Make a Big Beautiful Beach Bag! – Tutorial

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Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

I was really excited to be asked to review a new HGTV HOME line of fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. They sent me a yard of each of these fun fabrics to try out and make something from. They have a coupon code and sale for you too- check it out at the end of this post.
Here are the fabrics I received:
Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

The one on the left is a nice decor weight cotton and the one on the right is a nice and heavy cotton/linen blend. I had a really really hard time deciding what to make with them- so many possibilities!! Eventually I realized that they were calling out to be made into a bag. I ended up making this awesome beach bag, which I’m sharing the tutorial for, but if I’d had a proper zipper, I would have made an overnight bag. Could you picture that woven fabric as the outer for an overnight bag? I think it would have been very retro looking. That fabric also would make an amazing table cloth or picnic blanket. And the pattern on the decor weight? I love those giant bright flowers!

Anyway… here is the bag I made. It’s huge. You will be able to fit your picnic, blanket, towels, sand toys and more into this bad boy for a day at the beach. For a little extra personality and usage, I added pockets on each side. They have a little elastic to keep stuff in there. You can make the handles long enough to wear over your arm if you like too! Despite being ginormous, this bag is actually pretty quick and easy to sew. Pretty quickly you’ll be on your way to the beach or a park!

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

This pattern is a just a bunch of rectangles. Next come the dimensions to cut out. These measurements include a 1/4 inch seam allowance. If you’re not using heavy weight fabric, you might want to cut an extra layer of interfacing or even canvas to make it have more shape.
To cut from fabric:
* bottom – 12.5 x 18.5 – cut one of outer and one of lining.
* narrow sides – 15.5 x 12.5 – cut two of outer and two of lining
* front and back – 15.5 x 18.5 – cut two of outer and two of lining
* pockets – 10 x 12.5 – cut two of lining fabric
* handles – 3 x 18 (or 22 inches if you want it to go on your shoulder) – cut 4 of outer fabric, plus 2 of interfacing

Other notions:
* 3/8 inch wide elastic – 9 inches – x2

Cut everything out:
Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Alrighty, to get started sewing… let’s start with the handles. Put two of those strips with right sides together. Then add a layer of interfacing on top and sew down the long sides with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Top stitch 1/8 inch away from each of the long sides.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Repeat with the other strap. Line the two straps up and cut a tiny bit as needed to make sure they are the same length. Set straps aside.

Next, let’s take the pockets. On one of the 12.5 inch lengths, fold the raw edge under 1/4 inch. Now fold again 3/4 inch. Sew nearest that first fold, to make a casing.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Thread elastic through the casing and baste into place at each end. Baste the other three edges of the pocket to the bottom section of the RIGHT side of an outer side piece. Repeat with the other pocket.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Now, let’s make the bag.
Take the bottom piece and match up the short end to the pocket end of one of the side pieces. Sew along the bottom edge of the pocket and side with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Start and stop 1/4 inch from each end. Repeat with other side.

Sew the long edge of a front/back piece to the long edge of the bottom. Again, start and stop sewing 1/4 inch from each end.

Now you should have a big cross – like this:
Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Repeat with the lining fabric and you’ll have a big cross of it too:
Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Next, at the corners of the bottom piece, line up the two sides that meet there.
Giant Beach Bag Tutorial on Muse of the Morning

Sew up this corner from top to bottom. You don’t have to leave 1/4 inch on each end this time. Do this for all four corners on the outer fabric, then repeat with the lining fabric.

You’ll have two big inside out rectangle-ish bags.

On the outer fabric, find the front and backs. Make sure you aren’t attaching the straps to the sides!

Grab one of those handles you set aside earlier. Take one short end and pin it on the right side of the front of the bag about 3 inches away from the side. You’ll want the raw edges to match up, and then extend the end of the strap past the fabric edge (this will make it more secure later). I have mine hanging off the fabric about 1/4 inch. Pin it in place.

