Oldie but goldie: Towel pool bag

Summer is approaching, so I thought I’d share a project I did a while back which would be used at the pool or beach. Basically it’s a beach bag, but it’s also a towel! It folds up into itself (much like a quillow) but it has handles that make it into a bag. You can throw in your sunscreen, flip flops and other goodies you’d bring to the beach and/or pool.

Here’s mine:

Like any cat owner knows, if you spread out something on the floor and then try to take pictures of it, they come and lay all over it. That’s my cat, Ewok.

Here it is folded into itself.

Here’s the other side.


You need a beach towel, and another towel. I don’t think I had a regular towel.. I grabbed a towel that wasn’t as large as a normal towel, but it was bigger than a washcloth. If anyone knows what it’s called, please educate me! πŸ™‚

Here’s where you cut it up. I believe the strips 2 and three were about an inch and a half to two inches.

After everything is cut, stick the biggest piece, number 1 on top of the beach towel, with equal distances on each sides, and sew up the three sides that have the red zig zags on. Also, you may want to hem the two handle pieces at this point.

Attach the two handles wherever it’s comfortable, and sew them up!

And your towel bag should be complete! to fold it into itself the “correct” way, flip it over so you can’t see the other, smaller towel, fold up the two sides towards the center, and then fold up about the same size of the smaller towel from the bottom. When you get to the top, flip it inside out. (like a Popple, haha)

Sorry if my folding instructions aren’t that great.. it’s kind of hard to explain. You could just stuff it in without all the neat folding.. which is what I usually end up doing.

Now, you may say, “Hey, but after I get out of the water and towel myself off, my towel will be all wet! What about transporting my stuff back home?” Well, if you think about it, almost everything that you carry in your bag gets wet, from sunscreen to sunglasses, so as I see it, it doesn’t matter if you throw those things into a wet bag. As long as you take everything out, unfold it and let it dry when you get home, it should be fine. πŸ™‚ For those of you who take magazines or anything else that would not fair well under moist circumstances, then I’m sorry, this craft may not be for you unfortunately πŸ™ But you can still make them for friends! πŸ™‚

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  1. Katie from Cali
    April 8, 2008 at 12:30 pm — Reply

    The “other” towel is either a hand towel (16″ x 30 ” – 18″ x 28″ appr.) or a fingertip towel (11″ x 18″ appr.) or just a small bath towel. This looks like a good idea. I will have to try it.

    • April 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm — Reply

      Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚ I knew it would be some simple name, I just really couldn’t think of it when I wrote this!

  2. sam metz
    April 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm — Reply

    I think I would rather kill myself than make this

    • April 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm — Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog and comment. I guess that’s what people like me are for. πŸ™‚ We craft so you don’t have to handle sharp objects.. it seems as though it might not be a good idea for you. πŸ˜‰

    • Anonymous
      May 31, 2016 at 5:36 am — Reply

      Your choice.

  3. Melissa
    April 8, 2008 at 11:38 pm — Reply

    I have that exact sewing machine thats at the top. my grandma got it for me at a gerage sale, and i have made a kajillio things on it. if i were to make a list o my most favorite posessions, it would be like 10th. maybe 9th 0r 8th.

    • April 8, 2008 at 11:48 pm — Reply

      Awesome! How does it work? I don’t actually have that sewing machine, I have a newer Singer my mom got me for Christmas a while back.

  4. Lisa
    April 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    The towel/handbag is great but I mostly felt compelled to talk to you about Ewok!! I had two cats that I recently had to give up because I moved 1000 miles away and couldn’t bring them with.. and I saw the picture and it made me sad because he looks EXACTLY like one of mine – Monkee. Well then I read the caption and got incredibly excited because his name is Ewok – the name of the other kitten! And everyone called me crazy for naming it something so silly, so I just HAD to comment on the fact that we have teh same taste πŸ˜‰

    (My kitten’s face reminded me exactly of an ewok from star wars)

    • April 14, 2008 at 2:36 pm — Reply

      When we first got Ewok when he was a kitten he looked exactly like an ewok too, hence the name, haha πŸ™‚ I also have two more cats named Gremlin and Templeton because Grem looked like a gremlin when he was a kitten and Temp looked like a rat πŸ™‚

      That sucks about having to leave your kitties behind, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to leave mine behind πŸ™

  5. Karen
    April 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    I saw this and immediately knew I had to try it. So I bought a gigantic, over-sized towel from Target and made the smaller towel out of 6 washcloths I never use. I’ve seen this done before, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it until now. Thanks so much!!

    Here are some pictures:

    • April 16, 2008 at 12:12 am — Reply

      Awesome! I love it, it’s so huge haha πŸ™‚ I’m glad I inspired you!

  6. Kayley
    April 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm — Reply

    This is so cool! I know you mentioned it for use at the beach or the pool, but this would also be great for people who go camping (in a tent) and have to transport stuff to the bath house. I go camping myself every year and find it cumbersome to carry a towel, clothing, and a box full of shower equipment with me everytime. I am so making one for me and my boyfriend for our trip next year!
    Quick suggestion for people who carry books or magazines to the beach and are concerned about getting things wet…large zip top bags would keep your dry things protected.
    BTW…your kitty is adorable…and mine does the same thing when I’m trying to cut out fabric for projects. πŸ™‚

    • April 16, 2008 at 10:00 pm — Reply

      Thanks! You should send me pictures of your new towel bags, I’d love to see them. Good idea about the plastic bags, I don’t know why I didn’t think about it haha.

  7. zelda.warrior
    April 18, 2008 at 9:24 pm — Reply

    this is awesome. and i believe the smaller towel can also be called a dish towel… at least that’s what i call it!

