Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cooler Jug for Mike

I'm here today to share a project that wasn't an utter failure but came pretty close.  Mike wanted a lined coozy-cooler-case for his half gallon water jug so he could mount it on the bike for his long road trips.  We decided to make it out of neoprene with a lining of that stuff that car sunscreens are made out of.  

The problems began and ended with the choice of materials.  I started with the lining, and noticed first, that it was too stiff to force under the sewing machine and that the wrinkles from the folding sunscreen made pretty permanent fold lines.  I wound up using a combination of glue and large hand stitches, all put in with a curved upholstery needle.

The neoprene was way worse however.  We couldn't find any locally, so Mike ordered some we found on Amazon.  Unfortunately it wasn't quite what I was expecting.  It was flimsy and wasn't fabric lined on either side.  It's one of the reasons I hate buying specialty fabric online- you never know quite what you're going to get.  It was crazy expensive too!  Anyhow, I couldn't sew with it at all without covering both sides of every seam with tissue paper, which made a huge mess when I ripped it off.  I discovered the serger worked fairly well to sew the seams (it was pretty thin stuff), but the fabric had absolutely no strength!  It tore like paper as soon as you'd sewn it down.  He wanted a little strap on the bottom to loop over the back bike footpeg, and one on the side through which he could insert a bungee cord, and both tore off in an instant the second he tried to put them on the bike.  What horrible horrible material.  Anyway, the cylindrical case itself was ok, but it's terribly ugly. All the seams are wretched and I'm never working with that stuff again.  I'm sort of ashamed to have him go off in public with something like this, but he's leaving Tuesday and it's too late to make something else.  I told him if he didn't care about the "insulating" factor, I'd make him something much nicer out of canvas or something truly sturdy.  I say "insulating" in quotes because I don't actually think the thing will provide a whole lot of extra insulation over what would be achieved just with the cooler jug itself, but who knows.

I almost didn't post this project, but I figured I might as well!  Not everything goes as planned, but it could have been worse!


  1. The final photo makes it look good and practical. Nothing embarrasing here. Even though you had so many issues, at least you've learned a few things you didn't know before :)

  2. To make a coozy case for the silver stuff you might try automobile headliner material fabric that I've seen at Hancocks fabrics. It has a foam core with a jersey like material fused on the outside. It can be sewn on a machine. Thicker than that rubber stuff.

    1. You are so right about this- I love that headliner fabric, I use it to interface bags pretty often and I'm not sure why I didn't think to use it for this. It definitely would have been way better. Thanks for the suggestion!