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Car Shade Lunch Bag

on Sep 17, 2012 in accessories, sewing | 11 comments

How about that for a funky blog post title???? It will all make sense in a minute.

Back story- I went to one of those trendy 31 Bag parties a while back and I didn’t purchase anything. I did really enjoy checking out the monograms and styles, though. One thing that really stuck with me was their insulated bags. I kept touching that shiny silver lining thinking “I’ve seen this somewhere, but I cannot put my finger on it.”? Ah… Then we moved to Texas where I’ve been grabbing my car shade daily to keep the sun off the driver’s seat in an effort to not FRY my buns. CLICK! That was it. $2.49 later, I have an experimental project to share with you.

Here’s the el’cheapo car shade and the divided ziploc containers that would become my pattern inspiration.

And the cut pieces. I was thrilled to use this IKEA decorator weight fabric, which I have been hoarding for way too long. I was also thrilled that the rotary cutter just whizzed through the car shade easier than it did fabric.

Then some stitching, some thread changes, some presser foot changes, some Y-seams, some snipping and oh yeah – NO IRONING (as to not melt that car shade) Let me show you what turned out-

Just big enough for the Ziploc container, a juice box and a cold pack. The bag is 4 1/2″ tall total.

I made sure to have the shiny side face inward, just like on the 31 Bags. Not only does the shiny insulate, but it also gives the bag a great shape.

The handle was added last, centered on the top of the bag. I put the orange bow on there because, well, you just cannot have enough orange.

This is (obviously) not a tutorial. There are a zillion zippered bag tutorials online. Heck, you don’t even need the zipper- just go to your favorite tutorial and instead of interfacing, use the car shade as lining/interfacing. The sewing machine needle stitched through it like butter and you can totally pin through it. For this size, I bet I could get 3 bags out of one car shade, so there is plenty left over.


  1. ***3 cheers*** for ingenuity! What a fabulous project (and a great morning laugh for me!)I think you should take your saved dollars and go buy ice cream before summer’s over!


    September 17, 2012

  2. Way to go Jen; what a creative mind. jh

    jackie hubert

    September 17, 2012

  3. What a great idea. I’ve been wanting an insulated bag, but don’t want a huge one. Now I can make my own.

    Anna (sixtyfourcolorbox)

    September 17, 2012

  4. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!


    September 18, 2012

  5. love this idea – and I’m following you for sure – love the way your mind works! I have one of those car shades – its about 10 yrs old and no longer stays in the window, but it would work great for this! Come to think of it… I have some IKEA decorator fabric lurking around her somewhere too!
    now to find/make a bit of time!


    September 22, 2012

  6. Aha! I have been racking my brain trying to think of what would be a good lunchbox insulator and where to find it. It seems so obvious now! Thank you for posting.


    October 6, 2012

  7. I love this idea. I made a lunch bag for my son last year with insulbrite. Let me just say, I don’t want to repeat, as to why I’m looking for alternate options. How well has this kept cold for you and have you been able to wash it? Kids and school, I like to be able to wash things. Thank you for your help.


    June 6, 2015

  8. I would like to know the answer to that too – how well is this cute lunch box keeping things cold?


    October 4, 2015

  9. I don’t know how I would really gauge the accuracy. I have found that items stay cool enough – but we are talking about a four hour time period, in an air conditioned space.

    Jen Eskridge

    October 12, 2015

  10. I love the lunch bag you made . Would it be possible to send me a play by play on how to put it together .im not very good at trying to figure it out by visual. I would really appreciate it so much and be so ever greatful to you if you could do this favor for me …Like always love to all …Josie


    November 19, 2015

  11. In order to keep my food cold inside my insulated bag, this is what I do: I fill 3/4 of a small plastic bottle with drinking water and I freeze it.When I want to use it, I fill the rest (1/4) with water, close it tight and place it together with the food in the insulated bag. It keeps my food cold all day long and cold drinking water whenever I’m thirsty.


    June 28, 2016

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