If you live a good distance away from the shops, keeping frozen or dairy products cool on hot summer days can be a race against time. Make a cooler bag that will seal the cold in while keeping the hot temperatures out. It can also be used as a handy tote for picnics at the park or summer festivals. Much like a reusable grocery bag, a cooler bag is thicker and has thermal sides. With the addition of a closure, your food will be protected from the heat. It is completely washable.
Cut two 55 cm (22 inch) squares from the outer decorative fabric, the lining fabric and the thermal batting.
Lay a batting square on your work surface. Place an outer fabric square on top of the batting with the right side facing up. Layer the matching outer fabric square on top with the wrong side facing up. Finish the fabric "sandwich" with the remaining batting square.
Pin the layers together along three edges. Sew the pinned edges with a sewing machine using a 12 mm (1/2 inch) seam allowance. The edge left unsewn is the cooler bag's top opening.
Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) square from each bottom corner of the bag and discard. Open one bottom corner of the bag. Match the side seam to the bottom seam and pin. This folds the square opening diagonally. Pin the edges together. Sew the pinned edge using a 12 mm (1/2 inch) seam allowance. Repeat on the other bottom corner. This gives the bag a flat bottom.
Place the two lining squares together with the right sides facing. Pin three side edges together. Sew the pinned edges using a 12 mm (1/2 inch) seam allowance. Leave a 10 cm (4 inch) opening along the bottom edge.
Cut 7.5 cm (3 inch) squares from the bottom corners of the lining bag. Pin and stitch the lining corners to create a flat bottom in the same way as the cooler bag.
Cut two 45 cm (18 inch) lengths of 32 mm (1 1/4 inch) wide cotton webbing for the handles.
Turn the outer cooler bag right side out. Lay the bag flat on your work surface. Measure in 15 cm (6 inches) from one side edge. Pin one end of a handle to the top edge of the bag. Measure 15 cm (6 inches) from the other side edge. Pin the other end of the handle to the top edge. Note: The loop of the handle will be laying upside down on the body of the bag. Flip the bag over and pin the remaining handle in the same way.
Insert the right-side-out cooler bag inside the wrong-side-out lining. Match the side seams and the top edge. Pin the edges together. Sew around the pinned edge using a 12 mm (1/2 inch) seam allowance.
Turn the cooler bag right side out through the opening in the lining's bottom seam. Hand-sew the opening closed.
Iron the bag. Stitch around the top opening of the bag 6 mm (1/4 inch) from the edge.
Cut a 45 cm (18 inch) length of 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide hook-and-loop tape. Separate the halves of the tape.
Turn the cooler bag with the lining facing out. Lay the bag on your work surface. Place one of the hook-and-loop halves along the opening of the bag on the side facing up. Center the length of the tape between the side seams of the bag and 6 mm (1/4 inch) from the top edge. Pin the tape. Turn the bag over and pin the remaining half in the same way. Stitch around all four edges of the pinned hook-and-loop tape.
Turn the bag right side out. Press the hook-and-loop tape together to close the bag.
Things you need
- 60 cm (2 feet) outer decorative fabric
- 60 cm (2 feet) lining fabric
- 60 cm (2 feet) thermal batting
- Measuring tape
- Straight pins
- 1 metre, 32 mm (1 1/4 inch) wide cotton webbing
- Needle and thread
- 45 cm (18 inches) 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide hook-and-loop tape