat to make a second piece. I place heavy objects on top of the pattern to help keep it from slipping. Or you could trace around the pattern with chalk or pin it down, but I like to take shortcuts.

Repeat with inner fabric and Insul-Bright. You will need to cut 2 pieces of outer fabric, 2 pieces of inner fabric, and 2 pieces of Insul-Bright.

 **This would be a good point to add any decorations to the front of the bag. Just be sure to place them in an area where they won't get sewn or folded over. Use the dashed lines on the pattern as a guide.

Lay your Insul-Bright down on some newspaper and spray with a light coat of spray glue. Wait a few seconds, then place outer fabric pieces on top and firmly press down. Do this step in a ventilated area or outside if you can. That glue smell is strong! 

Step 3: Sew the inner bag

Line up your 2 inner bag pieces and pin along the sides and bottom. If you are using a printed fabric, line up your pieces right (printed) sides together. Sew along the two long sides and the bottom with a 1/4 inch seam allowance (see pink lines in second photo). Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each side!

Line up seams from side and bottom to form a triangle. Line up center seams as best as possible. Pin. Sew along this edge to close it with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat on other side. Check to make sure there are no gaps.

Step 4: Sew the outer bag

Line up your outer fabric with right sides facing each other. The Insul-Bright side should be on the outside. Pin. Sew along the 2 long sides and bottom with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, just as you did with step three. 

Line up seams from side and bottom to form a triangle, just as you did for the inside fabric. Sew along this edge with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Repeat on other side. Check to make sure there are no gaps and that you sewed through both layers. I like to cut away a bit of the extra fabric to reduce bulk.

Step 5: Sew bags together 

Turn outer bag inside out. The Insul-Bright should be on the outside. Turn your inside lining right side out and stick it inside the outer bag. Right sides will be facing each other. Try to line up the seams as best as possible. Pin along the outer rim of the bag. 

Sew around the rim of the bag using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. **IMPORTANT**Stop when you are about 3-4 inches from where you started sewing. Make sure to backstitch to secure that line.

Step 6: Turn the bag right side out

Using the opening you left (because you left an opening RIGHT??), turn your bag right side out. This is easier or harder depending on how much space you left!

Optional: When you are finished turning your bag right side out, fold raw edges under and put a little Liquid Stitch where your opening was. Clamp with a clip, and let dry for a few minutes before continuing to sew. Go have a snack while you wait!

Once the glue is dry, pin around the top, smoothing fabric to make a nice, clean line.

Then topstitch around the rim of the bag with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Step 7: Give the bag clean edges

You’re getting close! Pinch the right edge of the bag to create a nice, clean line. Pin along the side. Repeat with the other three sides. 

Sew along the side of the bag close to the edge. Repeat with the other 3 sides. I start sewing at the top with the 2 right sides, and at the bottom with the 2 left sides. It just feels easier that way.

Step 8: Velcro

Line up your Velcro on the inside of the bag at the top and middle. You could measure for exact precision, or just wing it! Adjust the length of the Velcro as needed. Pin Velcro to bag.

Sew along the long edge of the Velcro. I find it easiest to stop at each corner, lift the presser foot with needle down, turn the fabric, put the presser foot back down and continue sewing. Sew along all sides of Velcro. Repeat for the other piece of Velcro. 

You are all done! Go pack your lunch! Share pics of your lunch bag on Instagram with the hashtag #roospotlunchbag 

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

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