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DIY Insulated Lunch Bag from Upcycled Skirt

It’s that fun time of the month again where my friends and I are all about Trash to Treasure Transformations. Woot! You’ll see their projects in a bit. You know I love taking unwanteds and making them new, so how about a DIY insulated lunch bag from some linen skirts. m’kay??

Thrifted Skirts Before Becoming Insulated Lunch Bag Totes by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

I will proudly say I am a sewing nut (aka. freak, fanatic…you get the idea.) As of late, I’ve been going through a sort of withdrawal. I horribly miss my dear friends, serger and sewing machine. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ve seen I have found my fix for the time being. I’ve been creating a few birthday gifts like this Ikat bag below, and some wet bags from PUL for my kids. Needless to say you can imagine my fabric stash is plentiful. ahem.

Handmade Boho Style Ikat Drawstring Bag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #fashion

I’m not sure if you know this, but when I first opened a shop before ever starting my blog, I made and sold bags and dolls. Funny thing is that I have an infatuation for purses and bags, but really don’t carry a purse until summer time when I don’t have pockets. Crazy, but I like less is more. My feed sack purse seen HERE is still holding strong. However, I mentioned in this post that I was going to use my leather stash to sew a new one, but ended up using it up on my chair. ah well.

For today, I wanted to make use of a couple of linen skirts shown above. Linen is by far one of my favorite textiles, so I don’t dare give away perfectly good linen. Any sane person should hoard it – tsk. These skirts are in great shape, but did not fit me right.

First, this one was too big and it has pockets that land right at the hips accenting an area that I’d rather not accentuate. Oh, and meet Vivian, my thrifted dress-form that is larger than me, but I still love her. She’s helping save me from modeling these for you.

Flower Linen Skirt before upcycle | prodigalpieces.com

Linen Skirt with Flowers for Upcycling | prodigalpieces.com

Based on my past fun and my itch to stitch, I’m going to regularly start posting my Reduce, Reuse, Refashion projects for you. Does that sound good?

Here is the second linen skirt. It’s a wrap skirt that had a flap that just would not lay flat…it drove me nuts!!

Linen Wrap Skirt before Upcycling | prodigalpieces.com

Wrap Linen Skirt for Upcycling Fun | prodigalpieces.com

As you can guess skirts take much yardage, so I always skim through them  at the thrift store for upcycling purposes too. You can use denim, linen, wool, cotton, you get the idea. Oh, and don’t forget the linens section too! I can’t tell you how often I’ve found linen yard goods. eep!

Now, it’s time to cut and get started creating my DIY insulated lunch bag. I always kind eek out when I’m cutting at first. Do you ever do that? I think it’s because I don’t want to mess up and waste it. Perfectly logical as any confessed fabric hoarder will tell you.

Cutting Linen Skirt for Upcycled Lunch Bags | prodigalpieces.com

Purchasing sewing patterns is something I never do. I enjoy creating my own. It’s a wonder I still have patterns I created eons ago and am still using them to for myself and my family and even my shop. So when it came time to get this idea out of my head, I just kind of used my past knowledge to design it and have a go. Most often my first run is good, but always needs tweaking somehow. That’s half the fun!

What you see below is a layer of the linen skirt, a PUL layer, and an Insul-Bright layer. All awesome stuff. What’s PUL you say? Well, I have cloth-diapered my babies and made diapers as well as covers. PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate. When they developed PUL I was in 7th heaven! It’s waterproof and absolutely perfect for diaper covers and I even use it in the feminine hygiene products I make for me and my daughters. It never leaks! (lets all pause for a moment to celebrate…really!!) I also make wet bags for swim suits, snack bags…limitless options.

DIY Insulated Lunch Bag Layers | prodigalpieces.com

The Insul-Brite is a fantastic creation, as well, that allows you to make an insulated bag or carrier out of anything. I’ve made my casserole carrier and it outperforms any store-bought one I’ve ever had.

Handmade Insulated Casserole Carrier by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #kitchen #home

Open DIY Insulated Casserole Carrier made by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #kitchen #home


Okay, back to the sewing fun. Next, I use my serger to piece it all together. I must say if you’ve never used a serger you’re missing out. I feel like Tim the Tool Man every time I use this thing. Such power! mwahahaha… It cuts (if you want) binds strong edges with a 3-thread or 4-thread overlock stitch. I can also do lettuce edging to knits, whip out the flannel hankies we use…so many uses for it.

