Gift Ideas,  Tutorials

Off to College Bag and Towel Gift Set – Tutorial

It’s back to school time! Here in Georgia, my kids are happy to be back at school. They love getting to see all of their friends, and quite frankly, we all do a little better when we are on a schedule. I also know several young men and women who are heading off to college for the first time. Do you need a gift to give an entering college freshman? If so, this bag and bath set might be perfect. It is quick and easy to make and is sure to be appreciated.


I started with monogramming the towel. I think monogrammed towels at college are a must. With new roommates and shared bathrooms, it’s nice to have your towels so distinguishly marked. I used Sulky 40 wt. Poly Deco™ Thread since I knew these towels would take a beating and I hooped Sulky Super Solvy® on top and Sulky Tear- Easy™ on the bottom.

college gift set supply shot

Next I made a little monogrammed soap holder from a wash cloth. I put the monogram in the bottom third of the wash cloth (I used the same stabilizers and thread type as the towel). I upcycled the bag that my grocery store apples come in and attached that to the top of the wash cloth so it would have a scrubby part.

wash cloth 4

I then folded the wash cloth into thirds, right sides together and serged up both sides. Turn it right side out and and just add some soap!

wash cloth 1 wash cloth 2

Last, I made a quick bag with a monogram on the front. I love this quick bag because there is so little measuring involved. I picked my fabrics and my thread for the monogram. This time I used Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread. I had the perfect color green on hand in rayon and I love how rayon looks.

bag pieces 1

I cut 3 strips of the pink and green fabric 8 inches wof (width of fabric). I then measured the wof and divided that number by 3. Mine was 54″ wof, so 54 divided by 3 is 18. I then cut four  18″ squares out of the polka dot fabric. Stitch the monogram onto one of these squares (unless you are like me and mess up the monogram twice before getting it right. Don’t worry, I just used the ‘oops’ monogrammed squares as the bag’s lining.) I ironed Sulky Fuse ‘n Stitch™ to the inside of the two 18″ squares that I used as the outside of the bag. This just gives the bag a little more stability. Sew one 8″ strip, right sides together to one 18″ square on three sides.

bag construction

Sew the second square to the 8″ strip right sides together and turn right side out. This forms the outside on your bag.

bag outside

Do the same thing with the other 2 squares and one of the other strips, but this time don’t turn it right sides out. This is your lining. Put this inside the bag and set aside. Take your last 8″ strip and a piece of woven handle. Decide how long you want your handle to be, and cut the woven piece to that length. Lay that on top of your last 8″ strip on the wrong side. Cut the lengths to match. You may also need to cut the strips down smaller, depending on how wide you want your handle. Use Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive to stick the fabric to the handle.

bag handle 1

bag handle 2


Topstitch down the center and about 1/8 inch in from each side of the handle to give it a finished look. I used Sulky 40 wt. Poly Deco thread for all the topstitching on this bag.

bag handle 3

Fold down and iron the top of the inside and outside of the bag, and clip your handle in place. Topstitch around the top with extra stitching at the handles.

bag handle 4

I love this set! It’s cute and very useful for a college student or just about anyone! The entire set took me half a day.


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  • Sue Scott

    I made this bag with a few modifications for my two nieces that were off to college. They love having their monograms on their bags. What a great idea!! Thank you for the free pattern. I made my bags with a stiff stabilizer so it will stand up better

  • Bev

    Great idea to make for my oldest granddaughter who starts college in the fall. Thank you so much. I never thought of using the net wrapping used when purchasing a bag of apples. Next time I come home with a bag of apples, I’ll save the net for this project. Very creative.

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