    • April 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm — Reply

      Thanks! I think the towel was bigger than a dish towel though.. it was like one of those medium sized towels that you get to decorate your bathroom.. one of the ones you hang up to dry your hands or something.

  8. Merle
    April 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm — Reply

    I will have to make several of those for this summer at the beach … providing, of course, that Oregon ever gets warm enough to go to the beach this summer. Called for snow today … April!!! Anyway, I think I might get one of those blow-up bathtub pillows; you could put in the bag part once the towel is laid out. Perfect for sunning yourself.

    • April 19, 2008 at 2:49 pm — Reply

      That’s perfect! I’ve been thinking about what you could do to make it a pillow too.. I didn’t know they had blow-up pillows, haha. That’s crazy that it’s snowing up there.. Down here we never get snow πŸ™ it’s so hot!

    • Brend
      April 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm — Reply

      Funny you should mention snow in April. We have lots of it still… Expecting more ;( Excited to try this towel idea. I have seen them at craft shows myself..

  9. Michèle
    April 19, 2008 at 7:12 pm — Reply

    This is such a genius idea! You could sell these for quite a profit! I plan on trying to make one of my own this summer. We have a sewing machine, but I’ve been afraid to use it since I doubt I could sew a straight line. But now I’m motivated to go for it! Great post!

    • April 19, 2008 at 8:58 pm — Reply

      Thanks! I never really thought this particular project was going to be this popular.. it sure has surprised me! Whenever you make yours, be sure to send me a picture! I’d love to see it.

  10. April 24, 2008 at 3:22 pm — Reply

    Oldie but Goodie: How to Make a Towel Pool Bag…

    An ingenious idea – a pool bag that also becomes a full sized bathing towel. Basically it’s a beach bag, but it’s also a towel! It folds up into itself (much like a quillow) but it has handles that make it into a bag. You can throw in your sunscree…

  11. July 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm — Reply

    Hi! Thanks for posting this – gave me a great item to include in a craft swap package. πŸ™‚ My bag:


    The checkered tablecloth-looking thing is … a checkered tablecloth! Or rather, a remnent of one. So I folded it over and doubled again, sewed up the sides to make a sleeve with tablecloth on inside and out, and then added a flap to keep things in. You can slip it into the towel bag, and it will keep your magazines and such dry! And keep them organized on the sand and in the wind! πŸ™‚


    • December 1, 2008 at 1:45 am — Reply

      Thanks for showing me your bag! That little magazine sleeve is a good idea! πŸ˜€

  12. Mary
    September 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm — Reply

    I’m so happy that I bumped into this pattern. I saw the bag at a festival and wanted to know how to make it. I think it would make great gifts for all my grandkids.

  13. NetMom
    September 28, 2008 at 11:14 pm — Reply

    You can do something similar with a nightgown and a zippered “pocket” on the belly. Had one years ago, and it was described as a “sleepover pillow/nighty” You folded up the night gown, then turned it inside out into the “Pocket” which zipped closed. The one we had was a garfield decorated one. Inside out, it was warm and fuzzy.

    • Pam
      October 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm — Reply

      Dear NetMom,
      I have searched the internet for the pattern to make this, do you know where you saw it. I would Love to try and make this. Thank you. Pam

      • Pam
        October 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm — Reply

        oops, meant to add, I am looking for pattern for nighty pillow.

  14. Pam
    October 28, 2008 at 4:59 pm — Reply

    Thank you for this pattern, I am going to make several for christmas gifts for my nieces. I found a bunch of bright colored over-sized towels, I just need to go back and find some cute accent towels for the pocket, then I will embroider their names on them. (have a brother machine, my best friend :O) I made the quillow’s years ago.

  15. mallory
    February 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    great tutorial and very cute kitty! πŸ™‚

  16. j
    March 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm — Reply

    I have been using a towel/bag like this for my car for about 10 years now. My dog likes to sit in the front seat. The straps are great, they fit right around the headrest and the towel covers the seat completely. I can take it out and wash it or at least shake it. Works perfectly!

  17. mary
    April 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    i need a good idea for those cardboard coffee trays. i have a ton because i hate to throw away anything that can be reused but have yet to find a use or craft for them. thanks in advance

  18. Jenn
    June 27, 2010 at 5:33 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the great instructions! I just made one for each of my kids! They love them, and I love that they can now carry all their gear (and I don’t have to!) πŸ˜‰

  19. November 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the great idea! I already made one & it turned out fabulous. My kids can’t wait for summer or a day at an indoor pool. πŸ™‚

  20. Melissa D
    March 27, 2011 at 12:05 am — Reply

    I’m so glad I found this! I recently lost my favorite towel (my favorite cuz it turned into a bag) that I use during Swim practice, and I was so sad so I started searching online for anything similar, I’ve had it since I was a baby. haha then I find this, and I think its such a great idea, cuz we could pick any other nice towel of our own and TURN it into a towel bag! I’m excited, I wanna try it! πŸ˜€ I just need to find someone who can sew….haha

  21. Lynn
    July 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm — Reply

    do you sell the bags & how much?
    I’ve been making beachtowel bags for years but a little different.
    they make great gifts!

  22. Kate
    October 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm — Reply

    Great idea! And I’ve always called that ‘mid-sized’ towel a hand towel. πŸ˜€

  23. Hannah
    November 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm — Reply


  24. Brenda
    April 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm — Reply

    Fabulous idea! I have seen them in craft shows, but haven’t tried it yet.. I bought towels for it though at Good will, several years ago. Still sitting there. LOL Thanks for the inspiration!!

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