Serging Lunch Bag Layers with Singer Overlock Serger | prodigalpieces.com

Next, I add my other details like my label, handles, reinforced bottom, and a top portion I had envisioned to cinch up and look cute. Notice my layers are jutting out and uneven. I remedied the sizing once I got the jist of it. These clips make my job soooo much easier too.

TERMS OF USE: This design is my trademarked property & it cannot be shared or distributed for monetary gain in any way, it may not be modified in any way, and you may not claim the work as your own.

Assembling DIY insulated Lunch Bag by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Once I finished, I was able to get four insulated lunch bags out of the floral skirt. Aren’t they fun?

Handmade Insulated Lunch Bags Made from Upcycled Linen Skirt by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #sewing #accessories #style

Handmade Linen Lunch Bags from Upcycled Skirt by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #style #accessories

For fun, I had to mix up the fabric choices.  Meanwhile, I was able to make 3 bags from the linen wrap skirt. And, of course, I had fabric fun mixing it up with them too.

Linen Insulated Lunch Bags Handmade by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #sewing #style

Linen Lunch Bags with Cinched Tops by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #style #sewing

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces DIY Channel on YouTube | prodigalpieces.com

Holding Insulated Linen Lunch Bag Created by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #sewing #fashion

Obviously, I had some fun. I even mixed up the interior fabric so when you open it, you get a fun surprise. Yay!

Linen Lavender Lunch Bag Interior by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #sewing #handmade

Can you tell I had fun with these? I was elated to be sewing again. Honestly, I feel that way about all the crafts I do: cooking, baking, crochet, woodworking, painting, etc. They all fill my cup in different ways. I’m so thankful for hands and vision to be able to create.

Red and Blue Linen Lunch Bags by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade

Since the bags have the reinforced bottom, they sit nicely. Although, I forgot to add reinforcement to my first one. {{head smack}}  For more versatility, the top can pop up when needed for taller items to fit too.

Red Gingham Lunch Bag Open by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #fashion #sewing

Inside Peek at DIY Insulated Lunch Bag by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces #prodigalpieces #handmade

Inside Peek at Blue Linen DIY Insulated Lunch Bag by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces #prodigalpieces #handmade

Handmade Linen Lunch Bag made from Upcycled Skirts by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #sewing #fashion

Now, before you think I’ve gone crazy, I even used some of my denim linen and twill to make these sets. I had to see how it worked with ticking fabric on the top instead of cotton. Do you like the look?

Denim Linen Insulated Lunch Bags by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #sewing #handmade #diy

Denim Linen Lunch Bag Assortment by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #fashion #diy #sewing #home

I couldn’t resist making one in the festive red bandanna fabric I had leftover from making my daughter’s dress. So fun!

Red Bandanna and Gray Ticking Stripe Lunch Bags by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #fashion #diy #sewing #home

Here’s the twill one I made using the black ticking stripe. I love the neutrals, but the denim and floral ones are fun too.

Denim Linen and Twill Lunch Bags by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #sewing #fashion

Twill and Ticking Stripe Insulated Lunch Bag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home #handmade #sewing #diy #fashion

Gray Ticking Stripe Lunch Bag Interior | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #fashion #sewing

So, I have to ask…of all the designs, which style do you prefer?

Red and Blue Linen Lunch Bags by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade

Blue Floral and Red Gingham Insulated Lunch Totes by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #home #sewing #diy #fashion

Last, I am excited to announce these bags are now a regular addition to my online shop. The stock will be changing as I have fun mixing it up. However, if you have one you see that you like and it’s not available, just let me know.

Shop Prodigal Pieces | shop.prodigalpieces.com

Because I want to share my joy with you, I’m giving away my red gingham insulated lunch bag to one of you. I’m excited!

Easy entry – simply fill out the widget below for as many entries as you like (daily even for more entries). Open to U.S. residents only 18 years of age and older. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. Be sure to check your spam!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do pin and share my refashion fun of these upcycled linen skirts into a DIY insulated lunch bag. I hope to inspire you and others.

Check this out...DIY Insulated Lunch Bags created from two linen skirts | Come join the refashion fun at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #handmade #diy #sewing #fashion #home

Up next, I am joining up with Habitat for Humanity and humanitarians like Jonathan and Drew Scott from the HGTV show, Property Brothers to support a wonderful cause. Join our fun HERE.

Helping Habitat for Humanity #homeisthekey campaign by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #home #chairity

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Time to see what my Trash to Treasure friends have for you!

