I am so excited about my square bowl cozy! I used it today for the first time and what a difference it made in heating up my lunch at work. It sounds like a silly thing to be excited about but it really turned out great and I am eager to tell you about it!
Maybe I should have picked a more attractive lunch for taking this picture. LOL I don’t know how food bloggers take pictures of food! 🙂 This is my homemade cabbage soup made from my own stock. It’s one of my favorite lunches!
(This post contains affiliate links to some of the items I used in this project. It just means that you will help to support my blog if you make a purchase after clicking the links. There is no added cost to you!)
So, why are all the bowl cozy patterns for round bowls? I really needed a square bowl cozy. Almost every day, I take my own lunch food to work so I can eat healthy. The latest news is that heating up your food in a microwave in plastic containers is bad and glass is good. It made sense to me so I switched to glass.
I usually pack my lunch in the 30-ounce or 26-ounce GlassLock® containers. They are square glass containers with a plastic locking lid and they fit in my lunch tote so much better than the round containers. The drawback is the glass gets so hot in the microwave. The first few times I used them I rolled up some paper towel to get my container out of the microwave. Then I started using an old potholder. That worked a little better but I am often worried that the container will slip off the pot holder, especially when I’m trying to take it out of the upper of the two microwaves at work (seriously, why do the really tall guys use the bottom microwave?).
Then I thought a “bowl cozy” might work better than a pot holder. I have seen a lot of bowl cozies on Pinterest but none of them were for square containers.
Time to DIY!
Since I could not find a pattern for a square bowl cozy I decided to make my own! And, I’m going to share it with you because no one needs burned fingers carrying a hot glass container to a lunch table or a desk for lunch. My pattern even has carrying handles!
The pattern I created is designed around the GlassLock® 26 and 30 ounces size square containers. Since I don’t expect to only have those containers, I made it a little loose to accommodate something a little larger for when I acquire more glass food storage containers. If your glass containers are similar in size, they will likely still fit. You can take the pattern and scale it up or down to fit your square glass containers.
Materials and Supplies to Make Your Own Square Bowl Cozy
You will need the following to make your own square bowl cozy.
- Cotton batting (do not use thermal batting – it is not safe in a microwave)
- Bias Tape
- Make your own: Using my instructions for making bias tape, plan for 60″ of 2-inch wide bias tape, or
- Purchase: You will need 1 package of bias tape (extra wide-double fold)
- Straight pins — optionally, you can also use Sewing clips (these are great! for the top edge)
- Sewing machine
- Pattern – The pattern is available from my free Resource Library
If you have fabric scraps from other projects, you probably have enough to make this project. You could also upcycle old jeans or old cotton flannel shirts. I dipped into my stash of scraps to make this square bowl cozy. If you need to buy fabric you will need a third of a yard (to account for shrinkage of the fabric when you pre-wash it).
I made my own bias tape which meant I also needed a 13″ square of fabric.
Constructing the Square Bowl Cozy
Step 1 – Cut out the Fabric and Batting
Using the patterns in my free Resource Library,
- Inner Layer: Cut 1 on a fold
- Outer Layer: Cut 1 on a fold
- Batting Layer: Cut 1 on a fold
My pattern pieces reference cutting on a fold because there is not enough space on a sheet of paper for you to print a whole pattern. You can print two copies of the pattern pieces and tape the “fold” edges together.
Step 2 – Mark the Corners
For both the inner and outer layers of fabric, you will stitch a dart in each of the four corners. To make this easy, mark the dart. I poke a hole through the paper pattern at the point of the triangle. Using a pencil, mark the corner then and draw the lines to the points.
Step 3 – Stitch the Corners
With right sides together, fold the fabric and and stitch along the dart marks. Repeat for all four corners on both the inner and outer layers of the square bowl cozy fabrics.
Press the seams to the side. You should press them so when you put the layers together, the darts from the inner layer are not folded in the same direction as the outer layer. That would cause you to have to stitch through too many layers of fabric on one side of the dart. In the picture below, the dart from the inner layer is folded and pressed in the opposite direction as the dart for the outer layer.
Step 4 – Assemble the Layers
I found this easiest to do by laying the inner layer on my GlassLock® container, then positioning the batting layer, and finally the outer layer.
- Place the “right” side of the inner layer against the glass container.
- Lay on the batting layer, lining up the cutout to the darts.
- Place the “wrong/back” side of the outer layer against the batting layer, making sure you have those darts positioned so they are not on top of each other.
Step 5 – Quilting Stitches
To make sure the batting layer does not shift around over time, I did some quilt-like stitching. You can do this with your sewing machine, do it by hand or even just stitch/tack it down in a few places with needle and thread. I prefer to do it with my sewing machine.
Find or mark the center of the square base and place into your sewing machine.
Start your stitching from the center and work out toward the straight edge. Move the needle back to the center and stitch to another edge. Repeat for the next two edges.
Optionally, you can add stitching from center of the base to the four corners.
Step 6 – Top Basting
Using a basting stitch on your machine, stitch along the top edge using a 1/4″ seam. You can see here that my darts are pressed in opposite directions in the corner.
Step 7 – Adding the Bias Tape Around the Top Edge
If you are making your own bias tape, head over to my instructions for making your own bias tape before proceeding.
Open the bias tape and attach it to the inside of the square bowl cozy. Pin or clip into place. Make sure the starting point for the bias tape has a fold that is about 1/2″ deep. This gives you a finished edge instead of a raw edge. This is NOT a required step. It’s “just” a bowl cozy. Mine isn’t fancy. It’s functional! 🙂
Stitch along the first fold line in the bias tape.
Fold the bias tape over the edge of the square bowl cozy, lining up the fold in the bias tape to the stitching you can see that you just made. Pin or clip into place. Stitch close to the folded edge.
Step 8 – Adding the Bias Tape Handles (Optional)
The handles, if you choose to add them, require around 30″ of bias tape — if you use bias tape.
I wanted the handles to match so I just used the bias tape. Bias tape is, as the name describes, but on the bias — at an angle to the straight grain of the fabric. That means it can stretch, which is why it is so useful for going around corners!
I don’t want my handles to stretch. You could use some strapping left over from another project or make your own fabric tubes for the straps. But, if you want to use bias tape, like I did, you can “stabilize” the bias tape by stitching it. I stitched three rows into my bias tape. This picture is a close up so you can see what I’m describing.
I wasn’t super-precise in the positioning of the handles. The only part I was careful about was the length of the handles so they were the same length. You might want a longer handle. I wanted to be able to carry it with one hand from the microwave in the kitchenette to my desk.
Stitching the handles to the cozy is just something you have to do patiently because of the 3-dimensional nature of the item. Take your time and it will turn out fine.
Your New Square Bowl Cozy is Now Complete!
I made this on a Sunday and took it to work the next day. This turned out great! I don’t know why I didn’t think to make a square bowl cozy sooner. My fingers are nowhere near the glass now so I can’t burn myself. It’s so easy to take it out of the microwave and carry it away using the handles. I think I will make another one so I can have a backup cozy for the days I need to take the cozy home and toss in the laundry… because sometimes I have boil-over in the microwave. 🙂 Any ideas how to prevent that!?
I noticed an unexpected benefit that it keeps my food warm longer because less heat is escaping from the container into the table. It’s insulated by the cozy. Bonus!
If you make this, I would love to see yours. Post it in my Facebook group.