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Project

Easy Beach Bag

Introduction

Summer means lots of water, lots of swimming -- and a backpack for carrying things like towels and sunscreen to the beach or pool. Your child could use her school backpack, but why not make a fresh, pretty one -- you can even coordinate it with her bathing suit. Ours is washable and lined with water-resistant nylon, and it takes only an hour to complete.

Materials

  • Preshrunk cotton (one 14 1/2-by-32-inch rectangle)
  • Nylon (one 14 1/2-by-32-inch rectangle)
  • Pins
  • Cord (two 4-inch lengths,plus two 50-inch lengths)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    ka100832_lasu04_baght1.jpg

    Stack 14 1/2-by-32-inch rectangles of preshrunk cotton and nylon, right sides facing; pin and sew shorter ends together using 3/8-inch seam allowance. Turn inside out to hide seams.

  2. Step 2

    ka100832_lasu04_baght2.jpg

    Stitch across ends again, using 3/4-inch seam allowance, to create a channel. Fold end to end (nylon-side out); pin sides. For bottom loops, fold 4-inch cords in half; place inside the bottom corners, ends aligned with fabric edges. Stitch sides, catching ends of loops (do not sew channels closed). Starting on one side, thread each end of a 50-inch length of cord through each channel. Repeat from the other side.

  3. Step 3

    ka100832_lasu04_baght3.jpg

    Turn bag right side out. For straps, thread an end of each drawstring through the loop below it and tie ends.

Source
Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 14 2004

Reviews (24)

  • jnokleby 20 Jan, 2014

    I started making these a few years ago, but used reclaimed fabrics. Jeans, uniform pants for the lining. I also used 1 inch wide webbing rather than the thin cording. That cord cuts into the body with any weight in the bag and more difficult to wear a length of time. I used the uniform pans where the pockets are and cut that to be inside pockets of the bag. Many, many have been done. Wore 8 hours at the state fair with water, snacks in bag. Whole family had their own bag. Hence, designer bags!

  • ShannonMarie1212 23 Jun, 2012

    I agree that the channels should be finished. The channels are the place that gets the most wear. Tie your knots so they are at the bottom of the bag instead of at the shoulder. I make the bottom loops large enough so the knots can move through them freely since the ropes will move around with use of the bag.

  • hlsimpson 25 Aug, 2011

    I made this bag for my son using football jersey material over cotton in his school's colors. He loved it and it was very useful when changing classes in his elementary. I did finish the edges of the channels before finishing and I used grommets at the bottom and tied a knot in the nylon cord I used for straps.

  • mamazilla1972 22 Nov, 2010

    this bag is really easy to make! i will definitely make it again. my only complaint is that when you make the top channels, they remain unfinished at the side seams. so, if you attempt this bag - keep that in mind when you make them - finish them off beforehand, treat them with fray check or use a fabric that won't fray.

  • rock63roll64 8 Jun, 2010

    I MEANT "SEE THRU'' HA! HA! OH! AND IF CLEAR PLASTIC WOULD WORK,,,,,THE KIDS COULD DECORATE IT THEMSELVES AND PUT THEIR NAME ON IT MAYBE WITH PAINTS.

  • rock63roll64 8 Jun, 2010

    AWESOME IDEA!!! THIS WAY EACH CHILD CAN KEEP TRACK OF HIS OR HER OWN STUFF. I HAVE 9 GRANDKIDS...ALL LOVE THE BEACH AND WE ARE ONE HOUR AWAY.
    COULD THIS BE MADE OUT OF SEE THROUGH SOFT PLASTIC? JUST WONDERING, HOW THAT MIGHT WORK. HAS ANYONE TRIED THAT?/

    THANKS MARTHA!!!!!

