Oversize Beach Tote



Sew up an oversize tote for your trip to the beach, the park or storage around your home. This step-by-step tutorial by Jane Skoch shows you how to make a tote that stores 8 towels.

Oversize Beach Tote


  • 1 1/2 yard of 44" wide fabric or 3/4 yard of 54" wide fabric
  • 2 yards of webbing for the handle
  • a cutting mat is shown here, but is not necessary for the project. Simply use rulers or measuring tape.



  1. In this example, I am using a 44" wide fabric. Because this bag is extra deep, I folded the fabric so that the selvedges lined up. (With a 54" wide fabric, a standard fold is fine.)

  2. Cut the fabric at 27" wide.

    Cut Fabric
  3. Fold fabric right sides together.

    Fold Fabric Right Sides Together
  4. Stitch along sides of bag using a 1/2" seam allowance. On the selvedge side, the seam allowance is larger to make sure the white selvedge does not show on the right side. No further finishing is necessary on the selvedge seam. On the other seams, you can serge, stitch and then zig-zag or pink the edges, whichever finishing methods you prefer.

    Seam Allowance
  5. Take a stitched corner and pull apart the sides so that a triangle is formed and the side seam is in the center.

    Stitch Corner

    Stitched Corner
  6. Even out the triangle and use a ruler to find the point where it is 9" across. Draw a line at this point.


    Triangle 2
  7. Stitch along the line. Cut off the triangle and finish the seam. This creates a boxed bottom for the bag.

    Finish Triangle
  8. Repeat step 6 and 7 for the other corner. Press all seams.

    Press all Seams
  9. Fold 3" of the top edge of the bag to the inside and press.

    Fold Edge
  10. Fold the raw edge under 1/2", press and pin.

    Fold Raw Edge

    Pin Edge
  11. Stitch the top hem close to the folded edge and go completely around the circle of the bag.

    Stitch Top Hem
  12. Lay the bag open with seams to side. Mark a line 8" from the seam edge on both sides.

    Mark Seam
  13. Fold the strap under 1" and place to the left side of the marked line (or to the right of the marked line on the right side).

    Fold Strap

    The fold of the strap should be two inches below the top.

    Fold strap

    Secure with pins.

    Secure with Pins
  14. This part is the most difficult in the entire process. Below you see the finished stitching from the outside of the bag. I stitch it from the inside. Starting with a backstitch to lock the stitches, I sew around the rectangle. Then I stitch one diagonal line, stitch across the bottom and stitch the second diagonal line. You can stitch it in any manner you wish. The main idea here is to reinforce the handles.

    Reinforce Handles
  15. Enjoy your bag for picnics, trips to the beach, stashing sweatshirts in your car, ....

    Beach Tote 1

    Beach Tote 2

    Beach Tote 3

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Reviews More Reviews

Feb 21, 2014

but i made the neck pillow thinks


May 23, 2013

longer straps would make it easy to wear across the body and leave hands free


16 Ratings

Nov 10, 2012

I love the pattern that was picked. I can not wait to get started on this project.


Jun 7, 2012

I am actually in the process of making a couple of these for my friend right now. I decided to do a french seam along the sides to keep it from unraveling. It is working really well. You are right. The handles are horrible to put on. Thanks for the idea. I had gotten 54" material at 1 1/2 yards. I got 2 bags out of it. They really are huge too.


Mar 12, 2012

i just got back into sewing. i will make the beach bag because it looks like something that i could make. i'm a little bit rusty still. anyway, i always get a new beach bag every summer but to have one that i made would be awesome.


Aug 31, 2011

Sounds interesting not a sew but think I could make this with excellent instructions. thanks Liz


Aug 31, 2011

Sounds interesting not a sew but think I could make this with excellent instructions. thanks Liz


Jul 18, 2011

Wow! Fantastic for carrying inflated baloon figures, or a lot of large light weight bulky items. Thanks so much for the dememtions and esp. the pic. of it on an adult. You gave us an instant visual of its actual size. I do hope more crafters do this in their tutorials also.


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