No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Project

Hand-Towel Beach Bag

With ribbon, Velcro, and a few basic supplies, you can transform an ordinary towel into a stylish beach accessory.

Introduction

You can use virtually any size towel and ribbon you like (Martha uses a 16-by-28-inch terry-cloth hand towel and 2 1/2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon). For the handle attachments, there are several options (Martha uses circular wooden rings); just be sure to remove the handles before washing the bag.

Materials

  • Velcro
  • Towel
  • Preshrunk, washable ribbon
  • Binder clips
  • Pins
  • 2 circular handbag handles

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Attach the Velcro to the towel: Machine-sew a 2-by-2-inch square of female Velcro to the center of each end of the towel. (Be sure to sew the Velcro to the side that has the label, which will be the inside of the bag.)

  2. Step 2

    Attach the Velcro to the ribbon: Cut the ribbon to the appropriate length (for a hand-towel-size bag, cut 1 yard). Sew a 2-by-2-inch square of male Velcro to each end of ribbon. Fold over the ends of the ribbon, and fold over again, creating two folds. Hold the ribbon in place using a binder clip, and tuck the Velcro under the fold. (Folding the ribbon over protects it from fraying and creates a neater line.) Once the Velcro is secured in place, sew each side of the Velcro onto the ribbon.

  3. Step 3

    Attach the ribbon to the towel: Pin the ribbon down the center of the towel, making sure the Velcro is on the underside. (There should be an even amount of ribbon hanging off each end of the towel, about 4 inches, which will be wrapped around the handles, attaching them to the bag.) Machine-sew the ribbon onto the towel.

  4. Step 4

    Fold the towel in half so the two top ends meet and the ribbon is on the inside (the bag will be inside out at this point). Sew up the two sides, leaving a 1/2-inch allowance, and turn the bag right side out. Wrap the ribbon hanging off each side around each handle attachment, and attach the Velcro to the bag.

Source
Martha Stewart Living Television

Reviews (47)

  • sandracanmom4 14 Aug, 2012

    You can find beautiful Ribbons at Jo Anns and Michaels. Or any other Craft store where you live. I also buy my scrapbooking,crafting supplies online. Hope that helps.. :-)

  • sandracanmom4 14 Aug, 2012

    Oh how cute I'm going to give them a try. My 2 Grand Daughters would love them. It's amazing on all the different materials that we can use to make them. :-)

  • katiejpbishop 21 Jul, 2009

    I though this bag turned out well. I made them in a couple of different colors.

  • craftyballerina 24 Dec, 2008

    Hi! I made this towel and took photos of the process. Check out my website for my photo instructions... http://www.prudentandpractical.com/hand-towel-beach-bag/

  • HDMac 26 Jul, 2008

    I had trouble finding the 2.5" ribbon. I finally found it online. This works up easy and is really cute. I like the idea that one poster had about adding pockets! Great idea!

  • Amyred 16 Jul, 2008

    Don't know why my post has asterisks, it was simply the name of a well-known fabric store, like JoAnn's.

  • Amyred 16 Jul, 2008

    I love this project, but like a few posters, I too could not find the 2.5" wide grosgrain at either JoAnn's, Hancock Fabrics or Michael's. Ended up buying 1.5" wide and stitching them together. After that it was great--and I love the way it looks. I'll be SO cool going to the pool with it, too. . .woo hoo!!

    Amy

  • dorothyk 13 Jul, 2008

    My daughter and I finished the bag. We sewed together two 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon then sewed it on to the bag. It is so pretty! We added four additional pockets inside the bag giving us 5 compartments! And we also ironed on some iron-ons on both sides of the bag. My daugher (10) gets so many compliments on her new bag and is so pleased to say we made it together! thanks Martha for a great craft to do with my daughter! God bless you!

  • dorothyk 13 Jul, 2008

    My daughter and I finished the bag. We sewed together two 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon then sewed it on to the bag. It is so pretty! We added four additional pockets inside the bag giving us 5 compartments! And we also ironed on some iron-ons on both sides of the bag. My daugher (10) gets so many compliments on her new bag and is so pleased to say we made it together! thanks Martha for a great craft to do with my daughter! God bless you!