  • Jeffsbride 21 Jul, 2008

    I am not much of a sewer (Simplicity patterns are a challenge!), but I made 3 of these this afternoon for my daughters, and they were very easy! There was not a seam allowance given for the sides, so just made them 1/2 inch. I'm very happy with how nicely they turned out. I also think that reading the instructions carefully and visualizing each step can be very helpful.

  • lilysnana55 14 Jul, 2008

    My first sewing project in 7th grade was a drawstring bag for PE clothes, It was yellow with big orange flowers on it (circa 1967!) and I used it through my freshman year in college, when I took my last PE class! What a great first project for a young sewer!

  • lilysnana55 14 Jul, 2008

    My first sewing project in 7th grade was a drawstring bag for PE clothes, It was yellow with big orange flowers on it (circa 1967!) and I used it through my freshman year in college, when I took my last PE class! What a great first project for a young sewer!

  • Retsi 7 Jul, 2008

    If you read carefully it is 2 - 14 1/2 inches by 32 inches of fabric.

  • marksmom 7 Jul, 2008

    It's not 14 rectangles, only 2. The 14 is part of the measurement of the fabric. Each rectangle is 14 1/2 inches by 32 inches.

  • devil 7 Jul, 2008

    Sorry to be bit thick, but why 14 rectangles of material? I don't get it.

    FIONAINSOUTHAFRICA

  • musiclee 6 Jul, 2008

    I've seen this done with large grommets attached to fabric tabs sewn to the bottom. A larger roping was used and tied in a knot to keep it from passing through the grommet. The drawstring only exited out of a single side rather than both, so each strap was only made of one rope.

  • musiclee 6 Jul, 2008

    I've seen this done with large grommets attached to fabric tabs sewn to the bottom. A larger roping was used and tied in a knot to keep it from passing through the grommet. The drawstring only exited out of a single side rather than both, so each strap was only made of one rope.

  • gaylemae 6 Jul, 2008

    I don't like the knots at the sides of your shoulders. Is there a way to eliminate them, and tie them to the loops instead?

  • cutiepiejanice 6 Jul, 2008

    this is the same bag that our middle school has the 6th graders make every year but it was just cotton so you were limited in the uses i never thought of putting nylon on the inside...good thinking!

  • lois41 6 Jul, 2008

    A question to someone who completed the project: Would you leave the ends of the channel unfinished or stitch them by hand? I would wonder about the edges fraying. Thanks.

  • TriciaJay 5 Jul, 2008

    Great idea for my daughter to make! I think I will make once for myself too! Would be great for my dance shoes!

  • Kaziah 5 Jul, 2008

    This is such an easy project. I think I will plan to spend the day sewing with my grand daughter and let her pick material to make her own beach bag. She is great with the machine and the directions for this is something she can follow. Thank you. Keep them coming.

  • sandiekay 5 Jul, 2008

    I thought the instructions were fine. this is not rocket science, just a few straight seams. The talent obvious from the coat at 12 yrs old should have had no problem with the "criptic" instructions. I am a begining stitcher and had no problem with the instructions and the pictures were simple and even self explanatory. Keep up the good work!!!

  • sweet67 5 Jul, 2008

    I have a 7 year old girl and she's into a summer camp I gave her a back pack to take her swimming towel and things and I just wanted to tell you that I love this project. Thank you Martha !

  • origamidoll 5 Jul, 2008

    The instructions are clearly written. Every word and sentence is full of meaning, with no repetition or extraneous words. Maybe people are just used to more step-by-step pictures these days. and not so used to reading carefully. I am happy just to get a new project to consider each day!

  • Wadika 5 Jul, 2008

    I've been sewing for 40 years and am 48 years old. At twelve I sewed a faux suede full length coad with faux shearling lining and bound buttonholes. Could you possibly have written more criptic directions for this project? I don't think so.

    Sarai

  • sassybdp 5 Jul, 2008

    I am not an exprert in sewing techniques. Is there anyway, you can add additional steps for a child 10 or older can follow with little assistance? I need more detail directions and pictures.