As you may know, my daughter has a lot of food allergies.
That means we have to carry her epi-pen and Benadryl with us wherever we go.
Shortly after I found out about my daughter’s allergies, I joined the No Nuts Moms group on Facebook. They are a really informed allergy support group. One of the articles they shared when I first joined was about how to properly store your epi-pen, which I was doing completely wrong! Yikes!
The article talked about keeping the epi-pen in a padded, insulated case so that it wouldn’t get too hot or cold or too banged up while we are on the go. Instead of buying one of the recommended cases, in true DIY mom fashion, I of course decided to make my own. 🙂
I grabbed the red zipper from my Go To Sew Mystery Box and designed a simple epi-pen case and free pattern to share!
I wanted it to be only big enough to house an Epi-Pen, a bottle of Benadryl and a medicine syringe. I also wanted it to scream, “This is for a first aid emergency!” so that if someone else needed to retrieve the Epi-Pen from my bottomless pit of a diaper bag, they would be able to spot it immediately. 🙂
Here’s how to make one…
1/4 yard red duck cloth
1/4 yard cotton lining material
1/4 yard Insul-Bright (batting used for oven mitts and insulated lunch sacks)
a scrap of white felt
a red 12″ (or longer) zipper (should be about 1 3/8 inches wide)
*Seam allowance is 3/8 of an inch unless otherwise noted.
1. First, print up the free pattern: EPI-PEN CASE free pattern BY DELIA CREATES
(If the link doesn’t work, I have a download button for the pattern at the end of this post.)
Be sure to print the pattern at “actual size” or scaled to 100%. You can also check to make sure the pattern printed at the correct size by measuring the one inch test square.
2. Cut all your pieces.
Two bag pieces for each your main fabric (duck cloth), lining and insulated batting.
One 12.5 x 2.25 inch strip of each your main, lining, and batting.
Two strips 10.5 x 1.25 inches of your main and lining fabric.
One First Aid cross cut from white felt (not pictured).
3. Top-stitch your white felt cross to the outside of one of your main fabric bag pieces.
Felt doesn’t fray, so all you need to do is just sew close to the edge.
4. Now sew your smaller strips to the zipper. Put one strip’s long edge up to the outside edge of your zipper (right sides together) overlapping it 3/8 of an inch past the zipper stop, and sew. Repeat with the other side.
5. Fold the strips over so they are right sides facing up and press with a hot iron.
Top-stitch the strips down close to the folded edges.
Zip the zipper back up and trim away an excess zipper length.
6. Take the larger main fabric strip and pin it (right sides together) to the zipper strip by the short ends only.
The zipper strip should now be the same exact width as the wider main strip.
Sew the short ends to each other, thus creating a loop.
Top-stitch the seam allowance next to the zipper at the short ends so it lays nice and flat.
7. Assemble the outer bag.
Mark the mid points on the main bag pieces and the zipper loop.
Pin the loop as evenly as possible to one of the main bag pieces.
8. Sew all the way around.
9. Open the zipper just a little bit and pin the other main bag piece to the other side of the zipper loop.
10. Sew all the way around – slowly.
Now clip notches at all the curved seams and trim down the seam allowance to about 1/4 inch. Turn it right side out and smooth out the seams with your fingers, turn it back inside out and cut more notches as needed.
I honestly feel I could have spent more time on this step and believe that my project ending up not looking as crisp because I rushed it. So, I recommend taking your time and clipping lots of notches so that it will turn right side out more neatly.
Now you’re read you sew your lining!
PREPARE BAG LINING
11. Sew your batting to your lining pieces. I chose to sew with a zig zag stitch close to the edge, but it won’t show in the final product, so this is up to you. Just make sure it’s close to the edge and not at the normal 3/8 inch seam allowance.
12. Take your small lining strips, fold one long edge down 3/8 inch, and press with a hot iron.
13. Sew the smaller strips to the larger lining strip. Line the outside, unfolded edge up with the outside of the larger strip. There should be a gap between the smaller strips’ folded edges. Sew short ends together only.
14. Assemble the lining/batting bag in the same way you sewed the outer bag. You do not need to worry about cutting notches here though, because you will not be turning the lining inside out.
15. Insert the lining into the outer bag.
16. Blind stitch the folded edge of the bag liner to the zippered portion of the outer bag.
An insulated, padded bag that’s easy to grab and store for wherever you’re going!
*Remember, if you are going to be out in the direct heat all day, keep this bag in a dark place, or place in a cooler chest close to the lid and away from the ice. You don’t want to refrigerate it, but you want it to stay as close to room temperature as possible.
Red duck cloth and white felt: Jo-Ann Fabric
Lining: Riley Blake Apple of My Eye collection
Red Zipper: Coats & Clark
Oh my goodness! Two of my kids have severe peanut allergies and I had no idea that the epi-pen was supposed to be stored in a special way! I'll definitely be using this–thanks for sharing!
