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Toddler Bag Handle

I have 2 toddlers and only 2 hands.
(My older girl is 3. Is that still considered a toddler?  She’s just as wiggly and active as my 2 year old….)
So if I ever need to carry anything extra, I run into an issue.
A reader a while back asked if I could make some sort of toddler leash that attached to your purse/bag for a toddler to hold onto. (Sorry, I can’t find the email you sent me… thanks to whoever you are!)
But I know you’ve all been to the store/post office and have had extra bags and/or boxes in your hands……not really sure how you’re going to guide the little ones to the car or through the cart-less stores.  It’s quite the juggle.
Well, here’s a solution. 
And another reader came up with a handle for her stroller, found here.  Love that one too.  (Thanks Shannon!) 
But here’s the toddler handle I came up with, with materials I had on hand.
Perfect for the little ones to hold onto, while not being able to actually hold their hand.  
And when you’re through, just tuck it right into your bag.  Done.
Are you ready to make your own?
(This final leash is about 28 inches long.  Adjust according to your height and and how 
high your bag is when on your shoulder.)  
(And you don’t want it too long or your child will have too much length to run 
around and twist you up in it.  SO keep that in  mind.)


Start off with a strip of fabric that is 35 x 3.5 inches.
Then, fold your fabric in half lengthwise and sew along the side….using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Then cut a piece of felt and a piece of double sided fusible web that are both 7 1/2 x 1 3/8 inches.
Then place the fusible web between the felt and the long strip of fabric, and iron them all together about a 1/2 inch from the end.
Turn the strip of fabric right side out and iron flat.
Then sew a top-stitch right along both edges, nice and close to the outer edge.
Now, starting with the end that has the felt, fold over the edge a 1/4 inch…………
Then fold over the end about 4 inches.  Sew the end (with the 1/4 inch tucked under edge) to the strip, using two seams to secure it in place.  Now you have your sturdy loop that is your toddler’s handle.
Do the same thing at the other end, but tuck the end under a 1/4 inch and then only fold it over about 2 1/2 inches……making it a smaller loop than the first one.

Then loop the strip around your bag handle and place the toddler loop through the smaller loop……..

Then pull the end……..
………until it tightens it up and secures the handle in place.
And that’s it.
 Perfect for those outings with toddlers.

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 my 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. Jen Anglen says:

    HA!!!! And I thought I was the only one in the world who did this with my kids, due to the smiles I see on people’s faces when I’m walking into stores with two toddlers in tow and one on the hip!! My “String” works double duty as it needs two ends for two kids, but this is totally my trick for those treks through parking lots… and something for the kids to hold onto in the store! my husband told me I should blog about it… I guess you beat me to it! Loooove!

  2. Sara B. says:

    I made several of these when my 3 kids were 1yr, 2yrs and 3yrs old. The only difference… I put a buckle and/or velcrow/snaps on the child’s side. That way I was able to adjust it to their wrist ( or overall strap) so I knew they wouldn’t just let go a run away. ( my kids are all runners!) It created some peace of mind when I just couldn’t hold all of their hands.

  3. Suzy says:

    LOVE this!! I made one this afternoon, but made it longer than needed and added 1″ elastic down the middle so it would have some “give”. Pictures posted here (and your blog is linked as my source of inspiration, of course!) .

  4. Helen says:

    These are adorable !! I have a new grandson that I am going to make one for. Thanks for the idea

  5. Aimee says:

    THANK SO MUCH I LOVE IT made it this morning my three year olds arms gets so tired reaching up all the time to hold my hand I look forward everyday to your blog

  6. Gigglestuff says:

    Wow, this is quite genius. So simple, but effective. Thanks again for sharing this.

  7. sara says:

    I had made thease for my 2 1.2 year old twins the other day then found your blog, yours are so much cuter than mine.

    I originally made mine with Nylon Straps. They are not as pretty, which is a draw back, but if you are not a great sewer, you do not have to fuse/turn you just sew the end a few inches up depending on your childs hand size. I used a box stich. and for the other end I used a D ring. This makes it nice if you want to say switch it from your belt to the shopping cart quickly! just feed it through the loop!! I have to say I like yours better!!

