How to Make a Beach Bag
Tote bags are very handy, they can be any size you like and are not complicated to make. In this make I have chosen to do a bag that is a good size for throwing a towel and some suncream in for a trip to the beach.
The principal is the same regardless of size, so feel free to adjust the measurements as you see fit. So without further ado, here we go!
- Cutting mat
- Fabric for the bag and some more for the lining (optional) – the fabric I used for this make is available in Hobbycraft stores
- Button (also optional)
1. Before you do anything, wash and iron all your fabric. It can be tempting to get going right away, but if you skip this step then when you wash your bag it may shrink and distort.
2. Measure the width and length you want your bag to be and cut the fabric. I rolled up a beach towel and placed it on the fabric before cutting, this means that I can make the bag the right size for its contents. If you do this too, make sure to add a couple of inches to the top and side to allow for wiggle room.
3. You should now have four pieces (if you are also making a lining).
4. Put them right (patterned) sides together and pin.
5. Sew the pieces together along both long sides and one short side, I have used a half inch seam allowance but feel free to use whatever you would like. When you get to a corner you can either pivot with the needle down or carry on and start a new line of stitching.
5. You should now have two basic bags. Take the corner and pull the sides out to form a triangle, put a pin through the seam and out the opposite seam. The pin will hold the fabric while you measure across the triangle. This is going to give the bag a flat bottom, if you don’t want this on your bag then you can skip this step.
6. Draw a straight line across the fabric, the size of this will depend on the size of your bag. My line is four inches. When you have marked out both sides, repeat the above steps for the lining (if you have one).
7. Sew along the drawn line, back stitch at the start and end to reinforce it. When you have sewn across all the corners, cut off the excess fabric and remember to leave the same amount as your seam allowance. For my bag I have left half an inch of fabric after cutting.
7. We are now going to make some straps, to do this you first need to decide where you would like your bag to hang. Once you have decided, measure out two strips four inches wide by however long you would like.
8. Fold the strips in half along their length (right sides together) and press. Pin along the length of the strips and sew using the same seam allowance used for the bag.
My sewing machine has a triple stitch which I used to give the straps more durability. If your machine doesn’t have this, use a slightly smaller stitch and back stitch and the start and end.
9. Once both straps are finished, turn them right side out and press. Make sure the seam is in the centre and not on the edge when you do this.
10. If you are making a lining, place it inside the outer fabric (right sides together) and match up the side seams.
11. Take your straps and lay them on top of the bag, decide how far apart you would like them. I recommend leaving a minimum of two inches from the edge of the bag so that there isn’t any strain. If your bag is smaller then you can adjust this, but make sure there is a gap between the edge of the bag and straps.
12. Once you have decided on strap placement, pin the straps to the bag. A very important point – make sure the straps go inside the bag, between the fabric and the lining.
13. Once you have pinned your straps (inside the bag!) sew around the top edge of the bag, back stitch as you go over and come off a strap to reinforce them. Be sure to leave a gap between one of the straps so that you can turn the bag the right way when you’re finished. I put two additional pins on the straps in question so that I knew when to stop and start sewing.
14. I sewed around the bag twice with a matching thread, the first line of stitching was a quarter inch from the top and the second line was half an inch from the top.
15. Once you have finished sewing, turn the bag the right way and press along the top edge. When you get to the gap, fold the edges inside the bag and continue pressing.
16. If you would like to leave you bag open then you can sew the gap closed and enjoy your finished tote! I wanted to mine to shut, if you would also like yours to, then read on….
17. Cut a five inch by two inch strip from you bags outer fabric, fold in half (right sides together) and press.
18. Sew the piece together along both long and one short edge, leave an opening at the top to turn it right way out.
19. Press the strip the same way as the bag straps and pin it between the lining and the bag. Make sure you leave an inch below where you sew as this will make sure it won’t tear off.
20. Sew the strip to into the bag, make sure to match up with the rest of the stitching around the top edge.
21. Now you just need to add a buttonhole on the strip and attach the button to the bag. I’m very lucky to have a machine with a buttonhole program so I cheated and used this.
22. We are done! You are now the proud owner of a unique tote bag. Now you just need to grab your things and hit the beach, or go shopping and fill it up.
Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help.