This is great. My youngest is allergic to tree nuts and strawberries and raspberries. Thank you for this!
Thank you for this. My little guy is egg and penicillin allergic and very dairy sensitive. I need to make this now. I had no idea throwing the epi pen box in the diaper bag is not the way to store it.
Lynette @ My Craft Discovery says
Wow, what a wonderful tutorial! It looks like this is going to be very helpful for a lot of families. And you made it so cute too! I love the apple/polka dots! How fun. So smart to make it red with the cross on it so it can be found quickly if needed! Thanks for sharing!
wow delia, great tutorial. Such a great purposeful project, too. I love sewing when there is a specific need in mind.
This is so cute! Even if it serves a medical purpose I'd use it for my makeup! Love the first aid cross on the front. Lovely Delia
[email protected] is not optional says
I love how you said you wanted it to scream "medical!" cause it totally does (and in an adorable way)
Falafel and the Bee says
There are so many of us with these pens. My daughter and I are both allergic to gluten (and she has an egg allergy)- but I only need th epipen and I always carry Benadryl.
Thank you so much for the tutorial! I love that the bag looks like a medical bag, so there would be no mistaking it in an emergency!
Im so glad you posted this! I am going to make one this weekend, my son is allergic to melons, nuts, eggs, corn and tomatoes. I had no idea that you are suppose to store it in a soft case, mine is thrown into my diaper bag.
Erin A says
This is such a great idea! I love the cross on it too, it definitely makes the statement you were going for. I don't need one for an epi pen, but am tempted to whip one up for bandaids, cream, uhhh…chapstick…everything… 🙂
Oh my gosh – you read my mind! i was going to whip something up for my epi-pens when I spotted this! Now I can just make yours! love it!
I love this project. Our allergist gave us a special case for our epi-pens (dual pack). But, it's royal blue, so it doesn't really look like medicine. One thing I like about it is that it has belt loops on the back side so it can be super easy to carry alone. Also, for hiking or other extreme temp conditions we have a Medi Cool pouch (made for insulin but can be used to keep any medical
I am betting that you can add belt loops to the outside of the bag, before you seam in the lining.
I plan on revising the pattern to make it a bit wider for my son who is diabetic and must carry an insulin pen and meter w/ strips..
It was great when we had “fanny packs” those worked just great.
Hi Trayne, did you try adding loops? I’m hoping to do the same
Stacy W. says
Very nice- can’t wait to make one of these for dd’s Epipens!
Just make sure you carry BOTH epipens with you (I only saw one in the picture). You never know when someone will have a biphasic reaction or medical care is delayed and you need both.
I have been in need of a diabetic bag just a wee bit bigger than the one my meter and such came in. I enlarged yiur super easy pattern and made it today. I didnt do mine red with the white cross but with green and blue polka dots. Im so glad I came across this!
I paid $50 for a belt pack for my daughter with the medical alert symbol on the ends and a design on the pack. It didn’t last but a school year and I can’t afford to keep getting new packs. It wasn’t insulated either. So we will be giving this a try and hopefully we will do a good job. Thanks you for the pattern and saving me money!
$50?! That’s nuts. I am so glad to help!
I didn’t make mine for epi-pens but for my diabetic supplies. I enlarged it a bit and used polka dot fabric and I LOVE IT. Thank you so much for the easy pattern that even I can do!
Wonderful! It’s so good to hear you could use it for other purposes. Glad to be of help! 🙂
I’ve developed exercise-induced anaphylaxis and have to carry around two Auvi-Qs and a bunch of steroids. I’ve been using an ugly bag that I painted a cross on to help make the kit obvious if I’m unable to use it myself. I’m so excited to try out your tutorial – could you go in to more detail about snipping a metal zipper down to size and sewing over it? I’ve read you can go right over it with your machine but I fear it’ll just snap the needle.
Sure! It can be scary to sew over a metal zipper. Just go very slowly. Maybe even hand crank your needle when you go over the metal teeth so you can better control where the needle goes. As for snipping a metal zipper down to size… Since both ends of the zipper will be enclosed for this project, it is pretty simple. Keep the zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper and then trim it down from the top (while it’s zipped up, so it stays even, but make sure the pull is below where you are going to cut). Make sure to leave at at least an inch of overhang for it to get sewn into the bag. Use heavy duty scissors that you use for paper or crafts (not your sewing scissors). It’s when you need to shorten a metal separating zipper that it gets more complicated.
I hope that helps! Happy sewing! 🙂
My son (23 months) has just been diagnosed with peanut allergy and while scouring online for a suitable carry case, I remembered seeing this on your blog a while back. I too want something that screams “medical stuff inside!” but am having a hard time finding exactly what I want. SO excited to give this a try this weekend! Thank you so much.
I am sorry to hear about your son’s allergy! So glad to help!
