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Kitchen Towel Tote Bag DIY

April 16, 2020

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Upcycle a pair of kitchen towels into a beautiful reusable grocery bag or fashionable tote bag.

It's an easy DIY and you can do it with just a few quick stitches.

Rooster and Orange Polka Dot Kitchen Towel

Early last month, during the lovely long agos when we were still allowed out of the house for mundane activities like browsing through the linen aisle of HomeGoods, I found this darling rooster kitchen towel set.

I have an affinity for these towels and whenever I see cute ones, especially if they have trim, I pick them up.

Sometimes I display them in my kitchen, as pretty accents that no one is allowed to use.

However, more often than not, I run them through my sewing machine and turn them into something more fun.

Like aprons or pillow covers.

And that's just what I had planned for my new sweet little farmyard friend, when I decided he'd make a really cute bag instead.

In the store, I was sure that he'd live in my bedroom or kitchen - decorating my comforter or propped up on my new desk chair.

Unfortunately, once there I realized that the orange tones clashed with the red in my kitchen and didn't really go well in my bedroom.

But. I loved the springy and fresh.

I knew he'd make a great bag for the warmer weather months.

Since they recently outlawed all plastic bags in my county and I hadn't been able to shop for anything fun I thought it would also be a great opportunity to make myself a functional new fashion accessory.

Update! Check out my vintage style denim tote...even easier to make and just as cute. 

And I got started.

Reusable Grocery Tote DIY

How To Make A Tote Bag From Kitchen Towels

Now I've never made a tote bag of any kind before, so this one was constructed on the fly. So the directions might be a little rough, but you'll get the idea.


Two Kitchen Towels - these are super charming!

Iron On Tape

Thick Ribbon - love the stripes

Thin Ribbon

Step 1: Measure

Measuring kitchen towel with yardstick

I started out by measuring how big I wanted my bag to towels are very large. I made mine 22" long, which is really large, but I wanted a big bag.

I folded the excess material over, onto what would become the inside of the bag. Then I repeated the process with the other towel.

Step 2: Pin And Sew 

Make A Reusable Tote with two towels

Once both front and back towels were measured, I pinned them together, wrong sides facing out. Keep in mind the folded pieces were also on the outside.

Then I ran the two pinned side edges through my sewing machine.

I guess I could've used iron on tape to close up the seams, but I wasn't sure how strong it would be and since I wanted a functional bag, I stitched.

I also sewed some ribbon into the sides for handles. I used sturdy ribbon to support the weight of whatever I might pop in the bag.

Step 3: Flip And Sew Bottom Seam

Folded dish towels facing one another

If the bottom edges of my dish towels were plain, I would've pinned them and sewn them up the same way I did the sides. However.

Since the bottoms were trimmed with the cutest little accents, I wanted them to show.

So I flipped my bag right side out and used a coordinating colored thread and stitched them together from the front (or pretty) side.

Step 4: Add Fun Ribbon Accent

Ribbon And Iron On Tape

When I was done sewing, I spied a some orange ribbon in my stash and knew immediately that it would make a very pretty accent.

So I warmed up my iron, placed a little bit of fusible iron on tape down on my bag.

Fabric Iron On Tape on kitchen towel

Then I placed the ribbon on top of it. In order to make sure I didn't get any {more} glue on my craft iron, I placed a scrap t-shirt over the ribbon and ironed it in place.

Using Iron On Tape

I added two strips of ribbon since I had the room and it was just super sweet.

When I was done, I had this darling tote bag made from two kitchen dish towels. I think the pack of two cost me $5.99.

A total bargain for sure.

It will pay for itself in a few short trips since I won't have to pay the five cents for a bag.

Kitchen Rooster Towel Tote Bag DIY

Best of all, it's washable and durable.

And I will look stunning and stylish wearing it when I go shopping.

Upcycled Tote Bag DIY on girl

Of course, they will have to open the stores first.

And let us leave the house.

So for now, we are just taking turns wearing him around the kitchen.

For fun.

In sweats.

Hmmm. Maybe I should've made that pillow after all.


How have you been keeping busy?

Kim Signature

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  1. Cute bag! I see you have a yardstick like mine. Good old-fashioned yard stick. I use mine to get Ivy's toys out from under furniture and appliances.

    1. I love those old fashioned yardsticks, Brenda! I have a collection...and we use them to get dropped items - like the kids' cell phones - out from under things, too!

  2. Cute, cute, cute, Kim! I found a Chanticleer kitchen towel at an estate sale and was going to make it into a pillow. Maybe it needs to be a tote bag...decisions, decisions!

    1. Lots of cute choices, Ann! I can't wait to see what you decide to do.

  3. I like the colors. Very pretty bag indeed.

    1. Thank you, Carla! Orange isn't a normal decor choice for me, but this was just too cute.

  4. This is super cute Kim. They will not let us use recycle bags right now. Hopefully when they open things up your sweet little tote can go shopping with you. Happy Friday. Have a good weekend.

    1. Thanks Kris! It’s funny…our county fought for years to outlaw plastic bags. They finally got rid of them on March 1st, just in time for the quarantine. So now, like you, for safety we’re back to them!! They're not sure if they’re going to keep them for the foreseeable future or not. Ugh. I figured if they ever open the beaches again, I can take him there instead…but I think he'll more likely be coming with me to my pool this summer! Five feet from the house. Haha. Oh boy. If we don’t laugh, right?

  5. That turned out so cute! I have just been puttering around the house, cleaning, cooking baking and doing a little gardening.

    1. Thanks Penny! Enjoy puttering this weekend. Gardening sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to get outside.

  6. You made the prettiest bag Kim. I love it and it's perfect for shopping.

  7. Kim, the kitchen towel tote is adorable. So thankful you are staying busy. I have been working in the yard for days. Take care.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I am keeping busy and trying to be creative. It’s odd, I’m not generally a big cook, but I’m finding that I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen….getting creative there. Who knew? Be safe!

  8. This is so cute and perfect to take shopping and show it off. Thanks for the idea, stay healthy and busy to make use of all this great time.

    1. Thank you so much, Marlene! Hoping to get a chance to use it soon. Please take care and enjoy your weekend!

  9. It turned out so cute! I will have to remember that when I see towels I like. There are lots of cute ones out there lately.

    1. Thanks Mari! There really are so many cute ones out there.

  10. This is soooo cute! I can't sew so I'd have to just use them as towels! I am a little partial to chickens (and this one is just too cute)...we have "wild chickens" that live all over our little town. In fact, we are famous for them:)

    1. Wild chickens! That sounds way better than a tote bag, Cheri. I’d like to hang with them.

  11. I love this Kim. Adorable, you amaze me.


    1. Thanks Cindy! It was an easy project. I'm really not that talented with the machine.

  12. So sweet and you'll definitely be able to fit quite a bit inside there ;-) I wish they would ban plastic bags here too. We pay for them, but that doesn't stop people from just chucking them away in the streets. And they're all those that take a gazillion and 52 years to disintegrate. Makes me so cross. Hope you are all still safe Kim. Sending love

    1. Thanks Michelle! That's for sure, it's a really big bag!! And with no other bags available, it's get a work out.

  13. Kim,
    This is absolutely adorable!! sorry to hear what you are going through with all of this in New York.....It is not as bad here but our county has the most cases in the area because of meat packing factories that employ 500-900 people...
    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Thanks Debbie! Fingers crossed things get better...and quick!