My husband and I have a couple of glass growlers for those times we want to bring home a local craft beer from a brewpub that doesn’t put it in cans or bottles. We only tend to use them when there is a BBQ or party where a group of friends will be there to help us drink a little under 2 liters of beer (an open growler goes flat more quickly than a 2 liter of pop) over the course of a long afternoon into the evening with a bonfire. In other words, not very often.
No to mention in Ohio to go growlers have to be made of glass, which are hard to keep cold and carry if you are also juggling pot luck food as you walk from your car to the party spot. There are a lot of wood growler caddies out there but I really want something insulated. That way I can also use the growler as a water jug to refill our sports bottles from the car when we are out and about.
When I can’t buy, I DIY! I dove into my fabric stash, grabbed some leftover corsetry fabric, and sewed an insulated growler caddy. If you are looking for a handmade gift idea for men, based on my husband's reaction, this is a good one. He liked the idea so much that he encouraged me to make a second insulated tote bag for the other growler.
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How to Make an Insulated Beer Growler Tote
You will need:
Outer fabric – I’m using a combination of duck canvas and the last of a slightly lighter weight canvas curtain
Inner insulated fabric layer – you can use Insul Bright (learn more about Insul Bright here) terry cloth towels (a great way to repurpose the usable parts of a bath towel on its way out) or fleece. I'm using cuddle fleece from my stash and I will apologize right now for all of the little bits of fleece fluff I thought I got before I took photos and realized I didn't when it came time to upload the photos for you.
lining fabric – You can use traditional cotton fabric or any fabric of your choosing. I’m using canvas. you can buy a variety of canvas sewing fabric, including waterproof canvas here
1 inch wide nylon or cotton webbing like this kind
Straight pins or sewing clips like these for sewing thick fabrics – so helpful!
Iron and Ironing board
Step by Step How to Make it Tutorial:
1. Trace the bottom of the growler with the tailor’s chalk or pencil and add 1 1/2 inches to the outside of the circle with the sewing gage for a seam allowance. Cut one circle from the outside, inside, and lining fabric.
2. Use the scissors to cut a rectangle of fabric 22 inches long by 10 1/2 inches wide from the outside, inside, and lining fabric.
3. Make a fabric sandwich with the right sides (the pretty side of the fabric you want to show) of the lining and outer fabric facing out and the lining fabric in the center for the bottom and sides of the growler bag and either serge or zig zag stitch the outside edges of the three layers of fabric together. This will keep the fabric sandwich layers together while you are sewing the rest of the project.
4. Use the scissors to cut a rectangle of fabric (or webbing) 31 inches long and 3 inches wide for the handle. You can skip using fabric to cover the webbing and just use webbing for the handle. The color of the webbing I had on hand didn’t coordinate with my fabrics which is why I made cloth tote bag handles.
5. Fold and pin the handle fabric in half lengthwise and use the sewing machine to sew the seam in place.
6. Turn the handle right side out so the seam is in the inside of the fabric handle tube. Tip: Using a loop turner like this one will make turning the fabric tube right side out much easier! Insert the webbing into the center of the handle.
7. Pin each side of the handle 4 1/2 inches from each edge of the outside of the side growler piece and sew them into place. Tip: do not sew the handle into place all the way to the top edge of the growler caddy or it will be difficult to add the drawstring top. I sewed each strap 1 1/2 inches from the top of the bag.
8. Make the V in the front seam for the grower’s glass handle by folding over the fabric at an angle 3 to 4 inches from the growler’s bag;s top and sewing it into place. I didn’t turn my seam under because it would be too thick to sew though which is another reason why I suggest you serge/over lock stitch/zigzag your layers together in Step 3.
The V leaves room for the growler jug handle and makes it easier to add/remove the growler from the carrying bag.
9. Pin the right sides of the growler bag together and sew it together making a tube from the bottom of the bag and stop at the bottom of the fabric V we made in Step 8.
10. Pin or clip the round bottom to the bottom of the fabric tube and use the sewing machine to sew it into place. Remove the pins clips and turn the bag right side out.
11. Cut a rectangle of fabric that is 34 inches long and 4 inches wide for the drawstring top of the insulated growler carrying bag. I chose a contrasting color of fabric for interest but you can use whatever color fabric you like.
12. Fold the rectangle of fabric in half lengthwise right side down and use the iron to press the fold in place.
13. Unfold the fabric. Fold one half of the fabric toward the center fold and press the fold into place. Repeat this for the other side of the fabric triangle. If you say – Hey! That looks like a very big piece of bias tape! You’re right! We just made a big piece of bias tape. We are going to use it to finish our insulated growler tote.
14. Serge/over lock/zig zag stitch each end of the Big Ol’ Bias Tape Like Top Piece.
15. Unfold the Big Ol’ Bias Tape Like Top Piece and pin it to the top edge of the growler bag, folding the serged end pieces over on them selves to make a finished edge.
16. Sew the Big Ol’ Bias Tape Like Top Piece to the bag along the first fold.
17. Fold and pin the Big Ol’ Bias Tape Like Top Piece over the to of the growler tote’s top edge and use the sewing machine to sew it into place. Tip: You may want to trim a little bit of the fabric, insulating layer, and lining fabric from the top edge of the bag so the Big Ol’ Bias Tape Like Top Piece neatly folds over it and makes the drawstring channel.
18. Thread the drawstring into the drawstring channel.
19. Put your growler into your DIY insulated growler caddy, pull the drawstring tightly around the top, tie it into place, and tote on!
If you’d rather buy than DIY, check out the following options – and more! – below!
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