Water Bottle Carrier Tutorial

This water bottle carrier was inspired when I found myself carrying everyone’s water in my backpack for the 4th of July parade. Next time, everyone carries their own! This is my first tutorial so please feel free to send me corrections or comments on how to make it better.

1. Cutting Instructions

Cut one piece of fabric for the exterior and one piece for the interior each 10 3/4 wide x 8 inches tall. I’ve pieced my exterior fabric with two coordinating prints in the tutorial pictures.

Cut 2 circles of your lining fabric, the circle should have a 3 3/4 inch diameter. The diameter of the circle stitching line is 3 inches. Add an additional 3/8 inch seam allowance making the cut circle diameter 3 3/4 inches.

Cut one piece of Insul-Brite 9 x 7 inches. Cut one Insul-Brite circle with a diameter of 3 inches.

For strap, cut one length of twill tape and one length of ribbon, both 42 inches long. This fits my 8 and 11 year old daughters. When I sized it for myself I cut it 50 inches long.

2. Sew exterior to lining along the top edge only, right sides together using a 3/8 inch seam.

3. Press open seam.

4. The Insul-Brite is going to get sandwiched between the exterior and the lining. Pin Insul-Brite to the wrong side of exterior fabric, aligning and centering top of batting with the joined seam line. Pin in place about an inch down to keep batting from sliding around. Fold over the the lining fabric and pin some more. Top stitch 1/4 inch along the top edge. This provides a baseline anchoring of the batting.

5. Pin entire sandwich like a quilt, securing as needed to keep layers from puckering when stitched. Stitch all layers as you please. Repeat this for the bottom circle. Finish bottom edge of top and edges of circle with a zigzag stitch or serger.

6. I used a French seam to join the side edges of the carrier. A French seam is two steps which result in the raw edge being trapped inside the second seam. Use some scraps and do a practice seam if this is the first time trying this. This seam is great for fairy skirts too!

Step One: Pin WRONG sides of sides together and stitch a 1/4 inch seam. Don’t press seam open, you want them to lay flat together.

Step Two: Turn tube wrong side out. Pin again along the edge, RIGHT sides together and stitch a 3/8 inch seam. This seam will ‘trap’ the previous seam inside. This gives you a nice clean finished edge for the inside of your carrier.

7. Leave tube with lining turned to the outside. Pin bottom circle to tube’s raw edge, right sides together. Clip edges of the tube to make fitting easier. Only clip about 1/4 inch into seamline.

8. Stitch using a 3/8 inch seam.

9. Turn carrier right side out.

10. Attach twill tape to ribbon with a single stitch down the center.

11. Turn up 1 inch of strap raw edge and attach to inside edge of tube, centering ends on either side of the carrier side seam. (After making this I think it would have been easier to attach the strap before creating the tube.)

12. Enjoy watching your kids carry their own water bottle.


This carrier fits a small 500 mL bottle of water. I used a Crystal Geyser bottle that was 8 inches around. The finished tube is 9 inches in circumference and 7 1/4 inches tall.

The formula for sizing the diameter of the bottom circle is: the circumference of the circle divided by 3.14 (or pi). The circumference is measured by laying the top part of your bag flat, measuring the opening from one side to the other and then doubling. I usually round up the result of the formula just to keep things simple and add for a little shrinkage that will occur when the circle is quilted. I then add a 3/8 inch seam allowance or a total of 3/4 inch to the diameter measurement. In this example, a 9 inch circumference divided by 3.14 = 2.866, I rounded to 3 inches and added 3/4 of an inch for the total seam allowance.
Insul-Brite is a thin batting with a thin layer of foil. It will hold in heat or cold. If using it for potholders it’s recommended to use two additional layers of regular batting. I purchased mine at JoAnns.

Go to Whip Up and see all the other fabulous entries for this round of the Whip Lash Challenge. My entry is for the Tutorial category.

220 Responses to Water Bottle Carrier Tutorial
  1. stephanie s
    July 10, 2006 | 9:44 am

    beautifully done – great entry….

  2. Kristin
    July 10, 2006 | 9:49 am

    I am SOOOOOOO amking one of these now. Maybe three!


  3. Amelie
    July 10, 2006 | 9:55 am

    great idea, and great result :)

  4. Alex
    July 10, 2006 | 10:09 am

    This is fabulous! The instructions are clear and the carrier is just beautiful. And what a nice idea!

  5. gray la gran
    July 10, 2006 | 10:37 am

    hey, i think your pictures and instructions are fabulous! where in a fabric store do i find that insulation?

  6. Kristin
    July 10, 2006 | 11:02 am

    Wonderful! I’m printing it out now. I just got some cute camping fabric to make my son a pillow for his summer camp sleepover and the leftovers would make a great water bottle holder. Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. wendy
    July 10, 2006 | 11:09 am

    Wonderful tutorial and lovely carrier.

