how to make a beach bag

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how to make a beach bag Somehow the beach bag that I love was on the (rather long) list of things we didn’t bring back from Saipan (!?!).

how to make a beach bagOf course, with a beach vacay on the docket, that situation needed to be remedied stat.

how to make a beach bagLuckily, bags are pretty much my favorite thing to make (and also super easy to put together). And this beach bag was no exception. I actually ended up making one for a friend as well, that’s how quick of a sew this project is!


Two 18″ x 23″ main panels (exterior fabric)

Two 18″ x 23″ lining panels (lining fabric)

Two 18″ x 8″ side panels (exterior fabric)

Two 18″ x 8″ side panels (lining fabric)

One 23″ x 8″ bottom panel (exterior fabric OR vinyl fabric to protect the bottom from soaking up water)

One 23″ x 8″ bottom panel (lining fabric)

Two 8″ x 16″ side pocket panels (exterior fabric- fold in half)

Interior pockets- one 10″ x 18″ side pocket (lining fabric, fold in half)

One 8″ x 22″ side pocket (fold in half)

Two 4″ x 24″ rectangles for straps (exterior fabric)


how to make a beach bagFirst assemble the side panels/pockets. These are two different sizes (for functionality- I wanted to add a sunscreen pocket), but you can easily make these the same size. For the tall ‘sunscreen pocket’, first fold the 8″ x 22″ pocket panel in half vertically, wrong sides facing each other. Top stitch along the top.

how to make a beach bagFor the smaller pocket, I added elastic in the top. To do so, sew a gusset (tunnel) along the top edge, leaving enough room for the elastic to thread through. Cut the elastic a couple inches shorter than the length of the pocket (in this case, my pocket is 10″ wide, so I cut the elastic 7″. Thread elastic through.

how to make a beach bagStitch the pockets in place along vertical edges.

how to make a beach bagWith the side panels assembled, assemble the interior minus the bottom (making a bottomless box. As you sew up each vertical edge (right sides facing in), make sure you leave a half inch unsewn where the bottom edges meet (for attaching the bottom).

how to make a beach bagAttaching the bottom panel is the trickiest part describe (though, with a little practice, not that hard to accomplish). First you peel back the extra half inch that you left at each bottom seam. Making a sort of three-way sandwich, you match up the bottom to the main panel and the side panel. Then sew the bottom to each side, stopping and turning at the place where the three pieces meet. I actually find it easiest to sew four separate lines.

Leave a gap of 6″ in one of the main sides of the lining (for turning right side in later).


Fold your piece of fabric in half, right sides facing in. Sew up the non-folded edge. Turn the tube right side in, press (with the fold in the middle of the tube). On the non-fold side of the strap, top stitch along both sides.


Repeat the entire process of the interior assembly. First assemble side panels with pockets (no elastic needed, so just fold the pockets in half, top stitch, and baste in place on the side panel). Then assemble the ‘bottomless box.’ Last attach the bottom, omitting the 6″ gap.


To join the lining to the exterior (and finish the bag), leave the exterior inside out and turn the lining right side out. Pull the exterior around the lining, matching all four corners and pinning in place.

To place the straps, find the center point of one of the main panels. Measure out 3″ on each side of the center (giving a 6″ gap total). Line up the edge of the strap with the 6″ mark, right sides of the strap and the exterior of the bag facing each other, and pin in place. Repeat with the other side, ensuring there is no twist in the strap before you pin in place. Repeat with the other strap and the other main panel.

Sandwich the strap between the exterior and lining and pin in place.

Sew around the entire top perimeter, double (or triple stitching) over the straps.

Turn bag right side in by pulling through the 6″ gap in the lining bottom. Sew gap closed.

Top stitch around the entire top perimeter.

how to make a beach bagDONE! Fill with sunscreen and beach towels and magazines and floppy hats and enjoy some sun and surf!

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    1. NO! That’s the worst! So nice to be able to make yourself a new one, though. 😉 Happy beach bag sewing!

  1. Thank you so much for this pattern! I’ve now made four of them, one for each of my sisters and mom-in-law. They are the perfect size. And as a new mom, the bigger the better!

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