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Turn an old towel into a cute and roomy tote bag with this super easy tutorial for a towel bag. Perfect not only for the beach season, this roomy towel beach bag is a great help for when you need to carry lots of items because it’s so comfortable to wear on your shoulder!
Ever wondered how to make a beach bag out of a towel? It’s insanely easy to sew and loads and loads of fun to wear! This towel bag is a super easy summer project, perfect for the beginner sewist and a great opportunity to recycle an old towel! Read along as I show you how a beach towel turns into a practical beach towel bag, in just a matter of minutes! You’ll want to make a ton of these babies!
This tutorial has been converted to a PDF file, available to purchase here. This article is completely free to read.
The end result is a towel tote that is cute, functional, easy to carry and very comfortable to wear on your shoulder. I couldn’t wait to wear mine at the beach. This is great to wear at the pool too by the way!
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My tutorial is for a large DIY beach bag that is super, super simple to make if you don’t want to make your tote lined as I did; totally optional. I wanted to add lining to my towel bag only because I really really liked the fabric I used for the lining and just wanted to add a pop of color to my tote bag. The fabric is from a pillowcase and I’ve sewn the lining to peak out a little all the way along the opening of the bag. Isn’t it cute like that?
What do you need for a towel bag?
If you make a basic bag, with no lining, you just need towels. If you add lining, you’ll need fabric for lining too.
I picked a very large towel for my towel bag, in a slightly darker blue and 2 little towels in a lighter shade of blue for the handles and the front design. The reason I made this beach bag so ginormous is because I always have to carry about a zillion beach toys, 5 different types of sunscreen, 2 short and long sleeve t-shirts or cover-ups, 4 different sets of swimsuits, water and snacks. Just to mention the “bare necessities” lol
There’s never enough room in my old beach bags so I needed a gigantic one! I call it the Monster Beach Bag! But it’s still darn adorable, in spite of the size, don’t you think? But the most surprising part is, though it’s so big and obviously carries lots of stuff, this towel bag is so comfortable to wear, it will not hurt your shoulder a bit, because it’s got so much soft padding on the handles.
Towel beach bag
- 1 large towel in a darker blue aqua color (similar here)
- 2 hand towels, one with a sea shell design, both in a light blue color (I cut out the design on one of the towels to add it to the front of my bag and I used the other towel to make the handles. (Similar here and here)
- fabric for lining, slightly taller (about 2 1/2 “) and about 1/8” narrower than the large towel. (Similar here)
- matching thread (I used heavy duty thread)
- 100/16 jeans needle
- sewing machine
To make the handles
- First of all, expect lots of lint so make sure your clean your machine often. Go slow over bulky areas.
- Make the handles: grab one of the light blue towels and cut the fabric the length and width you want your handles to be (I cut mine 26″ x 6″ = 67 cm x 13 cm). I kept the seam from my towel and cut around it to get the length and width I needed. Split the width in 3 and make marks.
- Using the marks, fold the side with the raw edge in, then fold the side with the finished edge.
- Sew along the finished edge, on the inside (I had to sew with a 1/8″ allowance). Then sew along the other side, using the same allowance. Then sew 2 more stitches inside the handle.
To attach the handles to the bag
- Take your large towel and place it on the table right side out.
- Divide into 3 and make marks. Attach the handles where you made the marks and sew the handles down, about 2″ from their end up.
- Cut out the design on the other light blue towel and place it over the handles, horizontally, right side out, then sew along all sides.
To sew the towel bag
- Now fold your towel in half, wrong side out and sew along the sides only, using a 1/2″ allowance.
- Box the bag using any of these methods. I used the first one.
- Unless you want to line the bag as I did, you’re done!
To add lining
- If you add the lining, follow these steps. Cut the fabric as instructed in the materials section. Finish the edge of the opening by folding 1/2″ of the fabric.
- Fold the fabric, wrong side out and sew along the sides.
- Insert the lining into main bag, keeping it wrong side out while the bag is right side out. The lining should be 2″ taller than the main bag.
- Fold the excess lining fabric over the bag opening and pin in place.
- Sew 1/8″ away from the edge of the folded lining then sew 3 more stitches along the opening.
- Your bag is done! Enjoy your beach time!
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