  8. HVM
    July 10, 2006 | 11:13 am

    Excellent! Your photos are great, and the instructions are really easy to follow. I am going to live vicariously, as I have nothing to enter this month for Whiplash. Hooray! 😉

  9. Julie
    July 10, 2006 | 11:23 am

    Great tutorial! Such a cute little bag!

  10. Regina
    July 10, 2006 | 11:41 am

    Functional and so very pretty! It’s even insulated- very very good idea! Great job!

  11. Jessica
    July 10, 2006 | 11:54 am

    fabulous! i love this!!! nice work :)

  12. Bee
    July 10, 2006 | 12:01 pm

    This is awesome! I have been planning to make water bottle carriers for my kids because I always end up carrying them when we go hiking. I keep saying, “What do I look like? Your pack horse?” Well, it turns out I shouldn’t have asked that question, I am still trying to convince myself I don’t look like a horse. Anyway, I am very excited about your tutorial. So many ideas here that I hadn’t thought of… now if I can just get some made before our next outing!

  13. linda
    July 10, 2006 | 12:34 pm

    Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I made swim bags for all the boys when I realized that carrying all of their wet towels and wetsuits were breaking my back! The bottle carrier is really nice. It must be nice to have a daughter to model for you! And I’ll bet you made her skirt, too! :o)

  14. CarinaWardi
    July 10, 2006 | 1:46 pm

    Great idea! Nice tutorial and the colours are so pretty! :-)

  15. Amy
    July 10, 2006 | 2:26 pm

    Looks like a wonderful tutorial to me. I think I’ll have to wait a few more years for Bea to carry her own anything, really, but I’ll bookmark this tutorial. It would be nice to have one around just for those rare occasions when you can go for a leisurely stroll without tons of stuff and strollers :-)

  16. k8tykat
    July 10, 2006 | 3:12 pm

    thanks for the tutorial.

  17. Siow Chin
    July 10, 2006 | 7:47 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial! If Insul-Brite is not available here, would you suggest any other type of ‘batting’?

  18. isa
    July 10, 2006 | 9:44 pm

    great idea…
    i will make one for the trip to spain 😉


  19. Meg
    July 11, 2006 | 12:30 am

    Beautiful, as always. Great idea for a gift too. I am always impressed with how well made your stuff is, and I really love the fabric too.

  20. Leslie
    July 11, 2006 | 6:48 am

    I love this and the tutorial is so easy to follow. Thanks for the time you took to share with us!

  21. Robyn
    July 11, 2006 | 6:57 am

    What a great idea and tutorial. If you don’t already have it on your sidebar, is there any way you could list the tutorial so I can come back and reference it? ALso, I like your new header! :0)

  22. JudyC
    July 11, 2006 | 8:07 am

    My only suggestion would be here:

    2. Sew exterior to lining, right sides together using a 3/8 inch seam.

    Maybe say “along the top edge”. I had to look closely to see if you mean top or all the way around before reading down to see it was the top only!

    I will be making this bag for sure. Great work, great fabrics! Love the new shelving unit!

  23. Nancy
    July 11, 2006 | 11:21 am

    A great example of necessity as mother of invention. Or maybe it’s being a mother that necessitates invention. I see a bright future of my girls carrying their own water! Thanks for the tutorial.

  24. June
    July 11, 2006 | 1:35 pm

    This bag is so cute! It’s a great idea too – I could really use one of these. Thanks for the clear tutorial!

  25. debra
    July 11, 2006 | 6:31 pm

    omgosh, how fabulous are you??? This is awesome. I want to make one soooo bad!!! I’m terrified, but your tutorial looks great. Can I shoot you an email if I end up stitching my sleeve up in the thing?? Maybe I should wait until I’m off the narcotics–just in case–but this one is definitely on my list to try. 😉 By the way, I’m head-over-heels in Love with the pink/blue/green floral/grass pattern. Where did you get it??? And if that was your last piece from the 50 cent lot of vintage fabrics you just happened to stumble upon at a French flea market…just don’t tell me, okay?

  26. Administrator
    July 12, 2006 | 12:35 pm

    In response to Debra’s question about the fabric, it’s by Jane Sassaman. Here’s a link to her website: http://www.janesassaman.com I’m a huge fan of her quiltmaking and her fabrics. I’ve ordered from her site before and she ships really quickly.

  27. Carrie B.
    July 12, 2006 | 1:24 pm

    Wow… this is SO incredibly cute! And thank you so much for the tutorial. I had never heard of Insul-Bright… I think I’m going to have to make a Jo-Ann’s run this weekend to buy some so I can make a few of these. Thanks again, you’re an inspiration! :)

  28. Karen
    July 12, 2006 | 5:56 pm

    I love this! Thanks for sharing the pattern and all the great pictures. I just knitted and felted water bottle holder. My son thinks I’m nuts…but I love it especially in this humid weather…it keeps it from dripping.

  29. Alicia A.
    July 12, 2006 | 9:46 pm

    Eeek! So perfect. My mom needs one of these- I’ll have to make her one!

    Thank you!