  • dorothyk 13 Jul, 2008

    My daughter and I finished the bag. We sewed together two 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon then sewed it on to the bag. It is so pretty! We added four additional pockets inside the bag giving us 5 compartments! And we also ironed on some iron-ons on both sides of the bag. My daugher (10) gets so many compliments on her new bag and is so pleased to say we made it together! thanks Martha for a great craft to do with my daughter! God bless you!

  • dorothyk 3 Jul, 2008

    I am working on the bag right now with my 10 year old daughter. We searched so many stores for 2 1/2 grosgrain ribbon....cannot find any! Anyone know where I can find some?

  • AdrienneB 29 Jun, 2008

    I happened to see Martha make this craft on DIY and I taped it. I think I would've gotten lost without a visual. We just got back from Ocean City , MD. Before we left I made one for me and one for my Mom. We got so many compliments!!! It was really easy and the bag worked well. Thanks Again Martha!!! Another HIT!!!

  • coevans 23 Jun, 2008

    Made 3 of these this weekend and looked so cute! I couldn't find 2-1/2" ribbon so I sewed 1-1/2" strips together. Ended up looking just as cute and was super easy. If i can manage it, anyone can.

  • coevans 23 Jun, 2008

    Made 3 of these this weekend and looked so cute! I couldn't find 2-1/2" ribbon so I sewed 1-1/2" strips together. Ended up looking just as cute and was super easy. If i can manage it, anyone can.

  • LanaFalana 13 Jun, 2008

    I found this and thought I will make it and try to follow the directions but the first step stumped me and the rest as well. Like the others stated a diagram is needed and I don't know which is female or male velcro

  • She-sha 12 Jun, 2008

    I found this to be a very easy project. I was able to follow the directions without any issues. I made a few changes. First I used Heat 'n Bond to secure the ribbon before I sewed it. Then I also used Iron-On Velcro to cut down on sewing. I was able to complete 6 beach bags over a weekend.

  • riafriedman 9 Jun, 2008

    I agree! I think that a diagram should be included, so that people like me can follow along. I love the idea but I am afraid to try it because I am not sure exactly what to do.

  • jona1302 8 Jun, 2008

    I think most or all of these crafts should include diagrams. I never can follow what the descriptions say in my mind and just don't want to make any craft that isn't clearly illustrated.

  • terivanhecke 7 Jun, 2008

    I just love reading the comments attached to these crafts! There are more ideas in the comments than in the projects!!! I loved the idea of making one of these bags and use it as the "gift bag" - going to a 50th bday party this week and I'm thinking of making her her own beach bag filled with beachy items! You all are the best!

  • jfoster789 7 Jun, 2008

    What about switching the ribbon to canvas strapping and continuing it up as a handle? Might be easier thanthe velcro and wood handle? Might also provide more stability?

  • galehester 7 Jun, 2008

    Step two is confusing, can a picture graph be prepared and shared for clarity?

  • rmelvin 6 Jun, 2008

    For Step #2, I believe they mean to place the Velcro beneath (or below) the fold line as opposed to "under the fold". I would just make sure that when you place the Velcro, make sure you catch the smaller fold when you stitch the Velcro in place. Have fun.

  • bonniemerald 6 Jun, 2008

    Anna Marie, I agree with you. I too, am confused with direction #2. Pictures would have helped.

  • cscn471 6 Jun, 2008

    Sounds like a wonderful and cute idea for summer and the beach. I would love to know where such beautiful ribbon can be purchased. Does anyone out there know and can help me?

  • alfe 6 Jun, 2008

    Martha, how can you use such a sexist term as "female velcro". We are living in the 21st century!!

  • Anna_Marie 6 Jun, 2008

    I have read the directions several times, and I still am not understanding #2, with folding the ribboon twice, and tucking the velcro under the fold. How does that leave the velcro on the outside of the ribbon, so that it can be attached to the other piece, later? It seems like that would hide the velcro. Is this confusing to anyone else?

  • Anna_Marie 6 Jun, 2008

    These are really nice....I might try "start and stop" stitching along the edges of the ribbon, and make some stitches ACROSS the ribbon, leaving small sections of the ribbon unsewn, for tucking in a cell phone, a little tube of sunscreen for lips. or a place to attach your sunglasses. That way those items would be easily accessible on the outside of the bag and less likely to fall to the bottom.

  • beckyvanderbilt 6 Jun, 2008

    At Christmas I search for unusual "containers" to use as "stockings" for my family instead of the traditional stockings. I will find something that they can use such as a wine bag or a small cardboard suitcase for my granddaughters scrapbooking gift. Since we are a water family, this will make a great stocking for each of them this Christmas.

