Insulated Lunch Bag with Zipper and Handles


Those who know me know that I have a complicated relationship with my sewing machine. I like the neatness it gives to projects, but I hate everything else. I guess it’s primarily because I never really learned how to use it, so I keep having trouble with tangled threads, zippers, curved lines, etc. Thus, when I have a sewing project in mind, it usually takes some weeks before I find myself in the right mood to start it.

I’d been meaning to sew a new bag for my lunch box for a while and here it is finally! In fact, I made two! 🙂


After a lot of research, I decided to follow this pattern from Wonderful DIY.

(And here’s a tutorial in Spanish by I Love Kutchi for a pencil case that works the same way.)

The biggest issue for me was to understand how the pattern worked, so I could make it just the size of my tupperwares. You know I have problems translating instructions in 2D to 3D. So, obviously I got my measurements wrong the first time… ^_^. But in fact it’s really simple.

This is how it works.


(This measurements don’t have sewing allowances. I added 1 cm to each side when cutting the fabrics but not on the insulation because I didn’t want the edges to be too bulky).

I decided to insulate the bag because I had a ton of Insul Bright from a previous project. But you can change it for regular batting.

So, trace the pattern on your batting and on you inner fabric and cut 1 of each.

For the outer fabric, I did the bottom in black and the upper part in a contrasting fabric. For that, you can use the same pattern but mark half the length of the sides as in the image. Use the rest of the pattern for the main outer fabric (in my case, the stripped fabric).


I fixed the batting to the inner fabric with fabric spray glue. This is optional, but it helped me keep it in place.


Then, I sewed along the right and left edges of the fabric. This will be useful later when adding the zipper.


Then, fold it like this and sew the two extremes.


Then sew the corners. It’ll start becoming three dimensional.


You’ll end up with something like this:


Now, for the exterior:

Cut two pieces of strap for the handles. Mines were 47 cm long each. If you are using this kind of strap that fringes so easily, burn the borders by approaching them to a candle very carefully.


Then, pin them in place as in the image below. I placed mine 4 cm from the side. Sew along.


Repeat with the other side.


You’ll end up with something like this:


Iron and topstitch along the seam you just created between the two fabrics.

I also fixed the straps by sewing them vertically up to 4cm.


Sew the zipper.


Now, with the bag inside out (right sides of the fabric facing) sew this outer piece the same way you sewed the inner fabric. First the straight edges and then the corners. Don’t forget to leave your zipper half way opened so you can turn the fabric out after!


Congratulations, now you’ll have a very sturdy pouch and a very flimsy bag. It’s time to join them together.


Put the inner part inside the outer bag. Press along all edges to make sure it’s in place.


Now, hand sew the edge of the inner fabric to the back side of the zipper. You can sew over the first seam we made to fix the inner fabric and the batting. (I told you it’d be useful!)


And that’s all!



Ready to fit and carry you favorite meals!


By the way, the strawberry fabric is from Kokka Japan and was a gift from my brother, and the stripped fabric was a gift from my cousin Isabel. Love you both. ❤ ❤

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