New This Month


Handmade Beach Bag

Source: Martha Stewart Living


Make this tote to carry towels, sunscreen, and other beach or pool essentials. Use leftover fabric, and the bag will coordinate neatly with your waterside seating.


  1. Using fabric shears, cut two 27-by-20-inch rectangles from lightweight canvas fabric. On both rectangles, double-hem one long side 1/4 inch; leave the other long sides unhemmed.

  2. Cut two 27-by-13-inch rectangles from a vintage tablecloth (or any printed fabric). Fold all four long sides under 1/4 inch, and press with an iron.

  3. Place one canvas rectangle right side up, with the long, unhemmed edge closest to you. Lay a printed-fabric rectangle on top of the canvas, right side up. Line up the left and right edges and leave a 2-inch border between the hemmed top of the canvas and the top of the printed fabric. Sew through both layers along pressed-under lengths of printed fabric, 1/8 inch from edges. Repeat with other canvas and fabric.

  4. To form handles, cut two 56-by-5 1/2-inch pieces of canvas. Fold strips in half lengthwise; iron to crease. Unfold fabric, and make 2 more folds, bringing the left and right edges to the center crease, pressing as you go. Refold the fabric along the center crease so the strip is 1/4 its original width. Stitch along both sides of the strips 1/4-inch from edges.

  5. To attach handles, form strips into arcs and center them on the fabric so that their bottoms align with the unhemmed bottom edge of canvas, 8 inches in from bottom corners; pin in place. Sew the handles to the fabric by stitching over the existing seams on the handles; start at one end of the strip and sew until you reach the edge of the printed fabric. Turn corner, and continue sewing down the opposite edge. Repeat on the opposite end, and on other half of bag.

  6. Place the 2 sides of the bag right sides together. Sew the sides and bottom of the bag together, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. With pinking shears, trim seam allowance (to prevent the fabric from fraying).

  7. Turn right side out. To create a rectangular base, measure and mark 6 1/2 inches in from each corner on the bottom. Fold the corners inward so that their tips meet the marked points on the seam, and stitch. Press all seams flat with an iron.

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