Saturday, June 29, 2013

3-in-1 Beach Towel Tote

This week I made this tote that is a mat, a towel and a bag all-in-one!  I love the way it turned out.


Summer is here!!!  I love it!  When I lived in Brasil, we had summer year-round.  I enjoy the change of seasons, yet there is something about summer that makes me feel like I have "come home".  Not only did we have summer all year round, but we also lived close to the ocean.  Hot weather and cool water are the perfect mix.  There is nothing better than a cool dip to escape the muggy heat.  Now, in Texas, God is so good to us to allow us to live in neighborhood with a community pool.  We have definitely made good use of it.  :)

A while ago I came across a pin on Pinterest.  Anticipating spending many summer hours by the pool, I thought, "this Beach Towel Tote would be the perfect addition to our adventures".  So what's so cool about this tote?  It is a towel mat (with a pillow) that rolls up into a stylish tote.  Pretty neat, huh?  Here is how to make one for yourself...



- 2 regular sized bath towels.  I looked at beach towels, but decided against using one.  The problem is that usually just one side of the beach towel looks good.  You want both sides to look good - the side you lay on, and the other side that will be the outside of the tote.

- 1/2 yard fabric.  I used decorator fabric - it has a good thickness to it. 

- 18" of velcro to match

Step 1:  Take a towel and a small pillow, then fold the towel over it to determine how large to cut the pillow piece.  The pillow I used was 14" x 14".  You could use a larger pillow.  However, if you do the  tote will be much wider.  The tote's width is determined by the width of the pillow you choose.  Next, cut the towel at the designated spot.

 Step 2:  Sew the cut edge of the second towel to the top of the uncut towel.

Step 3:  Cut two strips for handles ( 23" x 3 1/2") from the remaining pieces of the cut towel.  
Also, cut two equally sized strips (23" x 3 1/2") from the accent fabric for the inside liner of the handles.

Step 4:  Place the accent fabric and towel handles right sides together and sew.  Leave one end open to turn them inside out.  Turn inside out and press.

Step 5:  Take the towel and fold down the pillow piece lining it up with the top of the first towel.  Cut a 12" piece of velcro.  Pin in place and sew.

Step 6:  Now sew down the other side of the pillow piece and the bottom creating a case for the pillow with only the velcro side as the opening.  

Step 7 : Place the pillow into the pocket.  This is going to help you figure out the placement of the handles and pockets.  Fold up the sides of the towel, as in the picture below.  Then fold the towel, over and over again all the way to the end.  This will show you how wide your tote is going to be.

Step 8:  Cut out the following 3 pockets from the accent fabric:

pocket #1:  11" x 7"
pocket #2:  8 " x 7 1/2"
pocket #3:  4"x 7"

Iron a 1/4" seam on all the pockets.  At the top of the pocket, fold again another 1" then sew it down.  This gives you the finished edge for the top of the pocket.

Step 9:  Pin your pockets to the bag where you would like them to be placed.  Make sure to pin only on the one layer of towel they are being sewn to.  This way you will be able to open the towel back up to sew on the pockets.  Pin on the handles also.  Next, open the bag and sew the pockets and handles in place. 

Step 10:  Cut another piece of velcro 6" long.  Fold the tote back up.  Now pin the velcro to the top of the bag as a latch to keep the bag closed.  Finally, sew it securely in place.  And just like that you're done!  

Go and enjoy a relaxing day at the pool!

New to Redfly?  Many more great ideas to come!

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  1. I love it and now I want one. Great tutorial.

  2. So cute and such a good idea! I love that red fabric!! We'll be featuring this at Someday Crafts tomorrow :)

  3. What an awesome idea, Melissa! I love it! (Anything that does double-duty in my house is always welcome!)

  4. Hi Melissa, You have a really nice blog post, with great tutorial. I was looking for a great tote designer handbag and i really liked DIY projects on the internet and found your post. I believe your easy tutorial for handbag will surely give me a great idea to have another great product like yours. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

    1. You're very welcome, Lucy! Trust it turns out well. :)

  5. Hey, I just saw you again on Sugar Bee Crafts :) This is an amazing idea!! ~Julia

  6. So is the Velcro necessary? Or is it just so you can remove the pillow for washing purposes? I've been wanting to make this for awhile and keep forgetting to pick up the darn Velcro!

    1. The velcro is for two purposes. To keep the pillow in the pillow pocket and to secure the bag closed after you fold it up. You could try it without it though. You'd just need to hold the handles together so it wouldn't unroll. :)

  7. where is the third pocket? it says "cut out the following three pockets with accent fabric," does it mean there are three pockets or just three pieces for one pocket? in the picture it shows two pockets on the outside. is there a third pocket somewhere else? am confuse pls help

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  17. The 3-in-1 beach towel tote is a genius invention! It combines practicality with style, serving as a towel, bag, Why VPN Is and even a comfortable beach mat.