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More projects like my DIY insulated lunch bag:

Handmade Feedsack, Linen, and Leather Purse by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Help your little one through those owies and ear aches with a Boo-Boo Bear rice ice and heat pack. Come get the tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

108 replies on “DIY Insulated Lunch Bag from Upcycled Skirt”

Thank you, Rachel. Great idea! I actually debated on something like an apron, but I have a vintage collection of them and also sew aprons for my shop, so I wanted to change it up.

Larissa,
What a clever reuse of thrifted fabrics. I too have the same affliction as you. I am drawn to textiles! I walk up and down the aisles of thrift stores looking for a fabric that catches my eye, no matter what its current purpose is, I can envision it in a new life. My very favorite reuse of fabric is through a local project called “Born With Angel Wings” We make burial gowns from donated wedding gowns and other formal type dresses. I get the pleasure of taking apart the gowns for the other volunteers to use in crafting the gowns. It is a true labor of the heart. When you get a minute, check out our FB page. You will surely fall in love as I did.

I think that is one of the most honorable things you can do. My daughters make diapers for stillborn babies – one for the child and one for the parents as a keepsake. I know I appreciated all those that gave when we lost our babies. Hugs!

Oh, I can envision many an outing and picnics using this bag. You are such a talented person and so happy you share your ideas with everyone. Thank you for sharing.

These are so adorable. I love Linen and Denim. I could never pick a favorite because i love them all. I never learned to sew and what you create is so wonderful. You are truly Blessed and a blessing to me and i’m sure others. I always look forward to Tuesday’s to see what you create. I will surely purchase one in the future. I will try to win one but i have problem with the “website” part because i’m not sure what that means. (Blog illiterate)

There just doesn’t seem to be anything you can’t do and give a new purpose to! These bags are so adorable. Love them! I can barely sew a button back on and you are so clever to make bags out of skirts. Thanks for sharing!

Larissa,
What cute bags. I just don’t seem to be able to envision things like you do. You are so creative. What brand/type of sewing machine do you use? I would like to start sewing again, but the 40+ year old machine is a pain.

Thank you so much, Judy. I have a Singer Futura so I can embroider too. I’ve never had a problem with my Singer machines. I have the link to mine in my post if you’d like to check it out.

These bags are so stinkin’ cute! I honestly can’t pick a favorite. I thought I had it narrowed down to one favorite, then I saw the next one…I love them all!

I am so impressed, Larissa. All those layers, and fabrics, and details! I sew a little, so know what a challenge all that can be. You pulled it off as if it was no big deal. A true sign of a pro. Thanks for sharing this! I especially like the white linen with the black stripe ticking.

I love all of your bags….impossible to pick a favorite. However, if I absolutely had to…..I do like the denim with red bandana.😉 Your so gifted and inspirational!🌼

These are adorable, so functional, full of whimsy. I can’t wait to make one, that is if I don’t win your cute version 1st.

You’ve solved my number one issue with a lunch bag, they generally don’t fit the items I need to take. Giving the extra room on the top is a genius Idea and one that will insure that my water bottle makes it on the trip..lol
Great design, and I can’t wait to check out all of your other awesome ideas in your shop!

What a wonderful idea and true to form, excellent product. The color mixes are really cute and they all look durable AND washable! Biggy for me! Really, keep it up, the world needs more people like you. Thank You

Me too! Mama to 6 here. haha. We make our snack bags our of similar. I love to save the landfill and they’re cute! Thank you for the encouraging words, Mary.

Love the lunch totes!! I wouldn’t have thought of the PUL lining though. Never worked with it but I am going to give it a try. When my daughter was in cloth diapers they didn’t have the cool products like now.

I know the feeling, Sherry. Much had change from my first to my last one. I just love this stuff for so many things. It can be tricky, but a ball point needle helps for sure.

I LOVE these bags! You are so blessed to be so talented! I thought the linen and floral was my favorite, but then I saw the black ticking, then the gingham….oh my!

I enjoy many crafts and up cycling items but sewing just isn’t in my wheelhouse. So when I see what you were able to create I am truly amazed and impressed! They are all super cute! Thanks for adding them to your shop for all us non sewers.

Larissa, as I scrolled down the colors, kept on getting better and better till you got to the blue!! Then my eyes popped!! These have to be the cutest lunch bags I’ve ever seen!

