Water Bottle Carrier with adjustable strap - a tutorial

My daughter has been asking me to make her one of these for a while, so I thought I'd figure it out and then I can make some for the school carnival stall from old clothes!

I used old clothes for this one, but you could use any fabric. For the adjustable strap, I used plastic parts from old bag straps that I've saved over the years. I have quite a collection! 

So for this water bottle carrier I used some old jeans for the outer, plus a pretty jeans pocket, an old sports shirt for the padded lining, and some co-ordinating fabric from my stash for the inside and strap.

Here's how to make your own water bottle carrier.

First cut from each of your outer, middle and inner fabrics, 2 rectangles, 22 x 14 cm (8.5 x 5.5") and one circle of each fabric, 9 cm (3.5") in diameter. Then for the strap you will need one strip
 1m 10 x 10 cm (43 x 4") and a shorter strap 16 x 10 cm (6.5 x 4").
I also had a small jeans pocket and some co-ordinating fabric for decorating the front of the water carrier, plus a D ring and an adjustable strap piece (as shown in the above picture). You can add any kind of decoration you like - a pocket, an applique, a fabric flower, buttons or simply leave it plain.

For the decoration I simple used an applique stitch on my machine to stitch around the co-ordinating fabric.

Then I did the same with the jeans pocket in the centre of that.

The strap
First take the longer strap piece. Fold the short end over, and the two long sides in to the centre like this:

Then fold the whole thing in half so all the raw edges are hidden.

Now stitch around all 4 edges of this strap - folding all the way down the strip and the other short end in the same way so there are no raw edges showing.  Stitch two extra rows of stitching down the inside of the straps for extra strength.

Repeat this with the shorter strap piece. So now you should have this:

Take the shorter strap and loop it through the D ring, then match up the two ends of the strap and lay it on the top of the front rectangle of outer fabric about 5 cm (2") down from the top edge.

Pin and stitch into place by stitching a small rectangle at the base of the strap (where the pin is in the picture).

Now for the longer strap. Thread one end through the adjustable strap piece like this:

Fold the short end back and pin to the longer end. Stitch into place with a rectangle of stitching near the end of the strap.

Then loop the other end of the long strap through the D ring, then back up through the adjustable strap piece as shown in the following picture.

Lay the strap flat and ensure there are no twists before pinning the other end to the other outer rectangle piece as you did with the other piece. Stitch into place with a rectangle of stitching.

Main carrier body
Now you are ready to put your bottle carrier together.
Place the two outer fabric pieces together, right sides facing.

Then add the inner 'padding' pieces - one on either side of this and pin down the long sides.

Stitch along the sides where you have pinned. Then take the two circles of outer and padding fabric. You will now attach these to the bottom end of your carrier - that is the opposite end to where the straps are attached.

Pin then stitch these two circles around the bottom opening.

Turn right sides out.

The lining
Take your final 2 fabric rectangles - your inner fabric. Pin these right sides together along the long edges, but leave a gap on one side. You will need this to turn the carrier right sides out at the end.

Stitch the sides, then as with your outer piece, pin then stitch the circular base to one end of your inner tube.

Putting it all together
Push your outer piece inside your inner piece - so that you have the right sides of the fabrics facing each other. Make sure the strap is pushed inside too.

Line up the top raw edges of the openings of both parts. Pin and stitch all the way around.

Turn your carrier out through the gap in the lining fabric.

Pin then stitch the opening closed.

Push the lining inside the outer part, then top-stitch around the top opening.

And you're done! One water bottle carrier finished!

Pop a water bottle in and off you go!

I made another plain one too.

Now to make lots more different colours and with different decorations on the front for the school carnival stall!

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

To see more Water Bottle Carriers I've now made - go here!

To see what else I made for 
the school carnival stall, go here.

And if you enjoyed this tutorial, there are over 100 more sewing tutorials on my free tutorials pages


  1. I love upcycling! It was your blog a few years ago that got me started looking at all the jeans, tshirts, etc. that my boys destroy as extra fabric. Now I have a bin just for upcycling old clothes.

    Nice work.

    1. Oh thank you Kelley! Old clothes really are the perfect source of fabric - budget and eco-friendly!

  2. Firstly I wanted to say what a brilliant idea this is.
    Both my girls do various sports that they cycle or walk to, and this is so much easier for them than having to carry a backpack everywhere with one water bottle in it. Or carrying just their water bottle which invariably gets dropped along the way!
    And as a beginner sewer I can not thank you enough for your clear, step by step instructions.
    The downloadable PDF is also really appreciated, as I can keep it right next to my machine for when I get confused (regularly!).

    So thank you for helping me to be a better sewer. Your Christmas bags are next on my list!

    1. Thank you Fiona! Have fun sewing these carriers for your girls. Just let me know if you have any questions and I'd love to see pictures of the finished carriers!!

  3. Love this!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this afternoon that links to your tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=84166 --Anne

  4. Cute idea - great way to use some old jeans for something useful.

  5. Loving this! You are so talented. Thanks for sharing this at our party. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm, so we get to party with you again! Lou Lou Girls

    1. Thanks so much Kimberley! I'll certainly be back at your lovely party to share more this week too!

  6. This is really cute! I love the denim pocket! Thanks for sharing at Submarine Sunday!!

  7. Jill this is so clever, I have been mesmerized watching your step by step guide, as a total non sewer I am in awe of what you have created here, yet the way you explain it makes me want to try it out. I hope you made plenty for the school carnival. Such a clever idea. Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

    1. Thank you again! I'm slowly making more for the school carnival and I have someone with a supply of water bottles I can fill them with! Hopefully they will sell well!

    2. Fingers crossed for you, I wish you were supporting our school!

    3. Thanks! Just a few weeks to go and then I'll see whether or not things sell well!

  8. What a neat and cute idea Jill...nice tutorial as usual..:-))

  9. I there - no the middle fabric isn't required - it just adds a little extra insulation to try and keep the water in the bottle cool!


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