Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pool / Beach Bag Tutorial

I purchased a mesh laundry bag to re-purpose into laundry room sink lint filters for my washing machine, and while I was cutting it apart I had an idea.  This would make a really handy beach or pool bag.  So I put one together and since I was super bored today, I also made a tutorial.

All you need is...
The laundry bag measured 22" x 34" and cost about $1.50.  I think I've seen these types of bags at the dollar store too, but I don't have one near me.

The fabric was some kind of heavy weight home decor or maybe even outdoor fabric that I've had in my craft room for a while.  The yellow print is from the Laurie Smith Collection 2004 and it's called "Zig Zag."  I had 1 1/2 yards of it, but I didn't use it all.  If you don't mind the straps being stitched together from smaller pieces, you could probably make this bag from 3/4 of a yard or less.

First, lay out your mesh bag and decide how deep you want your bag to be.  Cinch up the drawstring top and lay it on the floor.  You want to leave the cinched up portion so that your finished bag still has the drawstring for a closure.  I removed the bottom six inches of the laundry bag.  This left me with 18 inches between the bottom and the bag and the beginning of the cinched up portion.

Next, cut off the seams on the sides of the bag all the way up to the beginning of the cinched portion (along the dotted line in the picture above).  I cut off about 1/2 an inch on each side.

To make the bottom of the bag, take your decorator fabric and cut out two pieces that are as wide as your mesh and 6 1/2 inches tall.  For mine, the measurement was 21" x 6 1/2".
Turn under one of the long ends 1/4 inch twice on each piece of fabric, press, and stitch.  Then set them aside.

Next for the upper horizontal straps that become the top of the bag, you need to cut two pieces of fabric that are as wide as your mesh, and three inches tall.  For me that was 21" x 3".

To make these strips into the top straps, you turn under both of the long ends 1/4 inch, and then fold them lengthwise and press. 

Pin them to hold them together and set them aside.

Lastly for the handles you need two very long strips of fabric.  Since I already had 1 1/2 yards, I just cut these from my long length of fabric.  If you have less fabric, piece together enough to make two handle pieces that measure 3" x 56".

Press them the same way that you pressed the horizontal straps, turning under both long edges and then folding in half the long way.
Then take these long handle pieces to the sewing machine.  Sew down the length, close to the edge all the way down the open end of both handle pieces.  This is the way I prefer to make handles.  I find sewing right sides together and then turning the whole tube inside out to be really frustrating, but if you prefer you can make them that way instead.

At this point, these are all of the pieces you should have.

Now it's time to assemble the bag.

Lay the handle down where you would like it to be and pin it to the top layer of the mesh only.  Lay the horizontal strap on and also pin to the top layer of mesh only.
Lay one bottom piece on the mesh and pin.  Make sure it covers the bottom of your handle straps.
 Then sew these pieces to the top layer of mesh along these red dotted lines.  Sew an x inside of the red square boxes to give the handles extra strength.

Then turn it over and do the same to the other side of the mesh bag.  This is what is looks like opened up:

Now place right sides together, and pin along the bottom and both sides of the bag, all the way up to the original seam of the mesh bag.  Sew along the sides and bottom (the red dots in this picture).  Make sure to line up the horizontal top strap and the edges of the bottom fabric.

Lastly, box the two bottom corners.  To do that you fold your corners like this (with the bag still inside-out).  I measured 3 inches from the corner and drew a line.
 Sew along that line...
and then cut the corners off.  I used pinking shears to keep fraying down.

Turn the bag right side out and you're done.  I put two beach towels and some sunscreen in there and there was plenty of room for more (floaties, sandals, Frisbees, food, whatever).  The drawstring keeps it all contained.  It's perfect for some summer fun.

**As always, this tutorial is for non-profit personal use only please.  Make your own, make one for a friend, but don't make them to sell.**


  1. I love this tutorial! I'm going to make one for myself and one for my son's preschool teacher for the end of the year. I have a quick question. Can you use regular fabric or does it need to be heavy weight? Thanks!

    1. Yes I think regular fabric would be fine. It just wouldn't be quite as durable and I wouldn't put anything really heavy in it.