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"Easy as a Cinch" Bag


This bag really is……….easy as a cinch. And yes, pun is intended. Ha Ha.



I made this little bag so my little lady could carry her own things around. Especially if we go to the pool or the water park….she can carry her own swimming suit, pull up and/or extra clothes. Perfect, a “water bag”. And I also thought of making one especially for library books. Gosh, those books get mixed up with our own books. It would sure help to have a “library bag”. And what about a “car bag”? Special toys, books, etc. that always stay in the car. And make one for you too. Perfect for carrying your own necessities to the pool, the beach, or a trip to the lake.



It will help transport your stuff……….in a darn cute way.


**These measurements are for this small toddler size bag. Increase the length and width as much or as little as you’d like. Anything goes.


You’ll need:

  • 2 pieces of cotton 11 x 13 inches.
  • 2 pieces of 1/8 inch wide grosgrain ribbon, each 42 inches long.
  • Thread, sewing machine, scissors, seam ripper.
**You’ll be using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.


Start by sewing your two pieces of cotton together, right sides together. Sew along both 13 inch sides and the bottom 11 inch side.


However, stop sewing 1 1/4 inches from the top on both sides.


At the 1 1/4 inch opening, fold over the extra fabric a 1/4 inch on both sides. Sew into place, making about a 2 inch long seam.


Now fold the top of the front piece down a 1/4 inch and then another 1/2 inch and pin into place. Sew very close to the bottom fold. Do the same to the back piece. You have just created the casing for your ribbon.


Turn your bag right side out.


Now stick a safety pin through one end of your ribbon and thread it through the top piece………starting on the right side, going to the left.


Then continue threading this same ribbon through the back piece, starting on the left. Pull all the way through on the right side and make your ribbon ends even.


Now starting on the left side of the front piece, use your second piece of ribbon starting on the left, going to the right. Then continue threading through the back piece starting on the right. Pull all the way through on the left side and make the ribbon ends even. Got it?


Now, use your seam ripper (or a needle and scissors) to carefully pick out a few stitches about a 1/2 inch from the bottom corners. You will stick the ends of the ribbon through and hole and pin them in place. (Make sure the ribbon isn’t twisted.)


Turn your bag inside out and restitch what you just picked out, making sure to include the ribbon in your stitching.


Finally, sew a zig-sag stitch all along the 3 sides of the bag, securing all of the seams.


Quick and painless.


Now cinch it up and strap it on.

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Karen says:

    This will make the perfect bag to hold my daughter’s ballet kit, to be made of course from ballet motif fabric!

    1. Karen says:

      Done! So quick and easy.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Thank you so much for the easy instructions!! Already made two!!

  3. Lee says:

    Okay, I’m a total beginner so hopefully that explains my stupid comment…I got it all put together and it looks pretty good…except when I go to close it one strap just kind of goes way down, I just tied the first ribbon, at the top of the purse, and the side it’s tied on is the one that…drooops? I’ve gone over the directions over and over and apparently I’m missing something.

  4. Rosie says:

    Hi, what suggestions do you have for the ribbon length on larger versions?

  5. debbie says:

    thank you so much! Easy as a cinch…

  6. Woven Polypropylene Bags Manufacturers says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I will make it for my niece; I am sure she will love it.

  7. Gabrielle says:

    NOW I remember how to do the strap part! THANK YOU!! Last time I made these I was in High school 4 years ago! now I can make one for me my boyfriend my dad my mom and some to sell!!

  8. Hayley Edmunds says:

    Thanks for posting this… I made two for my children’s PE bags at school and they love them!

  9. Suzanne says:

    Thank you so much for your great directions! I’ve wanted to make one forever & it was super quick & easy!

  10. Carolyn says:

    My rising senior grandaughter, just love this bag. She is a nautical girl, so a nautical bag it will be. Thanks so much for presenting the instructions. I will use this versatile bag of many uses often, probably for a college senion as well.

    1. Carolyn says:

      I just finished this bag using pelon iron on fleece and a lining of the same nautical fabric. I cut the material 17 1/2 X 15 and used 4′ of 1/4″ rope instead of ribbon Then embroidered her initial on the lower half of the is a popping red.

      It has body, which allows the initial to shine..

  11. Sarah says:

    Love it! Just made one out of scrap material from a Pillowcase Dress I made my daughter – now she’ll be stylin’! :D

  12. Amy B says:

    This was so easy and so cute! Thanks, I’m a novice and it was pretty quick!

  13. Chelley Black says:

    I whipped up two of these today and they turned out super cute. Thanks for the tutorial!

  14. Keisha says:

    I have been looking for inexpensive ballet bags for my 2 and 4 year olds to carry their dance shoes in. These are practically free AND they can personalize them by choosing the fabric! Thank you!

  15. The Grabers says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! I've been wondering how my 16 month old son would carry a "treat bag" for trick-or-treating (in reality I know that he won't!), so I'll be making one of these to match his monkey costume! Thank you!

  16. Jeanniemb1 says:

    Thanks for posting this!! I just made hooded towels for my four girls, and I ended up cutting the hood part out of a regular sized towel instead of cutting a hand towel in half, because I wanted them a little bigger. So….I think I will now use the left over towel material to make them a bag to carry their towel, swimsuit, sunblock, and sunglasses in. Thanks, again, for a great tutorial!!

  17. Seamingly Smitten says:

    What a great idea! I'm not sure if I could do it, although you make it seem soooo easy!!!
    Please link this to my linky party!
    I love it!!

  18. Tere says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial! I made one for my 3 year old to keep all her lip gloss in….she's a girlie girl…and one small one for my 5 year old to keep her words in. I posted pics on my blog.

  19. sebclar says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I've made these bags for my son's friends, and they have been big hits. I've also been inspired to dust off my sewing machine and actually figure out how to make things on my own (my mom is a fabulous sewer, I didn't quite get the gene).
    Thanks for making your ideas available to us novices!

  20. Ashley says:

    mokeyc – this same concept would work with any size bag. Just increase all of the measurements. Good luck with it and enjoy!


  21. mokeyc2009 says:

    Would love to make these for teammates in the MS Walk this coming weekend. Is it difficult to make them a little bigger?

    This is a TERRIFIC project BTW!!

  22. Ashley says:

    Mary Anna – How sweet! I love that people stopped to ask you where you got it. What a compliment on your sewing. Yay!

  23. Mary Anna says:

    Thank you for the fantastic how-to! I whipped up one of these for both of my boys for our vacation. My older one got dinosaurs, and my little on got frogs. People stopped me at the airport to ask where I got them! I was so proud to say that I made them myself. A friend of mine saw the pic on facebook and asked if I'd make one for her son with aliens. Too fun!

  24. Carly says:

    I have been keeping this link to make later and finally did! I linked to your tutorial, hope that is OK! Thanks so much!

  25. Ashley says:

    So glad you have all found this useful!

    Melissa……I got this fabric at a local craft store. I'll have to go check to see which designer it is.

  26. Melanie says:

    This tutorial was so helpful! I made a bag, posted pics and linked to you!

  27. Melissa says:

    such a darling bag. i have 3 girls that would love to haul all their crap in it. what fabric did you use, it is so so cute, i haven't seen it around. thanks!

  28. Jamie says:

    Love your blog! We've shared the One Lovely Blog Award with you! Check out for details!

  29. says:

    Wow, that's really pretty! Love that pattern. I'll be linking.

  30. Kristin Sellars says:

    Super cute! Great idea!

  31. Lance and Nikki says:

    Love your blog! Love the bags! Do you take requests? Maybe a hooded baby towel? Thanks!!

  32. Ashley says:

    Michelle, the fabric question is answered a little bit better under the FAQ section found here:

    Good luck! There's so much beautiful stuff to choose from out there.

    McGary's – Thank you……I'm so glad you like the blog. As for the ties, sorry, I don't offer a pattern for them. The ties and the booties are exclusively sold, not taught. Good luck with all of the other projects! They sure are fun!


  33. *~McGarys~* says:

    I have been looking at your Blog for the last 30min and I LOVE IT!!!! I think I have looked at almost everything that you have made. I saw that you had ties on the right side that you have for sale and I was wondering if you had a Blog that shows how to make them and if not if you put it on here? thanks so much

  34. Michelle says:

    Love the bag. I have a store bought one like this that I carry all our stuff to the park in, now I can share the load.

    My overall question is how do you find such wonderful fabrics. I am uncreative in finding trendy material that works well. TIA.

  35. Deb says:

    This looks so do-able I have no excuse not to try it out! And yes, I hear you on the library book dilemma. It got so bad I haven't taken the kids to the library in months. Thanks!

  36. michellejohnnie says:

    How easy and fun! My daughter would love this. I linked to it!

  37. .:: Ita ::. says:

    Great tutorial, i'll make one for my little girl..thanks!

  38. Leslie says:

    How cute, I need 2 of those for my girls. I guess I better get sewing, not likely but I will find the time

  39. Dana says:

    I have been following your blog for a few weeks, excitedly checking in on a regular basis. You are so creative and fun! In fact, you have inspired me to pull out the old (and I mean old!) sewing machine and start a few projects of my own. I haven't used my machine in probably 2 years! Thanks for sharing!!

  40. nap time journal says:

    I have been wanting to make my little girl one of these for a VERY long time… I don't have to sit and stew over how to do it! THANKS!!!!

    Very Cute!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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