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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Large Beach Bag/ Tote Tutorial

I have a serious obsession with bags and purses. I have a tote that I use for going to the beach and pool, but it just isn't big enough when I'm planning on spending all day in the sun. I'm a little bit of a pack rat, so I have way too many "essentials" for when I go to the pool... towels, a book, iPod, magazine, sunscreen, food, drinks, and probably 10 other things. So that leaves me needing a HUGE beach bag. Of course my solution to this problem was making a new beach tote!


  • 3/4 yard of heavy canvas or fabric cut into the following dimensions:
    • (2) pieces 22 in. X 17 in. (front and back of bag)
    • (2) pieces 17 in. X 7 in. (sides of bag)
    • (1) piece 22 in. x 7 in. (bottom of bag)
    • (1) piece 11 in. X 11 in. (pocket)

  • about 40-50 inches of rope for straps
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies

How to:
Step 1: Prepare the pocket by using an iron to press 1/4 in. seam allowances. Fold the corns over as seen in the picture to create and angled corner. Then sew a straight stitch across the top of the pocket. Note: I sew two straight lines because I think it makes the finished seam look more manufactured, but you don't have to.

Step 2: Using pins, attach the pocket to the middle of the one of the 22 in. X 17 in. pieces. Using a straight stitch, sew the sides and bottom of the pocket to the larger piece.

Step 3: Prep the top of the bag by using an iron to press a 1/4 seam allowance on both 22 in. X 17 in. pieces and both 17 in. X 7 in. pieces.

Step 4: Lay a side piece on top of the front piece of the bag (right sides together). Make sure that the top of the bag (the part with the seam ironed) is lined up. Then using a 1/4 in. seam allowance, sew a straight to line to attach the pieces. Repeat step 4 with the back of the bag and the other side piece.

Step 5: Now we are going to attach the top two pieces together. Lay the two pieces on top of each other, right-sides together. Make sure that the top of the bag is lined up correctly. Use a 1/4 in. seam allowance and sew a straight line to attach the pieces together. Then you should have a rectangle tube. This is the bag without the bottom attached.

Step 6: Keep the bag inside out. Pin the bottom of the bag in place and sew along the edges using a 1/2 in. seam allowance. While sewing the corners of the bottom, sew slowly! It's easy to get other parts of the bag bunched up, so you have to make sure you're only sewing the bottom of the bag.

Step 7: Turn the bag right-side out. Use pins to attach the handles where you want them. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture with the handles attached). Then using a 1/4 in. seam allowance, sew along the top of the bag to finish the seam and attach the handles. Again, I sewed two straight lines for a more professional look.

Step 8: Press all the seams so they lay flat. You're finished! Now grab your kids and friends and hit the pool!

I absolutely LOVE this bag. It's HUGE and the best part is it's washable. Nothing will be better than throwing it in the washer when I get sunscreen or beer on it at the pool. But, if I make another bag, I will use sturdier fabric. This was just fabric that I had laying around and it is a little flimsy. If any of these instructions don't make sense, feel free to leave questions in the comments! 


  1. So cute and what a great color and pattern!

  2. Great DIY -- I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many totes (I'm a pack for every possibility type of gal as well)!

  3. We are having a hot and humid day here in New Hampshire today. The kids left for the beach early this morning. This would have been a perfect bag to take. I will have to keep this in mind for a future project.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Pieced Pastimes
    PS-Would love to have you link this up to Saturday Sparks. Links open till Friday.

  4. Youve made me want to dust off my sewing machine!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Hi Kimberly, you posted just before me in the dedicated house party ! Happy to meet you here !
    I am new to all this-am beginning to enjoy myself linking up and seeing what other people are doing!
    Your bag is beautiful--I love the yellow-you remind me of my Turkish friend who couldn't stop making bags !!

  6. Sorry- it was the Suburbs Mama party !!

  7. It's too bad the fabric isn't sturdy enough! That fabric is wonderful!

  8. I always need a HUGE summer bag so I love this! Even just towels throw everything off. Thanks for such an awesome tutorial!

  9. Super cute project! I'm crazy about polka dots fabrics and this is gorgeous!
    Thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial! Would love to have you visit me sometime.
    Have a fabulous weekend!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  10. Love your bag! love the fabric you choose too! yellow is always a favourite of mine and perfect for this summer! :-)

  11. Love the beach bag! Thank You so much for sharing on last weeks party. Hope to see more from you on my next party.

  12. I Love this! I need a new project and this could be it! thanks for sharing! I would love if you checked out my blog :)

  13. This was sooo easy! I had some lightweight fabric that I wanted to use and so I found some complimentary fabric and made this into a reversible bag. We had an old unused white canvas belt that I re-purposed for the handles. I love how big the bag is and it is going to be a great beach bag for our upcoming Hawaii vacation. Thanks for an easy to understand and follow tutorial!!

  14. This is adorable. I love the colors and the fabric design.

    I'm new to sewing but I'm going to try this when I'm done with my class and my first pattern. Great tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Great bag…may have to make one for my daughter to use with her 3 children(5 & under)
    for the pool….thanks for sharing

  16. I am a fairly new sewer (having taken a long 40 yr break) and love that your tut is so easy to read & follow, going to make one for a Christmas gift, I have some plain rubberized type fabric, big scrap don't know why I bought it, that I would like to use for a lining, hoping it works. Thanks again for the great tut!

  17. HELP ! Having a 'senior moment' how do you get a 22" bottom on a 58" opening. What did I do wrong? thanks

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