Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Beach Bag Tutorial

Fancy making a lovely, lightweight, roomy bag just perfect for day trips to the beach or just for stuffing into your handbag for emergency shopping? Here is the perfect bag, and even better, it is so easy to make!

Assemble your pieces:

1 piece of fabric 100 cm x 45 cm for the bag outer
1 piece of fabric 100 cm x 45cm for the bag lining
1 strip of fabric to bind top of bag 90cm x 10cm
2 strips of fabric 50 cm x 6cm for the handles
2 strips of heavy weight interfacing 49cm x 5cm for the handles
1m fancy pom-pom trim or ribbon to decorate your bag (optional but really cute!)

Start by folding you outer bag fabric in half along the long edge and stitch down the folded edge, along the bottom, then back up the other side.

Press your seams.

Now to add the gusset - this is the easiest way I have found to do this . . .

Keeping it inside out, hold up your bag and let it 'sit'  on it's bottom. Pinch out the corner, aligning the side seam and bottom seam as much as you can. Then press the triangle.

Decide how deep you want the gusset to be - I went for 8cm - and measure along the seam from the point to the base of the triangle. Draw a line across with a fabric pen/tailors chalk, then stitch across the lie

Now trim the triangle leaving a 1 cm seam allowance.

Reapeat on the other corner.

Turn right side out and press. . . Your bag now has a nice deep gusset!

Reapeat the whole process with the bag lining fabric so you have two identical 'bags'

Now place the lining (right side facing in) inside the bag outer (right side facing out) and pin around the top of the two bags.

Stitch them together using a zig-zag stitch as close to the edge as you can.

Now you can bind the edge of the bag to neaten it up - take the binding strip and press a 1cm hem along one long edge.

Matching the other long edge to the edge of the bag outer, pin into place, over lapping the ends slightly. (I apologise that the picture is not that clear - I could have used a contrast fabric to make it more obvious which bit is the binding and which is the bag!)

Stitch the binding to the bag approximately 1 cm from the bag edge. Then fold the binding fabric over the top of the bag and press down.

Pin and then stitch into place. You can machine stitch if you want or hem stitch by hand like I did.

Now it's time to make the straps.

Press a 0.5cm hem all the way around the bag strap pieces, inserting the strip of heavy weight interfacing as you do. . .

Fold the strip in half length ways and press. Then top stitch around all four edges (sorry I forget to take a picture of this step but I think you know what I mean ;-)  )

Now pin your handles into place on the bag - I placed mine at approx 12cm in from the side of the bag at either side. Stitch in place.

For a finishing touch you can add some funky trim  around the top of your bag - stitched on by hand or machine.

And there you go. One easy-peasy fun beach bag!


There are lots of ways to make this bag your own:
  • add some iron-on interfacing to the bag outer fabric before you fold and stitch it to make a firmer bag - great if you want to use it as a storage bag.
  • use a contrasting fabric for the binding for a different look. You could also make the binding strip wider and stitch it further down the bag before turning, pressing and stitching into place on the inside, making the bindng more of a decorative feature.
  • decorate your bag with trim, ribbon, applique, whatever takes your fancy.
  • you could also make the bag larger or smaller by altering the dimensions of the fabric (just remember to measure around the top of the bag to cut the correct length of fabrc for the binding!) 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!
Please let me know if you decide to have a go at making your own Beach Bag - I would love to see how you do!

*Disclosure: All materials for this tutorial were provided by Abakhan Fabrics. No other payment was received. Photographs and bag design are my own. Many Thanks to Abakhan for letting me take part in their Creative Budget challenge again this month


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