DIY Beach Bag Sewing with “No pattern required”


When sewing I rarely use a pattern.  Use this as a guide versus an exact step by step beach bag tutorial.  I will show you that you don’t always need a pattern to get what you are looking for.  My pictures are not the best as I was busy making a pile of these bags, but I hope they give you the basics of how easily you can sew a beach bag yourself in the fabric of your choosing.
I made these Beach bags for a getaway cruise event I was helping plan.  I have an awesome job!   Being a cruise, people would need beach bags and for a group of 35 people what better way to find your group but to look for brightly colored beach bags.  Too keep everyone from mixing their bags up on the pool deck I added bag tags exactly like ones I made for a previous event.

I chose a heavy cotton fabric for the outside of these bags in navy/white stripe, and red/white stripe and a white canvas cotton for the lining.  In the bags I added sunblock, motion sickness tablets, and I also made sunglass cases to add to each gift beach bag. Originally, I planned on tying each end of the rope handle in a knot.  However when I accidentally ordered larger grommets with no time to order more.  WOMP WOMP... that plan didn’t work, as the knot pulled through the grommet if you tugged.  Ok, now bring on Plan B.  Actually it felt like Plan Z after I spent what seemed like days trying every knot possible that didn’t look too bulky on the bag.  Finally, I randomly came up with a style of braiding/ looping.  It is not a braid that you will find in any nautical knot handbooks.. But it works with this 1/2″ cotton roping, so that’s all that counts.  If you are sewing 1 bag you won’t mind doing this, however my fingers were raw after 20 bags.


  • 0.5 – 0.7 meters or 1/2 – 3/4 yard Fabric (I like to use a heavy cotton, Canvas, or patio fabric)
  • 0.5 – 0.7 meters or 1/2 – 3/4 yard coordinating Lining Fabric
  • thread and filled bobbin to match
  • sewing pins, measuring tape, scissors, pen or fabric pencil
  • 4- 1/2 – 1″ Curtain Grommets (eyelets)- Since I needed 80 of these I ordered #12 (1 9/16″) metal curtain grommets (with an adapter and hammer) If you get smaller grommets adding the rope is much easier.
  • 8 ft – 1/2″ twisted cotton rope
  • clear tape

DSC_8160Cut the bag fabric into a 18″ x 44″ piece with the pattern aligned along the 44″ width and 18″ height.  This pattern can be adjusted whatever size bag you want.  Just be sure to adjust the sizing on both the bag and the lining.  Also, you may need to adjust the pocket size.DSC_8161Flip the fabric right sides (pattern side) together.  You will have a 22″x18″ shape.
DSC_8162Pin the edges in placeDSC_8164Repeat the above steps for the lining fabricDSC_8167For the inside pocket, cut a 9″ x 11″ pieces of patterned fabric and lining fabric. Place the two right sides (pattern out sides) together and sew along one top 11″ edge.  Open the fabric so the sewn edges are now on the inside.  Iron the fabric flat.  If you are experienced at sewing you can sew all 4 sides leaving a 2 inch opening on the bottom 11″ edge.  This will allow you to flip the pocket fabric to right sides out.
DSC_8170Otherwise, zig zag stitch the bottom and the two sides of the of the inside pocket fabric.
DSC_8176Now to sew the bag.  Start sewing with a straight stitch along the 18″ pinned side 1/4″ from the edge.  When you get to the bottom edge drop your needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn your fabric to sew along the bottom edge.  Drop your pressure foot and sew along the bottom of the bag.DSC_8180Repeat for the lining fabric.

To make the bottom of the bag sit flat, you will now sew the bottom of the bag in the corners.  Take the bottom corners and press the side flat on the bottom of the bag.  Press together to make a triangle.  I snip the corner off to make it lay flat while pressing.  Pin to keep the fabric together.  Mark a line along the fabric 5 inches across and 2.5″ up.

step 3Sew along with a straight stitch along this line.  It is important to back-stitch on both sides here.  Cut off the excess fabric leaving 1/2″ per the picture above.  I made a guide as I was making a pile of these bags, you shouldn’t need that for two corners.  Just use the measurements and a measuring tape.