  8. Inle says:

    I just made one for my 3 year old but it was a pain to turn it inside out. Do you have any tips on how to do that faster and easier?

  9. Shannon K. says:

    I made this tonight. I love it. I can't wait to show my munchin and make a few more!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I made a few of these and gave them to friends with 2 little ones- one guy at work thanked me and said he really needed shakles!!
    Love the pattern and the idea-thank you.

  11. Megan - A Ruffle In Time says:

    i shared this on my blog dear :)

  12. Kristin says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I can't wait to use it! I didn't have double fusible interfacing so I used sew in interfacing and some fleece and sewed it in when I did the topstitching. Now he will have a soft handle to hold on to.

  13. Christine says:

    Just used this at the airport and it worked great! I used some cute turtle webbing I had, so didn't need to do the folding/ironing/etc. and it took about 5 minutes total. I used the idea from your link you added to use a baby link for the handle.

  14. The Wade Family says:

    I am SOOO going to make this! I hate the little "leash" things people tack onto their toddlers- but this seems like a much nicer way of doing it! Thanks!!

  15. Sarah says:

    Such a good idea! I had to make it right away, and my 2 year old loves it since he thinks it's a lasso. Thank you!

  16. The Terry's says:

    Holy Cow this is a great idea. I cannot tell you how many times I am holding my one toddler in my arms and my other one is walking by my side and I'm like "hold on to mommy's purse!" Thanks for this tutorial. Thank goodness one of us has a bit of creativity up her sleeve!

  17. Typhoid Ashley says:

    I love this! It's not degrading like those little leashes! I always had my nephew hang on to my belt loop or pocket when he was little.

  18. Diane Conn says:

    I like how you made it a handle and less of a leash. My kids are all old enough now that they don't need me to hold their hands, but I feel better knowing exactly where they are. Your "leash" will let me have that extra hand when I need it!

  19. ~*~ Stephanie ~*~ says:

    Love it! Thanks for the tutorial. Even though I only have ONE toddler to hold onto this is still an awesome idea.

    He is at that "I don't want to ride in the cart" phase right now, so sometimes I get a little worried when I am trying to pay at the checkout line and he is just standing there (I mean he's a good listener and all, and will stay right there but still…) I usually make him hang onto my keys that I attach to my pants while we are out LOL. This would be easier AND much cuter!

  20. cc says:

    Love this idea!
    Why not really make a third hand? Take an extra glove, stuff lightly, securely sew the tips of the fingers up to the palm, being sure to leave room for your child's hand in the space between fingers and palm.
    Sew cuff to child's end of leash.
    A little more work, but the child may find it more comforting and fun.
    Also, why not attach leash to your arm (near elbow) so that you can feel if your child lets go.

  21. Katie & James Shannon says:

    WOW, I guess I didn't realize she was only 3, she looks so d and sophisticated in the pictures you have shown of her. I too have a 3 year old girl (born in December) and a baby boy who just broke my heart and turned 2 on the 26th(tear) and a 4 year old so I could definatley see this coming in handy.

  22. Keri says:

    The only thing wrong with the wonderful creation is that the handle isn't more of a leash. I'm thinking more of a 5 point harness! Can you teach me how you keep your toddlers from letting go?

  23. Kori says:

    Awesome idea!! Can't wait to make one. I'm teaching my two year old that she has to hold onto the cart when we go grocery shopping because she'll run around the entire store if she doesn't. I think she'll feel like she has a little more freedom if I tie this to my shopping cart!!

  24. sue says:

    i think i'll get way less looks with this than with my leashes!

  25. Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy says:

    LOVE this! So smart.

  26. Chel says:

    That is a great idea… but the title made me think something different, something I did with mine. I never had enough room in one bag for all the kids I was toting so when they were old enough that they didn't have to stay with mom all the time I started having them carry their own diaper bags. It had any necessities they needed, a small first aid kit, a water bottle and a card with all my contact info on it (you know… "If I get lost please call my mommy at…") Which made it easier to send them with my mom if she could only take one or two, or to let them go to the park with friends cuz they had what they needed and they knew that any time we weren't home they needed to have their back packs. Worked like a charm and then when I needed to leash them I held the leash that was tied to their bag and I didn't have to worry about them letting go!

  27. Jen says:

    Thanks, I did email you about a handle on a bag for a toddler and this one is even better then what I saw. I like others ideas on how to use it as well (shopping carts, etc.) I have a 3 1/2 year old and 19 month twins. I definitely need more hands and can make a few of these. It is going on my to do list…

  28. Sarah says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! I came up with this idea a few weeks ago and was just setting down to figure out how to make my idea a reality….imagine my shock to find out that you already did it!!
    I was planning to make mine with a carabiner to hook on my belt loop since I don't always carry a purse, but I really like your tut so may do it that way instead!

  29. Ashley says:

    I just had to comment real quick to say that I used this handle on the shopping cart in Target today. Worked like a charm. My little 3 year old walked right along with me and loved her freedom…..and there was no running away. She knew she had hold onto the handle, or she was going back into the cart. So give it a try in the store too….after you have taken your bag off your shoulder. :)


  30. Britta says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for the tutorial! I'll have to try it out. Most of my kids are older, but I do have a 4 year old who still likes to wander off. This would be perfect!

  31. lorchick @ ON{thelaundry}LINE says:

    Smart idea! If I have no hands available for my daughter I get her to hold on to my purse because then I can feel if/that she's still holding on to me. This would be cuter and mean she wouldn't have to be right up in my instep when I have no hands free, though!

  32. Kdunn says:

    What a great idea! Made one super qucik last night…although, I didn't pay attention to the "double-sided" pard of the interfacing and had to improvise with some double-stick tape…DOH!

  33. Mitzi says:

    This is awesome. I actually made something similar to this a few months ago, but did the velcro thing. It also is AWESOME for attaching to the shopping carts at the grocery store. That's what I used it for. You can attach it to a stroller too if you still have a little one in addition to your toddler.

  34. Sarah says:

    Brilliant idea! Something that I desparately need.


  35. Brenda says:

    Smart idea! I used to make my daughter hang onto the side of the carriage her wee brother was in. This would make even that much more comfortable for a toddler.

    Great idea for those of us who will be grannies before the other again!

  36. Alisha says:

    awesome. Love your polka dot bag too!

  37. Stephanie says:

    I have to admit, I rarely leave any comments, even though I L-O-V-E your blog. I follow so many friends and family ones on my Google Reader so it takes me too long to stop and leave comments usually. But I have to say, this is THE most clever thing EVER! Thank you SO much for coming up with this idea and sharing it with the rest of us!! I have 4 kids. With the 6 and 8-year olds bouncing around, the 2-year old holding my hand to keep him away from cars, and the 4-year old who just likes to hold on to my pocket, the cart, whatever . . . I have no space left! This is SO perfect! Mostly for my 4-year old. She just likes to have something to hold onto. I can't thank you enough!

  38. Snapshotsofhappiness says:

    Awesome idea!

  39. Amy@ServingPinkLemonade says:

    I would have never thought of this. It's perfect! Thanks!

  40. Ashley says:

    I have answered the blue polka dot bag question up above but I'll just re-post the info, in case some of you asking about the bag didn't notice it.

    You could probably google the bag to find it cheaper elsewhere. I know I found it cheaper at like JC Penney or something. Anyway, good luck…'s a good bag and is about 2 years old. I'm not using it now….because I don't have to carry so much around anymore. But I'll use it again one day maybe. It's in great shape!

  41. Sarah says:

    such a great idea. I especially love your polka dot bag {where did you get it}. thanks for sharing.

  42. Amy says:

    What a great idea! I have a 4 year old that needs to stay close but yet she wants her independence – this will be perfect! I'm putting this on my craft to do list! Thanks for sharing and Yes, we will all do a cheer for central air!

  43. Emily says:

    That is such an adorable idea…one I need!
    Where did you get your purse? It is way too cute!

  44. Ashley and Jason Faucett says:

    This is a great idea! I am with Erin; I have a little independent 2 year old, so I might try adding some decorative ribbon or something fun to make her want to hold onto it or try the velcro Erin mentioned! This is great! Thanks for posting!!

  45. madebymegs says:

    Awesome idea…so much nicer than the toddler leash that I have seen some people use on their children!!

  46. Kelly says:

    That right there is pure genius! Thanks for sharing this!

  47. Oh Holland! says:

    What a great idea! I'm definitely making one….tomorrow. My toddlers have worn me out today, and I'm going to take a nap!

  48. Delia says:

    What a great idea! I have my oldest grab one of my back pockets but I end up getting tripped up sometimes!

  49. Cammy says:

    First off "YES" I would still consider a 3 year old a toddler especially if they are as curious and active as my 3 year old. I actually have a backpack harness for him with a leash, but he fights putting it on lately so I have been putting the backpack on the stroller/cart/purse/etc. and giving him the leash end to hold. Your genius invention will eliminate the backpack all together, Yay! Thanks for all your fun ideas and creativity.

  50. Liz @ LivingMySweetLife says:

    My son is what I would call a wanderer. He just can't stand still!
    Maybe this will help!

  51. nap time journal says:

    Ashley, I posted a link to this on my blog!! Thanks again for sharing this will all of us.


  52. Lovely Lizzy says:

    I love it! I have been wanting something like that for grocery carts. My son refuses to sit in the seat, but I can't really trust him to stay with me. Thanks!

  53. Megan @ A Ruffle In Time says:

    this is amazing timing! thank you so much for sharing!!

  54. nap time journal says:

    I am leaving on a trip next week and you just saved me :) I have already made up a couple of these this morning. THANKS!!!! I'll be hooking mine to a purse, one to a stroller for the airport and I am taking one to hook to the husbands belt for touring :)……he just doesn't know yet!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!

  55. Shannon says:

    It turned out great Ashley and thanks for the link up! I definitely noticed the influx of traffic on my blog this morning :)

  56. Jan Bredenhof says:

    Okay – so everyone I know who is expecting baby #2, or #3, or #4…. will be getting one of these from me!! I have 4 children and should have thought about this eons ago!

  57. Melissa says:

    Oh WOW! What a great idea! My daughter is great at finding something to hold on to – my pocket, a bag or my purse, but many times in pulls me over too. I will be making this for sure!

  58. Molly says:

    Thank you!!! I have 3 little ones, 5,3 and 1, and two hands – The math does not compute! I don't think I can set up my sewing machine fast enough to make one of these!!! GENIUS!

  59. A. says:

    INGENIOUS. I love it!

  60. Maggie says:

    This is wonderful! My cousin just had her second baby- I am going to make this for her 2 1/2 y.o. tonight! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  61. Heather Lee says:

    This is inspired!! I love it.

  62. Nic says:

    Soooo CUTE! I am expecting our 5th baby in 12 short weeks and at the time of it's arrival I will have a 7, 5, 4, and 2 year old! A purse leash may just come in hand…..A LOT!

  63. lindsey says:

    I love this idea! I also love your bag that is featured in this tutorial. What kind is it? Where did you get it?

  64. The Noalls says:

    My little 18-month-old guy isn't to this stage yet, but apparently I'm going to need one of these soon! Good to know. Lol and I have that exact fabric, plus the green version–I bought it to make the throw pillows I asked you about. :) (Still haven't made those. Long story.) Thanks for the great tutorial, as usual.

  65. PDCScarbroughpage says:

    Cool. I actually just have my little guy hold on to my pocket!

  66. Ashley says:

    JuliaVP…….look at a comment above. I left the link for someone else! :)

  67. JuliaVP says:

    Great idea! Where did you get that purse? I'm in love!

  68. Erin says:

    I love the idea!

    One thing I might do different… make the "handle" end velcro so that if I need to, I can wrap it around my daughter's wrist and physically attach her to the strap… she is pretty independent and doesn't think she needs to hang on to ANYTHING… so, this would be helpful! I like this so much better than the toddler backpack leashes… I find that the "leash" part is too low and the slightest tug sends my toddler toppling to the ground.

    We got on a lot of walks and she doesn't want to ride in the stroller… so I can see this as useful in SO many different ways… thanks for the idea! You rock!

  69. Lynette @ My Craft Discovery says:

    Oh, what a fantastic idea! I love it! I'll have to save this idea for when I need it! Thanks!

  70. Ashley says:

    2littlehooligans – Yes, you could definitely attach 2. Just don't make them too long or they will twist around you and each other and maybe make a mess.

  71. Ashley says:

    Noahbythesea – Here is a link to the bag:

    You could probably google the bag to find it cheaper elsewhere. I know I found it cheaper at like JC Penney or something. Anyway, good luck…'s a good bag and is about 2 years old. I'm not using it now….because I don't have to carry so much around anymore. But I'll use it again one day maybe. It's in great shape!

    And Natalie – It was great hearing from you! Hope things are well for you! :)

    And good, I'm glad so many of you will find this useful. I sure love it! :)

  72. 2littlehooligans says:

    This is brilliant! Can I attach 2 of these to my purse? I have a 3 year old, 18 month old and a 4 month old. I can so use on of these. Thanks for sharing!

  73. michelleml says:

    Love this ideaa great tutorial thanks for sharing. With ds i always had him old my shirt or purse when he was young. Now i have a daughter who is 21 months old and this will work great again thanks

  74. Amy says:

    This is perfect!!!! I have little munchkins too and find it hard to hold hands constantly, but worry when I can't hold those tiny fingers. I love this b/c you could still feel the little tug on the handle from your little one. I am gonna have to make one of these TODAY!! You have just restored a little bit of sanity to so many mothers!!! Thanks for sharing!

  75. Keriann says:

    That is just a fabulous idea!

  76. sjones says:

    I used to have one like that…until my boys decided to run around my legs in a circle! Yeah not fun to be walking then tripping because you are all tied up!!
    Good idea though!

  77. Natalie Steel says:

    Ashley, Eli is getting so big! We talked with stefanie and Scott and found out that you are enjoying the Southern Georgia styles. I am glad to see that you are still making fabulous crafts each day. So randomly, I was visiting my sister in SLC, UT. She pulled up your website to show me her favorite items. It was fun to tell her that I knew you from Idaho. You are famous all over the nation…just so you know. Keep up the great ideas!!

    Natalie Steel

  78. Annie says:

    Oh, this is perfect! I've got #3 on the way and my other two are 3 and 1 so this is just what I've been looking for. Going grocery shopping, or anywhere out of the house causes me to panic just a little thinking about what it's going to be like with three kids and two hands, which never seem to be enough already. I also love you bag, very stylish.

  79. Mrs. Hahn says:

    Lovely idea! I may make a few of these for gifts. Thanks so much for sharing!

  80. noahbythesea says:

    LOVE this!! and i also LOOOOOOVE your bag. did you make it? if not, who's it made by, i'd love to get my hands on one like it.

  81. April J. says:

    This is genius and adorable too. I always have the kiddos put a hand in my pocket. This would save some embarrassing moments when I am wearing loose pants!

  82. Sarah says:

    Such a great idea! I love it!! My girls often hold on to my pants (which is better than nothing but uh, not great). This looks easy enough, and cute!

    Did you know they make fusible fleece? I used that on the boy ties instead of felt and fusible interfacing… one less step! I think it would work well here too!

  83. Deanna says:

    You are a genius!!! We're expecting #3 any day now, and we have a 2 & 4 year old…I obviously won't have enough hands in a few days! THANK YOU!!!

  84. Traci says:

    Genius! Thank you!!!

  85. Kari @ Ucreate says:

    This is such a great idea/tutorial!!!

  86. Rebekah says:

    I'm making one today!!! Love it.

  87. Melissa says:

    awesome idea!! thanks for the tutorial!

  88. Mrs. Alex P says:

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial!

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

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