Learn how to make a beach bag with a free sewing pattern. This bag sewing project is great to hold everything for the pool or the beach!
It’s almost summertime when we’ll be spending hours at the beach, the pool, or the lake. Our family loves to swim so I needed a bag that could do it all. It needed to carry lots of things with lots of different pockets for organizing, and it needed to carry towels.
When I originally started designing this pattern, I thought I would basically make it a simple large tote bag. I thought about all the things I would want in a beach bag pattern and added a lot of features to this bag.
This bag can be a backpack with shoulder straps or a shoulder bag with two handles. It has a spot on the front for four rolled up towels, and on the back it was a tablet or book pocket. There are also two water bottle pockets on the side.
Inside there is a zipper pocket and up to six pockets of different sizes. It closes with tabs on the top to make it easy to open and close. It’s a nice and roomy bag to fit lots and lots of stuff.
Any of these features can be left off if you don’t want it on your beach bag.
What fabric should I use for a beach bag?
Use canvas for all the outer parts of the bag combined with a stiff interfacing. Use quilting cotton for the lining combined with a fusible fleece.
The combination of canvas and quilting cotton makes it so the bag is sturdy and strong, but it is also washable and easy to sew.
I chose not to do waterproof fabric because that makes the process trickier to sew and turn right side out.
What is a PDF sewing pattern?
A PDF pattern is a sewing pattern designed on the computer and organized so that it can be printed on several letter or A4 size pieces of paper.
I love using PDF sewing patterns because if the pattern gets ruined or if my children or I changed sizes, I can always print it again. It’ll never be destroyed since I have a digital version!
How do you use a PDF sewing pattern?
Open the PDF on a computer and click print. When printing make sure that the scaling is set to 100% or no scaling so that the pattern prints at the correct size.
Once the pattern is printed it can be taped together to get the full size. Then the pattern can be cut for each pattern piece size or individual sizes can be traced so that the pattern can be used again and again.
Do you love to sew? Try one of these sewing projects:
- beginner sewing projects
- summer sewing projects
- handmade gifts to sew
- DIY tote bags
- Accessory sewing projects
- Travel sewing projects
- DIY towel poncho
How to Make a Beach Bag Pattern
- 1.5 yards of canvas for the outer bag and straps (switch up the color or pattern if you want)
- 2 yards of quilting cotton for the lining
- 1.5 yards of stiff fusible interfacing
- 2 yards of fusible fleece
- 10 inch zipper
- 2 sets of plastic snaps
- 2 yards of 1 inch elastic
- 2 yards of 1/4 inch elastic
- Sewing tools
- Sewing machine
- Free beach bag sewing pattern – get it at the end of the post
Do you just want the pattern and tutorial as a PDF? Get the pattern and illustrated tutorial for just $3. You won’t need to access the internet every time you want to make it. Or get the Pattern Bundle with ALL the PDF tutorials!
Cut out all the pattern pieces according to the pattern directions. Apply the interfacing or fusible fleece to all the correct pattern pieces. All seam allowances are 1/2 inch.
Press the straps and handles in half with the long sides matching. Fold the long edges in to meet the center fold. Press those folds in place. Fold all three folds so that the long cut edges are enclosed in the folds. Press again.
Do this to all the straps and handles.
With all the folds folded, sew along each long edge 1/8 inch from the edge. Do the same to all the straps and handles.
Hem the top edge of the back pocket with a 1/4 inch double turn hem. Sew around the remaining three sides at 1/2 inch seam allowance. (I had to combine two pieces of fabric to make my back pocket. That’s why there’s a seam and topstitching in the middle of the piece.)
Fold the short ends of the straps and handles under 1/2 inch and pin onto the back piece at the correct markings. Sew a square and an “X” around each end.
Fold under the 1/2 inch seam allowance of the three sides of the back pocket. Pin the pocket to the back at the pocket marking. Sew around the three sides of the pocket 1/8 inch from the edge. Pivot at the corners and backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Sew the handles onto the front the same way you did the back. Cut the elastic into 2 one yard pieces. Match up the ends of the elastic to each side mark and at each center mark.
Make sure each “loop” is equal to the other loops. Sew the elastic at each mark to create spots for the towels.
With the side pockets folded on the fold, sew across the folded edge 1/2 inch from the top. This is a casing for the elastic.
Insert a 7 inch piece of elastic into the casing and tack the elastic on each side. Baste the pleats in place at the bottom of the pocket.
Do the same to the other pocket.
Measure 15 inches from the short edges of the side/bottom pattern piece and draw a line. Line up the bottom of the side pockets with the line. The top of the pockets should be towards the bottom of the side/bottom piece.
Sew the pockets in place 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the pocket.
Fold the pocket up so that it’s facing the right direction and the seam allowance is inside the pocket. Baste the sides of the pocket to the side of the side/bottom piece.
With right sides together sew the side/bottom piece to the front. The curved corners of the front piece make sewing the two pieces together easier.
With right sides together sew the other side of the side/bottom piece to the back. The outer part of the bag is now done.
I’m not going into too much detail about sewing the zipper. Get tips for how to sew a zipper if you need extra help.
Sew the zipper to the bottom of one center piece and the bottom of the pocket facing. The center piece and the pocket facing will sandwich the zipper tape.
Sew the zipper to the top of the center piece and the top of the pocket facing. The center piece and the pocket facing will sandwich the zipper tape.
On the back sew the top of the pocket lining to the top of the pocket facing. Sew the bottom of the pocket lining to the bottom of the pocket facing.
Baste the sides of the pocket to the sides of the center piece.
Create the lining pockets the same as the outer side pockets by creating a casing along the top and inserting 6 inch (thinner pocket) or 8 inch (wider pocket) elastic.
Baste the pleats in place along the bottom.
Baste three sides of the pockets to all the lining pieces.
Sew the sides of the lining to the center lining to create front and back pieces.
With right sides together sew the side/bottom piece to the front and back pieces. The lining bag is now completed.
Fold the tabs in half matching the short ends. Sew each long side of the tabs and backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Trim the corners of the tabs on the side of the fold.
Turn the tabs right side out.
Baste the tabs to the top of the outer bag in the center.
Turn the outer bag right side out. Slide the outer bag into the lining with right sides together. Match all the seams and pin.
Sew the top edge of the bags together and leave a 8 inch hole for turning. Backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Turn the bag right side out through the hole.
Push the lining down inside the outer bag.
Pinch the hole closed with the seam allowance inside. Edgestitch around the top of the bag to close the hole and give a nice look. Sew another row 1 inch from the top.
Add the plastic snaps to the tabs to be able to close the beach bag.
The beach bag is now finished! Fill the bag with all your beach necessities and roll your towels to put them in the elastic loops.
Get the Free Beach Bag Sewing Pattern
If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!