Pin the other end about 3 inches away from the other side. Make sure that the strap isn’t twisted.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Repeat with the other strap, on the RIGHT side of the back piece.

Now turn the lining fabric right side out and insert it into the outer fabric. Carefully line up the raw edges of the sides and the front and back and match the corner seams.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Sew along the raw edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave an opening between the seams on one side or between the handles on one side. You might want to double stitch over the handles.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Alright! Turn that puppy right side out through the hole you left in one side. Press that seam in to make it easier to sew in a second.

Top stitch all the way around the top of the bag 1/8 inch from the edge. Make the raw edges of the opening are inside the bag.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Now, top stitch around the bag one more time, about 1/2 inch away from your first stitching. I just lined up my presser foot and went that width around. Both top stitchings will catch the handles and make them extra secure.

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

And that’s it! Now just tuck the lining in- you could actually sew the bottom lining and outer together if you wanted another step, but that’s pretty much it!
Fill that baby up and head out for some adventure!

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

You can try out the new HGTV HOME line of fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts too! They have the fabrics in the stores and apparently even more fabrics online. The fabrics are 50% off from April 14 until May 4, and as a bonus, here is an extra 10% coupon that you can use through May 4 also- so that’s nearly 60% off!!
Here’s the coupon to print out or you can use it online.

Have fun creating!!

Giant Beach Bag Tutorial from Muse of the Morning

Chrissy Leiberan-Titus writes for Muse of the

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    • Hi Valerie,
      It’s really going to depend on what width of fabric you used. I was using 60 and 55 inch wide fabric, and I had a yard of each. The bag used pretty much the whole amount of both fabrics. If you were using 42inch fabric, you’ll need more. 🙂
      Thanks for asking!

  1. So I am searching pinterest to find a beach bag pattern for this summer and stumble across your pattern and find out you were on HGTV. You rock Chrissy.

  2. I love the bag! I wondered if you remember what kind of interfacing you used or what you would recommend. Thanks!

    • Hi Gail, Thank you for visiting!
      I’m sure the interfacing was Pellon because that’s what they sell at JoAnns. It was just a scrap of some I had leftover. 🙂
      Thank you for asking! I hope you like the tutorial.

  3. Hi! I am in the process of making this bag, and so far I love it! Just wondering though, are the handles really supposed to be 6″ wide? It just seems really wide for a handle, and I am wondering if I am somehow doing it wrong. LOL!

    • Hi Michelle,
      I am so glad that you’re liking the bag. It’s really come in handy for us going to the beach and the pool!
      The straps are 6 inches wide when you cut them, but then they are folded in half lengthwise and become only 3 inches wide.
      I hope that the rest of the instructions are easy to follow!
      Thank you so much for visiting!

      • OK, so it says to cut out 4 of the outer fabric. That would be two for each handle right? So am I folding over 2 for each handle? Or ahouls I just cut out 2 and fold each one in half? I have sewn alot, but just not bags, and I want to make sure the handles will be sturdy enough because I plan to pack this baby full! LOL!

        • Oh My goodness Michelle! I am so sorry! Yes, it looks like they should be two strips that are 3 inches wide. I got two different techniques mixed up there I think! If you already have the strips cut at 6 inches wide, you can fold them in half with right sides together instead of cutting if you prefer. 🙂 I apologize for the mix-up! I hope the bag goes well from here on out!

  4. Hi Chrissy!

    This is a very nice bag! I’m making mine out of Mexican Serape type material.

    I’m in the process of cutting out my fabric, and I noticed for sides you say to cut out one of outer and one of lining..shouldn’t it be 2 of each?

    • Yep, you are correct. I’ve fixed it now. Thank you for pointing out that typo!
      I hope you will enjoy the bag you make! Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Made this bag. Actually found the same material 40% off at Joanns. This is my first time making a bag and you helped me tremendously. I just bought enough fabrics to make 3 or 4 more for family members. Thanks for the tutorial. I really enjoyed making it. You inspired me.

