Have you heard? It’s officially summer! That means beach, picnics, amusement parks and vacation! And that also means you’ve got a lot of stuff to carry around on your typical summer day. After scouring our brains, we realized that the perfect material for this summer carry-all is a Navajo blanket! The bright colors and sturdy fabric are perfect for hauling stuff around.

This is a sewing project for intermediate sewers, or sewers who’ve made a few pillows, tote bags and table cloths, and are ready for the next level. Don’t worry — we’ll take it step by step. It’s definitely worth it!


Navajo blanket (another sturdy fabric or blanket will do!)

– white rope

– white string

– tape


– sewing machine

– grommet kit

– hot glue gun

– pins

– hammer

– measuring tape

– safety pin


1. Cut out an oval shape from the fabric. We wanted a big carry-all so ours measured about 30 inches across.Then using a measuring tape, measure the circumference of the oval.

2. Add 1-2 inches onto this measurement and cut out a rectangle from your fabric. This will be the sides of the bag. Ours measured 38 x 18 inches.

3. Find the center of your rectangle and mark two circles about one inch from the top. Snip a small hole and attach two grommets.

3. Fold the fabric over and pin down to create a 2 inch seam that will hold your drawstring. Once sewn, fray the hard edge up to the stitching line for extra flare.

4. Fold the rectangle in half with grommets facing in. When stitching the sides together leave a gap at the top of your piece; this will allow you to string the rope through to create a drawstring.

5. Pin your newly formed cylinder onto its oval bottom. Make sure the seam of the cylinder is in the center of the long side of the oval.

6. Sew the oval onto the cylinder leaving a half inch hem. Then turn right-side out.

7. Find the sides of the bag and create a mark about 1 inch from the top seem. Cut small holes and attach grommets for the strap of the bag.

8. Tassel time! Wrap the white string around your hand at least 20 times. Cut a small, extra piece off, attach using hot glue, and wrap around until it is in a bundle. Cut the loops and trim to your desired length. Make two!

9. Using the rope, cut a piece that is one and a half times the length of your first circumference measurement. Ours was 36 inches so our rope length was 54 inches. Use a safety pin to snake the rope through the seam and out the grommets.

10. Attach the tassels to the end of the rope and secure in place with hot glue.

11. Time to make the handle. We did a four string braid. Measure the length of strap you would like and cut four pieces of rope at that length. Tape them flat to the table. Starting with the right string you are going to weave over the second string, under the third string, and over the fourth string. Now using the new first string on the right, you will repeat the same pattern. Over the second, under the third, over the fourth. Continue all the way down. Tape off each end so the braid doesn’t unravel.

12. Cut another 8 inch piece of rope and snake it through a side grommets. Using tape attach the ends of the rope with one end of the braid. Then use hot glue and the white string to create a decorative wrap around the tape to secure the two pieces together. Do this to both sides.

You could also make a similar bag with sturdy canvas found at the fabric store, but we can’t resist a chance at repurposing something we already have.

Cut out a large oval from your material and measure the circumference. Ours measured 36 inches.

Use that measurement to cut out a rectangle for the sides of the bag. Add one to two inches for the length and 18 inches for the height.

Find the center of the rectangle and mark two circles about an inch from the top. Cut small holes and attach grommets.

Fold fabric down to create a two inch seam. Pin and sew. Fringe the rough edge to add some flair!

Fold the fabric in half, good sides facing each other, and pin. When sewing leave a small gap at the top to allow the drawstring to complete its full circle.

Pin your cylinder onto your oval bottom. Line the seam up with one of the long sides of the oval. Then turn the bag right side out.

Find the sides of the bag and cut small holes one inch from the top seam. Attach grommets.

Tassel time! Wrap the string around your hand at least 20 times. Cut an extra piece of string and tie the bundle together. Using hot glue, wrap the strings around to secure the bundle. Then cut the loops and trim the fringe.

Cut a piece of rope that is one and a half times the length of your original circumference measurement. (Ours measured 36 + 18 = 56 inches.) Use a safety pin to snake the drawstring through the bag.

Tie the tassel onto the rope and secure with hot glue.

So colorful! Time for the handle.

Drape the rope over your body to find the length of strap that is most comfortable for you. Cut four pieces of rope at this length. Tape them down flat to a table. Starting from the right you are going to weave the pieces over the second, under the third and over the fourth. Next take the new first rope and weave over the second, under the third, and over the fourth. Keep repeating until you reach the end. Then use tape the secure the ends together.

Cut another piece of rope about eight inches long. Weave it through the side grommet and join the ends together with one of the ends of the braided strap. Secure with tape. Then using hot glue and the white string, create a wrap that covers the tape and secures the bond of the two straps.

Look at that. A perfect new beach, or shopping, bag!

And we’re off to the beach, catch ya later! ;)

What do you think of this tutorial? Are the awesome details worth the extra steps? Or keep it sweet and simple for you at home to easily follow along? We are curious — please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!