Insulated Cooler Bag

Insulated Cooler Bag

Crafting Time:
  • Weekend Project
Skill Level:
  • Advanced
Project Courtesy of: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
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Additional Information

  • Distressed leather look fabric - 14" wide x 13" high (2 pieces)
  • Insul – Bright batting - 14" wide x 13" high (2 pieces)
  • Lining - 14" wide x 13" high (2 pieces)
  • Interfacing lightweight iron-on:
  • 14" wide x 13" high (2 pieces)
  • 14" wide x 6-1/2" high (2 pieces)
  • Faux suede fabric for outside pockets – 14" wide x 6-1/2" high (2 pieces)
  • Coordinating tabs for handles of faux suede - 4" wide x 6-1/2" high (4 pieces)
  • Zipper - 14" or longer
  • Handbag handles – with bottom rings (2)
  • Decorative buttons (optional)
  • Peltex – scrap piece for base of bag (optional)
  • matching thread
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron & pressing surface

  1. Note: Seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.
  2. Iron lightweight interfacing to lining and to two of the pocket pieces. Set aside.
  3. Fold each tab lengthwise right sides together and stitch long side of each tab; turn right side out, iron seam flat. If desired top stitch along each side of tab. Repeat for each tab.
  4. Slip tabs through rings on each bag handle; baste the short ends of each tab together.
  5. Assemble outside pockets. Place one of the interfaced pocket pieces right side up and mark the spot to attach the tabs for the handles. Pin tabs with handles in the upside down position along marked spots, place one pocket piece right side down and pin in place. Stitch across top, iron seam flat, topstitch. Repeat for second pocket.
  6. Pin one pocket assembly alongside bottom of each outside fabric keeping bottom and sides flush. Baste along each side of pocket keeping handles free.
  7. Layer 1 piece of Insul - Bright batting, 1 piece of outside fabric right side up, place closed zipper right side down along top edge and one of the lining pieces right side down. Pin all in place checking that all layers are aligned flush at the top and on the sides. Using a zipper foot stitch the first edge of the zipper into place.
  8. *Flip lining fabric over, ensure all the layers are securely sewn. Pull the lining and the main fabric away from the zipper press flat.
  9. Topstitch approximately 1/8" from the zipper.
  10. To stitch the other side of the zipper- layer remaining piece of Insul – Bright batting, place zipper face down along top edge, place remaining lining piece right side down ensuring all edges are flush along top and sides. Using a zipper foot stitch the second edge of the zipper into place.
  11. Repeat the steps from *.
  12. Open the zipper half way. This is important for turning the bag inside out later.
  13. Rearrange the four fabrics to that the right sides of the main fabric are together and the lining pieces are together.
  14. Ensure the zipper edges and the pocket edges are lined up, pin all 4 sides. Baste along all four sides leaving a 5" opening in the center of the bottom edge of the lining fabric.
  15. Remove pins and turn bag right side out. Check the zipper edges and pocket edges are lined up. Check the zipper and pocket edges are perfectly lined up. Turn bag inside out and using a smaller stitch size, sew all 4 sides following your basting line.
  16. Add gussets to create a flat bottom. On a bottom corner mark a 2" square shape, measuring from the stitched lines - not from the fabric edge. Mark the other 3 corners in the same manner. Cut off those corner squares.
  17. Open up a corner and matching the side seams at the center.
  18. Turn the side seams over in opposite directions to minimize bulk and pin. Sew the gusset seam at 3/8” from the edge of the fabric. Repeat for the other three corners. Turn the bag right side out again and using fingertips, shape the corners popping the edges of the zipper out.
  19. If desired, add strength and shape the bottom of the bag with Peltex. Measure the base of the bag and cut a piece of Peltex, place inside the bottom of the bag.
  20. If desired, add buttons to the outside pocket(s) before closing the gap in the lining. Hand sew the buttons ensuring the lining is free.
  21. Stitch the gap of the lining closed approximately 1/8" from the edge.