step 2Repeat the above steps with the exterior fabric.DSC_8200Center the pre-sewn pocket on lining of bag (the finished side) DSC_8201Be sure to measure.
DSC_8203Set the pocket 4.5 inches from the top unfinished edge.DSC_8205Pin in place (Pins placed towards the sew line)DSC_8212Sew with a straight stitch starting along the top right hand side 1/8″ from the edge.  back-stitch then stitch, stopping at the corners, drop the needle, lift the presser foot, turn, drop the presser foot down and continue until the third side in sewn.  Finish by back-stitching.DSC_8213Here’s what it will look like while you are sewing the pocket in place. DSC_8216Set your needle in the center of the bottom of the pocket as per the picture above.  Start sewing, back-stitch, and continue to sew up the pocket until you get to the top.  back-stitch, cut threads and remove pins.step 4Turn the liner pocket out and place inside the exterior bag, corner to corner. Right sides together lining up the sewn edges on the bag and the lining.  The wrong sides are the side that will be visible.  Pin along the top edge starting at the sew lines.  Mark the last 4 inches along the top edge either with a fabric pencil or extra pin. DSC_8227Sew using a straight stitch 1/2″ from the edge along the top of the bag.  Don’t forget to back-stitch and stop sewing when you reach the last 4 inches of the top.  This will be the opening to turn the back inside out.DSC_8229Okay, you deserve a break 😉
step 12Reach into the opening and grab the corners and pull the inside out through the opening.  Push the liner into the bag and push the corners together.  DSC_8220Push the corners out for a crisp edgeDSC_8235Looking good!  Almost done.  Press the top edge of the bag with an iron.DSC_8236Here is the 4 inch opening. DSC_8237Pin along the top edge.DSC_8238Sew using straight stitch 1/8″ from the top edge.  Pulling pins out as you sew if you choose.  DSC_8241Sewing complete!
DSC_8242Here is what the inside pocket looks like 🙂DSC_8246Lay the bag on its side
IMG_3217The grommet size of your choosing can found online, various craft, and fabric stores.step 5Using one of the grommets, measure and trace the inside hole on the bag.  Or follow the instructions on the grommets you are using.  Make sure you measure to set the grommets equally on all sides.  For this bag I placed the grommets 4.5″ from the side edge and 2″ down from the top of the bag.  Pin through the bag on the top and the bottom of your markings.
step 6Carefully cut through the top fabric and the lining, being careful to follow the lines of the inside marking of your grommets.  Place the top grommet (male side) through the outside of the bag through to the lining side.  step 7Set the setting tool on a protected surface (like wooden cutting board) Set the male side grommet in place on the setting tool, add the washer (the female side) on the inside of the bag.step 8Place the other side of the grommet setting tool on the washer and hammer in place.  If you have lots of bags to make I would suggest you looking in to a grommet setting press.DSC_8273The bag is now ready for the rope handles to be added.
DSC_8283The pocket is the perfect size for a cell phoneDSC_8284 DSC_8286I am adding roping as I love the look, but you could also use handle/bag strap webbing.  Just place through the grommets, pin and sew in place.  Also below is how I kind of braided the roping, if your grommets are 1″ or smaller tying an end knot, or a double overhand knot would be much easier.   I really like how the roping turned out on these bags though 

step 9Cut the 4 feet of rope and tape the cut ends to keep them from fraying.  Measure 10″ on both ends of the rope mark with a fabric pen by adding a small dot or place a pin.  Thread the rope through the inside of the bag out the grommet center.  Fold the rope back toward the handle.step 10Now pull one thread (loop) of the rope braiding open and pull the rope up through this, making sure to leave 2.5 – 3 inches of space for the bag fabric to lay flat.  Skipping a thread and pull up another thread (loop) and pull the rope through this rope loop.
step 11Again skip the next thread and pull the third loop thread up and push the taped end through the pulled up loop.  Repeat one more time.  You will now have the rope placed through 4 loops.  Now pull tightly the roping locks together.  AGAIN.. I have no idea how this holds tightly but I was happy it did.   I am not sure this would work with another size, or kind of rope.  I trimmed off the excess end of the roping as I wanted it to fray a small amount at the end.
DSC_8297The finished bag 🙂DSC_8309

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