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Oversized Beach Bag {Hello Summer}

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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!

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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

20″ zipper

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.

DIY oversized beach bag

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)

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

Let’s start assembling the bag. ALL SEAM ALLOWANCES ARE 5/8″ UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE.

Making the Zippered Pouch:

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

2. Place 20″ x 4″ zipper piece centered a few inches below the top edge of the lining. Pin in place.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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!

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

8. Stitch close to the edge of the box, attaching the zipper behind the lining.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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:

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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:

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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.

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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!

Oversized Beach Bag Tutorial

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!


Girl. Inspired. bioStef 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!

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  1. Thanks for the tutorial!! I love this beach bag!! It’s perfect!! I looked at buying one the other day, but they are so expensive. Thanks again! Love it!!

  2. So three of us made these bags but have a question. You say that you used a 20 ” zipper and the fabric that it is mounted on is cut to 20″, but why is the zipper in the image so much shorter than the fabric?When we put our zippers in they went right to the end of the fabric and thus did not turn in properly. Thanks

    1. Hi Donna! I’m so glad you tried the bag! Often times, you will find that the available zippers are a little too long for a given project – it is super simple to shorten them. Usually, you can find instructions to do this on the zipper packaging, but basically, all you have to do is determine how long you want the zipper, and then sew a zig zag stitch in place at the new zipper “base” to create a new zipper stop. Cut off the extra zipper below your new stop and you’re good to go! I hope that helps!

      1. No, I just was unclear as to why it said to get a 20″ zipper at all. Yours didn’t look like you had to shorten it and frankly I could have gotten the correct sized zipper in the first place if I had know it needed to be shorter. Thanks

    2. The fabric is cut 23″x20″, I bet the zipper was suppose to run along the 23″ length rather than the 20″. 

  3. hi there
    I am in the middle of making this bag, and i think the 20″ zipper is wrong? Should i buy a smaller zipper or shorten this one? Yours doenst look shortened, it looks perfect (and of course i want mine to look like yours!!) so i wondered if i should just pop out and by a shorter size? Thanks in advance

  4. Love the tutorial!! Fantastic bag, in making mine(not done) I choose to do the bottom panel a heavy duty mesh. Beach means lots of sand, so I figured that way instead of shaking out the bag it can just come out in the travels. I’ll let you know if it works out hopefully my 2 year old lets me finish it sometime this century.

  5. Hi!! Could you write in centimetres all the fabric mesures, aproximated?? I want to try to make it because its beutiful!! But im not sure with the mesures!Are you talking about inches?? What’s it means yards? I hope you can answer me quickly!!! Thank you so much!!

  6. hi! I dont know if I send the coment!! Its fantastic and so nice this bag!! I want to try to make it because i love it but im quite confused with the mesures. Could you write in centimetres? Please! I want to have this summer the nicest bag!! Thank you so mucha and sorry if i dont write so good in English!

  7. This beach bag is just perfect for picnics! I would like to commend you for sharing this amazing tutorial with us. I am sure wearing this beach bag will add an elegant look to the personality of the person carrying it. I am sharing this tutorial on my Facebook page – it’s awesome 🙂

  8. I made this bag a few weeks ago and it turned out great! It held three oversized beach towels, a small pop up canopy, beach toys and so much more! Thanks for sharing! Great tutorial!

  9. Thank you so much – this is exactly what I have been looking for. I made a few modifications to mine: Made the handles go all the way down the sides and added two outside pockets on each side, between the handles; Added another inside pocket – not water proof; Put plastic canvas in the bottom for further stability. We will surely use this for years to come, and it is so beautiful! Thank you!

  10. I LOVE your beach bag! Going to give a try and make it as a Christmas present for all the girls in the family! Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. Hello! I’m looking forward to making this bag this weekend, thank you so much for sharing the tutorial! I’m a little confused on the lined pocket though. Is just one side of that wall of the bag lined? Or is the nylon folded in stitched in a way to make a pocket? I hope that makes sense, thank you!!

  12. What a fantastic tutorial! I love the idea of the waterproof pocket! I sort of wish I didn’t already have way too many beach bags so that I could have a good excuse to make one of these! 🙂 Lisa

  13. I have made this bag twice, and I love it. Such  a simple pattern to follow, and its a beautiful bag. Wish I could share photos. 

  14. Thanks for this! I’m a beginner to sewing and you really explained it well. I didn’t do the zipper or lining but I’m not scared to try it now. I’ve made 5 of these for myself and family and everyone loves them. Thank you again

  15. Love the Pattern, I made one today and it turned out very nice. Easy to follow, I added a second zipper waterproof pouch in the other lining panel. You can never have too many pockets.
    Thanks I will be making more of these.