Quick and easy tote bag, transform an old t towel

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Here in the UK the summer term is coming to an end, the children have three weeks left at school. Last Tuesday my daughter announced her teaching assistant was leaving on Friday, could I whip up a hand made present for her… Children always seem so last minute, at least I had three days notice! Thankfully I had a t towel tote planned as teachers gifts, plus t towels already purchased. I just couldn’t resist these beautiful prints.

If you fancy making some yourself there are two versions, the ten-minute gift or the thirty-minute gift!

My t towels measure 51 by 67cm. The first bag I am going to share with you takes a mere ten minutes, what a fabulous quick gift to whip up:)

Ten Minute T Towel Tote

Trim the t towel so the width measures 43cm.

Double fold over your raw edge and stitch in place.

Fold the t towel in half, stitch around the long side and one short edge.

Cut two pieces of webbing to cm long, fold an end under and place in the top of the bag 4cm in from the side seam. Stitch the handle in place by stitching a rectangle and then diagonally across the rectangle in both directions. Repeat for the other end of this handle. Followed by repeating for the second handle on the other side of the bag.

30 Minute T Towel Tote

Take the simple bag up a level by lining with, you guessed it, a second t towel. The corners are boxed and inside the bag there are two handy slip pockets. It remains a super quick project taking less than half an hour!!

You will need two t towels plus a piece of fabric measuring 29 by 40cm.

Fold the pocket fabric in half short edges together. Press. Sew along side and 5 cm in along bottom, repeat for the other side. Trim corners.

Turn right side out. Turn in raw edge and press. Place rectangle of fabric on the t towel being used as the lining, 4cm in from short edge and 7 cm from the base.

Mark with tailors chalk the central point to divide your pocket in half, stitch.

Fold the t towel lining in half. Stitch the bottom and long side. Box the corner – match the side seam to the base seam, creating a triangle of fabric, mark across with a 5cm line. Stitch then trim.

Repeat this last step for the outside bag t towel.

Cut your webbing for the straps pin onto the right side of the outside bag, 4cms in form the side seams.

Place the outer bag inside the lining so the right sides match. Stitch all round the top, except a turning gap!

Turn the right side out. Press, and fold in your raw edges (at the turning gap). Top stitch round the top of your bag.

So simple and yet takes the bag to a whole other level.

T Towel Tote Bag. Quick and easy gift to sew, 10 minute tote bag

Now I am wondering if I can justify further French holidays all for the sake of their beautiful t towels!! It has now dawned on me that the rest of my children’s teachers this year are male so I need to have a rethink about gifts for them. Any ideas let me know…

If you love sewing bags then sign up for access to me free resource library, its includes a Top Tips for Bag Making sheet plus several bag designs as PDF tutorials.




  1. Cathy
    July 3, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    Fabulous idea!!! Thanks for all the great instructions and inspiration!

    • Vicky
      July 5, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      You are welcome Cathy, I appreciate you taking the time to comment:)

  2. Janet Kelley
    July 3, 2017 / 11:33 pm

    A few ideas for pressies. Wash Bag, Phone and Charger holder which hooks over the plug. I’ve made several of these and they go down really well. A zipped bag for earphones, usb’s, and any small gadgets, tablet cover.

    Will you post here any of your makes, would love to see.

    • Vicky
      July 5, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Janet thanks for such a great list of ideas – its funny how I had forgotten about a cable tidy I designed a couple of years back which might be suitable:) Thanks or the prompt.

  3. July 5, 2017 / 5:02 pm

    That’s a great idea and tutorial! Your tote bag looks lovely.

    • Vicky
      July 5, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Thank you:) Distinctly helped by a beautiful t towel to start with!

  4. July 5, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    Lucky teachers/teaching assistants! What is it with kids and their lastminute.com?
    Teatowels make such good bags, so many great designs and a perfect quality of fabric too.
    Julie recently posted…Upcycled Gift BoxMy Profile

    • Vicky
      July 8, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      T Towel fabric can be really strong can’t it? It is so versatile.

      • Jeanne Martin
        October 2, 2017 / 4:19 am

        So do placemats! Use double-sided and you’ve got a great tote bag with pockets! I’ve made so many for friends & family I’ve lost count.

  5. July 7, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    Cute bags! Also, I love the new theme. It looks very clean and professional ­čÖé

    • Vicky
      July 8, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      Thanks so much Sara, I’m still getting used to the theme:)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.