  • quackmehard 6 Jun, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea! But, I'm thinking that all the hassle with the velcro is just a waste of time. Might as well sew the ribbon around the handles and add a magnetic snap button. If you even want that. All of my beach totes don't even close :-p

  • quackmehard 6 Jun, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea! But, I'm thinking that all the hassle with the velcro is just a waste of time. Might as well sew the ribbon around the handles and add a magnetic snap button. If you even want that. All of my beach totes don't even close :-p

  • lauralipschutz 6 Jun, 2008

    paddywhisky you can get those at michaels or hobby lobby

  • chickengal 6 Jun, 2008

    hand towels I need to have BIG towels for all the stuff I take to the beach,but a good idea all the same.

  • paddywhisky 6 Jun, 2008

    Where did you get the handles for the bag? Any suggestions, Please.
    Thanks

  • princessmabel 6 Jun, 2008

    I've done this project for friends and they absolutely LOVE them! Wooden handles can be found in any craft store.

  • princessmabel 6 Jun, 2008

    I've done this project for friends and they absolutely LOVE them! Wooden handles can be found in any craft store.

  • Olyveoil 6 Jun, 2008

    Don't forget about seam binding. That can be found in the notions area of the store. It's usually folded, but can be ironed flat. For the edges of that, one could sew a narrow decorative grograin ribbon on either side of the seam binding, which comes in an assortment of colors.

    I can't wait to try this project.

  • paddywhisky 6 Jun, 2008

    Great idea where do y ou get the WOOD HANDLES?
    Tanks!

  • mpegm 6 Jun, 2008

    I love this project. My cousin and I made things like this under my mother's guidance when we were little girls and she was teaching us how to sew. She would give us a project like this, taking us to the fabric store, helping us pick out the right trims, teachnig us the best techniques, and then ferrying us to the pool or beach when we were done! My cousin and I are still needlework junkies nearly 50 years later. Hmmmmm I wonder if my teenage daughter would think this cool or uncool...

  • mpegm 6 Jun, 2008

    Yes, you can double the ribbon - or use other trims in addition to the grosgrain - though you may want to cut a length of stabilizer and pin your ribbons to that, stitching them together and to the stabilizer before adding them to your towel.

  • rebeccarosenquist 6 Jun, 2008

    I like this idea - haven't tried it yet - but a few comments were that they couldn't find 2-1/2" grosgrain ribbon. Here is a wonderful website for ribbon and they have fantastic sales:
    www.ribbonfactory.com

  • kathiguam 6 Jun, 2008

    Rather than wrap a gift, create on of these as a "gift bag". Can add velcro on each end (right and left of the handle) so the bag closes securely.

  • TriciaJay 6 Jun, 2008

    Cute idea but I think it is a bit too flimsy and impractical for my day at the beach. My beach bag is usually filled up, even with towels. The fact that it only has this little attachment to the middle would probably make the bag look droopy, even if I just carried some of my smaller loot in it, ie sunscreen, etc.

  • sewing1961 30 Mar, 2008

    I was able to find the 2 1/2' inch grosgrain ribbon at Jo-Ann's. They only had one color which was black. I needed pink. You might want to also look on line. or Hobby Lobby. If you go with a smaller ribbon, don't forget to cut the Velcro to that size. I made that mistake. I bought a smaller size ribbon for the color I needed. And the Velcro on the inside attached to the towel is too big. Oh, well. I learn by my mistakes.lol.

  • dgoldmann 18 Mar, 2008

    I have been all over Delaware and can't find 2 1/2" grosgrain. Been to Walmart, Joann's, Michaels, and AC Moore. Do you think I could sew two strips of 1 14/" together to make it wider?

  • JerseyCook 24 Feb, 2008

    Walmart, Joann's and Michael's carry the wide grosgrain ribbon. You may be limited in your color selection, but they definitely do carry it (at least on the east coast).

  • jo-penguin 4 Feb, 2008

    I'm sure 2 1/4" would work fine and it's available at zipperstop.com. Google grosgrain ribbon and you'll find lots of places to buy it.

  • craftyfoofoo 10 Jan, 2008

    I cannot find 2 1/2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon ANYWHERE........any ideas where I can find it in this width?