The Northwest is a walking, running, and biking mecca. We love to get out and about, even in the drizzle for which we are famous. But I must admit, when I see these people clutching their water bottles, it seems rather uncomfortable. There are so many other things to do with your hands: carry a pair of binoculars, hold a loved one’s hand, push a stroller, grab a cup of coffee. Our easy-to-make, shoulder sling water bottle carrier is a great option for hands-free hydration. The inside is lined with fleece for a bit of hot/cold protection and to help absorb condensation. The shoulder strap is super long so you can wear it cross-body: keep the carrier at hand when you need it; sweep it out of the way when you don’t. We also added a tiny pocket on the front, fussy cut to be nearly invisible, and just big enough for some cards, cash, and keys, giving you a great all-on-one carrier.
We recommend a heavier-weight home décor or outdoor fabric for the exterior combined with a standard canvas for the accent and a fleece for the inside. The exact exterior print we used is no longer readily available; below are some great alternatives we found at Fabric.com.
Our Sling sample features a bold monogram on the front of the carrier within the white accent band. If you’d like to add a monogram to your project as we did, click here to download the full alphabet and brackets. This free download is available in the six major embroidery machine formats.
The carrier finishes at approximately 7″ high x 3½” diameter, which is sized for a standard 16 oz. water bottle. We found it also easily fit a 13 oz. juice bottle and even a Starbucks Frappuccino® bottle. Nice to have flexibility in your on-the-go beverages.
The pattern can be adjusted by increasing the base. Measure the diameter of your bottle, multiple by 3.14 (pi) and add 1″ for the seam. Of course, the body pieces would need to be adjusted as well. Here is a helpful tutorial on working with circles: Mark and Measure a Circle Without a Pattern. The strap is just shy of 50″, which is sized to be worn cross-body.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Embroidery machine if you which to add the optional monogram
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful for precise topstitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Yardage shown below allows enough for fussy cutting.
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide medium weight home dec or outdoor fabric for the carrier exterior, pocket and strap
NOTE: You could use a narrower width fabric, but we do recommend something heavier than standard quilting cottons. The “home décor” or “outdoor” fabrics are traditionally wider widths. If using a narrower width, the strap would need to be cut shorter or pieced.
- ¼ yard yard of 44″+ wide medium weight fleece for the carrier lining
- ⅛ – ¼ yard or scrap of medium weight canvas or twill for the accent band
NOTE: You need a piece large enough to hoop for embroidery if you choose to do the monogram. The finished accent band will trim down to 2½” x 11½”.
- Stabilizer for the optional embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Embroidery thread for optional monogram
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the Water Bottle Base pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the carrier exterior, pocket and strap, fussy cut the following:
ONE 6½” high x 11¼” wide rectangle for the main exterior
TWO 4¾” high x 4½” wide rectangles for the mini pocket
ONE 50″ x 2½” strip for the strap
Use the pattern to cut ONE base
NOTE: The exterior piece should be fussy cut to center the motif. Then the pocket must be cut to match so it becomes almost invisible. If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial on matching a pocket to a background panel.
- In the cut pieces photo below, you can see our pocket piece laid on top of the main exterior rectangle…. or can you?!
- From the fleece fabric for the lining, cut the following:
ONE 6½” high x 11¼” wide rectangle
Use the pattern to cut ONE base
- From the fabric for the accent band,
If monogramming, cut ONE rectangle big enough to hoop
If not monogramming, cut ONE 2½” x 11¼” rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Download the free font collection in the proper format for your machine.
- Hoop the twill fabric and stabilizer, and monogram the letter of your choice surrounded by the brackets. The letter should be hooped to stitch horizontally on the trimmed strip as shown below.
- Trim the finished fabric to 2½” x 11¼”, positioning the embroidery so it is centered side to side and top to bottom within the strip.
Pocket – create and place
- Find the two 4¾” x 4½” pocket pieces.
- Place them right sides together.
- Pin along all four sides, leaving an approximate 2½” opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all sides, pivoting at the corners. Lock your seam on either side of the 2½” opening. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, long knitting needle or point turner works well for this.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press well.
- Find the main exterior panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Measure to find the exact center of the panel.
- Pin the pocket in place on the right side of the exterior panel. The pocket should be centered side to side and 1″ up from the bottom raw edge, and the motifs should be aligned.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it’s smart to secure the seam well. This edgestitching also closes the opening used for turning.
Add the accent band
- Place the exterior panel, with the pocket in place, right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the accent band right sides together along the top, aligning the top raw edge of the bottom section with the bottom raw edge of the top section. Pin in place. Check to be sure the monogram is correctly centered over the pocket.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the two pieces together.
- Grade the seam, trimming the twill side back to approximately ⅛”.
- Press the seam allowance toward the accent band.
- Flip over this exterior panel and edgestitch along the seam within the accent band. Run the seam as close as possible to the edge of the twill. The thread in the top and bobbin should match the accent band fabric. The green line of stitching you see in the photo below is simply a leftover from our embroidery placement that we removed later.
Create the exterior tube and the lining tube, and insert the bases
- Fold the exterior panel in half, right sides together to create the center back seam. Be careful to match the horizontal seam line of the accent band. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch in place to create a tube.
- Find the exterior base circle.
- On the base circle, place a pin at the exact center top, exact center bottom and the two sides. Think of it like at clock, with pin points at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. You can also fold the circle in half and then in half again, press lightly, then place a pin at each small crease line.
- On the carrier tube, the corresponding 12:00 point will be the center back seam. Keeping this seam in the exact center, flatten the tube to find the opposite 6:00 point. Then, flatten the tube in the opposite direction to find the 3:00 and 9:00 points. Place marking pins at all these points.
- Place the base right sides together with the bottom circular opening of the tube, aligning all the pin points. Easing the fabric, fill in the rest of the circle with pins. If you have done garment sewing, this is very similar to putting in a sleeve.
- Stitch the layers together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Go back around again with a zig zag stitch to finish the seam allowance.
- Follow the same steps to create a matching lining tube with the 6½” x 11¼” fleece rectangle and the fleece base circle.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this technique, you can review our step-by-step tutorial on how to insert a flat circle into a tube.
- Find the 50″ x 2½” strip.
- Fold the entire piece in half lengthwise to set a center crease. Unfold so this crease line is visible.
- Fold in ¼” on both ends.
- Fold in each 50″ side ¼”.
- Fold again along the original center crease line, matching the folded edges. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch along both long sides. Leave the ends folded-in but unstitched.
- Find the exterior tube. Flatten it so the monogram is center front, directly opposite the back seam. Mark each side fold with a pin.
- Center one end of the strap at one side pin point. The bottom edge of the strap should be aligned with the bottom edgestitching of the accent band. Pin the bottom end in place. Measure 1″ up from the bottom end and place another pin. This marks the stopping place for the stitch box that will secure the strap.
- Carefully slide the layers under the needle so the strap remains straight. Sew a 1″ X box to secure the tab to the exterior panel.
- Repeat to attach the opposite end of the strap at the opposite pin point. Remember to check the entire loop of the strap to make sure it is not twisted before stitching this second end in place.
Assemble to finish
- With the lining tube wrong side out, slip it inside the exterior tube, which should be right side out. Align the seams and the upper edge. Pin in place.
- Fold down the exterior raw edge ½” and pin in place all around
- Fold the top raw edge of the fleece lining ½”, adjusting the folds as necessary so the fleece fold is just slightly below the accent band fold. Re-pin through all the layers.
- Topstitch all the way around around the top through all the layers, keeping the strap out of the way. Keep your stitching as close to the fleece fold as possible.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild