It’s that perfect time of year for toting food to picnics and cookouts. Whether you are planning a family outing for the day or packing the car for a road trip, this modified Weekender Tote will keep hot foods warm or chilled foods cool. Here’s how to make a personalized insulated tote. Simply modify my instructions found in Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares by using double-quilted fabric lined with Insul-Film. In an afternoon, sew a So-Cool Picnic Tote. The large bag holds everything you’ll need and still stores flat when you are finished.






Modifying the Weekender Tote Instructions

The Weekender Tote instructions are based on a simple rectangle design, featuring double-sided quilted fabric. The dimensions for the tote are listed in the book, Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares.

  • Cut out the rectangles from the quilted fabric, using a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat.
  • Assemble and attach the pocket and straps, following the instructions in the book.

Now, it’s time to modify the instructions.






  • Seam the Insul-Film. The Insul-Film will not be wide enough for the Weekender Tote’s required sizes.






  • Use Wonder Clips, instead of pins, to hold the Insul-Film together.





  • Stitch a 1/4″ seam through the Insul-Film using a Teflon Presser Foot, which will allow the foot to slide over the film.
Note from Nancy: I recommend a size 70 Klasse sewing machine needle when sewing through the Insul-Film. The small-sized needle will not create large holes in the Insul-Film. 





  • Lay the Insul-Film on the inside of the bag base.
  • Use Wonder Clips to hold the film in place around the outer edges.





  • Baste around the bag base perimeter to secure the Insul-Film.





  • Continue to follow the Weekender Tote instructions to complete the bag, making sure to use Wonder Clips when applying the zipper.





  • Once the bag is finished, the lining is reflective and functional.





Watch Sewing With Nancy online 

Learn how to create the original Weekender Tote. Watch Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares online.


How To Modify an Insulated Grocery Tote | Nancy Zieman | Sewing With Nancy



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Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner of a Hot and Handy Projects book was Joyce who said, Pot holders and placemats make nice gifts. I enjoyed reading the comments about your favorite sewn kitchen accessory after last week’s blog, How To Sew a Quick Pot Holder

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