I love the denim and bandanna tote! I have not heard of PUL or Insul-Bright! Good to know:) These are all just lovely! They look like they belong in Saks or some upscale boutique! Glad you renewed your relationship with the sewing machines! You produce such cute things. XOXO

I couldn’t resist making that one as it automatically goes together…right?!? hee hee. Thank you so much. I’m glad I’ve introduced you to some new, fun things. I’m ecstatic I was able to have a sew fest. Yay!

These are so stinking cute! Love the added detail of the pull up top closure. They would have been cute as just the bag but the added part makes them extra cute.

Awesome to hear! Thank you. The added height is so handy when you have a tall drink, etc. I go nuts sometimes when I have those items that make my smaller bags useless.

I love how you upcycled the skirts to make your lunch bags and they’re so cute. They all seem to have their own personality. I upcycle with clothes that get a stain that refuses to come out and I make them into doll clothes for the grandnieces. No one knows that there was previous life lived by the fabric! I also turn jeans into purses. It’s very fulfilling to be creative!

It is the BEST feeling! My kids dive into my scraps as well making doll clothes and this and that. It makes my mama heart so happy. High five to you, Janet! 😀

Oh my stars! Love your bags! BTW, I must have missed the post about your sewing machine and serger… Did they die? Get stolen? I wish I had your skills…. but math. :/

Wonderful! That is so fun to hear. My machines were just missing me as our remodel, homeschooling, and business take all my time. My crochet, embroidery, and fun cooking miss me too. haha.

These are so fun and practical. I am trying to downsize and this is a good way to use up a lot of stuff that doesn’t yest have a designated purpose. Thanks. I hope you will keep these great ideas coming our way.

Thank you for getting what I was after. I adore style, but gotta have my function first. I have very little room as well and this makes it fun for me to use up my stash.

I can not pick out a favorite bag. They are all just wonderful and so colorful. I would enjoy owning any of them.

I love these bags. I really like the inside that cinches closed, although I do not need the insulation, I would prefer to have one with just regular material lining. Do you have or are you planning on making any without the insulation to sell in your store? I like the linen with the ticking, great job!

These are just beautiful and you are so resourceful! I love all the different color combinations. I do not have your creativity so my thoughts would be pillows.

Larissa, these are all so pretty! Talk about carrying and eatting your lunch in style! My favorite is the denim linen, but each one is beautiful!

I love the insulated bags!!! And I love that they are made from linen. Linen and linen cotton blends are my favorite!!!!
So why not make some pillow covers with ties or valences.
I love to Appliqué or embroider on linen.
Keep posting your repurposed fabric projects-so inspirational!
(Actually is is important to recycle fabric, it keeps it out of the landfills . (And the horror of it all yo think there is linen in landfills 😱😉)

Fantastic! You are definitely a kindred spirit. Yes, I do anything in my house to avoid putting waste in landfills. We use hankies, reusable bags, rags instead of paper towels, etc. It’s those little things that help so much. Save the linen! tee hee.

Thanks!! I was going to donate if I couldn’t find time, but I forced myself to have at it. I have another stash I’ll be working through too that really needs me to find more time. Soon!

How CUTE! Is there anything you can’t or don’t do? I LOVE them all, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the cream colored one with a flower on it with the red gingham liner. You are amazing!

So glad our paths crossed. You are a true inspiration and I am very blessed to say that I have a few of your creations in my own home. Can’t wait to receive my new insulated lunch tote. What a wonderful way to upcycle a beautiful skirt. I love linen anything. Stay awesome chica!!

The florals are my favorite, but they are all great. The little extra room at the top is a nice addition, as I often find I need just a bit of extra space when packing lunch bags.

These are gorgeous!!! I love them! That beautiful natural linen with black stripes and polka dots on the inside has won my heart… or maybe one of the floral linen…??? These are REALLY beautiful!!! I need to make some bags! I’m pinning this inspiration! Thanks!

You sound like a gal after my own heart, Becky. Thank you so much! My design seems to be well-loved as I am making them as fast as I can as they fly out of my shop. Yay! 😀

This is so funny! I just bought a dress at the thrift store, it was a generous XL…not my size, but the fabric was so pretty for $1.50 I had to bring it home. I thought of you and so I popped on here for inspiration and lo and behold, you came through! Thanks!

Thank you, Larissa!! I ordered one of these bags from you and absolutely love it. The quality is great and very functional. I have to admit I’m using it as a handbag at the moment..teehee. Keep up the good work. I love seeing what you create out of the simplest stuff.

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