Kitchen Towel Tote Bag Tutorial

I first started making these Kitchen Towel Tote Bags probably about seven years ago. They are great for quick gift bags or as a gift themselves. I made them for my daughter's 5th grade teachers five years ago and packed them up with a boxed lunch. Both of the teachers still use them as their lunch bags.

Let's get started...

1. 1 - 20x 28 inch cotton kitchen towel
2. Matching thread
Optional 2/3 yards of 1 inch cotton tape (used to make window blinds)
Optional- wool felt, an orphaned quilt block, an embroidery design, etc. for design

1. Fold the towel together length wise. It does not matter if you use right sides or not. Press.
2. Trim off 3 inches from each long side of the kitchen towel. (Often the towels are not perfectly square, but do the best you can.) These 3 x 28 inch strips will be used to make the bag's handles. Set aside the remaining 14 x 28 inch piece of the kitchen towel.

3. Using each 3 x 28 inch piece press the long edge that does not have the hem from the original about an inch toward the hemmed side.(If you do not trust eyeballing it, use 1 inch wide cotton tape in the middle and cover it.)
4. Now press the hemmed side on top of the unhemmed fold.
5. Press the full length and pin. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam on both lengths of the handle. Complete this process with both 3 x 28 inch strips to make two 1 x 28 inch handles. Set them aside.

6. Optional- Center your design (wool felt, embroidery, orphaned quilt block, etc) on the right side of the 14 x 28 inch piece of kitchen towel. Remember to center the design on one half of the bag only. Make sure the design's top is aligned to the top of the kitchen towel's seam. Attach either by hand or machine.

7. Center and pin handles to wrong sides of 14 x 28 inch piece along the 14 inch top (There is already a nicely finished seam along the top from when the kitchen towel was manufactured.) I usually just eyeball the handles about 3.5-4 inches in from the sides. Pin with about 2 inches of the handles below the top of the bag and make sure they are not twisted.

8. Stitch handles in place using matching thread. I recommend stitching below the top hem of the bag and above the bulky hem at the ends of the handles. I sew them down by making a square with an "X" through it to provide extra support and stability. The squares are only about 1 inch. Here is how they look on the front of the bag...
9. Fold the base of the kitchen towel (the 14 x 28 inch piece) right sides together and pin along the sides. Be careful to make sure the sides of the bag are evenly lined up at the top.
10. Using a close zigzag stitch or a serger, stitch along both unfinished sides.
11. Trim any protruding threads and turn the bag right side out and you have a lovely, inexpensive tote bag or gift bag. It should measure approximately 14 inches square.

Here are some others I recently made

I hope my first tutorial is helpful. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

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1 comment:

  1. Helpful and very easy to follow. I think I want to make a few these to use in place of Easter Basket for my daughters...since they are now young adults...LOL!! (I'll still fill them with all their favorite things the Easter Bunny brings!)


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