Hi there, it’s Stef, from Girl. Inspired. and I just LOVE all of these awesome summer ideas that are being shared for the Hello Summer series. So excited to be part of it today! With a family of five, packing a bag for a trip to the beach or pool can be a daunting task. I find that I can never fit all the towels, suits, snacks, toys, and sunscreen into one bag. And then when we’re done playing in the water, I’ve got a huge mess of sandy towels or wet swimsuits to try to carry back to the car. I made a huge, and I mean, HUGE beach bag that will fit all of our supplies for easier packing this summer. It’s the Oversized Beach Bag and it features a zippered inner pocket that is waterproof – perfect for stashing wet suits when it’s time to head home!
Would you like to make a beach bag with a zippered wet pouch? Let’s get started! You will need:
1.5 yards outer/main fabric
1.25 yards lining fabric
1 yard of nylon for waterproof pouch
I chose a cotton upholstery fabric to use for my bag. It is soft to the touch, but thick enough to stand up to the wear and tear of the beach and pool. Depending on how stiff you want the bag, you could use a heavier fabric or even line it with interfacing.
Now that you have your supplies, we will cut out all the pieces. I wanted a huge bag – the finished dimensions are approximately 22″w x 19″h x 9″ deep. You can change your dimensions if you’d like. For the oversized bag, cut:
2 – 23″w x 20″ h main panels
2 – 10″w x 20″ h side panels
1 – 10″h x 23″w bottom panel
2 – 23″w x 20″h lining panels
2 – 10″w x 20″ h side lining panels
1 – 10″h x 23″w bottom lining panel
2 – 23″w x 20″h pocket panels from nylon
1 – 20″ w x 4″h zipper piece from nylon
2 – 4″ strip (selvage to selvage) for straps (from outer fabric)
Let’s start assembling the bag. ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 5/8″ UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE.
Making the Zippered Pouch:
1. Stack one main lining piece right side up on top of a main nylon panel and baste around the edges using 1/4″ seam allowance.
2. Place 20″ x 4″ zipper piece centered a few inches below the top edge of the lining. Pin in place.
3. Center the zipper on top of this zipper piece of nylon and trace around it with chalk or a fabric marker. Do not stitch the zipper to the fabric – remove zipper.
4. Stitch a rectangle approximately 1/4″ inside the traced zipper outline – stitch through all three layers of fabric (zipper piece, lining, nylon panel). Be sure the side stitches will fall immediately outside of the zipper stops on each end.
5. Now you’re going to cut a slit within the lines you just stitched, from end to end, and forming a v at each end so that you are cutting close into each corner without cutting all the way into the stitches.
6. Flip the nylon piece to the inside of the lining panel and press well so that you form an open “box” – this is where your zipper is going to go!
7. Now, place your zipper behind the panel so that it is lined up and centered, showing through the “box” you just made. Pin in place or use wonder tape to hold the zipper to the fabric.
8. Stitch close to the edge of the box, attaching the zipper behind the lining.
9. Now that the zipper is installed in the lining, finish the zipper pouch by stacking the zippered lining panel right side up on top of the remaining nylon panel. Baste around all four edges using a 1/4″ seam allowance. This piece will now form one main panel of lining.
Making the Straps:
1. Fold each strap strip in half lengthwise and press. Open the strap back up and fold in each side to the center along the length again and press. Refold the center fold to form the strap.
2. Stitch 1/8″ from the edge of the strap to close it up. Stitch 1/8″ from the other edge if you like.
3. Pin the straps onto the main panels of the lining to determine a length and placement that is comfortable for you. Cut to length. Match the raw ends of each strap to the raw edge of the top of the lining panel and stitch in place using a zigzag stitch. Repeat with the other strap and lining panel. The strap will swoop down in a u shape from the top of the fabric panel.
Assembling the Beach Bag:
1. Stitch the main panels and side panels together into one large rectangle (stitching each along the 20″ side). The panels should rotate – main, side, main, side. Repeat with lining panels.
2. Next, we’ll attach the bottoms to the rest of the bag. This part can be a little tricky. Place the 10″ edge of the bottom panel, right sides together, along the bottom of the side panel. Starting 5/8″ in from the edge and stopping 5/8″ from the other edge, stitch. The key for each of these lines of stitching is that you do not overlap stitches – starting and stopping 5/8″ from each edge AND maintaining a 5/8″ seam allowance ensures this.
3. Now fold down the side of the bottom panel so that it meets up with the bottom edge of the next main panel. Stitch (remember to start and stop 5/8″ in). Continue stitching and folding down the next edge until you have the bottom completely attached around all four sides. You will have just one unfinished seam – the final side seam. Go ahead and manipulate your fabric again so that you can sew up the side seam (right sides together).
4. Repeat with the lining.
5. Turn the main/outer bag inside out. Place the lining bag inside the main bag and match the seams. Pin in place – be sure the straps are attached to the lining and tucked between the lining and outer bags; be sure that the right sides of the fabric are facing one another. Stitch all the way around the top perimeter of the bag, leaving a 5 or 6-inch opening for turning. Turn the bag right side out and tuck the lining to the inside. Press around the upper edge and topstitch to enclose the opening. For more details on this step, you might find my Spring Market Tote Tutorial helpful. Once you have the bag topstitched, you are DONE! Now you’re ready for the beach!
We gave the bag a little test run and it really does fit EVERYTHING – towels, sunscreen, a small cooler, chips; I even tucked an umbrella in there! Grab a few supplies, whip up a beach bag, and head out for a relaxing day with your family!!
I would love for you to stop by Girl. Inspired. to see some of the other projects I’ve been working on this summer!
Stef blogs at Girl. Inspired. where she shares sewing projects and tutorials, her latest adventures in cake-decorating and sugar consumption, and any sort of crafty thing she can squeeze into her day. She loves throwing parties and decorating her home with a little vintage and a lot of homemade. Stef and her husband are raising three little girls on their “farm” in Northern California. She loves dance parties with her girls, laughing with her husband, hoarding fabric, photography, and of course, coffee! Stop by and say hi! Find Stef on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for more inspiration!