  6. Pingback: Giant Beach Bag | Love to Sew

  7. I just made the Giant Beach Bag! Thank you for the easy to follow instructions. It only took 2-3 hours from start to finish and that includes making a pattern for future bags. My sisters will be getting one for their birthdays this year. 🙂 Thanks again,
    Brandi N.

  8. I am a newbie having only sewn a simple KwikSew bag previously, and I just finished this bag today. This is a great tutorial.

    I made some modifications – the straps I made were 27″ long, I added a zip pocket and a key fob to the liner, and I also made the top few inches of the liner the same fabric as the pockets (I didn’t know how else to add a key fob otherwise), and I enclosed the top of the bag with a separating zipper as I needed the practice anyway.

    I used a home decor fabric for the exterior, and a medium weight canvas for the interior to make it sturdier. I’m giving this one as a gift to my sister.

    Thanks for the fantastic tutorial. My husband is impressed!

    • Thank you for stopping by! I think your sister will definitely like the bag. I use mine all the time! Thanks for sharing the changes you made!

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  10. Good evening! I stumbled upon your tutorial on Pinterest while trying to find a diaper bag pattern. I am a level 1 beginner, sewing only pillowcases and holes in my husbands jeans (lol). This tutorial sounds easy enough, but i am struggling with a few things…please bear with me as I am completely new to this.
    First, I have never sewn elastic before. Do I feed the elastic through the tunnel then bunch up the fabric and sew right overtop the elastic, or sew beneath the elastic?
    And second, the step where you explain to ‘sew up the corner from top to bottom and repeat on all 4 sides’…can you explain what you mean? Am I sewing an angle?
    I feel silly asking a bunch of questions, I just want my bag to come out as awesome as yours!

    • Hi Celina! Thank you for visiting!
      Let me see if I can help you out.
      On the elastic, first, you create a casing by folding over the top 1/4 inch and then 3/4 inch more. Sew it down very close to the 1/4 inch folded edge as shown in the photo.
      Now, thread your elastic through the casing. I put a safety pin through the end of the elastic and then pull it through. You should have elastic poking out both ends of the casing. Stitch each of these ends, through all the layers of fabric and elastic to keep it all in place.

      On the other part, the corner is where the two fabrics meet. You should sew from one end of the matched up fabrics to the other. When you match up the fabric, you’ll be creating the corner of the bag. Does that make sense?
      then repeat for the other sides of the bag. You should not be sewing at an angle, it will be right along the edge of the fabric. Am I making sense yet? I apologize if it’s confusing!

      Please let me know if I can help you out with anything else!!

  11. Yes, it is making sense, thank you so much for responding back so quickly! Ive read some tutorials that had said to sew the corners at an angle to create a ‘boxy’ shape for the bag, and couldnt figure out if that was what you meant as well. But you explained it for me perfectly, as well as the elastic. I cant wait to get my fabric and start making this! Thanks again!

  12. I have another question…i have made my pockets and am now ready to baste them onto my narrow sides. I am just not sure if i am supposed to stretch the pocket so the two sides match up evenly with the narrow side? Or leave the top of the pocket scrunched up and baste where it lies on the narrow side? Does that make sense?

  13. love it! Making one for my Florida dwelling sister for her birthday (shhh)! Found some great fabric at Joann’s today and can’t wait to get started! Thinking of adding pockets to the inside and using both fabrics on the handles to make it reversible since I can’t decide which fabric to make the main one! Will try to post pics as soon as I get it done!

    • That sounds awesome Robin! I would love to see how yours turns out.
      I think inside pockets sound great!
      Thank you for stopping by!

    • Hi there Alisha!
      Thank you for visiting this post. I hope you’re enjoying the blog!
      This is a tutorial for making the bag. All the instructions and measurements that you need are included in the post.
      Thanks for messaging! I hope you love the bag!

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