  30. Gisele Schoene
    July 13, 2006 | 7:57 am

    The colors are perfect!

  31. claudine
    July 13, 2006 | 9:33 pm

    What a great tutorial! You did great… the instructions are easy to follow, and I love how you have clear pictures for each step. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  32. weirdbunny
    July 19, 2006 | 10:18 am

    I just love the water bottle carrier!!

  33. Mikki
    July 24, 2006 | 6:58 am

    I just found your blog through Homeschoolblogger.com. What a great site. I just started sewing. I’m getting really good at pajama pants. That’s about it so far. I only know what I learned in middle school (which was a way back) and what my mom tells me over the phone. I have an old sewing machine given to me by my mom in the hope one of her grandchildren would take up sewing. Surprise – I did at a late age. LOL.

    I hope you don’t mind if I add your site to my favorites. I would LOVE to come back and really take some notes on your sewing tips.

    Thanks sooo much for this great blog site!

  34. Sid
    July 25, 2006 | 10:30 am

    this is the second time I ended up on your blog while surfing – and again, I love it 😀
    Great idea for the water bottles, I will add it to the wishlist of things I want to have time for LOL..

  35. […] Isabelle sent me an e-mail letting me know she made a water bottle carrier. It’s fabulous! Check it out here. I love her addition of the coin purse, too cute. […]

  36. shiso mama
    July 26, 2006 | 10:41 pm

    congratulations on the win! you deserve it, of course, it’s a great tutorial with clear, easy instructions. and i love seeing your kids modeling the goods.

  37. glory elliott
    July 29, 2006 | 12:40 pm

    my dil just sent me your water bottle carrier link..how fantastic…
    i will use it as a teach a child to sew project for my 9yr old gd …
    and make a few for myself and gifts….thank you..glory

  38. suzanne
    August 3, 2006 | 6:16 pm

    I used your tutorial to make the carrier this afternoon as a birthday gift for my sis-in-law and love, love, love it!! I just started seriously learning how to sew this week (after owning a machine for 15 yrs.) and can’t believe how easy it was to follow your directions. I am so looking forward to making more of these carriers in all sorts of colors. It’s such a cool item that I’m sure after everyone sees this, I’ll have requests for more. Thx!

  39. KIKI
    August 4, 2006 | 9:19 am

    This tutorial is so awesome. I’m just learning to sew but this is totally going on my list of things I must try. Kudos!

  40. […] I received this great package in the mail last week for my Whiplash win with the Water Bottle Carrier Tutorial. It was exciting because I didn’t know before opening the package which prize I would be getting. There were purse handles from Tall Poppy, an Amy Butler purse pattern and a fabulous set of fat eighths from Sew, Mama, Sew. I learned on the website that these fabrics are from organically grown cotton and naturally dyed. The dyes are derived from plants, vegetables, minerals, and some animal products. All dyes are non-toxic, non-allergenic, completely bio-degradable and environmentally friendly. This quilt pattern (using these cottons) is available for free on their website: […]

  41. Meli
    October 26, 2006 | 7:02 am

    awesome. I am definitely making some. thanks

  42. […] I love this one! It’s a Water Bottle Carrier. […]

  43. kim
    February 6, 2007 | 1:53 pm

    Just what I have been looking for…i hope you have other neat ideas

  44. Cindy
    February 11, 2007 | 11:03 am

    Wow! What a great idea! The tutorial is awesome :)

  45. Carrie
    February 13, 2007 | 12:37 pm

    That is really cool, I can’t wait to try it.

  46. Tippy
    February 17, 2007 | 8:13 am

    Ahh! I was browsing through and I saw a couple pictures that I’m pretty sure you didn’t put in your tutorial (looks like #8 and 9 have been highjacked)…not sure how that happened, but thought you might want to know!!

  47. […] A HUGE thanks to Tippy for alerting me to some funky photos in my water bottle carrier tutorial. Supposedly a Flickr server issue. Given the pornographic content of one of the photos it sure seemed like hackery. Let’s hope all is OK. Curious to know if anyone else has run into similar problems. […]

  48. Amy
    March 4, 2007 | 10:42 am

    PERFECT! I am a Girl Scout Troop leader. 100% thrilled to find this site. We are going camping next weekend and are going to make a simple one for all of our girls. (Also – NOT carrying 20 waterbottles myself!)

  49. […] Tasche für Getränkeflasche […]

  50. Plume
    May 12, 2007 | 1:43 pm


    I just found your site , searching through http://blog.creativekismet.com/tutorials-of-all-kinds/
    Very nice, lovely crafts!
    I’m very interested in your Water Bottle Carrier article as I am wishing to make a trim-ice-box (I don’t know weither that’s the proper way to call it, but I hope you’ll see what I mean ) . You use what you call Insul-Brite. This is exactly what I need for my project , however I have no idea where to get it from.
    Would you mind telling me where you pourchased yours , maybe that would help me find out what kind of shop would be most likely to sell it down here (in France).

    Thank you for the help you can bring me .

    Keep sewing!


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