How to make a bag with a towel

Tired of toting needed items that are not purse-worthy in that ancient, falling-apart canvas bag from a long-ago museum visit or even worse, a plastic grocery bag? This lovely fabric tote will make carrying even mundane items that much more delightful.
The project is ingenious yet simple. It can be made with one patterned or solid fabric, or a mélange of choices with each side panel and handle a different pattern or shade. This just-right-sized tote bag will not only look great over your shoulder, but it will also stand out as bona fide piece of art on a coat tree or hook system. Transport your things with style and confidence — there’s no reason not to!
- Kitchen or generously-sized tea towel
- Cutting mat
- Plastic gridded sewing template
- Rotary cutter
- Scissors
- Roll of fusible interfacing
- Iron
- Transparent plastic ruler
- Straight pins on a pincushion
- Thread
- Small sewing scissors
- Sewing machine
DIY Everywhere
1. Place the towel fabric on a cutting mat, and fold in half width-wise.
2. Using a rotary cutter and a plastic gridded sewing template, cut two 3-inch-wide strips off each side of the towel. If the strips are still attached in any way to the towel, finish cutting them off using the scissors.
3. Cut four pieces of 2-inch-wide fusible interfacing for lining the backside of fabric. Make sure their length is the same as the fabric strips.
4. Iron the interfacing to the backsides of each of the fabric strips, but leave half an inch of fabric on either side of the interfacing.
5. On each strap, fold both of the fabric pieces on either side of the interfacing inward, toward the interfacing, and iron flat.
6. Fold one strap in half lengthwise, and connect the top and bottom halves of the fabric and interfacing with straight pins. The pins should be about 1 inch from each other.
7. Repeat step 6 on the other strap.
8. Straight stitch each strap using the sewing machine, removing the straight pins as you go.
9. Cut any excess thread after the stitching process with the scissors.
10. Iron each strap flat.
11. Iron the backside of the remaining fabric thoroughly, until it is unwrinkled and lays flat.
12. Fold the fabric in half so the right patterned side is facing out.
13. Cut along the fabric’s fold line with the scissors.
14. Separate the two pieces of freshly-cut fabric.
15. Lay one piece of the fabric down with its wrong side facing up, but with the up-and-down pattern oriented correctly.
16. Fold the top ½-inch portion of one of the fabric pieces over — use a ruler if it's helpful — and secure with the straight pins. The pins should be spaced about 1 inch apart.
17. Iron the pinned section of the fabric, removing the pins as you go.
18. Repeat steps 15-17 using the other piece of fabric.
19. Using the ruler, place a straight pin 3 ½ inches toward the center from the left side of the piece of fabric.
20. Repeat step 19, but place the straight pin toward the center from the right side of the piece of fabric.
21. Repeat steps 19-20 on the other piece of fabric.
22. Pin the strap ends on the wrong side of the fabric, outside the pinned marked areas and under the folded edge.
23. Repeat step 21 on the other piece of fabric.
24. Stitch the fabric’s folded and pinned top edge down on both pieces of fabric, removing the pins as you go.
25. Take the strap and lay it above the fabric so another layer of the strap fabric sits atop the strap end underneath the stitched edge. Stitch this second bit of overlapping strap on each end to the fabric sections that were marked with pins by stitching an “X” to secure the strap ends.
26. Repeat step 25 with the other strap ends and piece of fabric.
27. Pin the three sides of the two pieces of fabric together, with the right fabric side facing in. The sides and bottom sections of each side will be pinned together, with pins placed about 1 inch apart from each other.
28. Stitch the pieces together using a straight stitch first, removing pins as you go. Repeat the process using a zigzag stitch. This will maximize the tote’s sturdiness.
29. Now turn the tote bag “inside out.” The right side of the fabric will comprise the bag's exterior.
The bag is now ready to be slung over your shoulder and filled with flowers, a baguette, or any item that needs transporting!