Thank you so much for sharing. Can you believe that I have seen this little pouch photo everywhere online a while ago and until today I found your tutorial. It looks so professional. Well done. I can’t wait to try if I can do it. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry your child have allergies. My kids doesn’t have but my friend child does and I don’t know too much about this things. I have been educating my self and with your great tutorial I think you have given me the oportunity of show her that I care even tho my brain sometimes makes me act dumm like when I gave pizza with cheese to her child and he is allergic to the cheeze. Thank you so much again for sharing. I really appreciate it and the instructions are so clear that it couldn’t be better. Thanks.
You are such a great friend to want to make this for your friend! Really, people like you are far and few between. Happy sewing!
Gillian BC says
I made this bag. Looks so easy in your instructions, but it’s actually quite tricky to get right with it having curved corners and a vertical plane meeting a horizontal plane. I found it easiest to clip the corners before sewing and used a glue stick to hold it together. Great tutorial and I’m going to have another go as this basic shape is the basis for so many bags e.g. Kipling Ravier backpack
I’m in love with this pattern and currently working very slowly on it, I’m a little intimidated by sewing… can you explain in step six why it’s necessary to have that loop? Curious why you can’t cut the bigger strip so it’s the same length as the zipper.
Hi Caroline! Good question. So, the loop of fabric is for the part that goes around the perimeter of the bag and includes the zipper. You can certainly leave the zipper longer and reduce the length of the fabric piece if you want. Just make sure, that however you adjust it, that it fits the perimeter of the front and back bag pieces. Did I understand your question correctly? Does that help? Let me know if you have any further questions. I’m happy to help! 🙂
Excellent tutorial. I have been carrying my Epi-Pen in the box the original prescription came in, then stuck into my purse. (I am allergic to wasp stings and we live in the country!) For the short term I dug up a small bag from a first aid kit, which is much more visible than the prescription box. I will sew a bag like yours soon.
What a wonderful tutorial for those of us with medical needs! Thank you! While I don’t have nut allergies I do have severe asthma triggered by chemicals, ie perfumes etc. I will need to enlarge this a bit to hold my inhalers. Currently I use a bike bag from LL Bean but it is a tight fit. Might add a small inside pocket to keep my medication list in so it doesn’t get continually crumpled. Thank you again!
Thanks Jan! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I have a friend who suffers from similar triggers. I feel for you! A pocket inside sounds like a great addition!
For the medication list. I use a 3X5 card. After writing all the information with ball point ink I sandwich it between two pieces of clear contact paper cut an inch larger than the card. Trim plastic to 1/8 inch from edge of card. Waterproof and crinkle-proof. Easy lamination without the fancy machine.
Great idea! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the pattern and tutorial.I have been looking for something like this to carry my Epi Pen and 5 bottles of allergy pills. Now my Dr. won’t fuss at me because I don’t bring all my allergy to my doctor visits. I am 65. This is all new to me.
So happy to help! I can imagine it’s a big adjustment. Hugs. <3
Maureen Newman says
Could you please do a video tutorial. Mine had the lining too big for the bag and couldn’t understand the 2 inch difference in the parts attached to zipper. I searched for a video but couldn’t find it.
Maureen…I’m sorry. Video tutorials take a lot of work to create and I have too many other projects in the works. I’d be happy to try to help you though. What materials are you using for the lining and the outer fabric? Sometimes that can make a difference in how the pieces fit together. If that’s not it, we can trouble shoot via email. Email me at [email protected] and we can work it out.
Holly Shaltz says
I came across your pattern via Pinterest and am wanting to make it for my emergency steroid injection kit. However, none of the photos seem to be on this page. I did download the pattern pdf a while ago, and that seems to still be available. I can probably manage without the photos, and/or find them all on Pinterest, but it would be easier for many if they were on this page again 🙂 Thanks for sharing what is a great pattern!
I’m so sorry that you can’t see the images. I doubled check and they are still there for me. Are you using an ad blocker? That will often also block view of the pictures.
Holly Shaltz says
Nope, no ad blocker – alas, I see all the ads on all the websites I go to 🙂
Oh darn! I’m not sure why you can’t see the photos then. May I ask what browser you are using? Maybe I can reach out to my host to figure out what’s wrong.
Holly Shaltz says
Well, I used to be able to see the image on Linix Mint Firefox but I “upgraded” to a never version since then. No worries, I can search Pinterest for your pattern, and pin all the photos from this page that way. Thanks for taking the time to a) make the pattern; b) share it; and c) responding to my problem!
Madison hogan says
Hello, I’d love to make this bag for my medicine, but when I go to click the free pattern, it says my access is denied by google and that you have to approve it.
I’m so sorry about that. I am going to update the link so that my site hosts the pattern rather than google. Google just did an update and it’s making all my links to google docs require approval. I try to approve them as soon as I get them, but it’s been a big chore.